Guide to flat iron material and what they do best
What are Your Straighteners Made of?
What your straightener plates are made from makes a huge difference to their effectiveness on different hair types and to hair damage from flat irons.
There are quite a few buzz words which get thrown around when it comes to straightener material: titanium, tourmaline, ceramic, teflon, silicone…
But what is each of these materials? And what are the benefits of buying a straightener in each material? Which will suit your hair type, your style and your budget?
In this guide, I’ll explain what each material actually is and the pros and cons of a hair straightener made from that material.
I’ve also given you some handy links to my straighteners reviews for each flat iron material. So, you’ll be able to see examples of models of each type and get an idea of what they offer.
The cheapest hair straighteners brands advertise ceramic plates but, in reality, they’re often ceramic coated rather than solid ceramic. Some of these models, such as the Remington S5500 still do an adequate job of straightening hair and are very popular among buyers. But the danger with ceramic coated plates is that they heat unevenly and the flat iron temperature has dangerous “hotspots” – burning your hair in some places and not straightening effectively in others.
If you only have $20 – $40 to spend on your straightener, ceramic coated is a better option than teflon – check out my Budget Hair Straighteners Guide here.
Another material that the cheapest straightening iron brands sometimes use is teflon. I don’t recommend Teflon plates to anybody because the coating chips off and disintegrates when you use protective products with it (think of the way teflon coatings peel of frying pans!). This means that it’s easy to get damaged hair from flat irons made of teflon because you should always combine styling hair with a flat iron with heat protective hair products.
I don’t have any teflon straighteners recommendations because in my professional opinion, it’s not a great material for flat irons.
Chi released their very first professional straightener with solid ceramic plates nearly 20 years ago and flat ceramic irons are still one of the most popular flat iron materials in the world. Solid ceramic heats up reliably and evenly so that you can safely straighten hair without the risk of hot spots. High quality ceramic plates also seal in moisture and leave your hair with that super straight and super shiny look.
If you’ve got fairly resilient hair and want classic flat iron hair style, solid ceramic is a great choice. Check out a wide range of ceramic straightener reviews here.
Tourmaline is one of the most interesting and exciting innovations in modern hair straightener science. This gemstone is crushed into a fine dust and then either coated on or infused into ceramic plates. The best benefit of tourmaline is that it can prevent unnecessary flat iron hair damage because it can straighten at much lower temperatures than ceramic alone. And being able to turn down the temperature of hair straighteners means you’re far less likely to fry your hair. At the moment, I’m recommending both the Karmin G3 and the Fhi Platform Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron as tied in first place for the healthiest flat iron. So which one you choose can come down to the look you fall in love with!
If your hair is fine and easily damaged or if you already have chemical, environmental or heat damage and need to give your hair some TLC, tourmaline flat irons are your best bet. I have an extensive range of tourmaline flat iron reviews right here.
The main difference between ceramic and titanium flat irons is that titanium is super lightweight. Titanium is also the best known conductor of the negative ions that neutralize static electricity and kill frizz (even better than tourmaline!). Titanium flat irons like the Babyliss Pro Nano tend to be the most expensive on the market.
I recommend titanium flat irons to people who love to have the very best and latest gadgets or to people with hard to tame frizz. To look at a wide range of titanium straightener reviews, walk this way.
Some models, like the Bio Ionic Onepass, add strips of silicone to their ceramic plates. This helps the flat iron to glide seamlessly through the hair, speeding up the straightening process and allowing for effective straightening with a single pass over each section of hair. In my opinion, the Bio Ionic is the very best kind of hair straightener to flat iron curly hair because the silicone strips work through the curls without snagging.
Choosing the Best Material for Your Hair
Phew! That’s enough science for one day!
Whether you’re looking for the least damaging flat iron, or you want to flat iron thick hair, curly hair, fine hair (or any other hair type under the sun!!!), the material you choose will make a huge difference to your styling success.
I hope that my little guide has helped you to understand flat iron materials a little better so that you’ll know which hair straighteners are best for your budget, hair type and style.
If you’re still wondering which material is best for your hair type and style, check out the flat iron recommendations in my Hair Types Guide.