Q: What is the difference between a hot pressing comb and a flat iron? Which one is the best tool for hair straightening?
A: The pressing comb and flat iron both are used to straighten the hair, but the development of the flat iron as we know it today came about because of the need for an easier-to-use straightening tool. And frankly,
the two are better working on different hair types.
The pressing comb (straightening comb) is commonly found in salons that service African-ethnic clients. The combs are great for separating the coarser, more-tightly-curled hair and evenly distributing
the heat that is necessary for straightening the hair to a smooth finish.
With a flat iron, the hair needs to be combed carefully before being passed through the heating plates. Otherwise the curls and bends in the
hair could become pressed and reinforced rather than removed. Of course, once the hair is somewhat smooth with a pressing comb, a flat iron is often used to finish the look.
As with their names, the biggest difference in the two tools is their construction. The pressing comb has teeth set along a smoothly curved “spine”. The teeth separate the hair
and give some heat, while the spine adds more heat and is used to brace the hair with tension as it passes over the spine which straightens the hair.
The flat iron has two heating plates which are set into a “tongs-like” handle, which allows the heating plates to be pressed together. Locks of hair are pressed between the
plates and the iron is pulled down from the scalp to the ends of the hair as the iron provides tension and heat to the hair, straightening it.
Of the two, the flat iron is generally easier for an individual to use by herself. The pressing comb (press comb) is a bit trickier to master, and generally you will see them being used by
someone else on a given person. This is why you most often see them used in salon settings.