Last updated: August 16, 2021

If you want to change your hair style a bit, but want to try something quick and easy, a flat iron can be an excellent ally for you. Lightweight and practical, the iron shapes hair quickly and safely, giving the appearance of straight or wavy hair, allowing you to transform your look in a few minutes. So, if you're looking for a perfect hair straightener for your beauty kit, check out the full review below and find out which are the best straightener models on the market.




First of all, the most important things

  • Flat irons, like any other hair styling equipment that emits heat, need to be used with caution so as not to damage your hair.
  • Before using your hair iron, apply a heat protection product to ensure the integrity and health of your hair.
  • Pay attention to the voltage of your hair straightener. Some models work in a bivolt way, however, it is common to find hair straighteners on the market that work only on 110 or 220V.

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Best Flat Iron: Our Picks

Buying guide

If you want to investigate further the main features of your future flat iron, but do not know where to start looking, you can rest assured that we will explain to you the main points to consider before making your purchase.

Imagem de mulher de cabelos longos utilizando uma chapinha para modelar os fios.

Want to test a new hair style, but afraid you will regret it? Try styling your strands with a flat iron (Source: Public Domain Pictures / Pexels)

What is a flat iron?

Flat irons are devices that assist in styling hair through heat. As they glide across your strands, they mechanically alter the hair's structure, so you can achieve various styling effects. Although the first hairstyle associated with flat irons is straight hair, there are flat irons that offer numerous styling possibilities, from wavy, curly or frizzy.

Did you know that before flat irons, it was common to use irons as a tool to dry and style hair?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a flat iron?

Offering practicality when styling your hair, flat irons are usually the first helpers at the moment of giving a new style to your hairstyle. Perfect for straightening hair, flat irons can also be used to create other texture styles, making the hair wavy, curly and in some cases, even frizzy.

Another advantage is that although you have some chemical treatment on your hair, you can still use this device. And if you do not like the effect caused, just wash your hair to return to normal.

However, before you start styling your hair, it is important to take some care, such as with the maximum temperature of the appliance, so that you do not burn yourself and there is no risk of damaging your hair. For more details on the advantages and disadvantages of using a flat iron to style your hair.

Advantages
  • Allows you to create new styles for your hair
  • It is possible to model the wires even if they have chemical treatment
  • If you do not like the result, just wash your hair
Disadvantages
  • It is important to be careful with the to avoid burns
  • You must be aware of the temperature to not damage the wires
  • Voltage must be compatible with the network where you intend to use

What are the main appliances used for styling hair?

Besides the flat iron, there are countless accessories that can help you style your hair. Some are better known, such as hair dryers and baby liss, while others are not so easily found in shops, such as electric bobs and curlers. In common, these appliances work as thermal stylers, i.e., they make your hair get a new shape by heating the strands, and each one of them offers a different result.

Did you know that the flat iron as we know it today was created in 1912 by Jennifer Bell Schofield, who perfected previous models?

What are the main types of flat irons available in the market?

Those who think flat irons can only straighten hair are wrong, since nowadays there are many types of effects and accessories that can be used with your flat iron. The main ones are

  • Traditional straightening iron: This has two heated plates designed to give a straight effect. Depending on the appliance, some can create a wavy effect.
  • Caching iron: With a rounded outer part, they help in the curling process. In some models, the external part is also heated, and can be used as a baby liss.
  • Curlingiron: With curling plates, they create small waves in the hair, which can be used to develop countless hairstyles.
  • Ice iron: Unlike the previous ones, this model does not heat or shape the hair. It is believed that due to the icy effect it can act as a treatment for the strands, reconstructing them.

Imagem de uma mão feminina passando chapinha em cabelos lisos castanhos claros.

There are several types of flat iron, although the straightener is the most common. (Source: parilovv / 123RF)

Flat iron or electric brush: Which model is right for me?

With the advancement of technology, new products have emerged to assist in shaping the hair. One that is currently gaining prominence is the electric brush, which promises to make the process of modeling as easy as combing. Some work like a hair dryer, emitting a jet of hot air as it works, while others work in a similar way to a flat iron, maintaining a heated surface to style the hair. Even though they work in a similar way, the result obtained after using a flat iron and an electric brush is completely different. To compare in detail the results and effects of each appliance, check the table below.

Is it worth changing my baby liss for a hair straightener?

Many people are in doubt whether it's worth keeping one of the two appliances or both, and the answer is: it depends on your needs. If you're looking for a versatile appliance, which can straighten and curl your hair, keeping a flat iron in your collection can be a great option. However, if you prefer a look with more defined curls or wavy hair in a more stripped style, the baby liss may be the best option. A useful alternative for those who want to adopt a more stripped style is the use of a curling iron, since it has dual function and can be an excellent accessory in their beauty rituals. https://www.instagram.com/p/By0ED-yp-JA/

Is a hotter iron better than the others?

Not necessarily. Hotter irons shape hair more easily, but it is necessary to observe the hair structure.

Thinner hair will require less effort and will need lower temperatures to be styled.

In general, human hair can withstand heating up to 230ºC without damaging the structure of the strand, and the ideal is to keep it at a temperature not exceeding 190ºC. Therefore, it's important not to use appliances that get too hot. In general, the following relation between hair density and temperature is used

Type of hair Maximum recommended temperature
Dyed hair 140ºC
Fine hair From 180ºC to 190ºC
Thick hair Until 220ºC

Therefore, to ensure the health of your hair, it is worth analysing the structure of the strands you wish to style, so that you can find a flat iron that heats it to a safe level.

What care should I take before using my flat iron?

Before you start using your new hair straightener, it is important to be aware of some special precautions that will make its use more efficient.

  • First, you need to check the voltage of the device, so that there is no risk of damage to the device.
  • Next, it is important to apply a thermal protector on your hair, since this product will be responsible for maintaining the integrity of your hair, even when it is exposed to high temperatures.
  • It's also worth using accessories such as thermal gloves and mirrors, so that you can see all the points you want to style safely and efficiently.
  • Another option is to count on the help of others or a professional in the business.
  • If you live in a humid area or if your hair is more resistant to heat styling, it is worth using an anti-humidifying product and finishing spray, to keep the effect of the iron longer.

Purchase criteria: What to consider before buying a flat iron

After much consideration, you've decided that the time has come for you to buy a beautiful and efficient flat iron for styling your hair, right? Then you certainly want to know how to choose the model that's right for you. Don't worry, because for this you won't need a beauty professional, as we have separated for you the main points to consider before buying a hair iron:

  • Material
  • Appliance technology
  • Safety system
  • Maximum temperature reached
  • Temperature selection
  • Plate thickness
  • Accessories
  • Voltage

Check below in detail the main features to be considered before choosing the perfect hair iron for you.

Material

It may seem unimportant, but the material of the iron can directly influence the efficiency and performance of the appliance. In the past, flat irons were restricted to aluminum models, which promote an irregular heating and, therefore, require more passes to achieve a uniform effect - and, consequently, cause more damage to the hair. Nowadays, it is recommended the purchase of plates whose heating plates are made with ions or ceramic, since these materials promote a uniform heating, help reduce frizz and close the hair cuticle.

Technology of the appliance

Nowadays, besides heating, the flat irons have several technologies that add value and features to the appliance. The main technologies found in flat irons are

  • Titanium ions: By emitting negative ions during use, this technology helps to seal the hair cuticle, reducing frizz.
  • Sapphire: The smooth surface of the sapphire plate allows for a much smoother glide, preventing breakage during use.
  • Tourmaline: One of the best known technologies in the market, it emits negative ions that act from the inside out, giving your hair a healthier look.
  • Infrared: Infrared acts on the water molecules in your hair, which helps eliminate toxins and improves the appearance of your hair.

Safety system

Because it is an equipment that heats, it is very important that there are safety mechanisms. Before buying, make sure your product has cold zones, so that you can handle your flat iron without the risk of burning yourself while styling your hair.

Imagem de uma mulher passando a chapinha no cabelo na frente do espelho do banheiro.

It is important to check if there are cold zones to handle the hair straightener safely. (Source: Antonio Diaz / 123RF)

It is also worth observing how the appliance performs the temperature control, to avoid the risk of damage to the hair. Some models turn off automatically when the desired temperature is reached, to ensure the integrity of the hair.

Maximum temperature reached

In general, the higher the maximum temperature reached by the iron, the easier it is to style your hair. Therefore, it is important to choose models with a higher heating standard, but respecting the maximum temperature limit supported by human hair, in addition to considering the hair structure before using the iron.

Temperature selection

As mentioned earlier, the structure of the hair directly interferes with the shaping power of the iron, so thinner hair is shaped at lower temperatures, while thicker hair needs more heat to be styled. Therefore, to make the appliance more versatile, some models have the option of temperature selection. Thus, a flat iron can be used by several people, since its temperature can be adjusted according to the wire needs.

Iron thickness

Before making your purchase, it is important to consider the thickness of the flat iron. After all, it directly defines the speed at which you can style your hair. Wider flat irons can reach a larger area of hair at the same time, so in theory, they are more efficient than thinner irons. However, on shorter hair - or to get close to the hair root - smaller, thinner plates can make the styling process easier and less dangerous.

Did you know that the first recorded curling iron was created by Marcel Grateau in 1980? Then in 1906, Simon K. Monroe patented a metal-toothed flat iron designed to straighten hair and in 1909, Isaac K. Shero registered the twin-plate model, a forerunner of the modern flat iron

Accessories

Besides the flat iron option, some flat iron models allow the use of accessories, which create a special effect on your hair. It is possible to find hair straighteners compatible with curling plates, which when pressed to the hair, can create a curly or frizzy effect on your hair, perfect for photos or parties. Other models also come with safety kits, with thermal gloves or stands, so you can support your flat iron while you use it without damaging the surface of your table or countertop. If you plan to transport your flat iron, it's worth looking for models that come with a carry bag to ensure your flat iron is protected in your bag, purse or backpack.

Imagem de um baby liss, uma chapinha e um secador.

Be sure to check the accessories that come with your iron. (Source: dolgachov / 123RF)

Voltage

Currently most of the plate models available on the market is bivolt, but you need to pay attention to the manufacturer's instructions. Whenever possible, opt for bivolt models, because they can accompany you anywhere. If your plate is 110V or 220V and you want to, for example, use it in places with non-compatible voltage, check the possibility of using a transformer. If this option is not available, you will not be able to use your iron. (Featured image source: Shari Sirotnak / Unsplash)

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