Flat Irons Buying Guide
If you have curly, wavy, or unruly hair, you probably already know how useful a flat iron can be. Not only does it straighten hair, but it also makes it less frizzy and unmanageable. Flat irons, when combined with the right straightening balms, can give you super shiny, silky hair that is pin straight. Watch out if you have severely damaged hair that is permed or chemically relaxed. Flat irons can dry out and damage hair, so don't use one too often if your hair is already in really bad shape.
How to Choose a Flat Iron
- Price matters. Never buy a super cheap flat iron, as these are usually made poorly and out of materials that can actually damage hair. Look for ceramic or tourmaline irons .
- Get the right size. The thickness of the surface area varies with flat irons, but not arbitrarily. Check out this size chart to know what size to buy.
|Texture ||Hair Length ||Recommended Plate Size |
|Very coarse, thick, curly||Long (past the shoulders)||1.5" to 3"|
|Very coarse, thick, curly||Medium||1.5" to 2"|
|Very coarse, thick, curly||Short||1.25"|
|Normal||Long||1.25" to 2"|
|Normal||Medium||1" to 1.5"|
|Normal||Short||1" to 1.25"|
|Very fine||Any||1" to 1.5"|
Flat Iron Temperatures
Flat irons can heat up as little as 10°F or as hot as over 400°F. So how's a girl to know which temperature is right for her hair? A temperature that's too high can burn and destroy your hair. A temperature that is too low, however, will do little more than just poorly brush your hair. Check the chart below for tips.
|Hair Texture ||Temperature |
|Normal||360-380°F (180°C - 190°C Celsius)|
|Coarse, thick, or curly||380-410°F (190°C - 210°C Celsius)|
|Bleached, damaged, or fine||Below 360°F (180°C Celsius|
Want more tips regarding temperature? Check out these:
- The fastest heat-up is found on tourmaline irons .
- Models should have an indicator light to tell you when the iron is ready.
- Look for variable heat settings since thin hair needs less heat to style, while thick hair needs more.
- The faster an iron can recover (heat up again after each straightening stroke) the more likely it is to maintain steady heat, an important feature of any iron.
- Automatic shut-off ensures increased safety.
- Ceramic irons distribute heat evenly leaving less chance for burning hair.
- Tourmaline heats up fast and creates high-shine, super straight styles that will last a good length of time.
- Ionic irons are known for reducing frizz by promoting moisture retention in the hair shaft.
- A comfortable grip, either a scissor style or clamp style . Usually clamp styles are best for one-handed straightening.
- Attachments, including interchangeable styling plates for straightening or crimping, and finishing combs that improve your hair's shine.
- A good design is crucial. A flat iron should have smooth, rounded edges and no sharp plastic corners that will catch on your hair, one of the biggest risks for damaging your hair while straightening besides the heat, of course.
- Having a long swivel cord is also a nice convenience feature.
- Wet-dry models are great to eliminate wasted time on a two-step process involving both a hair dryer and a straightener .
- Digital flat irons take the guess work out of knowing the temperature of the iron. Often they are more expensive, and they are not always worth the extra money. Unless you really have the cash to spend, don't bother. Most models have an indicator light which will suffice.
Quick Product Picks
- Never use a flat iron on dirty hair. The oils and dirt from your scalp will cook on the iron and singe your hair.
- To reduce the amount of damage done to your hair, never use a flat iron every day.
- Invest in the proper straightening balms to protect hair when ironing. Also be sure to condition your hair often and thoroughly.
- If your hair is very curly and/or dry and you plan on sleeping on it, make sure to wrap it up around your head and cover in a scarf to keep it from getting poofed out overnight. It's a little difficult for beginners with long hair, but for short hair it's pretty easy. Basically, start from the back and brush it around your head as flat as possible, pinning it flat against your scalp as you go. Cover with a scarf or sleep on a satin pillow and wake up frizz free!
For this resource in your home country, please see:
NL: Stijltangen Shopgids