Choosing the Best Hair Straightener for You

Hair straightener
Photo: Parilov/Shutterstock
When it comes to hair tools, one of the best investments you can make is in a hair straightening iron. They are extremely versatile tools and it doesn’t matter what type of hair you have - curly, wavy, damaged, thick, fine, or even naturally straight - you will be able to benefit from this amazing hair tool.
When it comes to choosing the hair straightener that is right for you, there are many different things to consider, and it's important to make the best choice for you and your hair type. Otherwise, you will become frustrated and unhappy with your choice.
Plate Types
Probably the first thing you should keep in mind when looking at hair straighteners is the type of plates that it uses. The main plate types that are used today are metal, glass, ceramic, titanium, and a combination of ceramic and titanium. You will find that the prices of hair straighteners will strongly reflect what type of plates they have.
Metal or glass plates are commonly found on hair straighteners that are less expensive, and for good reason. These plates simply are not good for your hair. The plates don't heat up very quickly, which means it takes much longer to get the iron ready for styling. When they do heat up, they don't heat evenly, which can cause hot spots on the plates that can burn your hair.
Often glass and metal plates are covered with paint which can chip or peel, causing snags, pulls, and tears in your hair. These flat irons often cause damage to the hair, leaving it looking very unhealthy.
Ceramic-plated flat irons are very common because they heat up evenly, preventing any hot spots that can damage your hair. They also heat up very quickly which means you can start styling when you're ready, not when your iron is. The ceramic works to smooth your hair, leaving it looking shiny and healthy.
A titanium hair straightener is an excellent choice because it is very strong but also lightweight so you won't get a sore arm styling your hair. Like ceramic, it also heats up evenly and quickly. Titanium is a naturally occurring element that retains its heat very evenly and without a lot of fluctuation, making it much easier for you to safely style your hair quickly and efficiently.
Different types of hair straighteners or flat irons
The newest innovation with hair straightening plates is with the addition of tourmaline. Tourmaline is an element that occurs naturally in nature and reacts to heat by becoming negatively charged. The negative ions that are produced are emitted and work to dry the hair from the inside of the shaft outward. This process actually allows the straightener to heat the hair more quickly than other irons, which means that there is less overall heat applied to the hair, decreasing the chance of damage.
Tourmaline also works to make your hair look healthier because as the iron is working, it actually closes the cuticle of the hair shaft allowing it to lay flat which makes hair look shiny and healthy instead of dry and damaged. These irons also eliminate static, so there are no more frizzies to deal with.
Using a hair straightener with tourmaline actually makes your hair look healthier than ever before, which is why even women with naturally straight hair are using them to give their hair a natural shine and healthful appearance.
Although the plate type is probably the most important thing to look for in a hair straightener, it’s not the only thing. You will also want to look for an iron that has a temperature adjustment. Having a temperature adjustment is very important because not everyone's hair is created equal.
If you have damaged, color-treated, or very fine hair, you will need a lower temperature setting (180 °C) so you don't risk the possibility of burning or damaging your hair. However, if you have very thick, coarse hair or have very tight curls, you will need a higher temperature setting (190- 210 °C) in order to achieve the effect you are looking for. Being able to adjust the temperature to suit your needs is a major bonus if you have any special requirements.
Woman who made a good flat iron choice
Image via Canva
Size and Weight
Consider the size of the hair straightener as well. If you have short hair, you may want to opt for a narrower iron, something that is only 1” - 1.5” wide. Narrow flat irons are also effective if you already have straight hair, and are using the iron to create shine and healthy-looking hair. The most common size for hair straighteners is 1 ¼” to 1 ½”. However, if you have very long hair you may want to try up to a 2” or 3” plate size in order to save time and get your straightening done more efficiently.
Another thing you might want to consider is the weight of an iron. Are you going to get a sore arm every day when you style your hair? If the hair straightener is too heavy, it will be awkward and uncomfortable to use. Also look for a long swivel cord on a hair straightener. It seems like a simple thing, however avoiding tangles and annoying cord bunches will make your styling experience much easier.
The Price
The last thing to consider before making your decision is also one of the most significant - the price of the hair straightener. Of course, you have your own budget to work with when it comes to buying a flat iron. However before you make your decision based solely on the price, you should definitely weigh all the options.
Cheaper hair irons are usually lower quality. They are not made as well, they will not perform as well and they will likely damage your hair. A professional hair straightener will typically last longer, give you the hairstyle you desire, and create healthy, beautiful hair.
Be sure to balance all of the major factors when making your decision about what hair straightener will work the best for you, and you will soon have beautifully straight, shiny, and healthy hair.
See also:
Flat iron styling
Hair straightening Q&A
How often you can use hair straighteners