Which flat iron is best?
Using a flat iron is one of the best ways to dramatically change your hair, but the best flat irons can add curl and body to your hair while doing the least amount of damage possible.
Low-temperature, ceramic-infused flat irons work well for those with fine hair, while those with coarse hair can deal with hotter temperatures and might need flat irons with titanium heating plates. You should always look for a flat iron with an automatic shutoff function, a long swivel cord and a comfortable grip.
What to know before you buy a flat iron
Consider your budget
It’s important to consider your budget before you purchase a flat iron. There are certainly some budget-friendly options out there for only $20 to $40, but if you can afford to spend a little more, you should. Mid-range and high-end flat irons last longer and are much less likely to cause damage to the health and color of your hair.
Think about the plate size and material
You should also consider the size and material of the plate, which is the portion of the flat iron that heats up and presses the hair. The average width of a plate is about one inch, but dimensions can vary from half an inch to three inches. People with longer hair usually need a larger plate, while those with short hair only need a narrow plate. That being said, if you want to curl your hair, you should use a flat iron with a small plate instead of a large one.
Ceramic, tourmaline, titanium and a mix of ceramic and tourmaline are the most common materials for flat iron plates. Tourmaline is naturally better for your hair than ceramic, but it tends to be more expensive. And titanium works well for those with stubborn or hard-to-style hair.
Find a flat iron with stay-cool housing
The metal portion of the flat iron might go up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but the part of the flat iron that you actually touch with your hands should stay fairly cool. It’s important to find a flat iron with a handle composed of Ryton, which is a thermoplastic material that temporarily resists higher temperatures.
What to look for in a quality flat iron
The best flat irons on the market provide several different heat settings, so you can personalize your styling session to your particular hair type and texture. For example, fine hair typically works best with lower temperatures. With fine hair, you usually only need to run one pass through your hair with a low-heated flat iron.
You can actually damage, burn or break your fine hair if you use a higher heat setting. Thick and coarse hair, on the other hand, tends to respond better to higher heat, because it reduces your chances of needing to pass over your hair with the flat iron more than once.
The automatic shutoff safety feature is a great option, especially for people that frequently feel stressed or scatter-brained in the morning. With an automatic shutoff function, you won’t need to stress about whether or not you turned off your flat iron all day.
Long swivel cord
Some flat irons feature a long, 360-degree swivel cord for simple manipulation. These cords are very user-friendly and more convenient for many bathroom set-ups.
How much you can expect to spend on a flat iron
You can find basic flat irons that cost $20 to $40, but an inexpensive flat iron is not the best option if you want to straighten your hair on a daily basis. Cheap flat irons can damage the color and health of your hair and cause brittleness and breakages. Mid-range flat irons cost $40 to $100, while high-end flat irons go for $100 or more and are a great long-term investment.
Flat iron FAQ
What kind of flat iron should you use for long, thick hair that is sometimes curly and sometimes wavy?
A. You should find a flat iron with a larger plate, ideally one to two inches in width. Titanium is likely your best option, but you could also use a high-end flat iron made with ceramic or a mix of ceramic and tourmaline. It’s important to select a flat iron with an adjustable temperature that goes up to about 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
How should you proceed with a flat iron if your hair is curly and coarse?
A. It’s important to preserve the health and moisture content of your hair, so you should shampoo your hair first to remove any product residue or buildup. You can then work in sections to comb out your curls and apply a leave-in oil and conditioner to protect your hair.
Make sure to wait until your hair is dry to start the hair straightening process, and use a fine-toothed comb to separate your hair into very small sections. Straightening your curly and coarse hair with a flat iron might take a long time, but if you do it right, you will enjoy the results.
How do you create beachy waves with a flat iron?
A. You can achieve beachy waves by first braiding your hair into three braids, including one on the left, one on the right and one in the back. You should then run your flat iron over the length of each of your braids twice, making sure to avoid flat ironing over the hair ties at the bottom of each braid. You can then allow your braids to cool down before taking the braids out to see beachy soft waves.
What are the best flat irons to buy?
Top flat iron
What you need to know: This flat iron from BaBylissPRO is considered the best of the best with multiple settings and a professional salon performance.
What you’ll love: This flat iron provides long, extra-smooth plates with three different width options, as well as a maximum temperature of 450 degrees and 50 heat settings. The flat iron also comes in black or blue.
What you should consider: This flat iron comes with heat settings that are too hot for some hair textures and types, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing a setting.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top flat iron for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly and effective flat iron from Conair comes with multiple settings, quick heating and smooth ceramic plates.
What you’ll love: This affordable Conair flat iron features a rose gold surface, an automatic shutoff safety function, extra-long floating plates for quick styling and 30 different heat settings for a wide range of uses and functions.
What you should consider: Some customers think that this flat iron is a little tougher on hair than the high-end flat irons.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This GHD hair straightening iron leaves your hair shiny and sleek without being too rough on your hair.
What you’ll love: This quality classic GHD flat iron comes with an extra long cord for easy movement, safety options including an automatic shutoff and universal voltage to use anywhere in the world. It’s perfect for comfortable and easy styling, especially during travel.
What you should consider: This flat iron doesn’t include multiple heat settings, which some customers prefer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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