Straightener Buying Guide

Hair Straightener Buying Guide –  The Best Flat Iron For Your Hair

Heya, thanks for visiting my hair straightener buying guide page.  It is my hope that after several years of fighting with my long, thick and crazy frizzy hair you’ll be able to miss the many mistakes I made to find just the right hair straightener for your hair type.

Over the last few years I have listened to my friends (big no-no!), bought around a dozen flat irons and spent, well I don’t really want to think how much money I have spent on just finding the correct flat iron!

The thing is, no one knows your hair like you do, not magazines, not your friends, not the makers, just you.  It took far too long for me to discover how really simple it is to get it right.  All it comes down to: texture, length & thickness.

Let’s get to the skinny of straight

First, no matter your hair type or style, there some basic features you will need with your straightener and these are – variable heat control, automatic shutoff, automatic heat control, a ready light indicator, and a heat resistant handle.

Variable heat control will ensure that you can set the right temperature for your needs of the day, or night out.

Automatic shut off, OK I admit it… On well let’s just say more than one occasion I’m half way to work when my belly sinks as I wonder “Did I turn my flat iron off this morning?!“.  Apart from the obvious safety issue, my boyfriend seems to take pleasure in texting me “you left your @^*)~#! straightener thingy on this morning“, good to have a backup, but I was tiring of him bitchin about it!  Better to just have this feature really 😉

Automatic heat control will do just that, holds the temperature at what you set it to.

The Ready light indicator will spark up when the its reached your temperature.

Heat resistant handle – “Really?” you say?  Does this need to be mentioned?  Fair question and fairly redundant with most modern flat irons these days, but just keep an eye out, okay?

Hair Texture

This is simply the most important factor in straightener selection.  The thicker or more coarse your hair is the more heat is required to straighten it, be so very careful to not set it too high though, some flat irons have stupidly high temperature settings that will only burn your hair!  Remember that your hair burns at the same temperature as paper and that’s 451 °F (around 233 °C).

Never, and I mean NEVER set it to higher than 380 °F (around 193 °C).

Consider the natural texture of your hair. Thick, coarse hair will require a hair-straightening iron that heats up to high temperatures, but thin, fine hair can be damaged by high heat. If you have fine hair, shop for hair irons that offer a variety of heat settings. Digital flat irons let you choose the exact temperature to avoid damaging your hair with too much heat.

Flat iron size

Below is a guideline to assist you in choosing the correct flat iron size.  The wider the plate, the faster the straightener will work, however if you want to do some cool curls or have shorter or thinner hair, narrower is better.

For thick, curly hair

Short Hair – 1 to 1.5 Inch
Shoulder Length – 1 to 2 Inch
Long Hair – 1.5 to 2 Inch

For normal, wavy hair

Short Hair – 0.5 to 1.25 Inch
Shoulder Length – 1 to 1.5 Inch
Long Hair – 1.25 to 2 Inch

For thin, fine hair

Lucky you!  Thin hair is the easiest to straighten, so you can choose which every size suits your desired styling.

Now for hair types and the most suitable flat iron materials….

Flat iron Materials

Ceramic Flat Irons

Ceramic irons are extremely reliable when it comes to heat, they reach higher temperatures suitable for thicker, frizzier hair and have been on the market for nearly 20 years.

One trap I have fallen into is buying a ceramic coated iron, they are on the cheaper end of the market and work quite well for a while. However after a few months of using mine 3-4 times a week they suffer from bad heat distribution. As the coating wears it creates “hot spots” on the surface which resulted in burning streaks in to my hair :(… Cheap is not your friend, if you’re after a ceramic straightener definitely go for full ceramic plates for a longer lasting tool.

Tourmaline Flat Iron

I’ll leave you to decide how to pronounce it, cos I sure don’t! Tourmaline (tor-may-leen?!) is a crystal boron silicate mineral which is either coated on or baked into the plates (baked is better). So what does this mean for you?

Tourmaline emits negative ions which helps to counteract the positive ions in dry or damaged hair. So every stroke can help to recover dry and damaged hair. Whether you hair is damaged or not, tourmaline helps to keep existing moisture in your hair. These straigheners are so very effective at heat distribution they can run cooler than other plate materials for more effective straightening and less chance of burning.

Titanium Flat Irons

Titanium? Sounds expensive right? However many models are comparable to the better ceramic straighteners on the market. They are a more recent material to be used in straightener plates and offer very decent heat distribution without burning.

Be sure to note though that whilst titanium is considered to be at the forefront of straightener plate technology, metal plates are not suitable for all hair types, namely thin/fine hair.

I hope this straightener buying guide makes your search for the perfect flat iron a little simpler, please bookmark this page to keep up to date with me and I hope to see you soon.