Choosing the Right Flat Iron for Your Hair Type
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Wouldn’t it be nice to go to work each day looking like you’d just stepped out of a hair straightening salon? Even if you’ve got super tight, curly ringlets, coarse natural hair type or a short, spunky style, salon quality hair straightening at home is possible if you know what hair straightener to buy.
The first step on this journey is knowing your hair type, because every head of hair is unique and different hair straighteners suit different hair styles. If you’ve ever bought a pair of straighteners online, found them totally ineffective and given up, it’s probably because you chose the wrong pair of flat irons for your hair type.
So, before you even think about going to the desperate measure of chemical straightening: give flat irons one more chance! The permanent straightening cost is not just the huge amount of money you spend in the salon, it’s also expensive in terms of maintenance and the damage it does to your hair. There are excellent flat irons for every type of hair: you just need to know what you’re looking for!
Okay, let’s get down to the long and short of it. What type of hair do you have? What are your specific needs? And, most importantly, which straightener is the best for you? I’ve put together this guide to the different hair types so that you can compare straighteners and choose which straighteners are best for you.
You can create some really awesome effects on short hair if you know which hair straighteners to look out for. Try smooth, sleek and elegant, Great Gatsby style finger-waves, pixie-flicks (think MIley Cyrus!) or spunky spikes.
Your best bet is a set with narrow plates and less housing, so that you can get in close to the roots and work with precision. In my opinion, models like the CHI Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic 1-Inch Flat Iron are the best flat irons for short hair.
These straighteners get a 4 out of 5 rating from me because of its consistent heat, sleek design and easy maneuverability. The only doubt I have comes from customer reviews about its reliability and how long it will last.
Naturally Fine or Thin Hair
The biggest problem with thin or fine hair is that it’s so damn easy to fry! And burnt hair not only smells terrible, it also causes all sorts of condition problems. If you want to avoid dryness and split ends, the secret is to find an iron that straightens your hair well at lower temperatures. Flat iron temperature is key to effective straightening for thin hair – without totally charring it!
My silver bullet hair straightener for thin hair is the ISA Professional Flat Iron. This nifty little device allows you to choose temperatures from anywhere between 175 degrees and 450 degrees fahrenheit and features an LCD panel so you always know how much heat you’re putting in your hair.
I give this model 4.5 out of 5 stars because it gives you the ultimate control and is made of quality materials and most reviewers on Amazon.com totally agree with me. My only concern is that it can heat up to 450 degrees – about the temp that hair combusts! Keep an eye on that read-out!
Naturally Coarse or Thick Hair
If your hair is coarse and thick (natural hair), you might find straightening frustrating because regular irons find it hard to grip and penetrate your hair enough for the silky smooth effect you’re after. Forget flimsy, you need some really heavy duty blades that can hold onto a thick section of your hair and penetrate right to the core.
The Turboion Rbb Croc Classic Straightener is a really great natural hair flat iron because they have a unique (crocodile!) shape which allows them to “chomp” onto a wide section of hair. They also have high quality titanium plates which heat up almost instantly and have the staying power to leave even the coarsest hair straight and smooth.
These straighteners get 4 out of 5 stars from me. I love the wide plates, the titanium power and the funky look. Based on the reviews, my only worry is that some customers have found it hard to access the product warranty.
The problem with straightening extra long hair, whether it’s naturally straight or has a bit of a wave, is that it takes SOOO long. Straighteners for thick long hair need wider plates so that you can work through the sections more quickly and actually get to work before lunch time!
I recommend The Izunami Flat Iron Ktx450 as the best flatirons for long hair because it has large plates that are both wide and long (1.25” x 4.25”) and they also have an ergonomic design which makes them far more comfortable to work through long sections of hair.
This model gets the full 5 stars from me. If you’ve got long hair, the reliable heat, ergonomic design and extra large plates make this straightener about as perfect as a straightener can get!
I would love to have beautiful curly ringlets! But, curly-haired girls, I do understand that sometimes you just need a change. To straighten hair with natural curl, you need a straightener which reaches high temperatures, doesn’t have any hot spots and will pass smoothly through the sections.
In my opinion, the Bio Ionic OnePass Iron is the flat iron curly hair needs. It’s a super high quality professional iron which features silicone strips to pass easily through the hair, far infrared technology for a silky smooth result and almost instant heating up to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
I have to give this product the full 5 stars (I’d give it more if I could!). It’s actually the model I have at home and I’ve used it every day for years.
African American Hair
A friend, who has a stunning main of those tight, thick curls that only African American women seem to be blessed with, once said to me that it’s impossible to straighten her hair. I rose to the challenge and made her sit down in my salon. She was amazed to find that, with the right pair of flat irons, even black hair straightening is possible.
A model like Rusk Professional Str8 Titanium-Infused Ceramic Flat Iron features a sol-gel coating which allows the straightener to pull through even the curliest hair without snagging or struggling. It also gets super hot in an evenly distributed way, penetrating right into the follicle, locking in moisture and straightening out those stubborn curls.
I also checked out some brazilian hair straightening reviews and they agreed that this is a great model for tight, coarse curls. It got 4 or 5 stars from most of its reviewers and does from me, too. Personally, if I had fabulous curls like my friend’s, I’d be so proud that I wouldn’t straighten every day, but it’s nice to have the option and an iron like the Rusk provides this.
Of all the hair types, women with naturally wavy hair are actually the ones I’m most jealous of. The shape of the hair follicle determines whether your hair is straight or curly and people with wavy hair have oval follicles, meaning that their hair is receptive to going either way!
If you are blessed with naturally wavy hair, then you should be taking advantage of the versatility and choosing an iron that will curl as well as straighten. The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium is a perfect wavy hair flat iron because it has even heat distribution coupled with narrow plates which mean you can choose straight and smooth or bouncing ringlets depending on your mood.
This model definitely has my nod of approval for people with wavy hair but beware if your hair is super long as it can take a very long time to work through with this small iron. For this reason, it gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.
Frizzy hair was the bane of my teenage years until I found my first pair of flat irons and my life changed forever! Fortunately, the technology’s come a really long way since then. Frizz is caused by static electricity and is made worse by environmental conditions like a shower of rain or humidity in the air. Any frizz prone person who’s had a holiday in the Bahamas will know exactly what I’m talking about!
Hair straightening reviews from people with frizzy hair confirm that these straighteners keep you frizz free for longer. For this reason, I give it the full 5 stars.
Damaged or Fragile Hair
If your hair is fragile or damaged, perhaps from having your hair chemically straightened, color treated, or from environmental factors, you’ll need to look for the least damaging flat iron. Just like for fine hair, the key is to choose a high quality model which distributes heat evenly and allows you to control the temperature.
There are plenty of amazing hair straighteners which work at lower temperatures and do wonders for damaged hair. My personal favorite is the Karmin G3 Salon Professional 1″ Flat Iron, which features a digital read-out, so you’re totally in control of the heat you put into your hair.
I give this iron 4.5 out of 5 stars because it has some really awesome features and most reviews are absolutely glowing about the shiny, straight results, even on hair that’s suffered some serious damage. My concern with this one is the same as the Isa – it has the capacity to heat right up to 460 degrees. Trust me – you NEVER want to put that much heat in your hair! That said, as long as you’re in control, this model is an excellent choice.
I Hope that Straightens Things Out for You
Forget the cost of chemical straightening hair (both to your gorgeous locks and to your pocket)! Anyone can have straight, shiny hair without pumping it full of poison! All you need to do is figure out which hair straightener is best for your hair type, find a great protective product and learn how to use them to your full advantage.
If you want the best results from your flat iron, you need to find the best kind of hair straightener for your hair type. Hopefully my little explanations of the best way to straighten hair of your type have been helpful. If you need more information before you buy your next hair straighteners, check out my more comprehensive flat iron reviews.