Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Straight Hair & Flat Iron

Q: I have very fine, straight hair. Will a flat iron help it look smoother and shinier, or is it unnecessary to use this tool if you have straight hair already? If so, how much should I spend on one? (They range from $20-200 online it seems).
A: If your hair is already totally straight, then you really don't need a flat iron. However, if the hair has some "slight wave" you can use a flat iron to further smooth it for a sleeker look. The same is true for hair that is somewhat "fly-away". The key to remember is that you want to be very careful with your fine hair, because it is more prone to damage from heat styling.
Before you try a flat iron to deal with "fly away" straight hair, I suggest you try using an anti-frizz serum and leave-in conditioners before blow-drying the hair. With your fine hair, you should also be using a diffuser whenever you dry your hair. In addition, whenever possible, do not dry the hair completely. Leave the hair just slightly damp and allow it to finish drying naturally.
The new Ionic flat irons claim to leave the hair sleek, shiny and smooth and are supposed to give the hair a great finish, but these can be somewhat expensive compared to simpler models. All of the reviews on these products indicate that they live up to their claims, but unless you need a lot of frizz control and have more than "mildly wavy" hair, they aren't necessary to get the results you want.
You can get a good flat iron for under $30 if you shop around. The brand is less important than the features it offers. With fine hair, you need to look for an iron with the following features:
•  Adjustable heat settings.
•  Coated heating plates.
•  Slim design (3/4 to 1-1/4 inch width)
Be sure you get these features, because they will give you better control over the flat-ironing process. The adjustable heat settings allow you to make sure that the iron isn't so hot that it will burn your hair. The coated heating plates will prevent the hair from sticking to the plates and ensure smooth, even passes in the ironing process. The slimmer design allows you better control and minimizes the amount of time your fine hair stays in contact with the heating plates.
Related posts:
How to use a flat iron
Mistakes women make when using a flat iron
How to choose the best hair straightener for yourself
What is the difference between ionic and tourmaline hair straighteners?