The type of heat you use to style your hair makes a big difference in how healthy it will be. Our Xtava Pro-Satin Infrared Ceramic Flat Iron for Hair uses infrared heating technology, which heats hair from the inside out. Infrared technology is a game-changer for styling your hair because it allows heat to penetrate directly into the inner part of the hair strand, not just the outside layer. Infrared heating to the middle of the hair strand provides a more effective heat for styling and decreases damage to the outside of your hair. Infrared technology also stimulates negative ions in your hair that draw oils from the hair shaft to the surface; this helps lock in moisture and lock in your look, even in humid weather. Better heat = better hair health. Guess that’s not much of a secret after all, is it?
We started with six flat irons but ultimately dropped two because they didn’t work well on any of our testers’ hair. The inexpensive, but highly rated HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron was bulky and awkward. Testers said it felt like two pieces of plastic passing through their hair. We thought the NuMe Megastar Hair Straightener, a popular and more high-end tool, would be a clear contender for our list. However, testers said it snagged hard against their hair to the point of hurting. It was also difficult to hold closed when styling. Because both of these flat irons received such low ratings among our testers, we didn’t include them in our top picks.
If you have ever visited a luxury spa or wellness company, you have probably run across far infrared heat a time or two. Without going into too much science, infrared heat is the same heat you feel when the sun kisses your cheeks and warms your body from the inside-out. Far infrared heat, in particular, has been used by medical and wellness professionals for years to treat a variety of conditions from muscle pain to even cancer.
“I bought the HSI titanium tourmaline ionic flat iron and I was so impressed with it. It glides so smoothly down the hair without any tugs! The digital display screen lets me adjust the temperature without any problems, it heats up fast, and I love that it comes with a pretty purple pouch, glove, and argan-oil serum. I also own the digital HSI ceramic ionic flat iron from 2013, and it’s still going strong, but I do like the titanium iron better, and I see myself using for it for years to come. It leaves my hair shiny and soft!”
The ½ inch plates allow the BaBylissPro Mini to get close to the scalp, so it will straighten hair from root to tip. It's lightweight and compact at 6 inches long, so it will fit easily in a purse or carry-on bag with no hassle. It comes with a heat resistant travel pouch for storage so you can pack up and go at a moment's notice before or after straightening your hair.
There’s no use cramming a bunch of hair between two hot plates if not all of it will actually get ironed. Making small sections is annoying, sure, but if you try to iron too much at once, it won’t work and you’ll end up going back over the hair multiple times anyway, which can cause damage. This is especially important for those with kinky or tightly coiled hair. If you don’t section your hair, your flat iron won’t work the way you want it to.
The nano ceramic plates in this straightener deliver far-infrared heat, a gentler alternative in and of itself. As if that weren't enough, there's also a reservoir where you can pour in some of the (included) argan treatment and thermal protectant, creating a conditioning steam that will strengthen and safeguard strands while you straighten. Admittedly an extra step, sure, but one that's well worth it.