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What's The Best Flat Iron For Fine | Thick | Curly or Black Hair?

Updated on December 15, 2014
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Choosing a Good Straightener, Whatever Your Hair Type

The right flat iron is one of the best hair care tools around. But when it comes to straighteners, choosing one can be confusing to say the least. Many offer very similar features; but which is right for you? The answer lies in your hair type, texture, and length.

Let’s take a moment to break down the different qualities in a flat iron. Essentially, a hair straightener consists of two plates that sandwich your hair while applying heat. Beyond that flat irons for hair offer variety in these features:

  1. Plate material: all good quality flat irons feature either titanium, ceramic, or tourmaline plates. Each has its benefits; more on that later.

  2. Plate size: straighteners come in all shapes and sizes, from very slender and short to wider and longer. Different sizes are best for different hair types and applications.

  3. Heat control: some have only one setting, but many offer a range of heat settings. A straightener with adjustable heat is far more versatile.

  4. Shape: some are designed to be used as a curling tool as well; slim plates and rounded shape offer best versatility if you want that function.

What does ionic mean?

In a basic-science nutshell, hair is naturally charged with positive ions. Materials such as ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline are charged with negative ions; they coat the hair with negative ions, neutralizing the positive charge. All of that means one thing: sleek, smooth, straight hair. Voila.

Essential Features

Some extra-handy features to look for when selecting the best flat iron for you:

  • A swivel cord. This means you can move the flat iron freely around your head while styling your hair, and not have to worry about getting tangled. This feature adds a lot of freedom.

  • An automatic shutoff. You should always, always turn off your hair straightener as soon as you are finished with it! As a failsafe, many irons come with an automatic shutoff after 30 minutes. I think it’s a nice thing to have - why not?

  • A warranty. You want this product to last; a warranty is proof of the manufacturer’s quality.

Now let’s take a look at some of the different hair types, so you can determine which is the best flat iron for you.

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Karmin G3 Review: Best Straightener For Natural Black Hair:

If you have natural black hair, first of all - I’m jealous! African-American hair definitely requires a top quality flat iron.

The key features to look for are high heat and super-smooth plates that will seal in moisture. Opt for one that heats very high - the higher the heat, the better the effect on your natural hair.

This straightener by Karmin is perfect; it heats up to 460 degrees - plenty hot enough to handle those kinks and curls. It has tourmaline plates, which are great for natural black hair; tourmaline is actually a crystal that is crushed very fine and infused into ceramic plates. It is an extremely effective producer of negative ions, which is great with hair that is coarse and super curly. This also helps to best seal the moisture into each hair follicle, keeping your natural hair healthier over the long run and preventing heat damage from your flat iron. The G3 is sleek and gorgeous, heats quickly, and comes with a heat mat and carry case - pretty much everything you could want.

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Bayliss Nano Review: Top Flat Iron For Long, Thick Curly Hair:

If you have a head full of long, thick hair, you already know that straightening it can be a chore at best.

A flat iron that is fast and light is your new friend. Some have longer plates, like this one by Babyliss - a top brand. The Nano has extra-long 5” plates, which will cover more hair in each pass, which saves you time.

This flat iron also features titanium plates. The best thing about titanium in a straightener is that it conducts heat extremely quickly, and is a great negative ion producer, so it will leave even coarse and thick hair smooth and sleek with the minimum effort. High heat and LED temperature control means you have lots of versatility.

Finally, the Nano hair straightener is light - and so much easier on the arms when you’re working with lots of hair. If you have thick hair, this is the good one for you.

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Onei Halo Review: Very Good Straightener For Fine, Curly Hair

With fine, curly hair, you’ll need to switch gears with your flat iron.

It’s a good idea to choose a model with a wide range of heat settings, and one that offers you plenty of control. High heat is simply too hard on delicate hair; ideally, use a temperature of 250 degrees or less.

For this type of hair I recommend the Onei Halo straightener, because it ticks all the boxes. It features a digital display so you have very specific control over the heat settings, which is the best thing with fine curly hair. This flat iron will heat as low as 140 or as high as 450, so you have a wide range of settings to choose from.

The Halo also has a very cool feature that makes it extremely gentle on hair: floating plates. This means the plates are sensitive to your hair’s thickness, and they’ll never pull or tug on your fine hair.

This straightener also has multi-coated ceramic plates, which produce a very even heat and slip through your hair easily - perfect for fine locks. Overall this tool will help you achieve the smooth, straight look you want, without being harsh. It is definitely one of the top straighteners for fine hair.

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Ferrun Professional Volumizing: Top Flat Iron For Thin Or Damaged Hair:

When working with thin or damaged hair, you must be extra gentle with heat-styling tools.

A flat iron with high heat is not a good choice for thin hair - nor for damaged tresses. Besides, ironing thin hair completely flat can look just that - flat. To build body and volume while being extra gentle on your hair, consider the Ferrum Professional Volumizing straightener.

This is a unique product in that it has one tourmaline plate and one non-heated, fabric plate. That’s right, fabric. The fabric side is meant to be positioned on the bottom with each pass of the iron; it helps to cushion the hair and seal in moisture. The result is hair that is straight, yet has volume and bounce to it - perfect for hair that could use some extra body.

The Ferrum was chosen as the 2014 Editor’s Pick for best flat iron by Totalbeauty.com; it is definitely a stand-alone product, and an ideal choice for thin or damaged hair.

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Remington Frizz Therapy: Best Straightener For Frizzy Hair:

Hands up if you’ve ever experienced this: you spend 45 minutes painstakingly blowing out and straightening your hair, only to have it turn into a frizz-fest the second you step outside.

Curly hair stripped of moisture will naturally become frizzy; and applying heat to frizz-prone hair can actually exacerbate the problem. So what’s a frizzed-out girl to do?

Fortunately, there is an answer: a flat iron that infuses moisture as it straightens your locks. Remington developed the S-9951 Frizz Therapy specifically to bring joy to frizzy hair sufferers; and it does a very good job.

This unique tool has ceramic plates that are actually infused with conditioners that steam into your hair when you use it. Remington claims this will reduce frizziness by 65% even in humid conditions - and this claim is backed up by reviews. It comes with a 4 year warranty.

Definitely the top pick to tame your frizzy hair!

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Conair Infiniti: The Smart Choice For Short Hair:

For short hair, the best flat iron is a narrow one. You need slender plates to grab shorter hair, so look for a width of 1/2” or 5/8”.

This one by Conair is slender enough to style even a pixie cut, yet still offers tourmaline plates and four adjustable heat settings between 365 and 455.

With good grip and floating plates, this slender hair straightener is an ideal choice for short hairstyles - and it is ultra-affordable.

The low cost is the one thing that gives me pause; in my experience, cheaper does not mean better, and usually over the long run, investing in a higher end product in the first place will actually save you money. However, it reviews very well and is an excellent value, so if it’s short hair you’re purchasing for, I think it’s a solid choice.

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My #1 Pick: Onassis Style Aphrodite: The Best Flat Iron For A Broad Spectrum of Hair Types:

If you’re looking for an all-around stellar straightener that will perform on any hair of any type or texture, the Aphrodite by Onassis Style is your top buy.

Aphrodite by Onassis Style: Premium Ceramic & Tourmaline

This flat iron truly combines the best of all worlds. It features premium ceramic/tourmaline plates, and a wide array of temperature settings - from 200 all the way up to 450. An LED display shows you the actual temperature of the plates, so you can know with complete accuracy when it has reached the desired temperature.

I love the aesthetics of this unit; it is sleek and beautiful and comes in a gorgeous box. Those are little details, and wouldn’t matter if the straightener wasn’t top quality, but to me these touches are the icing on the cake.

As well, Onassis offers an incredible 10 year warranty - the longest I’ve seen. So you really can’t go wrong investing in this tool, especially considering the stellar reviews it gets. After discovering the Aphrodite, I’m actually looking forward to my current flat iron kicking the bucket; I have thick, yet fine, naturally wavy shoulder-length hair, and I am positive this straightener will save me time in the mornings.

If you’re just not sure which flat iron to buy, invest in this one!

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A Smart Investment: The Right Straightening Tools Are Worth It

I hope this has been helpful in navigating the wilds of the flat iron market! When you have the perfect one for your hair needs, it is so much easier to keep your hair looking its best - saving you time, stress, and money.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What’s most important to you in a flat iron? Are you a seasoned straightener, or have you newly discovered the joys of sporting sleek, straight locks? Maybe you have a favorite product to recommend? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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