The last time I used a legitimate curling iron, I was getting ready for my eighth grade Halloween dance. This is not an exaggeration. I’ve been using a flat iron to curl my hair since the very day I learned how. One of my closest beauty-savvy friends showed me the basics, I begged my mom for a great straightener that curls hair, and I perfected the skill by watching flat iron curling tutorials on YouTube. Yeah, there’s a slight learning curve, but once you know how to use a straightener to get curls, you’ll never go back to curling irons again. No clips, no burns, no need for gloves, and one tool covers all your bases.
With well over 25,000 reviews, the HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron is one of the best straightening irons you can get, but because of its thin build and rounded plates, you can also use it to curl your hair. It’s got solid ceramic plates to reduce damage, evenly heat hair, and promote shine, and if you’re a traveler, it’s got a dual voltage that can be used anywhere in the world.
That is just one of the reasons that hair straighteners are such a wonderful tool to keep in your beauty arsenal; not only does this nifty little device give you movie star-quality straight hair when you want it (sorry blow out bars), but it can even create the same curls as those confusing barrel-ended curling irons! So, clean out your cabinet under the sink and make room for that makeup you’ve been eyeing or the perfume your husband forgot to buy you for Valentine’s Day last year, because a professional-grade hair straightener can literally replace all of your existing heated hair care tools!
Creative director of GLAMSQUAD Giovanni Vaccaro prefers this flat iron by Sedu. "The ceramic plates are really key to maintain the integrity and healthiness of the hair," he says. To get expertly straight hair, Vaccaro recommends using a boar-bristle brush to help mediate frizz, and that "the follow through is key" when moving the iron and comb completely from roots to tips.
Straightening irons, straighteners, or flat irons work by breaking down the positive hydrogen bonds found in the hair's cortex, which cause hair to open, bend and become curly. Once the bonds are broken, hair is prevented from holding its original, natural form, though the hydrogen bonds can re-form if exposed to moisture. Straightening irons use mainly ceramic material for their plates. Low-end straighteners use a single layer of ceramic coating on the plates, whereas high-end straighteners use multiple layers or even 100% ceramic material. Some straightening irons are fitted with an automatic shut off feature to prevent fire accidents.
We loved the Bio Ionic’s user-friendly design. Two of our favorite features are its bright digital temperature control and the instructions stamped directly onto the tool. It also feels natural in the hand, and its matte finish provides a slight grippiness, but doesn’t pull at the hair when styling. Plus, the tool sports a uniquely shaped plate that’s curved at the tip and makes it really easy to get close to the scalp. One tester who is new to using flat irons said the Bio Ionic felt intuitive and even encouraged her to try harder styles, like creating curls and waves.
In addition to its sweet settings and versatility, this hair straightener is also super lightweight and features thin, 1-inch plates to save precious real estate on your bathroom counter or inside your vanity cabinet! The BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron is ideal for anyone with a tiny bathroom (or multiple roommates!) and who wants the results of larger hair straighteners without the added weight or storage space.
Thankfully, we’ve learned a lot about hair care and preserving your hair’s natural integrity while styling. However, this wasn’t always the case. If you ever had a perm done in the 80’s or teased your hair to holy heaven in the 90’s, chances are pretty good that your hair has endured a bit of damage. The same can be said if you color your hair on a regular basis or recently went from your natural brunette color to a bright platinum blonde. No matter how the damage was caused, there are certain features you will want to shop for when selecting the ideal hair straightener for your course hair type:
FHI’s rounded edge allows you to easily curl or add waves without much effort. It’s almost as small as a travel flat iron, and I love that it straightens even the poofiest sections with just a single pass. But don’t just take my word for it, listen to Beyoncé (via InStyle): “I’m crazy about it! I can’t live without my flatiron! It takes me about an hour to do my hair, and the only time I don’t is when I’m on vacation.”