If you want sleek and smooth, straight hair – fast – hair straighteners are the invention that so many of us now can’t live without. If you’re looking to buy a new pair of hair straighteners or flat irons to style your hair with, choosing the best hair straightener for you can be a bit of a minefield. With so many makes and models available it can be an impossible job to pick your way through the options out there, so to get started you first need to think about what you want to get out of your hair straightener. Below are some factors to think about before you start looking at the best hair straightener for you.
What is the best hair straightener for my hair type?
If you have thick hair, you might want to consider hair straighteners with wide plates, to straighten out more hair with each stroke than conventional straighteners. This will save you time and effort in getting those beautiful silky, smooth locks.
If your hair is really quite wavy or curly, it’s going to need more heat to get it poker straight and keep it that way. You’ll need to look for straighteners with a high maximum heat setting. If you have frizzy hair, you may find that steam-straighteners can encourage the frizz, so you may want to avoid these.
If your hair is already damaged through colouring or processing, it’s wise to choose straighteners with an adjustable temperature control. Without this, you’ll be inflicting the full heat of 200 degree-plus straighteners on your hair each time you style it with them. Straightening will cause damage, but with a temperature control you can make sure you only get them as hot as needed for each area of hair to be straightened.
If your hair is fine and already quite straight and you want a hair straightener mainly for touch-ups, the best straighteners for you will have an adjustable temperature control. This way you can make sure that you set the maximum temperature to avoid causing your hair extra unnecessary damage.
Home or away? Travel hair straighteners
Where are you going to be using your hair straighteners? If you’re going to be just using them at home, then standard hair straighteners with a cord should be fine. Do remember to check the length of the electrical cord though, if there isn’t a plug socket very near your mirror. Otherwise you may find yourself in all sorts of awkward and uncomfortable poses trying to see what you’re doing while straightening, if the cord turns out to be quite short! Cordless straighteners would be another good option if plug sockets are in limited supply.
If you can see yourself needing to straighten your hair on the move, or you do a lot of travelling and want beautiful straight hair wherever you go, it’s worth considering travel straighteners. You can buy portable straighteners that are just smaller and slimmer than usual, all the better for tucking into your handbag or suitcase. Or you can buy cordless re-chargable hair straighteners, that take up a lot less space in your bag and you can use them freely without having to be near a plug socket. Cordless types could be the best hair straightener for you if you’re going travelling and aren’t sure if you’ll have access to power or have limited space in your suitcase. They’re also great for tucking into your handbag to give neat, straight hair as and when you need it.
Ceramic or tourmaline hair straighteners?
Ok, you may have you’ve sussed out your hair type, but if you want to find the best hair straightener for you, you’ll need to look at the various features on offer from the mountains available out there. Keep reading for a bit of an explanation of the main materials/features to look out for.
Hair straighteners often have ceramic or ceramic-coated plates (solid ceramic being higher quality). In comparison to cheaper, metal plates, ceramic plates heat up faster, hold a more even temperature and are microscopically smoother, meaning less snagging and pulling on your hair as you straighten – good news for your hair! They also heat the whole of the hair rather than just scorching the outer layer. Be aware that cheaper, coated plates can be prone to chipping and don’t tend to do such a good job as solid ceramics.
Ceramic plates also create negative ions which, again, are good for creating lustrous, shiny looking hair, but more about that a bit further down.
There are more and more hair straighteners with tourmaline plates coming onto the market. You may be asking “why should I choose tourmaline plates over other materials?”. Well, tourmaline is actually a gemstone that can be ground down and infused onto ceramic plates. Importantly if you want lovely smooth, hair, tourmaline produces loads more negative ions than ceramic plates, and also produces “far infrared” (FIR) rays.
What are the benefits of negative ions and FIR rays in straighteners?
I’ll try to keep the science-talk to a minimum, but ions are atoms or molecules that are charged. It’s thought that negative ions have many beneficial functions (they’re used in air purification amongst other things and there are various claims made about the health benefits of negative ions). A hair straightener that can produce these can neutralise positive ions within your hair, and this is said to combat static and help to restore moisture into the hair shaft. The end result is shinier, more healthy looking locks.
FIR (far infrared) rays use longer wavelengths to penetrate the hair from the inside out. This means that the hair is heated up much faster and when used in straighteners means a healthier and kinder type of heating, rather than just frazzling the outside of the hair shaft.
Hopefully this has given you some useful information to make sense of the claims and choose the best hair straightener for you!