If you've had to cycle through seemingly endless hair straighteners in your life, I don't blame you. Depending on your hair type, it can be hard to find a flat iron that's high-quality, durable, provides the right amount of enough heat, and doesn't totally leave with a ton of heat damage. And while hair routines do vary, having a reliable flat iron is an essential hair tool that should belong in every bathroom or closet (if you like to straighten your hair, that is).
What’s the best flat iron for your hair?
While you may be tempted to decide based on brand name and an overwhelming amount of glowing reviews (don't get me wrong, these do matter), it’s also important to consider the type of plates the iron has. The plates ultimately determine how much heat your hair is exposed to and thus, how straight it'll be. For example, if you have thick, coarse, or natural (kinky or tighter curls) hair that you want to transform into stick-straight strands à la Jennifer Aniston, a titanium flat iron is going to be your best friend, says Patricia Silva, a seasoned hair stylist at Fringe Salon and Metropolis Spa Salon in New York City.
“Titanium heats extremely quickly and should only be used on thick, coarse hair,” says Silva, adding,“Titanium plates will last forever though. [They’re] not porous at all like the ceramic [kind]. It’s a high strength metal, so it has great durability. Smoothes the hair incredibly.” Not to mention, they also produce a lot of heat and give coily and kinky textures a longer-lasting press.
On the other hand, tourmaline flat irons are a safe bet for those with frizzy hair since they have negative ions to "better help fight frizz and to lay the cuticle down,” says celebrity hair stylist Monae Everett. And while ceramic irons don't generally produce the same level of heat as titanium ones, this is what makes them universally safe to use on multiple hair types, especially those with finer and damaged tresses.
Best hair straighteners for thick and coarse hair
Described by Everett as her “go-to” styling tool and a top pick by Silva, this BaByliss flat iron is one of the most popular devices in hair salons, thanks to its high-performance and versatility. The two titanium plates run up to 450 degrees, which means you can easily increase or decrease the heat settings to accommodate different hair textures. Additionally, it’s super lightweight to help you grip and section your hair as you straighten it.
Made with titanium-infused ceramic plates, this revamped CHI iron helps take hair from its current state to silky smooth in a short amount of time. It heats up within 40 seconds and has three preset temperatures for fragile hair, wavy hair and coarse hair, so there’s no guesswork when it comes to applying too much heat.
This fan-favorite flat iron by Kristen Ess promises an even press from root to tip, with no snagging or pulling on your hair between each pass. But the best part is, you can also use the iron to create multiple styles including waves and polished curls. It also comes with a handy automatic shutoff feature for added safety.
If you like to have options, this Infiniti Pro by Conair flat iron is something to clock on your radar. It has six different temperature settings and heats up to 450 degrees. The floating plates also make it easy for you to grip the hair as you style it, while the ionic technology from the tourmaline can help eliminate frizz and boost shine.
Best hair straighteners for frizzy hair
For a quality iron that is going to help calm your frizz and is great for all hair types, Silva points to this Amika tool. It has partial germanium crystal plates to help leave you your hair with a smooth-like finish. While it’s great for finer hair, you can also punch up the heat to over 400 degrees to help tame thicker locks.
When it comes to smoothness, this Harry Josh Pro styling iron delivers. Not only does it produce negative ions to help neutralize your frizz and hydrate your hair, but it also has extra large ceramic and tourmaline plates so you can straighten more hair at once and with fewer passes in between. As a bonus, the iron has an auto shut-off feature and turns off after it hasn’t been in use for 60 minutes.
Was $140, but now on sale for $92.96
What makes this iron special is its three layers of ceramic plates with tourmaline. This translates to more even heat distribution and less frizz. Additionally, you can find your Goldilocks sweet-spot temperature for your hair type. The iron adjusts from 150 degrees to 450 degrees and leaves behind a smooth finish on your tresses.
With over 72,000 customer ratings and a best-seller ranking on Amazon, this HSI Pro Gilder is easily one of the most popular flat irons floating around the internet. It has eight tiny micro-sensors to help perfect an even press all around. Additionally, it comes with a moisturizing organ oil treatment and heat-resistant glove for extra safety as you do your hair. Plus, it’s travel-friendly thanks to the dual-voltage setting.
Best hair straighteners for fine and damaged hair
If you’re worried about breakage and causing more damage to hair, this GHD iron may be worth the splurge. Unlike many hair straighteners, this one personally adapts the temperature to your hair texture. This way, you can apply the healthiest amount of heat for your hair as you style it.
Another way you can straighten your hair is through the power of steam. It can be less damaging on hair than a typical flat iron, but can still be pretty effective. “I would actually use the Streampod by L’Oreal on someone who has very damaged hair, [along with] lots of heat protective sprays and cremes,” says Silva. “This iron has ceramic plates and uses the steam to help [smooth] the hair in a more gentle way.”
Was $99.99, now on sale for $47.21
For a standard quality hair tools, you usually can’t go wrong with CHI products. And this ceramic flat iron from the retailer is definitely one worth considering thanks to its simple and ergonomic design. Not only can you use it to achieve your silky press, but you can also use it for a shiny, frizz-free finish. At the same time, it doesn’t produce that much heat comparatively (it only warms up to 392 degrees), but this helps make it a win for those whose hair could use less heat.
Best cheap hair straighteners
Another pick that Silva stands by is this TYMO hair straightener. At just $50, Silva says it’s one of the “best in value and quality” for thick hair. The iron has adjustable temperatures that range from 140 degrees to 450 degrees. Not to mention, it heats up within 10 seconds and has a gloss-like finish on the titanium plates to help provide a smooth pass each time.
For those looking to lay down stubborn flyaways, this wallet-friendly option from Revlon may be what your beauty cabinet needs. The iron is specially equipped with extra large tourmaline plates to help allow for you to move through your strands with ease. You can also customize the amount of heat using the 10 adjustable settings.
According to multiple reviewers on Amazon, this iron is a winner for its fast-heat up time and a win for its ability to work on different textured hair. As one reviewer noted, “I have naturally curly hair, so [I] did a blow out after dyeing my hair today and used Ms. Nessa to curl straight from the blowout and it was perfect. I started at 350 and realized I needed to take it to 450. Heats very quickly and stays hot.”
Was $19.99, now on sale $15.84
To help your hair look its smoothest after a humid day when frizz has take over, this Remington flat iron is here to the rescue. Designed to help combat hair static by 50 percent, this straightener has a titanium-coated ceramic plates for a nice balance of heat for a smooth press.
As a worthwhile tip in selecting the best straightener for your hair, be careful to avoid tools that don't have numeric temperature settings. "I also stay away from irons that dictate heat based on low, medium, high [settings]," says Silva. "It's important to know the degree of heat that you are using on the hair, especially if you have fine hair," he concludes.
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