The quest for silky, straight hair can be fraught at every turn with confusing information and seemingly endless options. From pre-straightening protective products to post-straightening glosses to the critically necessary hair straightener itself, you can easily be stopped in your tracks by all the options available. With more flat irons/hair straighteners on the market today than ever before – each promising the unique secret to perfectly straight hair – it can be an overwhelming decision to find the one that is best for you, especially when the price tag of a better flat iron/hair straightener eclipses $150-200!
At the end of the day, a hair straightener is a fairly straightforward device. Two flat plates that heat up and then clamp down on your hair to force your follicles into silky, smooth submission. However, even though all hair straightener are designed in basically the same way, not every hair straightener is created equal. Not in quality. Definitely not in price.
One key – and very important – difference has to do with the material from which the heating plates are made. Ceramic, titanium and tourmaline ceramic are all words you’ll hear or read about when you start shopping for your next hair straightener. To anyone unfamiliar with these terms, it may seem like you’ll need an advanced degree in chemistry to understand all of it!
But all is not as confusing as it might seem at first blush. Choosing the best flat iron/hair straightener is simply a case of understanding the science behind the technology. Read on to learn what the differences are among the options, and find out which choice is best for you.
Flat irons/hair straighteners that have plates made of tourmaline ceramic are the current gold standard of straightening irons. Tourmaline ceramic flat irons/hair straightener elevate standard ceramic plates – already a good material for hair straightener plates – by infusing the ceramic plates with the semi-precious mineral, tourmaline. The tourmaline is first crushed into a fine powder then baked into the ceramic plates during the manufacturing process.
But why is tourmaline so special when it comes to hair straightener heating plates? Tourmaline is a crystal-born silicate material that aids in the smoothing process by generating 20 times more moisture-locking ions than any other type of hair straightener plate. Tourmaline generates the extra negative ions needed to counteract the positive ions found in dry and damaged hair. The result? Smoother, silkier hair that is resistant to frizz and flyaway strands. Plus, this specialized ion field technology seals in the hair’s natural oils, thus protecting delicate strands from repeated heat exposure.
Tourmaline ceramic plates also generate infrared heat, which removes static and leaves behind silky, shiny hair. Tourmaline ceramic plates also help close the hair follicle upon contact, thus minimizing heat damage to tender tresses, particularly important if you are regularly using a hair straightener to style your hair. With a tourmaline ceramic plate, you are actually sealing in moisture with every pass of the hair straightener, thus giving your hair a little bit more TLC and warding off frizz even longer. Tourmaline ceramic plates are also exceptionally smooth which generates less tension as they pass over the hair. This means your hair is less susceptible to snagging or snapping during hair straightener use.
Tourmaline ceramic flat irons/hair straighteners are excellent for:
Thin to coarse hair types
Normal to damaged hair
Flat irons/hair straighteners that utilize titanium for the plate material are another excellent hair straightener option. Titanium is a lustrous metallic element found in igneous rocks and renowned for its strength, durability, low weight and super heat conductivity. Titanium flat irons/hair straightener allow for faster heat transfer, which means even more immediate and superior results, no matter the hair’s condition.
But titanium flat irons/hair straighteners are not just about speed. They are also some of the most durable straighteners on the market. They are very scratch resistant and exceptionally durable especially under high heat. Titanium also offers very even heat distribution, meaning more overall straightening surface and fewer passes over your hair.
Like its tourmaline relative, titanium relies on infrared heat and negative ion technology to enhance your hair’s hydration and shine. Infrared heat seals in your hair’s natural oils and moisture, resulting in shiny, smooth, healthy locks. The negative ion technology gives your hair more hydration, eliminates frizz, enhances shine and improves your hair’s overall appearance. A titanium flat iron/hair straightener can actually make your hair feel more hydrated, softer and healthier.
Titanium flat irons/hair straightener are the top choice for professional hair stylists, since titanium offers some of the best results on all hair types. However, caution should be exercised when used at home, since titanium plates can reach extremely high temperatures. When choosing a titanium flat iron, be sure and insist on one that is micro-chip controlled to provide constant, even and controllable heat.
Titanium flat irons are excellent for:
Thick to coarse hair types
Professional or experienced use
The classic flat iron/hair straightener plate material is ceramic. In fact, most decent hair straighteners you will find on the market today utilize ceramic plates. The solid combination of proven performance and moderate cost make ceramic flat irons/hair straighteners an excellent value for the money.
Ceramic plates offer a variety of benefits that make them superior to the cheaper, aluminum options still found on the market today. Ceramic flat irons/hair straighteners glide through the hair without pulling or tugging, meaning less damage from snags or breakage. Ceramic heats up quickly and evenly, meaning fewer passes to achieve smooth, silky results.
While ceramic plates won’t give you the superior results of either a tourmaline ceramic or titanium plate, ceramic still offers an excellent value for many flat iron consumers, especially those who don’t use a flat iron/hair straightener very often or don’t demand a lot from their straightening tool.
Ceramic flat irons/hair straighteners are excellent for:
Thin to thick hair type
Normal to moderately damaged hair
Ready, Set, Shop!
Now that you understand the science behind flat irons/hair straighteners, you are ready to make an educated decision about the hair straightener that is best for you. Which is the best one, you may wonder? The one that works best for your hair!