Hair Straightener Flat Iron Buying Guide

Hi there, My name is Christine. Welcome to my Hot Styling Tool Reviews Website! We all know that shiny and sleek straight hair couldn’t be achieved without an hair straightener. So if this is your first time looking for a new hair straightening flat iron and wondering which kind of this hair tool work most ideally on your hair. I’ve just created this page to help and share my experiences. As a hair stylist, I have worked in a hair salon for several years, dealing with a lot of hair types and textures from our customers, which gave me some sort of knowledge about temperature, plate sizes, each piece of hair (hair strands for straightening) and their relations. I would say I knew exactly which hair straightener will give the best results for certain hair types. Yes, there are a lot of flat irons used in my salon, but their build quality are varied. They are adjustable or just switched on/of, and their plates utilized different materials to conduct heat through with the most advanced technologies. Lastly, I always like to hold the flat iron that I feel relaxed and I don’t have to give a tight grip for each time straightening a hair piece.

Hair quotes

The hot styling tools not only work brilliantly on your hairs but they incorporate a lot of practical features to make it easy for you to achieve enviable, frizz-free look.

How to Choose An Hair Straightener Flat Iron

Know exactly your hair type: Whenever you plan to buy your first serious styling tool, ask yourself this kind of question, which type of my hair is ? Is it thick, curly or coarse. Then you would think how much heat you need to straighten your hair properly. Determining your hair type will help you easily to know which tool is best suited, considering two factors, its size and heat settings. Most brands will indicate which hair type their tool is made for. For example, one of the best flat iron for African America hair is Solia Tourmaline Ceramic Ion, a variable temp flat iron with plate size, 1 and 1/4 inch. For other ethnic hair types, you would do the same for understanding your hair before taking decisive factors. If a flat irons work well on thick, curly hair, it would work on your ethnic hair as well. But it doesn’t mean you will do the same for preparation and treatment before and after for each type of hair.

Adjustable V/S Fixed Heat Setting: If you have a fixed heating hair straightening flat iron (a range of Temp: 360-380F), when you switch it on, the plate can only be heated to a default temperature set by manufacturers. And there is no way to adjust it. For instance, the Chi 1 Inch Flat Iron has a fixed temperature of 370F, which works great for those who have normal hair or hair below shoulder with medium thickness or wavy. If you know for sure your hair type and this Temp range works best on it, this type of hair straightener is an ideal choice.

The other type of hair straightener is variable temperature, which allows you to control the temperature suitable for your hair. Most professionals and hair stylists use an hair straightener with variable setting. Commonly, they have 5 level-dials or if they are digital models you can adjust them to any desired temperature.

Digital flat irons like EPS Black Diamond Digital have buttons positioned right on its side to let users adjust temperature, which is displayed on the LED display screen. The screen will turn to the color matched to a range of temperature. When looking at the color of screen you will virtually know whether the temperature of plates is safe for your hair.

Digital Flat Iron and LED screen

Note that you should never crank up the heat to the maximum, 450F

Price Range

  • Cheap Hair Straightening Flat Irons: Though they are built with low quality, but they definitely work. But weigh the risk, your hair are more prone to damaging and electric shocks these cheap flat irons, which also are not very durable. The price of inexpensive flat irons comes between $20 to $40. Note that the heat on surface of plates is not evenly distributed or maybe over-heated, it is more likely to leave your hair dry since you have to pass the iron many times through hair section. The plates are very hot or “cool”, and the temperature is not set to exact levels as you wish. In addition, the plates are not made from high quality materials, they easily deteriorate, and burned products sticking on.
  • Moderate Price Hair Straightener ($40-$150) this price range you can find all types of hair straightening, including cordless, variable or fixed flat irons and all types of plates.
  • Expensive flat irons are simply built with higher quality and more advanced technologies, making straightening your hair safe and quick. They are also well designed and durable. The plates are thick, and their surface is durable and smooth, preventing hair snagging and breaking. They also heat up quickly and precisely to the set temp, so you don’t have to wait minutes for plates getting hot.
  • Professional hair straightener – The highest quality for professionals, which brings about ultimate hair straightening experience, priced for around $500.

Heating Technology and Plate Material 

Almost hair straightener’s plates (heating panels) are made from Ceramic, Titanium, or Tourmaline, and they are heated with different technologies. Those are best materials for heat reduction, since they are heated evenly on the surface–reducing hair damage, release negatively charged ions-to neutralize and balance out the frizzy hair or tighten the hair’s cuticle. In other words, they are gently touching your hair, and giving a shiny, healthy look. It’s up to your preference about the material and the tech you think will be appropriate for your hair.

Ceramic: Ceramic is resistant to corrosion and its thermal conductivity is lower than metal. Some cheap models have the plates coated with just a thin layer of ceramic fused on metal plates, so you may have to slide repeatedly on your stresses. More expensive ceramic flat irons have plates totally coated by several layers of ceramic, creating thick and extremely smooth surface. So no more snagging, breakage, catching dust and particles or products built up on plates. As superior properties of this material, it conducts heat evenly and uniformly so every single hair strand literally is treated in the same manner. In term of intense heat, this type of plate release heat in the mild manner, reducing much the potential damaging caused by the tools. But in case you drop it, well it may crack! remember be careful when you hold it!

My Recommendations For Best and Reliable Ceramic Hair Straightening Flat Irons:

  • Solia Tourmaline Ceramic Ion Hair Straightener, 1-1/4″ with adjustable temperature 170°F-400°F.
  • HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron (dual voltage 110/220) the best seller, it received nearly 5 star rating on Amazon. Why? It is cheap, easy to use and variable – 240°F-400°F on 1 inch plates.
  • GHD V Gold Classic Styler, with safety feature it will automatically shut off when not in use 30 minutes.

Titanium: Titanium is a strong metal that also resists to corrosion, but it seems to “attract” to products built up more than ceramic. The plates made by this metal is durable and heated up quickly (the time you wait for the plates getting to the set temperature is normally less than 30 seconds). Believe or not, Titanium is excellent material for its capacity to provide consistent and intense heat to your hair. So Titanium flat irons work efficiently on a lot of hair types. Heat distribution on the plates is even across the surface, while it still keeps the temperature variation minimum. Titanium flat irons are also lightweight. However, you may worry about the potential risk with intense heat from Titanium, it gets so hot. Let’s say, with the same setting temp (300F) from Titanium iron and Ceramic iron, you hair will get more heat Titanium than Ceramic. The hotter plates mean, your hair are more like prone to damage. It is up to your hair type and texture, but in term of time efficiency, Titanium iron will save you a lot of time, and it is much more easier for you to deal with most stubborn hair.

Titanium flat irons are always the best for those who have thick, long black hair. As you pass titanium flat iron through your hair section, you will be surprised how your hair dramatically changed.

My recommendations For Top Titanium Flat Iron Hair Straightener

  • Izunami Flat Iron Ktx450
  • BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 1.5 inch: Great for black american hair
  • Moroccanoil Professional Series Styling Hot Iron

Infrared: by using this heating method, there is a source that will beam out invisible light at a wavelength in the infrared region for heating. Unlike other traditional methods, which heat the surface of the plates, the infrared flat iron work directly on your hair. The IR (invisible radiant energy) beam work deeply into the hair structure from the inside out. The straightening process is quick, reducing heat exposure time to the hair. However, there is no evidence showing that work better regular flat irons.

My recommendations:

  • CROC Classic 1″ Infrared Hair Straightener Flat Iron, Using infrared heating tech, their plates are the combination of ceramic, tourmaline, titanium all in one.

Nano: The term, Nano, is in relation with something measured in size less than 10-9 meter, meaning very very small particles. These particles are embedded on the surface as a part of plates or they completely are used to construct the plate. You see this term doesn’t stand alone, Nano-Titanium, Nano-ceramic. The surface of nano material is far superior than none-nano products. They can restrain bacterial growth.

My recommendations:

  • BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 1.5 inch

Tourmaline: Tourmaline flat irons are built somewhat similarly to ceramic, except the material for the plates. Tourmaline shares some of physical properties with ceramic like fine surface and density. But once heated the Tourmaline plates become a rich negatively charged iron source, any benefit though from this source? Let’s say if you have damaged hair or unnatural hair with many parts charged with positive ions. The negative irons come in and naturalizes these parts, repairing your hair and bringing it back to the natural shine. The combination of Tourmaline and ceramic will create a perfect surface, which smooth out your hair with less friction and more balanced electronically.

My recommendations:

  • Solia Tourmaline Ceramic Ion Flat Iron

Ionic: All type of plates release negative ion when they are heated. The difference is how much they can beam out. Anything positively charged have affinity with surface of plates, and naturally your hair is one of those.  So the more a flat iron can generate irons, the better results you can get. By adding ionic to product listings I think the manufacturers want you to know that their products have more negative irons than average.

Plate sizes

One-size don’t fit all. The sizes of hair straightening flat iron are varied, ranging from 1/2″ to 2 ¼ inch. The bigger isn’t better. The larger the plate size, the better it can provide heat to your hair. But with large plate sizes you can’t go to small section or get as close to your roots, so considering the hair style you tend to straighten, the length and thickness of your hair (your hair types and texture) for picking the size of flat iron. Choosing the right size of plate will reduce the risk of hair damaging and time for straightening. Practice how large the hair section you should take for straightening, large plate size will allow you to straighten more hair at once, which will save time.

Choose The Right Temperature

If the heat setting is set to the level matched to your hair type and length, no more hair damage. This fits to what your hair needs. The temperatures you can set are as follows:

How to choose flat iron based on hair types

If you have short hair: depending on your hair texture (fine or thick), choose small plate sizes (half-an-inch to one-inch). This will allow you to straighten smaller sections and more easily to place the tool on the roots.The table points out if you have Normal, Medium/average, Medium Thickness or Wavy hair, with below shoulder length, you can buy a fixed hair straightener with Temp 370F

If you have long hair: Use an hair straightener with large plate sizes (one-and-a-half inches to two-inches), so they can cover more surface of hair strand, the hair section you take for straightening, saving your time. Keep in mind that those flat iron might be weighty, choose the one with less than 1 kg, which is comfortable to hold and style.

Wet To Dry Flat Irons

You shouldn’t use these tools, this is similar to straighten your hair while your hair is wet.

Dual Hair Straightener For Travelling

These flat irons can work fine at both voltages 110 or 220V. If you think you will travel to a place using 220V for home appliances, and want to style your hair on your vacation, avoid hair straightener only works with 110V. There is a good way to keep your flat iron, a carrying case, which fit most hair straighteners’ size. The inside is coated with head resistance layer to protect users. The cord is managed by a loops on top of the case. So you can take your tool everywhere, gym or holidays.

Cordless Hair Straightener Flat Iron

Totally cordless flat iron use either battery or thermal cell to power the heating of plates. These flat irons may provide sufficient heat for those who have long, thick hair. Though they are workable, but it takes a hours if you want to finish all sections. Just in case you need to deal with your bang or you have fine hair or thin, short hair they are great travel companions to style on the go.

Reputable Hair Straightening Products Brands

  • Babyliss: Reputable name in the professional beauty industry. Known as best hair tools for professionals, their products have been sold in more than 200 countries throughout the world.
  • Chi®: One of the brands in Farouk Systems, Inc. Its founder, Farouk Shami, carried out the mission to embrace the most innovative technology in their products and safety for hair artists. 
  • GHD: English band, they design the styling tools not just for salon but for home use. And their hair straightener is among our top choice.
  • Remington: Founded for more than 200 years, Remington offers a wide range for grooming products, from electric shavers to hair straighteners. Their innovation, research and developments has been contributed to the launch of friendly budget hair tools.
  • Corioliss: It is not a traditional company, founded not more than fourteen years ago the brand have been leading the beauty industry with their innovations.

Hair Tricks

Aside from learning how to section your hair. This part I will share with you things you should care about your tools and other great heat protection products you should apply to your hair. Here are some of my blog posts you would be interested in:

  1. How to Straighten Hair For Salon Results
  2. 5 Reasons Why You Should Clean Your Flat: one of reason is that burnt hair cells and other hair products like serum, oil can build up on hot plates. This can be noticed when they change the colors, it is very damaging if those plates slide on your hair, leaving the products built-up on.
  3. How To Clean A Flat Iron
  4. Heat Protection Spray How Do They Work And Top 8: Using heat styling tools will steal the natural moisture, you should prevent this from happening, or at least reduce the heat effect to minimum.
  5. Curling With A Hair Straightening Flat Iron
  6. How To Choose Best Flat Iron For Natural Hair
  7. Protect your hands from heat styling tools: Wearing Heat Resistant Glove

Using Heat Protection Spray Won’t Necessarily Save Your Hair

If you are using this heat styling tool everyday, your hair can’t avoid damaging even you spray your hair with heat protection spray before styling.

Be aware of hair products that contain formaldehyde 

Hair products that contain formaldehyde will evaporate and release to the air at the high temperature from hair straightener. It is very possible that you inhale those degraded products into your lung, which cause health problem. So If you plan to do permanent hair treatment check out whether or not those hair products are safe.

Curling With An Hair Straightener

Feeling bored of looking your hair straight over time, some hair straighteners are designed with rounded curve, which allow you to make a perfect curl. They are called a hair styler rather than hair straightener.

Eight Things Make You Think You Own A Good Damn Hair Straightener

  1. Smooth and durable plates, straightening never breaks your hair or trap your hair. It is easy to wipe out the build-up on the plates–burned hair or products by heat. 
  2. Lightweight and ergonomically designed, easy to hold and style with swivel cord, and you don’t feel tough to handle your hair section probably. The housings effectively resist to ul-tra heat to protect user’s hand.
  3. Heat up quickly and precisely set to the desired temp
  4. Easy to change the heat setting
  5. Cause less hair damaging as much as possible. This is very important since all hot styling tools will somewhat have side effects.
  6. Effective, you don’t have to clamp a lot of time for straightening just a single of hair section.
  7.  You don’t have to replace them yearly
  8. Safe feature like Auto shut off (automatically turn off after 30min or 1 hour if not in use)

Actually, it seems you couldn’t find the model fit all criteria above. Narrow them down for what your need.

Should We Invest in A Good Flat Iron?

Avoid Counterfeit Products

Don’t buy hair straighteners from un-authorized sellers. This not only wastes your money but increase the risk of hair damaging. But it is difficult to know whether the products are authentic.

Conclusion

I took me a lot of time to write, do research and include everything I thought your would need before going online, shopping for hair’s new friend, and hitting Buy Now button. Well, if you find a mistake or wrong information from my page, please leave your comment under the section below.

If you don’t use permanent hair treatment like Keratin (also known as Brazilian) or Japanese. Using your hair straightener at home for your hair is a short term. That extremely straight hair last just for several days. The frequency use of hot styling tool will affect how your hair look, the more you style the less natural your hair will become. Always remember to let your hair take a break by stopping using heat styling tool for a while, allowing it to gain shine, smooth from hair products and getting back to natural state.