For some people, automatic shutoff is a critical feature since forgetting to unplug your flat iron could lead to a fire. However, others aren’t fans of auto shutoff since that means their flat irons could turn off while they’re still styling their hair. If this is the case for you, we recommend investing in a timed switch. That way, you can program the switch to turn off at a specific time and your flat iron will shut off as well.
Automatic shutoff isn’t a feature we included in our criteria since people have varying opinions about it, but we liked that the Chi Elite has this. Especially for new users who might forget to turn off their flat irons. Like the Chi Air, the Chi Elite will shut off after one hour. However, if you’re working with kinky hair, auto shutoff may be a problem. Traditionally this hair type will take longer to straighten due to detangling and the fragility of the hair.
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One of the Babyliss’ major drawbacks, and why we only recommend this flat iron for experienced users, is the outside gets hotter than any of our other picks. Hot to the point that it was too hot to hold. One tester said she was “afraid to accidentally touch the top of it.” Others said they could feel the heat against their scalps. At first, another tester said she didn’t mind the heat. This was moments before she burned the top of her hand when it merely grazed the side of the tool.
While temperature control is typically a good thing to have in a hair straightener, it can also result in hair damage if you're keeping the temperature too high. The GHD Gold eliminates the chance of any user error, operating at an even 365 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature for most hair types, getting you smooth results without damaging your hair. The gold coated ceramic plates heat up quickly and maintain an even temperature, eliminating the chance for any hair damaging hot spots as well.
We usually roll our eyes at oil-infused heat tools — but you can actually watch this oil being sucked right out of the refillable cartridge in the handle. When you press the iron closed over your strands, the oil vapor seeps through tiny holes to condition and straighten your hair. And don't worry fine-haired friends: It made our tester's hair silkier, but not like she'd dipped it in an oil vat.
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