The Best Flat Irons for Straightening Hair, According to Experts

What are the best flat irons? Hairstylists and models weigh in:

11/22/2020 6:23:00 AM

What are the best flat irons? Hairstylists and models weigh in:

Including the ones Beyoncé and Michelle Obama depend on for sleek hair.

Best overall flat iron GHD Platinum+ Professional Performance 1” Styler $249 now 33% off $168 Four hairstylists recommended this professional styling iron from GHD, or “Good Hair Day.” (The U.K. brand was a nearly unanimous favorite among stylists we polled about the best curling iron.) “I love GHD in general because they use a longer cord,” says celebrity hairstylist Luca Blandi, who has worked with clients such as Anne Hathaway and Kate Bosworth. He specifically loves the brand’s Platinum+ models because they’re made from a lighter material, which is a godsend “especially for hairdressers because we use them all day. It’s less strenuous on our body and hands.”

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Blandi and hairstylist Nunzio Saviano both point out the intuitive heat settings on GHD tools, which max out at 365 degrees (supposedly the optimal temperature for avoiding heat damage) and spread heat evenly through the plates. Michelle Obama’s hairstylist Yene Damtew uses this flat iron on the former first lady’s hair, and loves it because it’s sleek and lightweight. She notes that all GHD irons are good for creating “a multitude of hairstyles and producing shape and movement for all hair textures.” After all, it is called a styler — and celebrity stylist Hos Hounkpatin says it’s just as good for adding beach waves to hair as it is for straightening it. He also recommended this iron as one of the best to straighten out natural hair for a silk press because “you don’t have to go over the hair as much with it; you can already see with one touch how smooth your hair gets with a beautiful soft shine.”

$168 at Walmart Buy $249 at Amazon Buy Best ultrathin one-inch flat irons BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Straightener $130 If your hair is shorter or you want something more precise, hairstylist Felicia Rials of West Hollywood’s 901 Salon recommends a mini-iron — specifically, this thin one-inch BaBylissPro Nano. “I mainly use a flat iron when cutting a bob. It helps me get the hair very straight so I can see what I’m cutting,” she explains. “I can also get into the root and hairline to make those baby hairs lie flat.” She loves the BaByliss because it’s superthin and lightweight but also hot enough — with 50 heat settings — to really smooth the hair. The heat settings make it a great option for straightening naturally curly hair, too. “I like it because it has an optimal temperature of 450 degrees, which really allows the hair to become as straight as possible and leaves a great luster,” says Kadeisha Placide, the manager and lead stylist at Classic Beauty Studio. This is a titanium-plated flat iron, not a ceramic iron, but Placide says they both have their place. “Ceramic-plated irons help to eliminate frizz and make heating plates smoother, so they’re less likely to pull hair,” she says, while a “titanium hair straightener delivers the fastest heat transfer for immediate and superior results.” Mika English, who recommended this flat iron for a silk press, thinks that a titanium-plated flat iron is a better option for curly, textured hair than a ceramic-plated one because the metal plates heat more evenly than the clay-based ones as well. No matter what type of iron you choose, using it with a heat protectant is always recommended. Placide likes using Design Essentials Agave & Lavender Weightless Thermal Protectant Serum during each thermal service.

$130 at Amazon Buy $130 at Amazon Buy T3 SinglePass Luxe 1” Ionic Straightening & Styling Flat Iron $169 Rials also likes flat irons that incorporate the gemstone tourmaline, like this one-inch T3 SinglePass Luxe. “I go for [flat] irons that have more tourmaline because they have a very high output of negative ions,” she says. Negative ions, she explains, help seals in hair’s natural moisture and creates that shiny, silky effect. It also helps to eliminate frizz and static electricity. Rials also just likes how hot this SinglePass gets (it has five heat settings, and goes up to 410 degrees), and that it offers consistent heat from root to tip.

$169 at Walmart Buy Izutech KTX Slim 450 Black Ceramic Flat Iron 1 inch $80 $140 now 43% off $80 Jessica O’Keeffe, a stylist at Hawthorne Studio, says that Izunami is her all-time favorite brand when it comes to flat irons. “Izunami is a Japanese brand, and they produce super-high-quality flat irons with all the newest technology,” she says. This model has ceramic plates, which she prefers, and it has the ability to control the temperature. “If you’re looking to just put a wave in or just polish a blow dry you don’t need a superhigh heat, but some textures need a superhigh heat, so if you want something that’s more versatile then you go with something that has a temperature control,” O’Keeffe says. She also recommends a one-inch iron, noting that “the only reason you would go wider is if you were doing thicker hair or really long hair and you were just trying to be faster and only wanted it to be straight.” And while this brand might not be as well known as others on this list, O’Keeffe still swears by it and says it’s long-lasting too. She uses it every day, multiple times a day, as a stylist, and says her Izunami flat iron has lasted more than five years now.

$80 at Image Beauty Buy Best 1.25-inch ceramic flat iron Harry Josh Pro Tools Ceramic Flat Styling Iron 1.25 Inch (2 piece) $200 The hair experts at the Serge Normant at John Frieda salons prefer this Harry Josh ceramic iron. Per stylist Joseph Maine — who frequently works with SNL actresses such as Aidy Bryant and preps Priyanka Chopra for events — the large plates accommodate all hair lengths and slide through quickly, while the curved edges work for adding bends in hair. “Its long swivel cord makes it easy to maneuver around my clients, and the temperature dial makes it easy to turn the temperature down for simple touch-ups or up for more intricate straightening,” he adds.

Stylist and colorist Jacob Schmidt likes that it heats up fast and smooths hair in just a few passes, thus minimizing heat damage. “I’ve been using it for treatments like keratin, and it gets the job done quickly and efficiently.”$200 at Dermstore Buy Best 1.5-inch ceramic flat iron Bio Ionic GoldPro Smoothing Styling Iron $120 $120 This flat iron uses the same ionic technology as the T3 above, and Latanya Williams, a stylist with mobile hair salon Yeluchi, says, “It helps with frizz and locks in moisture, which is ideal.” She recommended this to us when we asked her how to achieve a salon-quality silk press at home, explaining that ionic technology puts this a step above plain ceramic flat irons. This one has 24K gold ceramic plates that she says help with even heat distribution, and it also has digital temperature controls and auto shutoff. Plus, she adds, “It hydrates hair and can be used to create curls and waves.”

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$120 at Ulta Beauty Buy Best two-inch ceramic flat iron BaBylissPRO Porcelain Ceramic Straightening Iron $60 Should you want wider plates to cover more surface area quicker, hairstylist Benjamin Muller says this BaByliss Pro has “a shape that feels good in your hand and is easy to maneuver,” plus a heat index that makes it easy to transition for hair type and texture. He also likes the effect its ceramic body has on hair: “I feel the texture is better and more smooth.”

$60 at Bed Bath & Beyond Buy Best flat iron with a touchscreen Paul Mitchell 1-Inch Neuro Halo Styling Iron With Neuro Protect $180 Should you want something more high-tech, celebrity and editorial hairstylist Holly Mills praises this flat iron as one “I can’t live without.” The digital touchscreen allows her to get super-precise with the temperature, down to the tenth degree. “It indicates ‘fine’, ‘medium,’ and ‘coarse’ as you raise the temperature,” she says, adding, “it’s super-sleek.”

$180 at Amazon Buy $180 at Ulta Beauty Buy Best flat irons for a range of hair types FHI 1.25-Inch Tourmaline Ceramic Professional Hairstyling Iron $101 Maybe you’re a stylist who wants a flat iron that will work on a range of hairstyles, or you need something with higher heat settings that will iron out coarser natural hair. Tym Wallace, a celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, and Yara Shahidi, recommends the FHI Platform irons — “all of them” — because of the temperature control settings that reach a scorching 450 degrees. “It straightens hair really well and gives the hair a bounty of shine and is versatile among hair types and styles,” he says. It’s also supposedly the flat iron Beyoncé uses.

$101 at Amazon Buy $101 at Amazon Buy Cloud Nine Original Iron $182 Sabrina Szinay, a New York based–hairstylist at the Wall Group, has been using the Cloud 9 straightening iron for years. In her experience, she says, “it’s the most gentle and efficient iron in one” with mineral-infused ceramic plates for decreasing frizz. The temperature settings are a big asset, making it easy to transition from lower temps to high heat, i.e., “for fine and damaged hair to coarse and thick hair that needs more heat.”

$182 at Selfridges & Co. Buy Best dual-voltage flat irons Amika the Confidante Moisture-Maintenance Styler $150 If you want to take your iron with you overseas, you’ll want one that’s dual voltage like this Amika styler, which resident Project Runway All Stars hair consultant Linh Nguyen recommends as a one-pass iron with 25 percent longer plates. He notes that since it has “ion technology that helps seal the hair cuticle with negative ions” and “an infrared light beam that gets deeper into the hair to keep out frizz,” it’s ideal for smoothing hair without any flyaways or for creating a wavy, shiny look. Cassadi Currier, stylist and extension specialist at Pembley Joon, says she’s always looking for ionic technology when shopping for hot tools for the same reasons. She also adds that sealing the hair’s cuticles gives you “the shiniest hair possible.” She says this flat iron has a lot of other cool features, too. “Mostly I love this because it heats up quickly, going all the way up to 450 degrees, and it works really quickly,” she says. “I also love that it has a smart shut off because I am notorious for forgetting to turn my hot tools off.” In addition to using a heat protectant — her favorite is the Kevin Murphy Young Again serum — she also recommends starting with a lower temperature and working your way up to determine how much heat you will really need. No matter the texture, she doesn’t recommend going above 420 degrees.

$150 at Amazon Buy $150 at Amazon Buy CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium 1 1/4” Straightening Hairstyling Iron $85 $85 Photo: retailer Mills likes to use CHI straighteners like this one when traveling abroad, because it has dual-voltage capabilities and heats up in less than a minute. She also appreciates that you can adjust it in five degree increments (all the way up to 425 degrees) so you can choose the right temperature for your hair. “I use low heat for fragile hair, medium for “normal” hair, and higher temperatures for thick or textured hair,” she says.

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$85 at Amazon Buy $85 at Amazon Buy Croc Classic Black Titanium 1.5-Inch Flat Iron $134 People who use a flat iron every day might want something more ergonomic for regular use. In that vein, Wonderland Beauty Parlor senior colorist and hairstylist Ryan Hill is emphatic about how much he likes this Croc Classic titanium iron, especially because of its shape, which he says is “ergonomic enough for me to grip firmly without feeling any heat through the handle, unlike most other irons.” This one is by far his favorite, and he has tried many over the years. It has digital temperature settings ranging from 280 to 450 degrees, “making it perfect for fragile hair as well as keratin treatments, which typically require high temperatures,” and he loves that the ceramic plates produce natural infrared that helps prevent damage and dryness. And for travelers, it’s dual voltage. “I can’t think of a single downfall to this iron, I love it that much.”

Read more: The Cut »

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