To attain the ever-so-popular, straight, sleek hair everyone is wearing these days, a straightening iron is a necessity. To an inexperienced consumer, this may seem like a simple product, but in reality many different factors decide whether your hair will look flawlessly fabulous, or frizzy, fried and frightful.
When shopping for a flat iron, the first thing you may notice is that there are so many choices, as well as so many prices. I will be ‘straight’ with you: Price should be no object when purchasing an iron. This does not mean you must find the most expensive iron in existence and purchase it for the best results, but it does mean you can expect to get what you pay for. Depending on your area you may find a good iron for anywhere from $60-$100.
Ceramic or Metal, That is the Question
Rule out ANY iron whatsoever that is not ceramic. Metal irons have hot-spots, meaning certain spots on the plates get hotter than other parts. But what does this mean for your hair? If the plate is not distributing even heat to your locks, then you will need to run the straightener through your hair more times than if the heat was distributed evenly, therefore causing increased heat damage to the hair. Ceramic plates eliminate the hot-spots and allow the heat to be distributed evenly, defeating this problem. But you aren’t done yet. Even once metal irons are eliminated, you still have the option of solid ceramic or ceramic-coated plates. The main difference is that the solid ceramic will last you a lot longer than the ceramic-coated although with proper care, the ceramic-coated can last you quite a while. Eventually, the ceramic can flake off and expose metal, at which point it would be damaging and unsafe for your hair. This situation can, however, be avoided by making sure to wipe the cooled plates after every 2-3 uses with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a cloth.
If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Straightening Iron Trend
Contrary to popular belief, an iron with higher heat settings is actually better for your hair. The logic is the higher the heat, the less time the iron spends on those lucsious locks so it actually does less heat damage. Some irons have more heat settings than others. It is a more costly, and nicer feature to have an iron that gives you twenty heat options over a simple High-Low-Off button, however multiple heat settings are not typically necessary as you generally will want the heat up as high as possible for the aforementioned reason.
Size Does Matter
Typically, straightening irons range in size from 0.5 inches to 2.5 inches. Slimmer irons work better for hair that is either thin and fine, or fairly straight to begin with. Slimmer irons are also benefical in that they are easier to maneuver for flipped out or curved under ends. Wider irons generally are most beneficial to those with thick, wiry curly locks. Most everybody in between should use anywhere from 1 to 1.5 inch irons.
Last, but not least I can stress nothing more than this:
When planning to purchase your iron, consider the cost of a heat protection spray as part of your budget. Do not leave the store without it. This is one of the absolute most important products out there that people simply ignore. It will save you from lots of damage to your hair, and lots of time trying to repair your hair, and is really a necessary product for flat iron straightening.
You now have some basic tips on what to avoid, and what to seek out when purchasing your straightening iron. So get out there, and start shopping!