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Types of Flat Irons

tourmaline titanium, ceramic flat iron

Types of Flat Irons

Whether you’re getting ready for an important board meeting or your best friend’s beach party, switching up your hairstyle is as easy as ABC. There are so many tools available for you to use when glamming up for any occasion. An essential tool to have in your hair care collection is a flat iron.

Flat irons are also popularly known as hair straighteners. So many hairstyles can be achieved using this simple tool; you can curl your hair, create beach waves and also straighten your hair. Even though there are so many types of flat iron options that may seem to offer the same results, choosing the perfect fit can be a hassle. Having the right type is extremely important because it can either enhance or damage your hair texture, curl pattern, or hair type. Whether you have thick or thin and fine hair, there is a hair straightener for you.

The amazing thing about this tool is that not only can it be used on your natural hair but it can also be used on your heat-resistant wigs and weaves. Knowing your ideal flat iron depends on your type and texture of hair.

Below is a list of the hair types and textures:

·        Thick hair: it is strong and usually doesn’t dry easily, as compared to other types of hair. Resistance to various chemical treatments and breakage as well as good heat tolerance is a plus. Due to the thickness, it also appears full.

·        Medium hair: it is the most common texture and is sometimes confused with others because it usually looks thick, and is not as fragile as thin hair. With medium hair, the scalp is well covered. And it can be manipulated into different hairstyles.

·        Thin hair: it is the most fragile hair texture and is oilier than others. It is considered fragile because you can easily have dry or damaged hair. It is difficult to style and is light.

Any type of flat irons will give you smooth hair, but it may not work well for your hair’s texture. Different types of flat irons have different attributes which makes them more beneficial for specific hair types. Some common types of hair straighteners which will be discussed in this article are

·         Ceramic flat irons

·         Tourmaline flat irons

·         Titanium flat irons

·         Wet to dry flat irons

·         Ionic flat irons

To know the best hair straightener for you, here are some flat iron features to look out for.

Thick and coarse hair

If this describes you, then take a look at these different flat irons with their plate materials.

Titanium flat irons

This is probably the best flat iron to go for because it perfectly tames your locks without having to pass through your hair strands over and over. As the name implies, these hair straighteners are made of a durable metal called titanium which produces negative ions that evenly distribute and transfer the heat to your hair. Though this flat iron heats up fast, it often comes with a good heat setting and is better than ceramic plates in heat distribution, which makes it possible to be used on delicate hair without so much fear of excessive heat if used carefully.

These titanium hair straighteners are durable and strong, that’s why it is used by many professional salons. Flat irons with titanium plates are totally worth it, even though it is more expensive than the other flat irons.

When it comes to the strength and durability needed in professional flat irons, titanium flat irons are the way to go. They are known for a better result and smoother finish than ceramic flat irons. I wouldn’t say they are the best flat irons, because that depends on your hair texture and type (they work best on thick or coarse hair types, curly and coily hair types).

Types of Flat Irons

Wet to dry flat iron (or wet to dry straightener)

This iron is made to be used on damp hair. If you have thick and coarse hair (which is an incredible texture), this flat iron’s venting system will work well for you because it makes your hair straight and frizz-free at the same time.

Even though this flat iron is high quality and it can replace a blow dryer (with or without using its detachable comb), it is not as effective and reliable as other flat irons. Also, this flat iron may not do much for you if your hair is thin and fine.

Ionic flat iron

Basically what this iron does is produce negative ions and neutralize positive ions. What this simply means is that the negative ions replace the positive ions your hair derives from water and humidity which causes breakage, frizz, and any damage to the hair strand is canceled out.

So if you want a healthier look, this is a flat iron to consider. Ionic flat irons work best on breakage-prone, dry, coarse, and even curly hair.

Medium Hair

Tourmaline flat irons

It is a more advanced type than the ceramic hair straightener because instead of tourmaline plates, it uses ceramic plates with a tourmaline coating. The coating provides an additional layer of protection and smoothness. These types of hair straighteners are wonderful because they can work for any type of hair. Whether you have thick, thin, fragile, coarse, long, short, damaged, frizzy hair, or even colored hair, this is the flat iron for you.

It gives a very impressive result even though it uses less heat, but has an even heat distribution than most flat irons. It heats seconds after being plugged in and has good heat settings and an automatic shut-off button. This is great because tourmaline flat irons don’t need a lot of heat to straighten hair. This means less possibility for heat damage! It does well in making hair frizz-free, replacing it with a smooth and shiny finish. Tourmaline flat irons achieve this by locking in the positive ions, that is, the moisture in your hair to give you a healthier look.

The fact that the temperature can be regulated and adjusted to the desired range makes them a good choice for medium hair types but can work for the majority of hair types and textures.

Thin and fine hair

We suggest this flat iron if this sounds like your hair type.

Ceramic flat irons (or Ceramic straighteners)

This is made with cheaper material that is corrosion-resistant due to its non-metallic components. They are very affordable with less heat when compared to other different types of flat irons. Thus, no matter how fragile your hair may be, ceramic flat iron works best because your delicate strands gently go through it.

It is easier to regulate the temperature because it doesn’t get heated easily, but it does provide consistent heat. You can use it confidently without being worried about heat damage because ceramic hair straighteners are the least likely to cause damage. So get rid of the fear!

The smooth surface and temperature generated from these flat irons make them the best hair straighteners for someone with thin, fine, and dry hair, but are not so favorable for someone with thick or coarse hair.

The downside of a ceramic flat iron is that the ceramic plates may need to be checked from time to time because the ceramic coating tends to wear off and chip away. This can cause damaged hair if used ignorantly because the exposed metal can damage your hair strands while flat ironing.

Hair straightener for other types of hair

Tourmaline-infused titanium flat iron

This is another great option because it cancels out positive ions which are the main cause of you having frizzy hair after using the flat iron. Instead, it releases negative ions which give your hair a smooth and shiny finish with zero frizzes.

Due to its titanium component, it works just as a titanium flat iron would, but with added benefits. This type is a good choice for everyday use (with a heat protectant).

You want to stay away from other types of flat iron made of aluminum, as these are super harsh for any type of hair and can cause serious hair damage.

Types of Flat Iron

How to avoid heat damage

Yes, damage is something that happens quite often during the use of any heating tool. Sadly it is irreparable. Most times hair damage is caused by improper use of the flat iron.

How to regulate the temperature settings

If you have thin hair, using a temperature too high will definitely cause damage to your hair strands. Here is what you can do to avoid this costly mistake: start your flat iron at a low temperature and gradually increase the heat as needed.  Don’t think you have to go through all nine heat settings!

Here is a guideline

It is advised to Use 300°F or less for chemically treated, fine, or damaged hair

You can Use 300°-380°F for healthy hair with a medium texture

Use 350°-400°F for coarse, curly, or thick hair

To avoid damage, never flat iron any hair type above 450°F

Use Heat protectants

Heat protectants protect your hair by creating a barrier from the heat derived from the flat iron or other hot tools. It is also a leave-in product that adds moisture and shine to your hair before styling with a hot tool.

Heat protectants are available in a wide variety of spray, cream, or oil formulas. When applying a heat protectant it is good to follow the recommended temperature. Don’t exceed the maximum temperature your heat protector states it shields you from.

Using heat protectants is necessary, but is not an excuse for you to use heat on your beautiful hair every day.

How to use a heat protectants

Start with well-conditioned damp hair. Apply your heat protector. Flat iron when your hair is dry.

Flat iron your hair dry, not wet!

Unless the flat iron package says otherwise, it is best to flat iron your hair when dry. Applying heat to freshly washed hair can make your hair more vulnerable to damage.

A key thing to note is that having healthy hair is very important, you can achieve this by always using moisturizing shampoos and a good hair conditioner.

If your hair is already damaged, it is advisable to use minimal heat and if possible avoid using a flat iron or any form of heating tool.

Those with afro-textured tresses are strongly advised to use flat irons or any hot tool at the most once a week. While those with thin hair can opt to gently use the flat irons once to twice a week.

Things to consider while shopping for flat irons

Size and shape of the plate

After you have selected the type of flat iron that would work best for you, it’s time to consider the size and shape of the plate. Stefan Bertin, a London-based hairstylist gives this tip on how to choose the best flat iron: “Smaller plates are better for short hair, whereas larger plates are better for longer hair. Plate size doesn’t always affect the finished look but it does affect the speed at which you get there.”

Another thing to think about is this, if your hair is thick it may be good to use a larger plate to speed up the straightening process. while having a smaller plate is just right for fragile hair.

If you want to create curls, having a smaller plate will give you tighter curls while larger plates will give you loose waves or looser curls.

Temperature setting

Having a reliable temperature setting is important. You want to avoid flat irons that have fluctuating temperatures. This is common with cheap flat irons.

Having a reliable digital screen on your hair straightener is also very helpful in monitoring the temperature.


Many factors influence the price of various types of flat irons. This could be the brand recognition, the quality of the materials used to make it, or even the size. Before going ahead to make the big purchase, ask yourself how often you will be using the hair straightener. If you will be styling your mane frequently, it’s better to go for a more durable straightener that may be more expensive. But if it would be used once in a while or just for quick touch-ups, go for a less expensive flat iron (such as ceramic irons).

Here is how to properly use a flat iron

Step 1

Apply heat protectant to clean, damp to wet hair

(dry hair before styling).

Step 2

Plug in flat iron, once it is hot, section your tresses to begin straightening.

Step 3

Take a small section and clamp the plates down near the scalp.

Step 4

Slowly slide the straightener down and release.

Step 5

Repeat the process until all the sections of your locks are completely straight.

Voila! You have made your beautiful hair smooth.

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