With so many hair straighteners to choose from, and all of them promising the same thing, it’s hard to filter through the options to find the best product to invest your hard-earned money.
I set out to find the best hair straightener because a flat iron is something we bust out when we want to be just a little extra. Unlike a blow dryer, a hair straightener is not something that most women use every day.
On special occasions, those of us with straight hair use our flat iron to create curls, while those of us with curly hair use our straightener to get rid of curls.
This, at first glance, makes zero sense. On further reflection, however, I came to realize that the common denominator is that we want our straightener to make us feel like we put in just a little more effort to look our best. It’s essentially the red lipstick of hair products: a little flashy, yes, but it’s not intended to look totally natural. It’s intended to make you look good.
Don’t worry, we think you’re perfect just the way you are. But for those special occasions where you want to straighten your curls, or curl your straights, we’ve put together a list of the products we love.
(And for those of you who do flat iron your hair every day, may I just say good job from all of us. Also, don’t worry, we picked one out for you too!)
Knowing that the flat iron was an opportunity to make women feel their best, I did not take this task lightly.
I started by trying a ton of hair straighteners with different technologies, techniques, and price points. I asked my friends with varying hair textures to try the ones I liked best. I also researched what top beauty industry professionals recommend. And I took the following factors into consideration:
- Feel: There’s nothing worse than a hair straightener that snags and pulls at your precious locks. I looked for flat irons that ran through your hair without tugging for a better experience and overall result.
- Price: We all love a good bargain, but let’s keep in mind that you’re running a potentially searing-hot appliance across delicate strands of hair near your face and neck. I’ve found cheaper straighteners tend to be made of lower quality materials that get extremely hot and threaten to damage not only your hair, but also nearby extremities. I recommend investing in a flat iron that will last longer and save the top few layers of skin on your fingers. That said, women were literally using clothing irons up until relatively recently. So, if you’re a very careful person with a smaller budget, I selected my favorite affordable options as well.
- Technology: There are a few ways we can iron our hair without frying the living hell out of it. In short, I looked for straighteners that were ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium — more on that in the FAQs, down toward the bottom.
Best Overall Hair Straightener
Furiden Two-In-One ($66)
This straightener really pulls out all the stops. It comes with hair clips and a glove for styling, doubles as a curler with an extra-long swivel cord, and even automatically adjusts voltage when you’re traveling.
It heats up in 15 seconds and allows you to adjust between 250 and 450 degrees. And at under $70, with so many built-in features and accessories, it’s kind of like you got it for free, right?!
T3 SinglePass Luxe ($180)
This is a luxury hair straightener that’s lightweight and easy to use. Its heat settings don’t allow you to set exact degrees, and it’s a little spendy. But with tourmaline ceramic plates and a super modern look, the price just might be worth it.
Best Hair Straightener for Everyday Use
Drybar Tress Press Flat Iron ($150)
This is the official styling tool of Drybar, so it’s built to last through thousands of clients per week. It’s also very cute, which is a huge plus since you’ll use it daily.
Its round edges make it great for both straightening and curling, and it offers the utmost control by allowing you to set the temperature up to 450 degrees. Coming in at around $150, this is a great investment in the future of your hairstyle.
GHD Platinum Styler ($249)
This is the golden child of hair straighteners, coming in at the top of nearly every list. To be entirely honest, I didn’t love this hair straightener.
I’ll start with the good: It’s pretty, it makes a cool sound when you turn it on, it heats up quickly, and it’s permanently set to 365 degrees to defend your hair from damage. This flat iron protects you from yourself, making it perfect for everyday use.
Now for the bad. At around $250, it’s really freaking expensive. And, if you’re like me and want to throw caution to the wind and fry your hair for a special occasion, don’t spend the money. Lots of people rave about the “comfort” factor of the built-in hinge at the handle, but I think it just feels weird.
Best Straightener for Fine Hair
HSI Professional Glider ($50)
This straightener is the number one best seller on Amazon, and for good reason. I recommend this product for all hair types, but especially for those with fine hair because it will protect your hair in the long term. It features tourmaline-infused ceramic plates that evenly distribute heat while preventing frizz and the need for multiple passes.
It also allows you to adjust the temperature, and you can style your hair as low as 140 degrees (or as high as 450 if your fuller-haired friend is getting ready at your place). At under $50, it has all the features of a premium product at half the price. And for this, I’ll just have to get past its shamelessly porn-y name and get on board with The Glider.
Agave Healing Vapor Iron ($129)
Let me start by saying I did not want to like this flat iron. First, it looks very “As Seen on TV” to me, and there is a man named Fernando Romero on the inside wearing a fedora and talking about his grandmother. What’s more, I have oily hair, so the thought of willingly putting oil in my hair is ludicrous. (And for all those readers who are dying to give me a lecture on washing my hair less: I already know and I don’t want to hear it!)
Despite these serious flaws and reservations, I must say that this flat iron made my hair look amazing. The straightener was very easy to maneuver, and my hair was smooth and shiny all day. I would have even bumped this straightener to the top of the list, but I did notice some leaking when I re-tested it a week later.
It also has a distinct, though not offensive, smell, so it’s not ideal if you’re sensitive to scents. That said, this is a great option to give fine-haired ladies that thick, glossy glow.
Best Straightener for Thick or Frizzy Hair
Bio Ionic OnePass Straightening Iron ($199)
This is a solid hair straightener for all hair types. I love it for thick hair in particular because of its use of nanoionic minerals and infrared energy to make your hair super glossy.
Its signature silicone speed strips prevent you from going too fast, and allow you to tame frizz and flyaways in just one pass. At around $200, this is a luxury hair straightener that will give you salon-level style at home.
KIPOZI Professional Titanium Flat Iron ($37)
This no-frills hair straightener is perfect if you want to straighten thick hair quickly and efficiently. The titanium plates are bigger than average, so you can tackle larger sections faster. It’s not ideal for curling or more precise styling, but at under $40, this is a great option for getting the job done.
Best Budget Hair Straightener
Remington 1” Flat Iron ($25)
This straightener has a digital temperature control as well as ceramic plates to gloss over hair smoothly whether you’re straightening or curling.
The ceramic plates are coated in titanium, meaning they will protect your hair — up until the coating wears off. This flat iron also has an off-putting plastic smell. But, at $25, you might be willing to just light a candle, hold your breath, or take in the sweet fresh air of money saved.
Herstyler SuperStyler Onyx Ceramic Flat Iron ($32)
This iron comes equipped with ceramic plates, negative ion technology, and an adjustable temperature up to 500 degrees in 30 seconds.
Word of warning: 500 degrees is way too hot for any hair type, so unless you want to end up like one of those poor middle school girls in a “hair tutorial gone wrong” video, only buy this straightener if you trust your impulse control skills.
What are hair straighteners made of, anyway?
There are a few materials that you’ll commonly see in straighteners.
- Titanium: Plates made of titanium heat up quickly, and evenly distribute heat. Titanium straighteners are great for thick, coarse, and curly hair, though they tend to be pricier.
- Ceramic: Ceramic plates are a more cost-effective way to evenly distribute heat.
- Tourmaline, or ionic plates: Pricey, but these are a great way to control frizz as they produce negative ions that bind to the hair shafts.
Many inexpensive flat irons are only coated in these materials, so be aware that the coating wears off!
Is it okay to flat iron my hair while it’s wet?
No, it’s not okay. That sizzling noise is exactly what it sounds like, sorry. You can cause some pretty serious damage by straightening your hair while it’s damp, so you’ll definitely want to blow-dry it or air-dry it before you jump in.
How do I curl my hair with a flat iron?
Take a deep breath… You can do this!
It’s actually pretty simple: Take sections of hair and move the iron in a circular direction away from your face. I like this short video tutorial.
I wait until my hair cools down and run a brush through it for a more effortless look, but you can also use your straightener to create pretty tight curls if you prefer.