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Flat Irons Buying Guide

Last update: Dec 5, 2016 10:27, April Williams

Every woman dreams of having beautiful and well styled hair everyday, in any weather,  of any season. A hair straightening flat iron is the appliance that will help you create the style you want, since it is designed to control even the most unruly hair and eliminate frizz.

Sleek straight hair styles have been growing in popularity recently. This trend has caused an increase in the demand for hair straightening irons. More and more people are turning to professional hair styling tools, which allow them to create and maintain a fashionable hair style at home.

Different flat irons

There is an enormous range of hair straightening electrical tools on the market with an overwhelming variety of colours, shapes, properties and features. What is it that distinguishes one type from another? What should be considered when buying one?

This article answers these as well as many other frequently asked questions and will help you decide which iron is the best tool for you.

Plate Coating

A hair straightening iron consists of a frame with built-in plates. The plates are covered with a special coating. It is based on the latest innovative technology that makes a difference between three generations of flat irons. It determines the price of the tool, as well as its performance, durability, impact resistance and a number of other properties.

Flat irons plates materials

  • Ceramic material was the first innovative coating to follow aluminium and teflon. Ceramic plates have a number of advantages. They heat evenly and are good heat conductors. They are smooth and the hair glides through the plates effortlessly. Disadvantages: ceramic plates are easy to scratch or break. They also have to be cleaned regularly because they accumulate a build-up of hair styling products.
  • Tourmaline is the next generation of plate coating. Tourmaline is an impact resistant mineral. It is this property that makes tourmaline plates more durable than ceramic ones, while the surface of the plates are equally even and smooth. The hair glides through the plates well without pulling or damaging. Tourmaline has excellent heat conducting properties which ensure easy and consistent hair straightening.
  • Titanium is the latest trend in the manufacture of flat irons. Titanium coating is durable, smooth and impact resistant. It does not pick up the residue of styling materials, it is not easy to scratch, and the results of styling are really long lasting.

Ionic Flat Irons

What does the term “ionic” refer to? If a hair straightening tool has this feature, it is able to generate negative ions. Our hair, on the other hand, is charged with positive ions. In the process of ironing, positive ions in the hair are neutralized by negative ions. As a result, you get the following advantages:

  • A decrease in the static charge of the hair which helps to eliminate frizz.
  • The hair becomes supple and sleek.
  • The hair retains its natural moisture.
  • The hair looks glossy and healthy.

Therefore, the ionic feature is very effective, which can be especially important if you have unruly hair or if it is fine and thin.

Temperature Control

You should operate your flat iron within a certain temperature range depending on the structure and condition of your hair. Normally, the plates may be heated to any temperature between 140 and 230 degrees. Obviously, each type of hair requires its own styling temperature. If your hair is fine, weak or brittle, you should use the minimum heat to reduce the damage to your hair. If, on the other hand, your hair is thick, coarse or curly, you should opt for the maximum heating temperature for the best results.

Correct temperature level of a flat iron

The temperature control switch is always located on the handle and is easy to operate. Some flat irons have a display which gives the exact temperature reading. However, most models have a 3 mode switch, which allows you to choose between minimum, medium or maximum heating.

Plate Width

Flat irons come with narrow plates (plate width less than 2.5 cm) and wide plates (more than 2.5 cm). Narrow plates are useful for ironing thinner strands and for a fringe. They are much more comfortable to use. However, since their operating surface is small, they are not suitable for straightening thicker and longer hair, because you will have to divide it into too many strands, and styling will take ages. It should also note, that thin plates have one important advantage — they can be used for curling, as well as for straightening hair. If you are planning to use the tool for this purpose, make sure the plates have rounded edges and their upper side has a special coating.

Flat irons with wide plates are able to hold wide strands, which means the overall styling time is reduced. Wide plates are designed to straighten long and thick hair, making the styling process fast and easy. They are not suitable for styling short or thin hair.

Extras

After creating a product which is perfectly functional and easy to use, manufacturers have been busy developing additional features, which may prove a useful and attractive selling point, including:

  • An automatic switch-off after a specified period of time.
  • Heat resistant pads.
  • Elegant cases for storing the tool.
  • The option to iron dry or wet hair.
  • A variety of colors.

These features are not essential. They are only taken into account when people are comparing models within the same price range and with similar features. This is when this or that extra can influence the customer’s final choice.

Manufacturer

When choosing a hair sraightening iron, you should consider the same criteria as when purchasing any other kind of appliances. You may give preference to widely recognized brands and pay extra for your hair straightener. As a rule, well-known manufacturers of electrical appliances embrace all the latest technological innovations. So, you will be able to buy a flat iron with all the features that we have described.

There are a number of companies which specialize in hair care tools. Most hair stylists and beauty salons give their preference to the products made by  specialized manufacturers, they take into consideration all the essential details relevant to hair styling, such as the purpose, safety, effectiveness, minimum hair damage, efficiency of styling or straightening process, etc. Hair straightening tools manufactured by specialized producers are more expensive. However, a higher price does not always guarantee a considerably better quality compared to the tools made by ordinary manufacturers of home appliances.

How to fry popcorn in a flat iron

Useful Tips for Choosing a Flat Iron

  • See if there is a LED display on the tool. This is a handy feature to control the operating temperature, heating speed and ON/OFF function. However, this option makes the tool significantly more pricy.
  • There may be a 10 to 30 seconds difference in how long it takes for the plates to heat up, depending on the model. In most cases, this heating speed does not make much difference. However, if you normally have to fix your hair in a hurry, it may be a point to consider.
  • Modern technology makes it possible to iron wet hair. There are a number of professional hair straighteners that allow you to iron wet hair without damaging it. Also, the use of this kind of iron helps to reduce thermal exposure to your hair because you don’t have to blow dry it.
  • Some of the models have a useful auto shut-off feature. This option helps prevent the plates from overheating and to avoid burns. The outer edges of some flat irons have protective coating to prevent burns.
  • When choosing a flat iron, consider its storage. Some of the models come with a very handy case where you can put your iron while it is still hot. If such a case is not provided, you can hang the tool on a hook or bundle it neatly and place it in a suitable container.
  • Make sure that you apply a protective product on your hair, either spray, lotion or oil. It will envelope each hair and eliminate exposure to heat and brittleness. Thermal hair care products are developed not only to protect hair from high temperature but to make it glossy, sleek and silky.
  • Iron your hair in small sections of strands. Do not iron too much hair at a time trying to complete the styling process as quickly as possible — it is impossible to achieve a perfect result if you iron thick strands. Take thin strands and iron each one a few times starting from the hair roots.

If you care about the health and beauty of your hair, consider our tips when choosing a flat iron. If you purchase a quality hair straightening tool, you will be able to style your hair at home and look good and well-groomed at all times.

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