I don't know about you, but determining the best flat iron for my hair type and budget has proved to be a daunting task. Between ceramic, ionic, tourmaline and more, I wasn't sure if I should recruit a hairdresser or a scientist to accompany me to the beauty supply. Armed with questions, I set out to get the scoop on flat irons and to see if a lower cost model could do the trick without damaging hair. Here is what I found:
Types of Flat Irons
Flat irons come in a variety of sizes, heat ranges, and plate materials. Since my hair has its own unique texture, I need a specific flat iron. For example, women with coarse, curly hair will need a straightener with a higher heat range than those with finer hair. Let's begin with plate technology and the materials flat irons are made with:
- Ceramic – Ceramic plates produce negative ions, diffusing heat and sealing the hair cuticle. This leaves hair shiny and frizz free.
- Infrared – A gentler heating method, infrared penetrates the hair shaft, causing minimal damage. It balances ions, maintains its temperature, and delivers smooth hair.
- Ionic – Think back to chemistry class; when a negative ion and positive ion interact, the results are neutral. By straightening dry, damaged hair (which carries a positive ionic charge) with an ionic flat iron (that produces a negative charge), locks become smooth and silky.
- Tourmaline – This semi-precious gemstone produces six times more negative ions than ceramic plates alone, offering straighter, shinier results. Tourmaline is often mixed with ceramic.
- Titanium – Advanced technology that straightens hair fast and maintains heat levels so hair isn't damaged.
Does Price Truly Matter?
In my quest for the perfect flat iron, the range of prices surprised me. After reading more reviews than I can count, I found that some (not all!) cheaper flat irons can pull, tug, or burn hair. However, with research, I was able to find several lower cost irons that won't damage your hair or your wallet. Here are some budget flat irons with great reviews:
1. Remington Wet 2 Straight 2" Wide Plate Wet/Dry Ceramic Hair Iron with Tourmaline ($27.99, Amazon):
Ditch the blow dryer and get shiny results with this iron's vents that allow hair to be perfectly straightened, whether wet or dry. With a 4.5 out of 5 rating and over 500 Amazon reviews, customers who have thick, coarse curly hair seemed to like this iron best.
- Pros: Great for curly, coarse or African American hair.
- Cons: Customers mentioned the instruction guide is a "must read" as far as temperature settings.
2. Herstyler Classic Forever Ceramic Flat Iron ($32.99, Amazon):
Originally listed at $99.95, this flat iron is a steal that has terrific reviews. Its ceramic plates heat up fast, and it has an adjustable temperature gauge.
- Pros: Ultra-lightweight, 100% ceramic plates (usually cost between $150-$400 dollars for top of the line).
- Cons: Because of the 100% ceramic plates, dropping this item can cause chipping or cracks, and customer service issues were noted.
3. Remington S5500 Digital Anti-static 1" Hair Straightener ($14.97 Amazon):
With almost a 5-star rating and close to 500 reviews, this bargain-priced flat iron has digital temperature controls and automatic shutoff.
- Pros: Gets hot quickly, straightens curly or coarse faster than other irons.
- Cons: Its sitting position is unstable and often falls, can pull hair.
4. Turboion Baby Croc Professional Dual Voltage Mini Travel Flat Iron, Lime, 5/8" ($33.57 Amazon):
This mini flat iron is a traveler's delight. With its dual voltage and free heatproof carrying case, the Turboion may just be the only styling tool necessary in your overnight bag.
- Pros: Temperature range up to 430°, lightweight and tiny.
- Cons: Takes time to heat up, requires several rounds to get coarse hair completely straight.
Reading reviews on a particular flat iron before purchase is key. Hair is an accessory we wear every day, and we don't want to ruin it! The great news is there are lower priced options that create silky, straight, frizz-free styles without harming your hair.
This is a guest post by Marisa from New York
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