A common bathroom and travel appliance, hair flat irons are used to straighten, style and otherwise tame overly curly, frizzy or unruly hair. They come in sizes suitable for all types of hair no matter the length, delicateness or coarseness. Flat irons, or hair straighteners, as they are sometimes called, can be used to add mini curls or flips to hair for added effect. The best flat irons utilize advanced technologies that actually condition hair from the inside out. In other words, they help to make it look and feel healthier as well as shiny and smooth.
Brands and Prices
Many hair product manufacturers offer a line of flat irons including:
- Hair Art
- Paul Mitchell
All manner of sizes are available. Hair flat irons are distinguished in terms of length, weight and, most importantly, plate width. Mini or ultra-slim models generally feature hot plates between 0.5 and 0.75 inches in width. 1-inch plates are the standard size, while 1.5 to 2.0-inch plate models are regularly used as well. Basically, the wider the plate, the more effective the flat iron on thicker, longer hair.
Prices range from roughly $30 to $40 on the low end and up to $200 to $250 for the most comprehensive models. Most flat irons, however, average between $75 and $125 each.
Flat irons use dual even-heating, ion-producing ceramic plates with which to straighten and style hair. The edges of the plates are generally beveled or curved so that the user may add a curl or a flip when ironing. With many models, the ceramic features nano-particles of the gemstone tourmaline baked into the plates. Tourmaline helps to add shine while also releasing ions which help to reduce frizziness. Select flat irons feature a thin coating of titanium over the plates. This keeps them ultra smooth and snag free as hair glides effortlessly through.
Far Infrared Heat
Every hair flat iron has a small heating element built right into the unit. Powering up to very high temperatures in a matter of seconds, the heat is transferred to the ceramic plates, where it then radiates out to the hair. Far infrared heat is beneficial because it won't burn or char hair, and it seals in moisture. The result is stylish hair that is hydrated and not brittle. The combination of infrared, radiant heat and tourmaline-infused ceramic causes the release of negative ions which neutralize frizzy hair, letting it lay flat and smoothing out the rough edges.
Hair flat irons feature an ergonomically-designed, easy-grip handle, cool-touch tips to prevent burning and an automatic shutoff feature after a period of inactivity. Most units feature a variable temperature control which allows the user to choose the optimal heat setting. Flat irons can generally be set anywhere from 170 to 400 degrees, although some can heat up to 450 degrees. A 360-degree swivel cord prevents a tangled, twisted line, while those units with a digital readout screen allow for precision settings. Other features may include damp or dry use, dual-voltage capability for international use and floating ceramic plates so they align perfectly with each other, resulting in a higher degree of consistency and performance.