Best Flat Iron For Curly Hair [Review] in 2021
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
Got a head full of luscious curls and fancy changing it up every so often with a sleek straight look? Well, purchasing a hair straightener that is strong enough to straighten curly hair without the damage is something super handy to have.
So if you’re on the hunt for the best hair straighteners for curly hair, you’re at the right place!
Since having curly hair myself, I know the feeling of being bored of the same hairstyle every single day; while there are hundreds of ways to style curly hair, it is always nice to switch it up and run the flat iron over your ends– even if if it’s just for a day or two.
But finding a flat iron that is strong enough to straighten the unruliest of curls with minimum damage and quite pricey; since curly hair is the most fragile hair type, it’s important to look after it, and spending a little extra goes a long way.
Now, wait, let me tell you something…
To make life easier for you, I have selected, tried, and tested the best flat irons for curly hair that have not only been loved by myself but lots of other curly girl reviewers. So whether you have thick, coarse hair or fine hair, I’ve got your curls covered.
Here’s a pro tip before getting started: your hair products are super important to perfect and hold the finish. Make sure you start on a blank slate and choose your styling products wisely; it will be make or break for the finished look– plus, it helps protect against heat damage.
Let’s delve into the best straighteners for curly hair!
top picks of the best hair straighteners for curly hair
HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Flat Iron
Coming in at number one is the best hair straightener on Amazon; this flat iron by HSI comes with ceramic plates, which create dramatic results on even the coarsest, frizziest hair types with minimal effort.
HSI uses similar technology to GHDs with their microsensors; these high-quality ceramic plates use 8 HeatBalance Micro-sensors which help regulate temperature and evenly distribute heat, so fewer passes are needed.
This is brilliant if you already have damaged hair.
While the micro-sensors help regulates temperature, the ceramic and crystal tourmaline plates help create silky, shinier results in less time, so you can easily straighten those precious curls with minimal damage.
Since textured hair is most prone to frizz, this flat iron by HSA helps eliminate frizz with adjustable high heat with adjustable temperatures from as low as 140ºF to as high as 450ºF, giving you greater control achieve a sleek and smooth finish.
But wait, here’s the best bit:
The tourmaline ceramic plates generate negative ions, which allow smaller water molecules to penetrate the hair shaft, which helps reduce frizz and static– these negative ions also help prevent heat damage.
This brilliant hair straightener was built for durability and offers long-lasting results. The floating plates help give the flexibility to straighten or even curl your hair. You can buy with confidence with the 1-year warranty.
If you have naturally thick, curly hair, which seems once untamable, then you will be blown away by the results of this flat iron. It leaves hair feeling smooth, soft, and shiny in 20-30 minutes, and guess what? It will stay in all week!
Even super curly hair can have straight hair with this flat iron hair straightener! With thousands of glowing reviews from those with curly hair, this one is a winner for the price– did I tell you it was under 50 bucks too??
With some added accessories and brilliant quality ceramic plates that offer complete customizability to temperature with ever-lasting smooth results.
- Tourmaline ceramic plates
- 8 HeatBalance Micro-Sensors
- Silky, soft, frizz-free finish
- Affordable price point
- No safety features like auto shut off
Latest deal: HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Flat Iron
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Ionic Straightening Iron
There’s nothing worse than hand fatigue when straightening your hair; if you have thick hair, I feel your pain. Or even if you’re trying to straighten unruly curls, straightening can take what feels like forever, and the hand ache after is real!
Well, let me introduce you to the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium flat iron professional hair straightener.
The slim, lightweight, ergonomic design helps eliminate hand fatigue while increasing styling flexibility. This ultra-thin profile uses high-end technology, making them easy to work with.
The extra-long 5-inch plates make it the best hair straightener for thick hair. 10 heat settings can reach up to 450ºf and allow wider sections to be straightened, which boosts speeds and effectiveness while helping with hand fatigue.
You thought 10 heat settings was impressive? Wait till you hear this!
I love BaByliss because it offers high-quality components and complete adjustability; with 50 heat settings, you can well and truly customize this straightener to suit you.
Plus, smooth titanium plates that glide easily and quickly over stubborn, unruly hair without catching or snagging strands mean fewer strokes, less friction, and lower heat damage and hair breakage.
But wait, here’s the best bit: this straightener is strong enough to tame unruly curls too! I would go as far as to say it is the best hair straightener for curly hair. Some curly girls have said it tamed their curls after one stroke!
I think it’s fair to say that this straightener is a winner amongst those with curls and thick unruly hair!
- Can tame curls in one stroke
- 10 heat settings
- High-quality smoothing titanium plates
- 5-inch plates making it ideal for thick hair
- Doesn’t have auto shut off
Latest deal: BaBylissPRO Ionic Straightening Iron
GHD Platinum Ceramic Flat Iron
Now I’m sure everyone’s heard of the legendary GHD Hair but is it really worth the big bucks? Absolutely, it is one of the smartest flat irons on the market; it measures the heat of the plates 250 times per second to ensure heat is consistent.
This breakthrough ultra-predictive technology recognizes each section of hair. It adapts the temperature to ensure the optimum temperature of 365º, which allows for 70% stronger hair and 20% more shine and color protection.
It recognizes the thickness of your hair and the speed at which you are styling and adjusts accordingly so you can have results like no other with minimal damage.
But what makes it so brilliant for curly hair?
Well, for starters, the ceramic plates are advanced, precision-milled floating plates with a high spec gloss finish for effortless, smooth styling and shine. It even comes with a heat-resistant plate guard so you can take your flat iron wherever you go.
As if that was enough, here’s more.
GHD’s have universal voltage to deliver the same outstanding performance wherever you go. So you can take this bad boy on holiday with the confidence that your hair will look as good as it does at home.
Now, safety with straighteners is super important, which is why I love the automatic sleep mode feature is really handy; if not in use for over 30 minutes, the GHD’s will automatically go into rest mode; this offers great peace of mind.
No more panicking as to whether you turned the straightener off!
Another thing I love about GHD’s is the unique wishbone hinge which ensures the precision milled plates stay aligned for snag-free styling. There is no more unnecessary heat as you try to straighten that one stubborn section, making it ideal for damaged hair.
My only pet peeve with GHDs is that they only have one heat setting, but the heat technology makes up for one.
We spend enough on our hair already; it’s worth spending a few extra bucks to protect our luscious locks to make it all worthwhile– GHD’s are legendary!
- Ultra-predictive technology to ensure consistent temperature
- Adjusts temperature for minimal damage
- Leaves even the tightest curls with silky hair
- Safety feature turns off after 30 mins of non-use
Latest deal: GHD Platinum Ceramic Flat Iron
Remington S9520 Pro Pearl Ceramic Flat Iron
Here’s another brilliant budget-friendly hair straightener that still offers excellent quality for the price. The 2-inch floating ceramic plates offer a smooth glide, while the slim styling plates contain 8x more ceramic for less damage and frizz.
The higher the ceramic content, the less damage, and frizz– score!
If you have thick, frizzy curls, then this anti-static flat iron by Remington will be your lifesaver. The 2-inch plates offer more surface area, making it ideal for damaged or colored hair as there is less damage on each hair strand.
The professional pearl ceramic combines with high temperatures for higher temperatures and constant heat performance for salon-like results. The ceramic plates are infused with real crushed pearls for one-pass straightening.
The 2-inch ceramic floating plates give you full styling control while staying in contact with your hair for smooth, effortless gliding, no snagging or pulling on strands that result in breakage.
But wait, that’s not all…
Like with Revlon and GHD’s, Remington also has an auto switch off; just like with Revlon, it is after 60 minutes of no-use, which is longer than GHD’s but still an amazing feature to have, especially for a 30 buck straightener.
I am a personal fan of heat customizability, and for the price you pay and being able to have 9 heat settings up to 450ºf, this is an impressive and important feature to have.
It even comes with a swivel cord which is super handy when handling the straightener; it makes it much easier to move and makes the design much more ergonomic, so you won’t have to worry about hand fatigue.
It can smooth the hair cuticle, leaving hair feeling silky smooth and with minimal damage. Whether you have fine hair or thick, coarse curls, these 2-inch plates will help smooth even the stubbornest curls.
- 8x more ceramic for less damage and frizz
- 9 temperature options up to 450ºf
- 60-minute auto-shut-off
- Floating plates for smooth gliding performance
- It may not last as long as higher-priced items
Latest deal: Remington S9520 Pro Pearl Ceramic Flat Iron
REVLON One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler
Last but certainly not least is something a little different, and instead of flat iron, I have found the best hair straightener brush. It is the brush that does it all; it will both straighten and blow dry your curls.
You may have heard of the round brush version of this social media sensation, but is it worth the craze?
Well, when it comes to straightening, the paddle brush version is far better at smoothing curly hair and leaving curly hair texture smooth and silky with minimal damage.
Talking about decreasing heat damage, this Revlon drying brush also has multiple temperature settings for complete customizability.
This hair straightener brush offers the power of a dryer and the precision of a style in one tool. The paddle brush easily runs through your hair to detangle, dry and smooth hair in half the time.
But that’s not all…
The powerful ionic technology allows you to have a salon-quality finish without damage. The paddle brush combined with this technology helps tame frizz, leaving hair looking and feeling shiny.
Talking of convenience, this dryer comes with a professional swivel cord, making drying much easier for tangle-free, effortless styling. It even comes with a cool tip to make styling that much easier.
This brush uses detangling technology, which helps ease tangles out of hair and prevent breakage when styling. At the same time, the flexible pad adds styling and drying comfort.
If you fancy a change but want to maintain your healthy hair, then getting a hairdryer brush that offers straightening capabilities is ideal over buying a straightening iron.
Whether you have thicker hair or finer hair, anyone can benefit from a blow dryer brush to help smooth their curls.
- Ionic technology
- Smooths frizz and straighten stubborn sections
- Adjustable temperature settings
- Can be used on wet hair
- May not be enough for coily hair
Latest deal: REVLON One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler
Best Straighteners For Curly Hair-- A Buyer’s Guide:
With so many ways to care for our curls and techniques in the Curly Girl Method, sometimes we want to do something different with our hair. Don’t get me wrong, you should embrace those curls, but it’s good to have a change from time to time.
Using a flat iron with advanced technology is ideal for straightening hair, especially curly hair. Curly hair is the most fragile hair type, along with the driest, so they are most prone to damage.
A professional hair straightener tends to come with ceramic plates, heat sensor technology, and ionic technology. But ionic plates heat up quickly, so why would you want that?
Actually, ceramic plates are often infused with ions that add a negative charge to the hair. This helps seal the cuticle and prevent heat damage to your hair. So spending a little extra on ceramic flat irons will go a long way, especially for textured hair.
You’ll also want heat sensor technology like HSI or GHDs; this checks the temperature multiple times a second to ensure even heat distribution and to prevent having to straighten your hair more than once.
Now I’ve shown you the best flat irons for curly hair; I’m going to show you my top tips for straightening curly hair without frizz, along with anything else you need to know.
How To Straighten Curly Hair Without The Frizz
Since curly hair is the top culprit of frizz, it can be quite a challenge to straighten this hair type using flat irons. It’s all about prepping your hair with the right products for your hair beforehand and using the right technique for minimal damage.
Here’s how you do it!
Step One: Apply A Treatment Mask Beforehand:
The first thing you’ll want to do is prep your hair for straightening, so hop on into the shower and shampoo and condition your hair. You’ll want to do a shampoo over co-washing your hair when using a flat iron as you want all the excess oils to be washed away.
But since you are straightening hair with high temperatures, I recommend doing a deep conditioning treatment mask beforehand.
So hop in the shower, give your hair a rinse and a good message under the running water for a minute or two, turn off the shower and squeeze out any excess water. Then apply your hair mask all over your hair and leave it on for 20-30 minutes.
You can wrap up your hair in a microfiber towel that’s specific for treatments, so the mask really penetrates those curly tresses. This will help add a protective barrier from the flat iron heat.
Step Two: Shampoo & Condition:
Next up is to wash your hair using your loo-poo sulfate-free shampoo. When choosing a sulfate-free shampoo for your curly hair, make sure you choose one that is right for your hair porosity and curl type— it actually makes a world of difference.
If you’re not sure why you should switch to a sulfate-free shampoo with curly hair, it is because sulfates can be very stripping to the hair, stripping the hair of its natural oils. While this may be brilliant for those with oily scalps, since curly hair is already the driest hair type, this can make curls more prone to damage.
Use a moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and hydrating conditioner; we want to retain as much moisture as possible as your hair is more likely to get damaged when it is dry.
Apply your conditioner and leave it on for a minute or two while you wash your body and shave whatever you have left in the shower. I personally prefer to start detangling with my fingers while the conditioner is on too, this helps with the detangling afterward.
If you have high porosity hair, I would also recommend doing a cool rinse at the end; this should help seal the cuticle– high porosity hair is most prone to heat damage as the cuticle is not lying flat.
Step Three: Apply Leave-In Conditioner & Heat Protectant:
While your hair is still dripping wet in the shower, this is when you should apply your leave-in conditioner. Leave in conditioners to create a seal over your hair strand and help create a barrier over the cuticle to lock in moisture.
The leave-in conditioner will help moisturize and smooth your hair strands, and the heat protectant will protect your hair while styling.
They work best when your hair is soaking wet as they soak up all the water particles to help retain moisture in the ends of your hair; if you’re not using a leave-in conditioner every time you wash your curly hair, you absolutely should be.
Once you’ve applied the leave-in conditioner, start to detangle your strands using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling wet brush— whatever detangling tool that works on detangling your curly hair without snagging or pulling.
You can towel dry the ends of your hair so your hair isn’t dripping and applies your heat protectant. Whatever you do, never apply heat or use a flat iron on curly hair without a heat protectant; it will just cause damage and breakage.
Your heat protectant is the most crucial thing you should remember, especially when using flat irons. Our hair strands are very similar to our skin; while we cannot feel it burning our strands, it does equally as much damage over time.
All the other steps are irrelevant if you don’t use a heat protectant. If you don’t use a heat protectant, your hair will become very dry, brittle, and prone to damage and breakage, along with frizz and tangling.
Also, remember to apply a heat protectant that can protect your hair up to the heat of your flat iron temperature; some heat protectants only protect hair against blow dryer heat rather than flat iron heat.
I would also recommend that you use a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt over your regular cotton or terry cloth towel. Your cotton towel can actually cause a lot of damage to your natural hair as well as cause frizz.
Step Four: Let your hair naturally dry 50%
Blow-drying soaking wet hair actually causes the most damage as the wetter the hair strand, the more fragile it is. If you have some time on your hands, it’s best to let your hair air dry for half an hour to an hour before going in with your blow dryer.
You can either leave hair drying for a little while or just rough blow-dry your hair on a cool setting using a back and forth technique until your hair is 80% dry and leave it to naturally dry for the last 20%.
Especially with curly hair, you want the least amount of damage on your hair as possible, so you can either wrap your hair up in a microfiber towel for 30 mins to an hour and then blow-dry.
Tip: Choose The Right Brush:
The brush you use may actually be the culprit for frizz and damage when you use a flat iron if you don’t have naturally straight hair anyway.
It is recommended that you use boar bristles with nylon as the boar bristles help to smooth and polish, while the nylon helps to detangle and separate your hair as you work through knots.
It will run over the texture of your hair easily, without snagging, pulling, or disrupting the hair cuticle– which is key when trying to smooth curly hair.
Step Five: Blow Dry In Sections:
So once you’ve left your hair to naturally dry for a little while, use your paddle brush or round brush to try and blow dry those curls as smooth as possible. You may need a medium/high heat to do this but try to keep the temperature as low as possible when drying.
The best way to smooth out curly hair is to work in sections; starting underneath, use 2-inch sections, or even smaller if you have very thick, coarse curls. Combination bristles are brilliant for creating tension and smoothing the cuticle without the frizz.
Be patient for this step, as the smoother your hair is before you use a flat iron, the better.
Tip: Only Style Bone Dry Hair:
We’ve all straightened our hair while it was slightly wet and heard the horrible sound of the straighteners sizzling as they hit the hair; if you do this, you’re guaranteed to have damaged your hair.
Your hair should be bone dry before you straighten, and if your hair has a greasy residue, then you might want to evaluate the products you are using.
The straightener will also boil the product into the hair follicle, which can be particularly damaging, especially if it contains alcohol which can strip moisture from your strand.
If you have quite thick, coarse hair, you can also apply a little extra heat protectant after blow-drying your hair for that added protection; it will be likely that the heat protectant will be absorbed into your hair and may need a top-up after drying, especially if you have high porosity hair.
That being said, if you have high porosity hair, make sure you apply your gels, creams, serums, or oils to the ends of your hair along with the heat protectant before drying to help smooth the cuticle and help close the cuticle.
Tip: Go For A Straightener With Customizable Heat Settings:
Having a flat iron with customizable heat settings is brilliant as you can lower the heat if you have quite damaged hair for less damage. GHD’s are set at 365ºf, ideal for normal hair but may not be ideal for fine, damaged hair.
For extra thick curly hair, the ideal temperature is between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature to smooth your hair and straighten coarse curls– don’t forget your heat protectant!
Step Six: Section Your Hair:
Now you’ve blow-dried your curls straight, they may be looking a little bit poofy, but if you use the right products, your hair should still be manageable. The smaller the sections, the better, as it saves running over the same section multiple times.
Sectioning your hair is hair straightening 101; it will leave you time and cause less damage in the long run as you’re not scorching the strands.
Split your hair in the middle at the back and bring it forward; starting underneath, use a tail comb to section your hair into one-inch sections.
The number of sections you do will all depend on the thickness of your hair; if you have quite fine hair, then working with 2-inch sections will be better, but if you have quite thick, unruly curls, then 1-inch sections will be better.
Pin or clip up all the sections you’re not using and straighten each section; either pin your hair on top of your dead or behind your shoulders.
Step Seven: Clamp the Straightener, Using A Comb To Guide Through:
For minimal damage, you want to be sure that the straightener glides over your hair rather than snagging or pulling. I like to run the comb through each section before, and when running the straightener over, this ensures each section is smooth.
Start as close to your root as possible, and while I would only recommend running the straightener over each section, I know this isn’t realistic, so try to stick to 2-3 times.
Smaller sections will mean that you won’t need to run it over with the flat iron as much. Try to be gentle and not snag or pull on strands; you should try to glide the plates over your hair rather than drag it.
Since curly hair is quite textured, by working in small sections, you can help glide the flat iron over the ends of your hair using the comb; this will prevent disrupting the hair strand and causing frizz.
Step Eight: Apply Serum Or Oil:
Once you’ve gone over every section with the flat iron, make sure you apply a hydrating serum or oil to the ends, this will help restore hydration to the ends, along with providing a protective barrier to help keep your hair straighter for longer and not frizzy from the humidity.
This step is super important on curly hair as, without it, your hair will start to curl back up the next day, and the hour or two spent using the flat iron will be wasted.
Apply a couple of pumps of oil or serum and rub it in between your fingers for a couple of sections and gently comb it through the mid-lengths and ends; this should leave your ends looking shiny and luscious.
For a little extra hold, you can also apply hair spray afterward, spraying from a distance, so it doesn’t leave a greasy residue.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you straighten curly hair faster?
The best way to straighten curly hair faster using a flat iron is to dry it as smoothly as possible beforehand. Using either a round brush or paddle brush with your blow dryer to smooth.
Using the right products is also extremely important before using a flat iron. Some products can help smooth the cuticle and create a protective barrier over the hair strands, making it easier to smooth curls.
Also by working in sections will help smooth sections of curls much easier; trying to blow-dry your curls all at once will result in afro-looking frizz– which is the last thing we want, so remember to section your hair before using blow dryers or flat irons.
Check out my full guide on how to straighten curly hair here.
How do you straighten curly hair without damaging it?
Any heat applied using a flat iron will result in some damage, but excessive heat will permanently damage hair and ruin the curl pattern, so straightening once in a while using a flat iron won’t do any harm.
Whenever you use hair straighteners, remember to apply a heat protectant beforehand and prep your hair with moisturizing products, such as doing a hair mask beforehand and applying a leave-in conditioner.
This will help create a barrier over your hair strand and protect it against damage.
How do you straighten curly hair permanently?
You can go to the salon and get your hair professionally treated with a keratin treatment. It is a cosmetic product used to straighten hair and makes naturally curly or wavy hair appear straighter and smoother.
It also works to smooth frizz, so your hair becomes naturally more manageable and straighter. It doesn’t damage the hair as it adds keratin to the hair, which is responsible for the structure of the hair strands.
There are some ways you can straighten curly hair naturally, without using a flat iron. You can give some of these techniques a go if you want straighter hair without heat damage.
How do you straighten men’s curly hair?
There are a few ways to straighten men’s curly hair easily, whether that is with a flat iron, blow dryer, or natural remedies to relax the curl and promote straight hair. Check out my full guide for the full rundown.
So there you have everything you need to know when using a flat iron on curly hair. Whether you fancy a change or debating whether or not to have your hair permanently straightened, the right prep goes a long way.
Since curly hair is the most fragile hair type, they all take extra care before using a flat iron; moisturizing and applying heat protectant beforehand will create a barrier over the ends of your hair.
Choose any flat irons I have selected for you today, whether it is an affordable flat iron or a more expensive styling iron. But if you take it from me, the quality flat irons prevent more heat damage and are definitely worth the investment.
Which one will you go for?
Cheif Editor & Nail Technician Expert
Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.