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15 Best Flat Iron Hair Straighteners for Every Hair Type

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Updated May 31, 2024

Flat irons have come a long way in recent years. The best ones not only straighten hair but also add bouncy waves or curls. Some flat irons have smart chips, infrared technology, and other extras that protect the health of your hair. In a way, buying a flat iron has more in common with buying high-tech skin care tools, rather than an ordinary hair dryer, in that there are way more elements to consider when trying to find the best option for your hair and lifestyle. From knowing the best plates for your type of hair to time-saving features, here’s your guide to what to look for and the best flat irons on the market right now.

What to consider when buying a flat iron

No matter your hair concerns, celebrity hairstylist Kacey Welch strongly advises purchasing a flat iron that’s easy to use and has “a lot of adjustable heat settings to protect and style your hair effectively.” Here’s what else you should know before you purchase:

Look for a multi-tasking design

Prefer a tool that does more than one job? A Flat iron with rounded or beveled edges also acts as a curling iron.

What size is the plate?

Flat iron plate sizes range from mini to extra-wide. How to pick the best size? Laurabeth Cabott, who’s created red carpet looks for celebs like Brittany Mahomes, Cara Delevingne shares that you will get the same result with any plate size. However, she says, “depending on the density of your hair, you may want to consider a bigger plate size to cut down on style time. The only exception would be short hair. A baby straightener (smaller size) will help make it easier to manipulate and style your hair.”

Flat irons plate sizes also work with different hair types. Mini, small, or baby straighteners (a common find in beauty subscription boxes) all have half-inch plates made for fine or short hair. They can also be on thicker hair to create tight curls or small waves. Average-sized one-inch plates work on all hair types. Flat irons with a one and a half inch plate are designed for thick or textured hair.

Pick a plate material to match hair type

The most common plate materials are ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline.

Ceramic flat irons can be used on all hair types. They can be used on all hair types. Because they provide gentle heat, they can be used on fine, color-treated and damaged hair.

Titanium flat irons heat up quickly and are perfect for thick or coarse hair.

Tourmaline flat irons are flat irons that use both tourmaline and another material because the mineral is delicate. The mineral emits negative ions that reduce frizz, seal the hair cuticle and add shine to strands. This type of flat iron is great for hair that frizzes easily. It also works well with color-treated hair.

Our top picks for the best flat irons

Best flat iron for thick hair: T3 Lucea Flat Iron

Best flat iron for thick hair
T3 Lucea Flat Iron

T3 Lucea Flat Iron

T3’s Lucea flat iron has garnered rave reviews for transforming thick hair into sleek, glossy, straight locks with one pass. The wider one-and-a-half-inch ceramic plates were designed to tackle thick hair. Without causing breakage. Its microchip does everything from overseeing quick start-upstart, evenly heating plates, and the nine temp settings stay put.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Heats up to 410 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic
  • Plate size: 1.5 inches
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 9
  • Features: Created specifically for thick, curly, and voluminous hair; uses a microchip that provides precise heat settings and even heat throughout the tool; 360-degree 8-foot swivel cord
  • Price on publish: $189.99

Pros:

  • Made for thick hair
  • Easy to use
  • Wide plates cut down styling time
  • Good for travel

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

This is a great choice for thick hair with many features, like safety auto-shutoff, universal voltage making it great for travel, and nine heat settings.

Best flat iron for curly hair: CHI Lava 2.0 Flat Iron

Best flat iron for curly hair
CHI Lava 2.0 Flat Iron

CHI Lava 2.0 Flat Iron

You’re used to hearing about German engineered cars—now, meet a German-engineered flat iron. The CHI Lava 2.0 is specifically designed for curly hair, though you could use it on any hair type. Why is it great for curly hair? It uses lava plates which are great heat conductors, so you don’t need a high setting to straighten curls. One pass is all that’s needed to style hair. The lava plates also produce ions which, in turn, makes hair shinier and softer.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Heats up to 425 degrees
  • Plate type: Lava
  • Plate size: 1 inch
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 31
  • Features: Ergonomically designed; touch-sensitive display
  • Price on publish: $188.99

Pros:

  • Adds shine
  • Gentle for curls
  • Good for all hair types

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

Designed not to damage hair, this flat iron has great features like an ergonomic design, auto-shutoff, and releases ions to promote shiny, soft hair without frizz.

Best flat iron for wavy hair: Drybar Reserve Dual-Plate Styling Iron

Best flat iron for wavy hair
Drybar Reserve Dual-Plate Styling Iron

Drybar Reserve Dual-Plate Styling Iron

Wavy hair needs a touch of TLC when styling to prevent frizz, and Drybar’s flat iron delivers. This ergonomically designed flat iron has ionic technology and 0.5-inch titanium plates that have separate temperature controls. This combination ensures silky-looking hair without damage or frizz. You may think that the smaller plates may make straightening hair take more time, but you only need one or two passes to lock in the look you want. If you want to add movement or a bit of wave to your now-straightened hair, this flat iron gives you that option.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Heats up to 450 degrees
  • Plate type: Titanium
  • Plate size: .5 inch
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 5
  • Features: Nine foot cord; ionic technology to add shine;
  • Price on publish: $190

Pros:

  • Designed to fit neatly into your hand
  • Rounded plates let the flat iron also be used as a curling iron
  • Separate temperature controls per plate
  • Smart design doesn’t take up much room in an overnight bag

Cons:

  • Smaller plates mean that it takes longer to style
  • Expensive

The bottom line:

The rounded plates let you straighten and add curls or waves to hair; making it a two-for-one styling tool.

Best flat iron for fine hair: eva.nyc Healthy Heat Ceramic Styling Iron

Best flat iron for fine hair
Eva NYC Healthy Heat Ceramic Styling Hair Iron, Flat Iron Hair Straightener with Far-Infrared, Hair Iron Straightener with Adjustable Heat, Straightening & Curling Tool, 1.25 Inches, Floral Frenzy

Eva NYC Healthy Heat Ceramic Styling Hair Iron, Flat Iron Hair Straightener with Far-Infrared, Hair Iron Straightener with Adjustable Heat, Straightening & Curling Tool, 1.25 Inches, Floral Frenzy

Fine hair needs a gentle touch when styling it. Eva.nyc designed a flat iron whose ceramic plates play well with fine, color-treated, and delicate hair. Now you have more than one styling option. So, how does this flat iron work? It uses floating ceramic plates and far-infrared heat that can go as low as 200 degrees and as high as 450 degrees. As you pass the flat iron through your hair, the ceramic plates leave negative ions that smooth down the hair shaft and cuticle; this also helps nurture your fine hair while preventing frizz or damage.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Heats up to 450 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic
  • Plate size: 1.25 inches
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: N/A
  • Features: Adjustable temperature; heat resistant handle; small; dual voltage
  • Price on publish: $50

Pros:

  • Provides gentle heat to style hair
  • Easy to adjust temperature controls
  • Plate size makes it easy to style

Cons:

  • Not everyone likes a floral print
  • Temperature dial can be difficult to adjust

The bottom line:

The flat iron’s infrared heat technology gently straightens fine, colored or damaged hair. The dual voltage and small size lets you travel the world with it.

Best flat iron for curling hair: ghd Platinum+ Styler

Best flat iron for curling hair
ghd Platinum+ Styler

ghd Platinum+ Styler

Want one tool that does it all? Then you need this one. The ghd Platinum+ Styler straightens hair, but it can also double as a curling iron. The flat irons’ temp is automatically set to 365 degrees. That’s hot enough to style hair but not so hot it’ll fry it. It uses predictive technology. After the initial use, the tech understands your hair needs and automatically adjusts to give you exactly what you need. A little bit spooky and a whole lotta cool.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: 365 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic
  • Plate size: 1 inch
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: N/A
  • Features: Wishbone hinge prevents snagged hair; rounded barrel edges allow for curling or waving hair; 8.8 foot swivel cord; universal voltage
  • Price on publish: $223

Pros:

  • Heats up insanely fast
  • Heat guard
  • Comes in three colors: Black, white, and pink
  • Don’t need other tools to create styles
  • Universal voltage

Cons:

  • Not travel-sized
  • Expensive
  • Only one heat setting

The bottom line:

A curling iron and hair straightener in one, with advanced technology for personal styling.

Best luxury flat iron: Dyson Airstrait Straightener

Best luxury flat iron
Dyson Airstrait straightener Prussian Blue/Rich Copper

Dyson Airstrait straightener Prussian Blue/Rich Copper

While (relatively) new on the market, Dyson’s hair appliances have a cult-like following because their heat tools achieve unbelievable results. The Airstrait Straightener is their second flat iron, and it’s amazing. The wet-to-dry flat iron uses directed airflow to achieve great-looking hair. The heated air tool takes the place of a blow dryer.

Turn the straightener on its side, and the blowing air will dry the hair. The intelligent heat control regulates airflow temperature. It can’t overheat as the device monitors temperature every 30 seconds. It also harnesses negative ions to reduce static, frizz, and damage. Create volume by locking the arms, and then using it on the roots. Owners claim that they can style their hair within 10-15 minutes.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: 175 degrees, 230 degrees, and 285 degrees
  • Plate type: N/A
  • Plate size: N/A
  • Auto shut-off: Autopause
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Features: 9.6 feet long charging cable; cordless; intuitive airflow
  • Price on publish: $499.99

Pros:

  • Styles last longer than with a traditional straightener
  • Cordless
  • Works on any hair length
  • Zero cool down period
  • Packable

Cons

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

While it’s an expensive purchase, the Dyson Airstrait dries and straightens your hair using directed airflow to prevent damage.

Best flat iron for short hair: Calista AirGlide Cool Breeze Styler

Best flat iron for short hair
Calista AirGlide Cool Breeze Styler, Professional Heat Styling Tool, Cool Air Technology, Smoothing and Straightening for All Hair Lengths and Types (11", Peach Mai Tai)

Calista AirGlide Cool Breeze Styler, Professional Heat Styling Tool, Cool Air Technology, Smoothing and Straightening for All Hair Lengths and Types (11", Peach Mai Tai)

Developed by a hairstylist, this flat iron is so good that it repeatedly sells out on QVC. Designed with five heat settings, it has a tiny fan built-in that quietly emits a cool breeze on hair that prevents damage. It has ceramic floating plates and a tourmaline-coated barrel that uses ionic tech to seal in the cuticle and keep hair shiny looking. Made so that it doesn’t clamp down on hair when using this flat iron for short hair, you won’t have to worry about weird bends or creases. You can quickly add a flip to your lob or make bangs stick straight.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: 280 to 430 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic
  • Plate size: N/A
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 5
  • Features: 7-foot long swivel cord; dual voltage
  • Price on publish: $109.00

Pros:

  • Works on all hair lengths
  • Can create straight hair, waves and curls easily
  • Packable

Cons:

  • Small setting buttons means you need to pay attention when hitting the buttons

The bottom line:

So popular that it often sells out, this flat iron includes damage-preventing features like a tiny built-in fan to cool straightened hair and a design that doesn’t clamp on to hair.

Best budget flat iron for short hair: Bed Head Pixie Tourmaline + Ceramic Flat Iron

Best budget flat iron for short hair
Bed Head Pixie Tourmaline + Ceramic Flat Iron

Bed Head Pixie Tourmaline + Ceramic Flat Iron

Designed specifically for short hair, the plates are only a half-inch wide and take only 30 seconds to heat up. This flat iron has tourmaline-infused ceramic plates that smooths hair while adding shine. The flat iron’s rounded edges allow you to get creative, make waves, add flips, curls, or spikes.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: 430 degrees
  • Plate type: Tourmaline-infused ceramic
  • Plate size: 0.5-inch-wide plates
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: N/A
  • Features: Dual voltage
  • Price on publish: $21.99

Pros:

  • Works well on short hair
  • Able to reach roots, flyaways or hair by ears and nape of neck easily

Cons:

  • Controls are inside of the flat iron

The bottom line:

This very affordable flat iron has .5-inch plates that can smooth sections of short hair, get to hard-to-reach areas, and tame flyaways.

Best flat iron for natural hair: Beachwaver Co. Catwalk Coast Pro Ceramic Flat Iron

Best flat iron for natural hair
Beachwaver Co. Catwalk Coast Pro Ceramic Flat Iron

Beachwaver Co. Catwalk Coast Pro Ceramic Flat Iron

Beachwaver’s popular flat iron uses a combination of titanium and ceramic plates that makes straightening curly hair easy. Titanium evenly distributes heat along the flat iron while the ceramic plates gently straighten strands. This flat iron has three heat settings that can prevent hair damage. The long cord allows you to reach every lock on your head.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Up to 450 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic and titanium
  • Plate size: 1 inch
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 3
  • Features: 8-foot swivel-based cord; LCD display
  • Price on publish: $149

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to switch temperature settings
  • 30-minute automatic shutoff

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

An easy to use flat iron that comes in cute prints, has three heat settings, and creates natural beachy waves or straightens.

Best flat iron for damaged hair: YA-MAN Spa Styler Straight + Wave

Best flat iron for damaged hair
YA-Man Spa Styler Straight+Wave Flat Iron Hair Straightener and Curler 2in1 - Advanced Japanese Technology, Dual Voltage, Titanium Tourmaline Plates with Red Light Therapy, 5 Settings (Slate Gray)

YA-Man Spa Styler Straight+Wave Flat Iron Hair Straightener and Curler 2in1 - Advanced Japanese Technology, Dual Voltage, Titanium Tourmaline Plates with Red Light Therapy, 5 Settings (Slate Gray)

Damaged hair can be styled, but the key is to find the right heat tool that won’t further fry hair. YA-Man, a Japanese company that harnesses new tech, created a smartly designed flat iron that uses both red light therapy and their own moisture pulse technology. This can be used on dry, damaged hair with great results. This flat iron works with one pass, has spring-loaded tourmaline plates, and five heat settings.

Specifications:

  • ​​Temperature: 360 degrees
  • Plate type: Tourmaline and red light therapy plates
  • Plate size: 1 inch
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: N/A
  • Features: 8.5-foot cord; safety latch; rounded plates and curved barrel, allowing you to straighten or add waves
  • Price on publish: $149

Pros:

  • Worldwide voltage
  • Gently styles damaged hair
  • Three color options

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

Great design, with safety features like one-hour shutoff, plus you can take it anywhere due to its worldwide voltage, but it is pricey.

Best multi-use flat iron for short hair: Foxy Bae 2-In-1 Airflow Flat Iron

Best multi-use flat iron for short hair
FoxyBae 2 in 1 Flat Iron - Ceramic Tourmaline Technology - Hair Straightener with Negative Ions - Straightens & Curls Hair - Professional Salon Grade Hair Styling Tool

FoxyBae 2 in 1 Flat Iron - Ceramic Tourmaline Technology - Hair Straightener with Negative Ions - Straightens & Curls Hair - Professional Salon Grade Hair Styling Tool

Short hairstyles like bobs, crops, and pixies, can quickly change their looks fast with Foxy Bae’s 2-In-1 Airflow Flat Iron. This is a multi-use tool that curls and straightens. The tiny vents placed throughout its body cool hair down after styling. This helps prevent breakage and static.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Up to 430 degrees
  • Plate type: Tourmaline-infused ceramic plates
  • Plate size: 1 inch
  • Auto shut-off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 5
  • Features: 360-degree swivel cord
  • Price on publish: $49.00

Pros:

  • Two styling tools in one device
  • Ergonomic design
  • Heats up quickly

Cons:

  • Rotating bezel heat setting

The bottom line:

This vented flat iron and curler has an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to use.

Best budget flat iron: Remington Anti-Static Flat Iron

Best budget flat iron
Remington Anti-Static Flat Iron

Remington Anti-Static Flat Iron

This bad boy has lots of the same features as the higher-priced heat stylers, but at a wallet-friendly price. Remington’s has one-inch floating ceramic plates that are coated with titanium. This lets the styler glide through hair, while infusing each strand with negative ions. The result is sleek, shiny hair.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Up to 450 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic floating plates
  • Plate size: 1 inch
  • Auto shut-off: No
  • Number of heat settings: 8
  • Features: LCD screen; temperature lock; swivel cord
  • Price on publish: $19.99

Pros:

  • Heats up in 30 seconds
  • Similar features to higher priced heat tools
  • Has a two-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have an auto shutoff
  • Cools down slowly

The bottom line:

An affordable flat iron creates sleek strands and comes with a two-year warranty but be careful, it cools down slowly and doesn’t have an auto shutoff switch.

Best straightening brush: Infiniti Pro by Conair The Knot Dr. All-in-One Smoothing Dryer Brush

Best straightening brush
Conair The Knot Dr. All-in-One Smoothing Dryer Brush, Hair Dryer & Hot Air Brush

Conair The Knot Dr. All-in-One Smoothing Dryer Brush, Hair Dryer & Hot Air Brush

Instead of struggling with a blow dryer and paddle brush to straighten hair, the best smoothing dryer brush combines two tools into one and does the same job in a shorter amount of time. With so many models on the market, this The Knot Dr. All-in-One smoothing dryer brush has activated charcoal that refreshes second or third-day hair. It has 10 heat settings, ion tech for shine, and a thermaglide ceramic core that keeps the brush evenly heated.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: Up to 430 degrees
  • Plate type: N/A
  • Plate Size: N/A
  • Auto shut-Off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: 10
  • Features: Universal voltage; six-foot tangle-free swivel cord
  • Price on publish: $39.99

Pros:

  • Cuts drying and styling time in half
  • Can be used on dry hair

Cons:

  • Doesn’t make tight curls

The bottom line:

This multifunctional tool is a great choice for using on dry hair to make waves or curls or straighten out strands.

Best flat iron for travel: Conair Mini Pro Ceramic Flat Iron

Best flat iron for travel
Conair Mini 1/2-inch Ceramic Flat Iron; Perfect for On-The-Go Styling, Turquoise

Conair Mini 1/2-inch Ceramic Flat Iron; Perfect for On-The-Go Styling, Turquoise

Standing at eight inches high, this small flat iron has garnered almost four thousand rave reviews all over the ‘net. Its half-inch ceramic plates heat up to 350 degrees. Use it to add volume at the root, straighten tresses, or add waves. The best part may be its size, which is perfect for tossing in your travel tote along with your makeup bag for your next trip.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: 350 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic plates
  • Plate size: 0.5-inch
  • Auto shut-off: N/A
  • Number of heat settings: 1
  • Features: Power indicator light; 6-foot cord; dual voltage
  • Price on publish: $26.99

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Only one heat setting

The bottom line:

This compact flat iron is easy to take on travels, but it only has one heat setting.

Best flat iron with the quickest heat-up time: FHI Heat Curve Pro Styling Iron

Best flat iron with the quickest heat-up time
FHI Heat Curve Pro Styling Iron

FHI Heat Curve Pro Styling Iron

The absolute worst thing about flat ironing hair is arm strain. It’s exhausting. FHI understands your pain (literally) and created an ergonomically designed flat iron that takes the agony out of styling your hair. That’s why it’s called the “Curve Pro.” The second worst thing about styling hair is waiting for the tool to heat up. This flat iron gets to work in 10 seconds. Just because this flat iron heats up fast doesn’t mean it will damage your hair too. FHI took that into consideration when they designed this flat iron. The one-inch ceramic plate has tourmaline and magnesium embedded within it. This locks in moisture while styling it. Add their HydraHeat tech, and your hair is nourished while you style it. It can also be used to add waves or curls to your look.

Specifications:

  • Temperature: 265 degrees to 450 degrees
  • Plate type: Ceramic plates infused with tourmaline and magnesium
  • Plate Size: 1 inch
  • Auto Shut-Off: Yes
  • Number of heat settings: N/A
  • Features: Ergonomically designed; 9-foot swivel cord
  • Price on publish: $160.00

Pros:

  • Gentle on curly or damaged hair
  • Extra long cord
  • Universal voltage

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

This is a pricier device but may be worth it thanks to features like a one-hour auto shutoff, technology to guard against humidity, and an ergonomic design.

Ceramic vs. tourmaline vs. titanium flat irons

The most popular materials for flat iron plates are ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium. Experts Veronica Devore and Sydney Isseks, both members of the Beachwaver Co. hair team, explained how each type works on hair. While all three plate types evenly distribute heat, ceramic plates are especially kind to damaged hair. Isseks says that it’s great for hair that “needs some extra protection.”

Titanium is a lightweight, durable metal that quickly heats up. While it works well with thick or coarse hair, Devore warns that it’s “too intense for fine, brittle, or damaged hair.”

Tourmaline is the most fragile of the three and is usually paired with other materials. This crushed crystal is loaded with negative ions. When heated, the ions help reduce frizz, and flyaways and add softness and shine to strands. Isseks says “it’s a great option for anyone who wants to flat iron their hair daily.” Because ions work as a protective agent, this type of flat iron works with all hair types.

How I selected the best flat irons

Road-testing flat irons, reviewing our own collections, and consulting with experts was the methodology for finding the best flat irons on the market.

Do flat irons damage hair?

Any heat tool, be it a blow dryer or a flat iron, has the potential to dry out hair. Cabbott suggests you “use a leave-in conditioner with heat protection after washing and conditioning hair.”

Jan Spagnuolo, creative director of the Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa at the Park Hyatt in New York City, recommends a few things to prevent damage, “it’s more about what you do before using the flat iron that counts. For those with curly, wavy, or frizzy hair, make sure to blow out hair in a straight style before using a flat iron…I also think it’s a great idea to seal hair with a high-shine gloss to further protect hair from the sun and heat damage.”

Celebrity stylist Kacey Welch adds, “If you have color or chemically treated hair it is crucial to be cautious with a flat iron. Using a lower heat setting can prevent color fading or damage. When working with a flat iron, Welch advises to “avoid prolonged contact in one spot to prevent overheating and potential damage. This goes for all hair types. Never go over the same section more than twice.”

Celebrity hairstylist and CHI haircare ambassador Bradley Tuggle says it’s best to use the lowest heat setting for fine hair, medium-low heat for textured hair, and medium-high heat for thicker, fuller hair.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do flat irons work?

Flat irons have heated elements, also known as plates. Once the plates are heated, clamp the iron on a small section of hair. Glide the flat iron down the hair until the ends. This is called a pass. As you move the iron down the hair, the heat from the compressed plates straightens the strands.

How to clean flat irons

Only clean a flat iron when it’s not in use. Make sure that it’s unplugged and cool. Gently wipe down the plates with a damp cloth or paper towel. To get rid of product buildup on the plate, use either a vinegar and water mixture or rubbing alcohol to dissolve it. Use a cotton pad or swab that’s been dipped into the liquid, and gently wipe the residue until it disappears. Don’t scrub, dig at, or push down hard on plates, as this may damage them. After cleaning, wipe the plates dry.

What type of flat iron is the least damaging?

Every expert we spoke with agreed that ceramic flat irons are the least damaging. Bartels points out that “ceramic plates use infrared technology and heat up from the inside out.” While ceramic plates may take longer to heat up than tourmaline or titanium plates, they can be used on any hair type without fear of drying out or frying hair.

How long do flat irons last?

Designed to withstand high heat and daily usage, a flat iron can last for 10 years or longer. When looking at a flat iron's price tag, if you compare the cost per use (especially if you’re using it daily), pricey flat irons are a bargain.

How do you curl with a flat iron?

To create waves or curls with a flat iron, use one whose edges are rounded or beveled edges. The thinner the plate, the tighter the wave or curl. To make a wave, after wrapping the hair around it, gently pull the flat iron downward and release it. For curls, wrap hair around the flat iron, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly release it.

Tight curls call for a small (0.5-inch plate) flat iron that has rounded edges. For bigger curls, use a regular-sized (1-inch) plate. After heating up the flat iron, spray hair with a thermal protectant product. Then, divide the hair into two main sections: hair to be styled and hair that will be left alone. Further, divide the styling section into smaller sections. The size of the section determines the size of the curl. Use the flat iron as you normally would, but instead of gliding it straight down the hair, wrap the hair around the flat iron, hold it for a second or two, and then release.

To make tiny curls that start close to the root, place the flat iron near the root and wrap the hair. For curls or waves that start mid-length, that is where you’d place the flat iron.

After curling hair, spritz lightly with a styling hairspray to set the curls. When hair is cool, the curls can be manipulated into a style. Either by raking fingers through the curls to break them up or using a comb or round brush to move them.

How do I use a flat iron?

After you’ve sprayed hair with a thermal protectant, divide hair into multiple sections. Take down one section, and starting close to the root, you’ll place the hair in between the flat iron’s plates, clamp the plate down on the section, and then slowly glide the iron down the section until the ends. You may want to do a second pass on that section. Once the section has been straightened, pin it back up and then start on another section. Repeat until all the hair has been straightened. After unpinning the hair from the various sections, either comb or brush it through. You may want to add a drop of hair oil to seal in moisture and stop flyaways.

For short hair, use a thin flat iron close to the root and slowly glide it to the ends. A small flat iron with a rounded edge can be used to add waves to short hair.

Can flat irons be used on wet or damp hair?

Unless the flat iron is made specifically for wet or damp hair, the answer is no. Using a flat iron on wet or damp hair can lead to fried hair.

How to prevent heat damage when using a flat iron?

Incorporate thermal protectant products into the hair care routine. Start with a heat-protectant-based leave-in conditioner and use either a thermal protectant styling cream or spray before using a flat iron. By using a lower heat setting, there’s less of a chance that the flat iron will fry or melt hair. Only use a flat iron’s highest heat setting if hair is exceptionally thick or textured.

What is the difference between a straightening brush and a flat iron?

A straightening brush combines a blow dryer and a round brush into one tool. It cuts down on drying and styling time. It can be used to add waves or curls too. Flat irons are styling tools that can only be used on dry hair.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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