Ceramic, Tourmaline, Titanium… Oh My!
When you’re trying to figure out what straightener to buy, you’ll notice the plates that heat up may be made of one of several kinds of material. It can be difficult to know which one will achieve the goal you’re trying to reach with your hair. Plus, each kind of material claims to be the best.
We already touched on this in my buying guide, but in the following few words I’m going to explain in more detail what the different materials can do for you.
Ceramic straighteners come in a few different constructions, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right thing. There is a pretty big difference in ceramic and ceramic-coated irons, so it could mean you end up with a straightener that does less than you intended.
NOT A Coat of Iron
Hair straighteners that are ceramic coated probably have metal underneath the coating. They will have the smooth and non-shiny appearance of a ceramic iron, but they don’t have the same kind of heat distribution. Ceramic-coated straighteners get hot quickly because of the metal plates beneath, but they do not stay as hot as a true ceramic plate.
Ceramic irons like the BaByliss Pro Porcelain Plate are excellent at retaining heat. They get hot and stay hot, but it does sometimes take them longer to heat up.
Ceramic straighteners have high ranges of heat options, and they don’t get hot spots like other straighteners. Because the plates on ceramic irons are so smooth, they are less likely to create tangles when pulling the straightener through your hair. They can make hair very straight and shiny, and should remove most of the frizz when used at the appropriate temperature.
If you’re looking for quick heat, titanium hair straighteners like the Izunami Flat Iron Ktx450 are the way to go. They heat up right away, and they’re able to stay that way for a long while. They are also pretty lightweight. Titanium irons are better for the ends of your hair because they cause less heat transfer, and they may be the go-to-choice if you don’t make regular trips to the hairdresser to have your ends trimmed.
Titanium plates also last much longer because they are not porous like ceramic plates. Titanium in general is more durable than other options, and it is more likely to last many years so you don’t have to replace it. It can however, be much more expensive than other options.
If you like shiny, expensive things, tourmaline may be the way to go. Straighteners like the Solia Tourmaline Ceramic Iron have tourmaline covered plates. It’s one of the newer materials, and a true tourmaline covered plate can cost a pretty penny. Tourmaline is a gemstone or mineral, and its ground up and used to cover the plates of the iron. Tourmaline usually goes over ceramic plates, making them even smoother. The smoother the plate, the less likely it is to damage or catch hair in the plates.
Tourmaline covered plates are more durable than other options, and they are less likely to chip or suffer heat loss over time. The covering keeps the heat on the plate which means you get consistency when you use it.
There are other coverings you can get for plates like silicon or rubber which help to sort hair out when it’s being pulled through the iron. Some less expensive irons are Teflon coated, but just like Teflon can flake off a pan, it can flake off an iron.
Metal and glass irons are also an option, but there is a reason they aren’t popular. These are often low quality straighteners that get heat spikes, burn hair or break easily. Even if you don’t use it often, it’s best to steer clear of these.
One of the most common and confusing things you’ll see on the box of an iron are the words “negative ions”. Flat irons don’t seem all that scientific, and it may be hard to understand why it’s there. My understanding is it’s to do with taming frizzy hair, and can be the difference between a big, overwhelming mane and an in control, sleek style.
Frizzy hair has static, and that means there are positively charged ions buzzing through it which make it big and poufy. By putting negative ion technology on your iron, the negatively charged ions neutralize the positively charged ones and make the hair follicles calm down. You go from a frizzy mess to organized straightness in just a few minutes. Pretty neat huh? You’ll also be less likely to electrically shock your friends!
Overall, the price of the iron may matter most when you’re selecting which iron to go with, but you need to make sure you’re getting the best iron for your money. Ceramic irons have been popular for almost 20 years, and there has to be something to that. Meanwhile, more recent options like wet-to-dry and titanium really have updated the technology, so they may be worth a try as well.