If you know me, you know I love my hair when it’s straight. My hair can be a lot to manage day-to-day, so I try to straighten it whenever possible. My 20 year quest for stick straight locks has led to a fairly impressive collection of flat irons. Most people own just one, but I have what you could call a “plethora”. I have several different styles, and if you ask my husband he’ll tell you I have a problem! I don’t listen to him though, and I have gorgeous hair as a result.
Anyway, in the search for my next purchase I realized things have changed quite a bit. Now, there is new technology that can do a lot for the health and moisture of your locks. I was really interested in finding out more about what the perks could do for me, and as I was gathering information I figured it made sense to share everything I’ve learned rather than keep it to myself, and the handy Internet means that just about anyone can share their smarts.
So, I’m sharing my smarts here.
Materials, Pricing, Sizes, And More
There are so many different options when you’re shopping for hair straighteners that you will probably need a little boost in the right direction so you know where to start. There’s no reason to get overwhelmed, and there are plenty of ways to figure out your jumping off point. Below are just some of the options which will hopefully help you pinpoint your next step.
Ceramic Flat Irons
Ceramic irons were the first to enter the high end straightener market, and they have been around for nearly two decades. They get reliably hot, and they stay that way as long as you need them to.
In my opinion, entirely ceramic plates are the way to go. Make sure when you’re looking that you don’t go with a ceramic-coated iron if you need something that will last a long time. Ceramic-coated means lower quality, and they don’t hold the heat you need as well. Remember, hot spots are not your friend!
Tourmaline Flat Iron
Don’t worry! You’re not likely to have to pronounce it. Tourmaline is a coating that goes on top of the plates, and is made out of a gemstone that’s ground up and spread over a ceramic exterior. This hard addition to the plates makes it so the heat remains more consistent, and the straightener is better able to trap in the moisture your hair needs. Tourmaline straighteners can also be used at lower heats because they are so effective at heat distribution.
Titanium Flat Irons
Titanium straighteners are the most recent addition to the straightening market, and they are considered the forefront in hair straightener technology. They are the safest metal plates that can be used, and they do a good job of distributing heat without burning hair. Not all hair types do well with metal plates however, so if you have delicate hair this type might not suit it.
Wet To Dry
Another design for straightening is wet-to-dry irons, but these are probably the least reliable out of all the options. They are usually pretty high quality, and they will do a great job of straightening dry hair, but the technology for safely straightening wet hair just isn’t there yet. That being said, I have reviewed models that work well on damp hair.
Flat irons are one of the few industries where you would probably consider spending extra money for a professional rather than a consumer level model. Unless you only need it for occasional use, a more expensive iron is going to be much kinder to your hair than a cheap one. The materials are higher quality, the electrical elements are better maintained, and they make a big difference when you’re trying to keep your hair safe.
Budget Flat Irons
If you don’t need a huge amount of legwork out of your straightener, or you haven’t yet decided how much you want to spend, a budget iron isn’t a bad place to start (as long as you get the right kind). Just remember that glass or exposed metal plates aren’t good conductors of heat, and they won’t give you a good straighten so they might burn your hair.
Anything one inch or under is a small or standard size iron. Smaller than one inch is best for short hair and one inch is a standard size for just about anyone. If you want to do more styling that just straightening, one inch is best.
Any flat iron bigger than one inch in width is referred to as large, and these work better with long tresses because they don’t have as much precision as smaller irons. If you have long hair, you will save a lot of time by going with a larger iron, but you won’t be able to do as much curling and styling with it if you have shorter hair.
There are plenty of other options for irons, and you’ll learn more about nuances as you read the reviews I have here. I’ve done my best to point out everything I would notice, as well as things that confused me when I got my first iron. Feel free to have a look around and see what you can find.