Best Hair Straightener [Review] in 2021
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
When it comes to styling our hair, the blow dryer and flat iron straightener are the staples in our hair routine. We are constantly hunting for a flat iron that will smooth our luscious locks with minimal damage.
While heat protectant will be your savior, choosing a cheap, low-quality hair straightener will be your downfall.
Now, you can achieve some fairly straight hairstyles using the blow dryer; they have nothing on the sleek, glossy finish that a hair straightener can achieve and the most luscious, big, and bouncy curls, which will hold like no other.
But with so many on the market claiming to cause minimal damage or to be the best material for natural shine, plus with a fair handful of materials like ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline, it can be quite confusing to know what’s actually best for your hair.
Now, wait, let me tell you something…
To make things easier for you, I have only selected the best hair straighteners for your hair; sometimes, it’s better to spend a little extra on your hair straightener as you’re paying for quality and minimal damage.
I have researched through over 46 different flat irons while on the hunt for the top hair straighteners for your money.
Stay tuned. You won’t want to miss my top 3 picks!
the Best Hair Straighteners On The Market
GHD Platinum Hair Straightener Ceramic Flat Iron
best ceramic hair straightener
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.
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. No more unnecessary heat as you try to straighten that one stubborn section.
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
- Universal voltage
- Safety feature turns off after 30 mins of non-use
Latest deal: GHD Platinum Ceramic Flat Iron
REVLON Smooth Brilliance Ceramic Flat Iron
Coming in at number is a much more budget-friendly option that still offers brilliant qualities for your hair, then you need to give Revlon a try; Revlon is known for its high-quality products at affordable prices.
Whether you want big evolutionary waves or striking sleek straight locks, Revlon is the tool you need to complete the look. Just like GHD, Revlon has a 60-minute auto shut-off feature that gives you peace of mind when styling.
Since the product is much cheaper, it doesn’t have as much temperature control as GHD’s and gets up to a top heat of 455°F quite quickly, which is much hotter than GHDs– not necessarily a good thing.
Just be sure to remember to get a heat protectant that can protect up to these temperatures to protect those luscious locks!
You get what you pay for with these, but they’re still brilliant for the price!
The ceramic coating is designed to provide you optimal heat with minimal damage. This flat iron is also lightweight, ergonomically slim, which extra-long plates provide a larger hair styling surface– ideal for thick hair!
The Advanced Ionic Tourmaline 3X Ceramic Coating will glide effortlessly across each hair strand for radiant shine and luster. The True-Grip Smooth Glide floating plate is also designed to prevent snagging and smooth styles.
Despite having a maximum temperature of 455°F, what I love about Revlon is that there are 10 customizable LED heat settings so you can customize how hot you’d like the flat iron for your hair– which means you have the option of heat that hot.
For 30 bucks, you cannot beat the features you get!
- Automatic switch-off after 60 mins
- 10 heat settings up to 455°F
- Ceramic coating
- True-Grip Smooth Glide floating plates
- 60 minutes is a long time for auto switch off
Latest deal: REVLON Smooth Brilliance Ceramic Flat Iron
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin 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 Ultra-Thin 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. It 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 coated 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
- 50 heat settings
- High-quality smoothing titanium
- 5-inch plates making it ideal for thick hair
- Doesn’t have auto shut off
Latest deal: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Straightening Iron
Remington S9500 Pro 1" Ceramic Flat Iron
Here’s another brilliant budget-friendly hair straightener that still offers excellent quality for the price. The 1-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!
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 1 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 hair, and it can even curl your hair too– for the price, you can’t beat it!
- 8x more ceramic for less damage and frizz
- 9 temperature options up to 450ºf
- 60-minute auto-shut-off
- Floating plates for smooth gliding perfromance
- May not last as long as higher priced items
Latest deal: Remington S9500 Pro 1″ Ceramic Flat Iron
Xtava Pro Satin Infrared Flat Iron
Next up is yet another affordable option that is worth your money. Unlike the other hair straighteners, Xtava Pro uses an infrared flat iron designed to tame frizzy hair minus the damage. It will leave hair shiny and smooth.
The 2-inch wide ceramic tourmaline floating plates glide through even the coarsest of hair for glossy, effortless results. The infrared and tourmaline heating technology heat hair inside and out.
It even stimulates negative ions in your hair from the hair shaft to the surface; this helps lock in moisture and look in your look even in humid weather.
It has features that will make life much easier; with 90-second rapid heat technology, your hair will be ready within no time. It even comes with an 8-foot cord that won’t trip you when walking around the room. It is also handy if your outlet is far away.
Here’s the best bit.
Just like Revlon, Remington, and GHD, Xtava also comes with an auto-shutoff after 60 minutes so you can have peace of mind, no more panicking when out as to whether you shut off your straightener.
What I love about this straightener is that it also comes with a 10 customizable temperature setting ranging from 265ºf-445ºf. If you have fine, delicate hair, you can go for the lower settings from 265-300ºf , 300°F – 380°F for a normal hair, and 380°F – 445°F for thick or coarse hair.
It will be sure to handle very thick, coarse, or even curly hair like a breeze thanks to the customizability in temperature and the smooth gliding 2-inch floating plates, which offer even coverage and less damage.
It even comes with a heat-resistant travel case so you can take your flat iron wherever you go! I think the infrared straightener is a winner for the price!
- 10 heat settings
- Stimulates negative ions to retain moisture and add shine
- 2-inch floating plates
- Infrared technology for less damage
Latest deal: Xtava Pro Satin Infrared Flat Iron
Best Hair-Straightener- A Buyer’s Guide:
Whether you have wavy, frizzy, curly, thick, coarse, unruly hair, the flat irons are crucial in our hair care routine; the glossy, sleek finish is almost addictive. But the scorching temperatures can wreck your hair if you buy a poor quality straightener or forget the heat protectant.
We all love the finished look of using straighteners but hate the aftermath of using one. We’ve probably all forgot our heat protectant over the years, whether it was when you were younger, straightening your hair before school, or just in a rush to get to work.
So while having a high-quality straightener is important, it is nothing without a trust heat protectant sidekick! Having sleek, shiny, luscious locks doesn’t need to come with a whirl of damage with the right products and right hair care.
I’m here to show you everything you need to know when buying a hair straightener and how to care for your hair to prevent heat damage, so stay tuned my friends; you won’t want to miss this.
How To Curl Your Hair With A Straightener:
Curling your hair with flat irons is a brilliant way to create full and bouncy curls that don’t look like ringlets; they also provide much more hold than any curler so that you can have defined, luscious curls for longer.
It may take a little practice, but once you’ve got the technique down, your curls will always look red carpet ready, plus you’ve saved yourself a hundred bucks on buying a curler!
Here’s the step by step to curling your hair with a straightener:
Step One: Wash & Blow Dry Your Hair:
You’ll want to start with freshly washed hair for the best results, so wash, condition, and blow-dry your hair like usual. Don’t forget your heat protectant; this is super important and the key to protecting your hair from heat damage.
Make sure you buy one suited for the temperatures of your straightener; some heat protectants only protect hair from the heat coming from your blow dryer and don’t protect against extreme temperatures such as flat irons.
Work in sections when applying your heat protectant. Ensure you detangle thoroughly with a comb or detangling brush to ensure the heat protectant is evenly distributed over your strands.
Dirty hair won’t hold the shape, and clean hair; you need to be sure that you’ve washed it in the past 24 hours. I like to use a mousse when curling my hair as it will keep my hair from looking too flat when I curl it.
Step Two: Use A Thin Flat Iron:
For best results, I recommend using a thin flat iron around 1 to 2 inches in width; any thicker won’t form smooth curls as it is much harder to wrap this kind of straightener and keep hair in place. Thin flat irons are key to defined curls.
A good quality flat iron is super important as it works faster, makes your hair smoother, and makes it less prone to damage like a poor quality flat iron. A poor quality flat iron will impact the shine and consistency of curls.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on GHDs if you curl or straighten your hair once in a blue moon, but if you do straighten your hair regularly, I would recommend investing in a good quality flat iron.
However, the only issue with GHDs is that they are at a set temperature, and you cannot customise that temperature, but their high-end technology and heat-protective features make up for it.
The best flat irons, in my personal opinion, come with customizable temperature settings.
Enough about me rambling on about GHDs; if you have fine hair, I would recommend keeping the temperature below 300 degrees, for normal hair stick between 300 and 380 and thick, coarse, frizzy hair can manage 350-400ºf.
Step Three: Part Your Hair Into Sections:
Don’t try to tackle your whole head at once; it will leave your curls looking uneven and messy; the best thing you should do is work in sections. The thicker your hair, the more sections you’ll need.
Tie your hair on top of your head for each section, so it is out the way, and you can work underneath, closest to your ears and neck, and work your way up. Work with 1, 2-inch sections at a time and pin up the rest.
Once you’ve finished one section, part the next section and pin up your hair until you reach the top layer.
Step Four: Curl Using Desired Technique:
You can use a few different techniques to curl your hair; it all depends on what works for you and what curls you’re looking to achieve. You can experiment with a few to see which one works for you.
Flicks: If you want some wavy flicks in your hair, you should start halfway down the length of your hair, clamp the flat iron and turn it back on itself in a half-turn, creating a U-shape with the iron.
Keeping that half-turn angle, slowly move it down to the tip of your hair strands. The faster you move the flat iron, the less pronounced curl/flick will be. So change the speed accordingly.
Curls: For curls start fairly close to the scalp, but not enough to burn it, clap the flat iron and turn. It back on itself in half turn and run slowly down the hair shaft.
Continue to twist the straightener as your run it down the shaft, but be slow and gentle. The slower you are, the tighter the curl, and the faster you move, the looser the wave.
You can experiment with the direction you use, whether you do a full rotation or half rotation and how fast you run the straightener through your hair. This will all change the shape and hold of the curl.
Step Five: Play With Your Curls:
Once you’ve worked through each section, you can either run your fingers through your hair or flip your head upside down and give your hair a little shake at the root to give more volume.
Add in hair spray (optional), and then you’re good to go!
Check out my full guide here!
Titanium vs. Ceramic Plates:
The most common materials you’ll find in flat irons are either titanium plates or ceramic plates. Titanium flat irons tend to heat up quicker than ceramic plates, but the strength and speed you get don’t compete with the protection of ceramic plates.
With a ceramic flat iron, heat gets evenly distributed across the ceramic plates, often enhanced to further protect hair.
Ceramic flat irons are often infused with tourmaline, which creates negative ions during the heat-up process; this adds a conditioning layer to protect and moisturize strands.
Ceramic plates paired with infrared ions emit negative ions and emit heat evenly from the inside out to reduce visible damage and help retain moisture to protect strands.
If you have quite damaged, whether that is from heat damaged or from chemical coloring treatments, you can also look into purchasing a steam hair straightener or a ceramic hair straightener with different heat options, this can help further protect your hair.
The technology of hair straighteners is constantly evolving to better style your hair without damage. As long as you have your trusty heat protectant, there’s no reason why you can’t straighten your hair.
How To Protect Hair From A Flat Iron:
As you know, protection is always better than a cure, especially when it comes to heat damage. Hence, protecting your hair before using a flat iron is super important for minimal damage and extraordinary results.
Make Sure To Deep Condition & Moisturize Before Use:
Before using any heat tools on your hair, you need to remember to wash your hair and deep condition using a hair mask before use. Leave the hair mask on for the recommended time, as this will help penetrate and nourish the cuticle.
A deep conditioner will also work to smooth the cuticle, making it easier to straighten. I would recommend towel drying with a microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt rather than your regular bath towel as this can rough up the cuticle and cause frizz.
Once you’ve gently removed the excess water from your strands using a microfibre towel, apply a leave-in conditioner as this will form a protective coating over your hair strand– preferably one with a heat protectant.
Let Hair Air Dry 50-70% Naturally:
Blow drying your hair as soon as you get out of the shower can actually be quite damaging for your hair strands; hair is most prone to heat damage while soaking wet, so if you have an hour or two on your hands, then leave your hair to air dry then blow-dry.
Then once your hair has been left to dry for a little while, the blow dryer will help straighten your hair, along with preventing knotting and tangling on the hair’s ends.
Point the nozzle downwards and around 15-25cm away from your hair, working in sections to ensure each section is dried fully. Blow-dry your hair on medium-high heat and finish on a cool setting to protect your cuticle.s
Never Forget Heat Protectant:
Let’s be honest here; we’ve all forgotten the heat protectant when styling our hair in the past, simply whether we’ve started styling our hair and have an “oh crap” moment or forgot altogether.
But your heat protectant is the most crucial thing you should remember, especially when using a flat iron. 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.
You wouldn’t intentionally burn yourself with 450ºf heat, so why apply it to your hair without a heat protectant?
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.
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, which is ideal for normal hair but may not be ideal for fine, damaged hair.
Other leading brands have a range of temperature settings to choose from so you can customize the temperature for your hair. If you have fine or damaged hair, keep the temperature below 300 degrees.
For normal hair stick between 300 and 380 and thick, coarse, frizzy hair can manage 350-400ºf.
How To Use A Hair Straightener
So how do you use a flat iron to straighten your hair? Well, following the first thing you’ll want to do is follow the tips above and use the same technique up to straightening your hair, such as washing, blow-drying, applying heat protectant, etc.
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.
Step One: Section Your Hair:
Just like curling your hair with a straightener, when using a flat iron to straighten your hair you should work in sections, starting underneath and working your way up.
The number of sections you do will all depend on the thickness of your hair, if you have quite fine hair, then only a few sections will do, but if you have thick, coarse hair, you may be here a while…
Pin or clip up all the sections you’re not using and straighten each individual section, either pin your hair on top of your dead or behind your shoulders.
Step Two: 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 straightner 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.
Step Three: Apply Serum Or Oil:
Once you’ve gone over every section, 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.
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 lucuious.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How much is a hair straightener?
Well this is really more how much you should spend on a hair straightener, and this all depends on how often you straighten your hair and the condition your hair is in. I would recommend investing in GHD’s as they offer the most advanced technology and offer minimal damage if you can afford it.
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend spending between $50-$200 on a hair straightener, aiming for around the $100 range. The materials tend to be of much better quality, and the technology is designed for minimal damage to your hair.
How do you clean a hair straightener?
It is actually straightforward to clean a hair straightener; all you really need to do is wipe the plates over with some cloth or a wet wipe over the plates while they are still warm– not scolding hot, though, obviously.
It is recommended that you do this once every month as the products on your hair will start to build upon the plates and leave your hair looking slightly greasy after using.
Want more of a deep clean? Check out my full guide as to how here.
How do you straighten your hair without a straightener?
There are a few ways you can straighten your hair without a flat iron; you can either blow dry your hair with cold air. This will help with frizz and is a great alternative to using heat.
You can also professionally straighten your hair in the salon using a keratin treatment; this will help restore the protein in your hair and strengthen strands which helps with frizz.
I would only recommend doing this professionally. Using a $10 bottle that claims to “contain keratin” may only contain a dose of keratin and not enough to make any difference. Many professional brands cost $100-$200 a bottle, but it’s worth the money.
So there you have it, the best straighteners for your hair. Spending a little extra on a hair straightener is super important as it is an investment, and the more you spend, the higher quality materials you get and the longer the straightener will last.
Plus, the better the technology will cause less damage to your hair strands and offer better results. Give any of the ones I have selected for you today; the quality is unmatched.
&&& don’t forget your heat protectant, ladies!
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.