How to Choose a Flat Iron
How do I choose the right flat iron for my hair? First off, when choosing a flat iron there are many different attributes to consider such as plate size, plate type, special features, power and style.
- Ceramic Plates : Solid ceramic plates are always ionic, produce maximum infrared heat and reach high temperatures very fast while distributing heat evenly to prevent damaging hot spots. The ceramic plates are smooth, chip resistant and they eliminate frizz, seal the hairs cuticle and add shine to achieve smooth results.
- Tourmaline Plates : Tourmaline is a naturally occurring element that becomes negatively charged and when introduced to heat it produces six times more negative ions than ceramic. These irons actually heat hair more quickly than others due to the negative ions produced. Your hair will be dried from the inside-out rather than from the outside-in which locks the hairs cuticle resulting in healthy shiny hair.
- Titanium Plates : Titanium plates are very strong, lightweight, and emit negative ions. Similar to the ceramic plates, they heat up evenly and maintain temperatures with little fluctuation.
Plate Size : If your hair is shorter you can get away with a flat iron that has slimmer plates which allows more precise styling (1/2" to 1"). For longer hair I recommend plates between 1-3/8" to 2" so you can straighten larger sections at time, cutting down on styling time.
- Metal Plates : I strongly recommend not using a flat iron with plates made of metal. This is because they provide low-quality, uneven heat distribution which only leaves hair damaged. Metal plates
will not create a long lasting straight look.
Heat & Power : This is an important feature to consider. If your new flat iron lacks either, you're going to regret buying your new hair tool. Ideal temperature is vital when it comes to achieving great results when straightening wavy hair, and more importantly when it comes to super curly hair. The curlier your hair the higher the temperature you may need to get smooth results. Therefore, I recommend a flat iron with a variable heat setting between 140F (for fine hair or touch ups) and temperatures up to 410F (for thick hair or quick straightening). Not having the ability to adjust and set a preferred temperature can and will fry your hair leaving it severely damaged.
Other Important Hair Straightener Features:
- Ionic Technology : What are the benefits of ions? Your hair carries positive electrical charges caused by dry friction and natural movement of the hair. These positive electrical charges cause hair cuticles to open resulting in dull, unhealthy hair. The negative ions cancel positive electrical charges, thus smoothing, relaxing and repairing your hair.
- Far-Infrared Heat Technology : Far infrared heat is a general description of the properties of heated ceramic. Ceramic flat irons all use far infrared heating. (Sometimes spelled far-infrared). It penetrates further than visible wavelengths directly heating objects in an area without heating the entire space. This is through a process of direct light conversion into heat. Far infrared heat lacks the dangerous UV rays and other wavelengths that are bad for us
Remember, when choosing a flat iron pick one with a variable temperature control. This is very important because you can set the desired temperature for your hair type. To learn more about the right temperature for your hair type, read our tutorial on Flat Iron Temperature Settings for Different Hair Types.
- Nano Technology : Nano is an advanced smoothing and styling technology infused into flat iron plates. Typically, nano works with another technology such as Nano Silver or Nano Titanium. You will want to avoid Nano Ceramic plates because they contain a small amount ceramic. Always get solid ceramic plates.
Lastly, you must always remember to deep condition your hair once a week and use heat protector when flat ironing. This will keep your hair healthy and prevent damage.
My Favorite Brands of Flat Irons: