Heat styling tools today come in many different shapes and forms. There are electric pressing combs, curling irons, curling wands, and the list goes on. However, when it comes to the tools used to lay hair straight, there are two popular tools that stand out among the rest: flat irons and hair straightening brushes.
Hair straightening tools use heat to weaken the hydrogen bonds that give your hair shaft its shape. The strands are then able to be pressed into a straight style temporarily, unlike relaxers or other chemical treatments that destroy these bonds permanently.
Flat irons have been around for so long, that they’re considered the OG’s of hair straightening. Thanks to the rise of the hair brush straightener, many women (and men!) began to wonder which of the two really comes out on top. Which gets hair straighter? Which causes less damage? Which is easier to use?
Thankfully, we’ve got the best comprehensive look at both of these powerful gadgets, as well as how they compare to each other. Just keep reading to find out!
Just a tip before we begin, though – both brush straighteners and flat irons are capable of causing damage when used incorrectly or too often. Protecting your hair proactively is always the best choice. High-quality tools don’t mean that you skip out on heat protectant sprays and tons of hydrating products before your straightening session.
The Flat Iron
First invented around 1912, flat irons are hot tools that are used to straighten hair with the use of two hot plates that press together to clamp hair tightly between them and give silky straight results.
Irons like these are popular among those with straight and wavy hair, and even more so among those with curly, frizzy or kinky hair. Because of the high temperatures that most flat irons can achieve, they are considered perfect for taming even the most textured of hair patterns.
Flat iron plates can be made/plated with any of the following materials: ceramic, titanium, tourmaline, Teflon, or even gold. Ceramic and tourmaline are two of the most widely sought flat iron materials, as they conduct heat tremendously well, battle static and leave hair with lots of shine and smoothness.
Cheaper materials like ceramic or Teflon coating tend to work well at first, making you feel like your flat iron is a good quality iron. The truth is that in reality, they wear off with time, leaving your hair exposed to the direct and poorly conducted heat of the metal plates beneath. This makes it ten times easier for you to damage your hair!
What are the pros and cons of flat irons?
Flat irons come with both pros and cons, as does any hair styling tool you can think of. Let’s take a look!
- A good flat iron can turn even the curliest of manes into a head of straight, sleek hair. It’s truly effective.
- The wide range in plate size and material means that you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right flat iron for your needs. For instance, longer hair does well with large plates, while short hair and smaller plates are a match made in heaven.
- Flat irons are designed with ease of use in mind. They’re simple to maneuver and require little to no learning curve!
- Results can last anywhere up to two weeks with the right conditions!
- Direct heat through the plates to your hair can cause breakage and dryness in hair.
- High-quality flat irons made with good materials can be quite expensive.
- Flat irons create straight, flat hair – no volume involved! If you like a bit of body to your hair, flat irons may disappoint.
The Hair Brush Straightener
Hair brush straighteners are exactly what they sound like: a heated brush that has the ability to dry, detangle and straighten hair all in one.
These can either be in the form of a flat static brush, a rotating brush or a double-plated brush. Many women and men find brush straighteners to be more gentle on their hair in terms of direct heat. Even those with damaged or fragile hair can straighten their hair with this tool, as damage is often easily avoidable.
Hair brush straighteners can be trickier to use than flat irons, but they are remarkable at bringing volume and body to straight hair, much like a blow dryer and a round brush do.
What are the pros and cons of hair brush straighteners?
- Great for thin hair or hair that’s ‘weak’ – chemically processed hair, dry hair, colored hair, etc
- Low heat levels decrease the risk of damage
- Less direct heat – no plates!
- The brushing motion while straightening makes the entire process quite manageable, as tangles are being removed for an end result that’s as sleek as possible
- Safer on hair and scalp; a brush straightener won’t burn your skin like the plates of a flat iron tend to!
- Hair that’s super thick, long or curly can be a task for a hair brush straightener
- It can take much longer to complete your straightening session with a brush straightener than with a flat iron
- Doesn’t achieve the bone-straight, sleek look that many of us want from straight hair.
In conclusion, it’s easy to see that both tools have their benefits and drawbacks. Flat irons pack a powerful punch when it comes to heat, which is good news for stubborn hair, but at the same time, they can be pretty expensive and can damage your hair if too much heat is applied.
Hair brush straighteners use less heat and don’t garner the same sleek results, but they’re great for volume and don’t damage your hair as easily.
It all comes down to what’s important to you and the risks you’re willing to take for your hair. Both tools are amazing in their own way, and can both bring beautiful results. Whether your choice is the flat iron or the hair brush straightener, you’re in good hands.