Flat Irons Makes a Difference
There are just a few staple items a woman needs in her natural hair collection. The perfect shampoo to rid your hair of product buildup. A fantastic deep conditioner that keeps your hair soft and touchable, and a flat iron for your hair type to smooth your hair and keep you styled perfectly. Good flat irons are the best way to keep your hair healthy while it’s straightened.
When you decide to wear your natural hair straight, you need a great flat iron that will stand the test of time without causing any damage to your hair. In a world of beauty gurus slaying heat styles on every social media platform, it’s easy to think that merely owning a flat iron is doing you some good. Heat styles compromise the integrity of your natural hair, so it’s imperative that you choose a flat iron that minimizes damage and gets your hair straight with fewer passes.
Ceramic, Titanium, and Tourmaline. Oh, My!
Flatirons are not a one size fits all hair tool. They may share many of the same purposes, but an overlooked factor such as the materials of the plates are made result in a considerable difference in the function of your flat iron and the outcome of your hair. Let’s break down the four common plate types and what you need to know about them.
Ceramic Flat Irons
Ceramic flat irons are one of the most popular and affordable types of flat irons. Brands like CHI and BabyLiss make prevalent ceramic flat irons that have become household brand names. The BaByliss Pro Porcelain plate and the CHI Professional Ceramic Hair Straightener are available and most retailer and yield seemingly countless reviews on a google search. Before you run out and invest in one, here’s what you need to know.
Ceramic Flat Iron Pro’s
One of the most significant benefits of buying a ceramic plated flat iron is that they last for a very long time. Ceramic is a durable metal that reaches your desired heat setting quickly. It’s heating speed is great if you’re not apt to wait for your flat iron to heat up. Ceramic plates evenly heat so you don’t have to worry about hot spots that can burn your hair. Ceramic plated flat irons are great at smoothing the hair cuticle, leaving your hair smooth and reducing frizz.
Ceramic Flat Iron Con’s
All that glitters aren’t gold for ceramic flat irons. While durable, once your ceramic plates wear down they will begin to chip and need to be replaced. Unless you carefully inspect them, you won’t notice until your hair is snagged. Ceramic flat irons also struggle to maintain their heat setting. Every time you make a pass through your hair, your flat iron will reduce in temperature. Reducing its heat temperature is the natural reaction ceramic has to friction. The reduction in heat means that you will have to wait a few seconds in between passes for your flat iron to reach its heat setting again.
Natural Hair Types Best for Ceramic Flat Irons
It’s best to use ceramic flat irons on looser curls that don’t require as many passes to straighten the hair. Also, if you’re not trying to achieve bone straight hair, then you can also benefit from using a ceramic flat plated iron. It’s vital that you make sure you are purchasing real ceramic plates and not ceramic coated plates. Ceramic coated plates mean that there is another type of metal underneath the ceramic coating that can potentially damage your hair. If you’re itching to try a ceramic plated flat iron, give the <a href=”https://www.paulmitchell.com/pro-tools/pro-irons/express-ion-style-plus-styling-iron/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Paul Mitchell Express Ion Style Digital Ceramic Flat Iron</a> a shot.
Titanium Flat Irons
Titanium flat irons are “The Hulk” of the flat iron crew. They are is extremely durable, and unlike ceramic, titanium is not porous and will not crack or chip due to basic wear and tear. The top titanium flat irons on the market are the Remington S8510 Frizz Therapy Straightener and the Croc Classic Nano Titanium Flat Iron. Both flat irons have stellar reviews but check out my list of pros and cons to help you determine if titanium plated flat irons are best for your natural hair.
Titanium Flat Iron Pro’s
As I stated before, titanium is a sturdy metal that can withstand frequent use. If you straighten your hair often, it might be worth investing in a titanium plated flat iron for that fact that you won’t have to replace it often. Of the three metals, titanium plates heat the fastest and have the best heat transfer. Titanium is great for smoothing even the most stubborn hair with reducing your risk of getting heat damage. Are you struggling with frizzy ends on your hair or want to mask a past due trim? Look no further than a titanium plated flat iron.
Titanium Flat Iron Con’s
While titanium flat irons are sturdy, they aren’t perfect. Because titanium holds its temperature so well, you need to be careful how long you keep your flat iron in one place. Titanium plates are not the best to use for curling your hair as the heat transfer is so rapid that a titanium plated flat iron can burn your hair off if you’re not careful. If your natural hair does not respond to heat thoroughly, I don’t suggest you use a titanium plated flat iron. The heat transfer may be too much for your hair to handle and you might end up with heat damage.
Natural Hair Types Best for Titanium Flat Irons
If your natural texture is very thick and you find yourself making multiple passes to get silky hair, then consider trying a titanium plated flat iron like the Izunami Flat Iron Ktx450. The efficient heat transfer will get your hair super straight from root to tip in just one pass. Expect to pay a pretty penny for a titanium plated flat iron but keep in mind that a titanium plated flat iron will last you for years to come.
Tourmaline Flat Irons
Tourmaline is the new kid on the block yet seems to be making the most noise! It can is the love child between ceramic and titanium. Tourmaline is a crystalline mineral that is crushed and then baked on top of ceramic plates. Fan favorite tourmaline flat irons are the FHI Heat Platform Professional and, my personal favorite, the NUME Megastar Hair Straightener. Once I started using a tourmaline plated flat iron, I never turned back. Here are some reasons why as well as a few things you should look out for when using a tourmaline plated flat iron.
Tourmaline Flat Iron Pro’s
Tourmaline gives you all the pros of the ceramic plated flat iron with none of the cons. The smooth crystalline metal protects your plates from chipping and cracking which keeps your hair from getting snagged during a pass. Tourmaline heats very fast like ceramic; but like titanium, it never reduces its temperature during a pass through your strands. A tourmaline plated flat iron will leave your hair super shiny and smooth and only takes a single pass to smooth your strands. Of all the metal choices, tourmaline does the best job at reducing frizz in your hair.
Tourmaline Flat Iron Con’s
The biggest con of a tourmaline flat iron is the high price tag. Because tourmaline is coating another metal, you’re practically paying for two metals in one. Many high-quality tourmaline plated flat irons retail for upward of $200. But be aware, because of the high demand of tourmaline hot tools, there are many dupes on the market. Check out the product website to ensure that you’re using real tourmaline before making this expensive purchase. However, owning a tourmaline plated flat iron means that you won’t have to replace your flat iron very often which stretches your money down to the penny. Besides the price point, there aren’t many cons to using a tourmaline plated flat-iron.
Natural Hair Types Best for Tourmaline Flat Irons
If your natural hair is frizzy, unruly and recovering from heat or color damage – tourmaline is to the rescue! If this metal had a superpower, it would be the Master of Disguise. Tourmaline can transform even the most damaged hair into something soft and beautiful. Try the T3 Bespoke Medium Duality Single Pass Tourmaline Ceramic Dual Voltage Flat Iron.
Top 5 Flat Irons for Natural Hair
Now that we know the basics behind the different metal plates for flat irons let’s look at the top five flat irons that will transform your kinks and coils into body and shine.
This flat iron has ceramic tourmaline plates that will leave your hair super shiny. It protects your hair cuticles by evenly distributing heat which means fewer passes. The HSI Glider Elite features reactive floater plates which means this flat iron will glide right through your locks.
ISA Professional Digital Titanium Flat Iron Hair Straightener
This flat iron heats up quickly and can reach up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. The ISA Professional flat iron features 4.5″ titanium plates which means this hot tool will deliver sleek results on large sections of hair. If you have a lot of hair to straighten in a short amount of time, this flat iron might be your perfect match.
BaByliss Pro Ceramic 2″ Flat Iron
This flat iron combines modern technology with all the glory of ceramic plates. It promises no hot spots because of its far-infrared heating method. It comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty and a rheostatic dial that lets you select your desired temperature. If you seek a soft and silky heat style, look no further than this BaByliss hot tool.
Chi Smart Titanium 1″ Flat Iron
This titanium plated flat iron has titanium tourmaline plates that will reach its temperature quickly and hold so you’re getting all the benefits of titanium plates wrapped up in shiny, smooth hair that only tourmaline can offer. A bonus feature is the 15 second recovery time after each pass. By the time you’re ready to flat iron your next section, your flat iron is hot again.
Chi Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener
This flat iron belongs in the hot tools Hall of Fame for it’s 3.5′ cord. In addition to great reach, this iron also has an automatic shut-off safety feature and reaches up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Backed by the trusted CHI name, this flat iron combines the benefits of ceramic and tourmaline metals to deliver soft and smooth results to your natural hair.
Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Smooth Flat Iron 1.25″
This flat iron can reach its highest heat setting (410 degrees Fahrenheit) in 60 seconds with a 5 second recovery time between passes. If those impressive stats aren’t enough for you; the Paul Mitchell flat iron also features cushioned beveled ceramic plates. The beveled sides are great for creating the perfect curls and waves. Throw in the 4.4 Star rating, and it’s no wonder this flat iron made it into the top 5.
The Ten Commandments of Using Your Flat Iron Safely
If done incorrectly, heat styling can reap havoc on your hair. While perfectly flat-ironed hair looks beautiful, firing up your flat iron with wild abandon can have devastating effects on your strands.
One: Never Flat Iron Wet Hair
There are three times when your natural hair is prone to damage. The first is when it’s wet. The second is immediately after bleaching your hair. The third time is when you are using direct heat on your hair. The last thing you need to do is combine any of these three at once. Heat moves through water quickly. Should you flat iron your hair while it’s wet, you have a very high likelihood of burning it off. Whether you’re doing a blowout, roller set, or air drying your hair, it is never okay to flat iron your hair while it’s wet. Wait until your hair is dry before using a flat iron.
Two: Use a Heat Protectant
You wouldn’t pull a baking dish out of a hot oven with your bare hands. You’d use an oven mitt to protect your hands from burning. The same goes for your hair. You should never apply direct heat to your hair without first using a heat protectant. Heat protectants create a chemical barrier around your hair strands. After you use a heat protectant to your hair and begin straightening it, you’ll notice clear steam, odorless steam coming from the flat iron. This steam is your heat protectant hard at work. Just imagine, if you didn’t use a heat protectant, that could be your hair burning! It doesn’t matter how high end your flat iron is, always use a heat protectant on your natural hair before using your flat iron.
Three: Deep Condition Your Hair Weekly
Direct heat zaps the life out of your hair. You need to fight back harder and smarter! It’s essential that you do a deep conditioning treatment or mask on a weekly basis. Deep conditioners help repair and protect your hair from many harmful elements, one of which being heat damage from your flat iron. Make sure that the conditioning mask you use is deep penetrating. Carefully follow the directions on the packaging to get optimum results. If you spent all your money on a flat iron, you could make your conditioner at home. In, 10 DIY Deep Conditioners for Your Extensions on the PLE blog, Jossenia Pomare shares some creative recipes to create your very own hair mask at home.
Four: Don’t Mess with the Temperature
Hotter does not mean better when it comes to flat irons. If you don’t know the appropriate temperature for flat ironing your natural hair, I suggest getting a consultation or even a silk press with your stylist. Afterward, check out my article, How Long Does a Silk Press Last and 5 Keys to Making it Last Longer. Once you and your stylist decide upon the temperature that’s safe for you to use, stick with it! Getting a super straight flat iron has less to do with temperature and more to do with patience and technique. Turning up the heat setting will only cause permanent damage to your hair.
Five: The 5 Second Rule
Holding your flat iron on your hair for an extended period won’t make your hair any straighter. In fact, doing so will leave you with less hair than you began. To the same effect, passing through your hair too fast will pretty much do nothing, and you’ll still have frizz on your stands. It’s essential that you use a quality flat iron on your natural hair so that you can get it as straight as possible in a single swift pass. A great rule of thumb to follow is that your pass should last, in seconds, equal to the length of your hair in inches. If your natural hair is five inches long from root to tip, then it should take you five seconds to pass through that section of hair from root to tip. Set your timer on your phone and see if you’ve been going too fast or too slow with your passes.
Six: A Flat Iron a Day Keeps Those Inches Away
Yes, you read that correctly. Flat ironing your natural hair on a daily basis is counterproductive to your hair goals. Flat-ironing your hair on a regular basis will compromise the health of your hair. If you notice creases and waves in your hair, add a lightweight serum and wrap it up for a period. Once you take your wrap down, your hair will have reverted to its straight style. One of the first signs of an old straight style is puffy roots. If the roots of your hair are trying to frizz back to its natural state, skip adding more heat and try slicking them down with Private Label Edge Control. This edge controls is non-flaky and will help you regain control of those rogue roots without damaging your hair.
Seven: No Double Dipping
That’s right! We’ve all been guilty of it! The magic of seeing your texture disappear and your hair practically turn into silk is addicting. It makes you want to run another pass through your hair, but you must resist! After you’ve done your first pass, allow your hair to rest. If you use one of the flat iron I suggested in this article, you won’t need a second pass. As tempting as it is, that second pass will only open the door for permanent heat damage to your natural hair. Your super silky flat iron will last as long as you keep your hair wrapped up at night. A stylist advised me to wrap my hair up as soon I’m not leaving my house again. This way, when I get tired, it’s one less thing to do, and I don’t have to worry about falling asleep on my hair.
Eight: No Additives
It seems like beauty hacks are everywhere but not all trends are worthy of a following. The only thing you should put in your hair before a flat iron is a heat protectant. Spraying your hair with holding spray will not prolong the longevity of your flat iron. It will only wet your hair and cause damage that I mentioned in my first point. I know that it takes hours to achieve the perfect flat iron, but there are no shortcuts. Give your hair an extra layer of protection by spraying a light coating of holding spray all over your head.
Nine: Smaller is Better
When it comes to flat ironing your natural hair properly, doing smaller sections will get you the best results. The biggest mistakes I made when I first started flat ironing my hair was flat-ironing large parts at one time. Your flat iron is a thin tool that is not created to penetrate large portions of hair. I noticed they would separate the smallest sections of hair at a time. Sure, it takes longer to finish, but the results are fantastic. If you want your hair salon smooth, then I suggest doing the smallest section of hair that you can manage.
Ten: Dirty is as Dirty Does
You wouldn’t put dirty clothes on a clean body. The same goes for your flat iron. By the time you reach the step to start flat ironing, your hair is squeaky clean. The last thing you want to do is run a dirty flat iron through your clean hair. Over time, your flat iron will collect buildup from your heat protectant. It’s crucial that you keep your plates clean so that your flat iron can perform optimally. Make sure that your flat iron is unplugged and cool. Take a damp towel and gently wipe off the plates. Pay close attention to any crevices or corners that collect the most gunk. Allow your flat iron to air dry before you begin to use thoroughly.
All Days Work
Natural hair can be a lot of work. If you’re going to put in the time, and money, you should at least strive for the best results! Being knowledgeable about which flat iron works best for your natural hair is the first step. Do your research. Read reviews and check out any YouTube tutorials that will aid you in getting the results you seek. Make sure that you’re using your flat iron safely and reducing your chances of getting heat damage. With the right tools and a little practice, your flat iron will come out perfect every time.
Have you tried one of these flat irons on your natural hair? Share your results and tag us on Instagram @privalelabelextensions.
Do you prefer ceramic, titanium, or tourmaline plated flat irons? Leave me and comment and drop your suggestions!