After contemplating a bit on what would be a safe age to allow my daughter to straighten & style her hair herself, I was led to thinking more about the safety of using even the best hair straighteners & flat irons and which one would be suitable for her and her hair type.
One of the disadvantages of living in a continuously evolving and changing world is trying to keep up with all the latest technology & knowledge of what’s available and how to use it productively to our advantage.
The invention of hair straighteners really was a victory for unruly-haired women across the world. We’ve come a long way in terms of the hair safety of flat irons too. Now, they come with built-in, hair-healthy technology like ion boosters, keratin and Argan oil-coated plates, and far-infrared heat. But it’s also all about the plates.
For example, there are straighteners that feature pure tourmaline ceramic plates, which are not only better for your hair in terms of long-term use and preventing damage but also helps to enhance shine and lock in moisture. Tourmaline is safe for all hair types, so a solid choice for someone with fine, thin, or damaged hair.
However, there is so much choice out there that it can easily get very confusing. How do you choose which hair straightener or flat iron that is best for your personal preferences and needs?
Well, the type of flat iron you need will depend on your hair’s texture and your unique hair care regimen. For example, if you want to use a flat iron every day, tourmaline ceramic is a safe bet. If you want something more powerful for not more than a few times a week, then titanium can really deliver.
My daughter is 12yrs old with type 2 hair. Her hair is really long and thick and already quite straight, with a bit of wave to it. She wouldn’t be straightening her hair every day, only on special occasions to add that sleekness and shine. So a wide size titanium hair straighteners would be suitable for this and would save time. However, if she wanted something for daily use & styling, a tourmaline ceramic would be far more suitable to do the job.
What’s the Difference Between Hair Straighteners and Flat Irons?
At first, I thought that a flat iron was just the American way of saying a hair straightener. Being a Brit, we come across this clash of terminology & differences quite often. Then as I read articles regarding the two, it sounded like they were 2 different things, and then I started to get confused. It wasn’t until I did a hairdressing course that I realized, straighteners are their own category of styling tools, and flat irons are actually just a type of straightener that uses a flat plate.
Flat irons, hot combs, and hot brushes all fall under the category of straighteners (AKA, heat styling tools). But the point is, they were all made to make your life a thousand times easier when you want a smooth mane.
The reason why many people including myself, mistake straighteners to mean flat irons only, is because the majority of the time when people say hair straighteners, they are actually referring to the flat iron straighteners. If that makes sense 😉
What to Look for When Buying a Flat Iron Hair Straightener
- First and foremost is the type of material used to make the plates. As not all flat irons are created equal and the performance of a flat iron usually boils down to plate materials. For example, ladies with curly hair, will always opt for titanium or ceramic plates.
- The second thing to look for is an adjustable temperature control. You should never use the highest possible temperature 100% of the time: doing so could lead to irreversible hair damage. If you have thin hair, you will need to use lower temperatures for sure. On the other hand, if you have thick hair, you will need to use higher temperatures. That’s why having an adjustable temperature control is so important.
- Third on the list is plate size. The length of your hair will determine what size plates you need. For instance, smaller plates are great for women with short hair. If you have long thick hair, you will need larger plates.
- Fourth is an automatic shut off. Having a flat iron that automatically shuts off after a certain period of time is a great way to avoid leaving the flat iron on all day.
- Last but not least is accessories. Sometimes the accessories that the flat iron comes with can help you decide between a few that you have shortlisted. Things such as brushes and combs can make it a lot easier for you to straighten your hair.
Best Hair Straighteners for Fine, Thin and Damaged Hair
Ceramic plates work best with straightening thin hair. Ceramic plates help distribute the heat more evenly, maintains the desired temperature which in turn, prevents overheating the hair. However, tourmaline and titanium plates also work very well.
Thin and fine hair is more vulnerable to heating, so you need to pick a flat iron with adjustable temperature levels, especially if you have weak, damaged, and frail hair. Overheating due to high temp can cause split ends and damaged hair to break, so make sure the iron is smooth & doesn’t pull on the hair and as long as you can control the heat level, you should be able to straighten your hair safely without damage.
Also, if you have thin or damaged hair, make sure that your flat iron is not more than 1-1.5inches in width, this is the perfect size for fine hair. Flat irons that are bigger than 1.5 are more suited to longer or thicker hair.
The following flat iron straighteners fit all the above requirements & have the best reviews.
Tourmaline, ceramic titanium flat iron straighteners for safe & healthy styling, LCD display, 265°F-450°F, works as a 2-in-1 straightening & curling iron.
Price: 93.00. Buy from: Amazon.co.uk
This travel-size flat iron straightens & curls with adjustable temp, includes glove, pouch, & Argan oil hair treatment.
Price: 48.95. Buy from: Amazon.com
Best Hair Straighteners for Thick Hair
For coarser, or thicker hair, titanium-plated flat irons such as these are another safe and effective option, as titanium heats up faster and can reach higher temps. Pure stone ceramic plates work really well with thicker hair too.
These black and silver Conair Infiniti Pro Ceramic straighteners come very well reviewed. Conair is a well known good brand, and these wide sized pair are perfect for long or thick hair. 20sec heating time, electric corded.
Price: 53.07 Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Best Hair Straighteners for Frizzy Hair
Say goodbye to frizz with the Remington S7300 Therapy Straightener. After just one use your hair will remain straight and frizz-free for up to 15 hours, thanks to the floating ceramic plates that come pre-equipped with micro conditioners. The conditioners are evenly emitted throughout your hair while straightening, for smooth & absolutely stunning hair.
Price: 149.00 Buy from: Amazon.co.uk
Nicky Clarke frizz control straightener is created with ionic technology and tourmaline ceramic plates. It has 5 heat settings up to 230°C and can suit all hair types. With a fast heat up and a 360° Swivel 2m salon cable. Black & Purple modern design.
Price: 29.99 Buy from: Amazon.co.uk
For type 3 or type 4 thin and frizzy hair, the Black MHU Professional 1 inch flat iron straighteners are more suited. The tourmaline ceramic plates infused with keratin and ion instantly heat up and straighten the hair smoothly with no tugging. It also has an adjustable temperature setting, LED Display and Auto Shut-Off feature. Temp (285°F-450°F)
Price: 39.99 Buy from: Amazon.com
Best Hair Straighteners for Static Hair
Whether you have short hair, long hair, straight hair, curly hair, thick hair, or thin hair, we have all experienced static hair. These Remington Anti-Static Straighteners do the perfect job of preventing that.
Price: £77.91. Buy from: Amazon.co.uk
Best Hair Straighteners for the Professional Salon Look
- ghd mark IV styler has a round barrel for creating curls, flicks, waves or straight hair
- Ceramic heater technology helps you create a smooth and professional finish. 30 second heat up time. Professional length 2.7 m cable
- Automatic sleep mode safely turns the heaters off the styler if left unattended for 30 minutes
- Includes universal voltage so you get optimum performance wherever you travel
- ghd hair straighteners come with two year manufacturer’s warranty
Price: 109.00.95. Buy from: Amazon.co.uk
Best Hair Straighteners On a Budget
These TRESemme ceramic Hair Straighteners prove to be the best budget ones available on Amazon. Even though it only has 2 heat settings, the max temprature goes up to 230 C. They feature 1″ ceramic plates and only take 30 seconds to heat up. With a 3 year guarantee, what have you got to lose?
Price: 15.00 Buy from: Amazon.co.uk
Best Hair Straighteners for Kids
These Best4U hair straighteners are cordless and battery operated making them perfect for girly nights, girls’ sleepovers, and travel. Their smaller size makes it easy to use on fringes, small touch-ups, and fly-aways. They are lightweight and easy to hold with smaller hands. The ceramic tourmaline plates allow smooth glides for a soft finish and the auto turn-off system helps prevent unwanted accidents and hazards.
They also feature temperature control allowing you to easily adapt to the perfect temperature for your individual hair type. The attractive pink design finish along with the rechargeable USB makes it a popular choice for youths.
Price: 31.99 Buy from Amazon.co.uk
The BaByliss Ombre Number 235 Straighteners are a good alternative as well as the Raxurt 2 in 1 Hair Straighteners that are really handy if you are after larger plates and don’t mind a corded choice. They are currently more affordable costing only 28.99.
How to Straighten your Hair & Avoid Heat Damage?
Straightening your hair can give it a gorgeous, smooth, sleek look. However, straightening it too often without taking proper care of your hair, can leave you with a dry, heat-damaged mane. And that’s the exact opposite of what you want.
Here is how you can enjoy straightening your hair more regularly without damage and turning it into a frizzy mess.
- Limit heat at high temperatures
Use the lowest temperature setting possible on irons or blow-dryers to achieve your look. It’s advised not to go over 410°F — anything over this temperature actually begins to melt the keratin in your hair.
- Limit the amount of time the hot tool is in contact with your hair.
For example, when using a flat iron, slide through the hair gently but at an average pace. When curling your hair, keep hair wrapped around the tool for no longer than 10 seconds each time to minimize damage.
- Use a heat protector
Every time you use a hot tool, protect your hair by using a heat-protectant spray. These heat-resistant styling products work by slowing heat conduction from the styling tool to your hair. However, heat protectants won’t completely defend your hair against damage, so it’s still wise to use hot tools sparingly. To blow-dry your hair after a wash, pat dry the hair with a towel as much as possible or let it dry naturally before applying a heat protector and blow-drying your hair.
- Never heat-style wet or damp hair
When you apply hot tools like straighteners or curling irons to damp hair, you’re basically frying your hair. Wet or even damp hair is much more fragile than dry hair. The heat transforms moisture into steam, which damages the hair strand as it escapes. Only use these hot tools on completely dry hair to avoid this kind of damage.
Titanium plates heat up extremely quickly, are more lightweight, more durable, and are a little less expensive. Ceramic plates, on the other hand, heat the hair more evenly and are a lot less likely to damage or burn off your hair. If your hair is thick but damaged, or you heat style it often, it pays to invest in ceramic plates to minimize damage. If budget is a concern and your hair is healthy, titanium plates are a great option.
The size of the plates is also extremely important. The average straightener has 1-inch-wide plates and 4-inch-long plates. Wider or longer plates will heat more hair, and therefore speed up the styling process for those with thick hair. However, they are not ideal if you are trying to straighten your fringe or any new growth.
410°F degrees are the hottest you should ever use a straightener at, but many straighteners aren’t that hot. If your hair is damaged, you may want to avoid high heat settings or purchase a straightener with low maximum heat.
I hope you benefited from this post, Insha Allah. Feel free to share which flat irons you have and why?
And if you should have any questions or need any advice on styling your hair please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below. I would be happy to help 😉