Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best curling irons, hair dryers, and even a certain curling iron used on the Victoria’s Secret Angels, here, we’re going deep on the best flat irons and hair straighteners on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
The plates of the HSI Professional are made of solid ceramic that is infused with tourmaline. The combination allows for consistent temperature and gives hair a smooth finish. The wide range of heat settings, starting at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and going up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, gives you more control over styling and makes this an ideal straightener for multiple hair types.
When we first took the Babyliss out of its box, we were impressed by its super thin design. And when we put it to the test, the tool lived up to our expectations. It felt light, like the Chi Air, and manageable when gliding through hair. Unlike the HSI which felt rickety and bulky, the Babyliss’ design was sleek and professional. It wins as the flat iron we’d expect to see in a high-end hair salon.
While the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron is a great option for a beginner or someone on the go, we like to think of the Solano Sleek Heat 450 Professional Flat Iron as the no-nonsense, professional-grade alternative for anyone with short or medium length hair. This Solano professional hair straightener isn’t just for stylists or beauty bloggers though: the fast heat time and maximum heat temperatures make it an ideal choice for any aspiring stylist-to-be or anyone with stubborn shorter styles.
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When you apply heat to your hair, which is not a living thing, you’re essentially cooking it. And, just like food, it’s easy to overdo it. Short of actually searing your hair, you still run the risk of drying out each strand, which can lead to breakage and split ends over time. Every head of hair is different, and each type of hair has an optimal flat-iron temperature. Some locks need extremely high temperatures to relax — coarse hair or those with kinky hair need 380 degrees F or above. Others need hardly any heat at all — fine or damaged hair should be good below 300 degrees.
The CHI brand has long been one of the most popular for hair straighteners and flat irons, and for good reason – their products work well and they work quickly. The CHI Original Pro 1” Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron is no different. Thanks to its durable build, quality craftsmanship, and leading tourmaline-infused ceramic plates, this is the last hair straightener that you will need to buy for a long time.
Cleaning your flat iron is critical to ensuring it works as well as it did the first time you used it. Over time, hair product can build up on the plates. This buildup can lead to inconsistent styling results and major snagging. To clean your flat iron, simply wait for it to cool down and wipe the plates with a cotton swab or soft cloth coated in rubbing alcohol.
GHD’s “styler” is permanently set to 365 degrees Fahrenheit, which the company says is the highest temperature hair can tolerate before it becomes damaged. As a person who went from a dark brunette to blonde highlights, I can vouch for its straightening power on processed hair. And though I don’t typically think of “comfort” as a flat iron necessity, the springy hinge that connects the two plates really did make it easier to clamp and glide the tool down my hair with minimal effort.