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How Do I Choose the Best Professional Straightener?

Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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The first step in choosing a professional straightener, often referred to as a flat iron, is to determine what size device you need for your hair type. From that point, determine the type of plates your straightener should have to provide the sleekest results while doing the least amount of damage to your hair. Ensuring that you purchase a professional straightener with quality temperature control is also important, as is the overall shape of the flat iron.

Professional straighteners come in a variety of widths, from 1/2 inch (1.2 centimeters) to 2 inches (5 centimeters). If you have very thick or curly hair, it is usually best to opt for wider plates, i.e., from 1 (2.5 centimeters) to 2 (5 centimeters) inches. If your hair is of average thickness, you can typically use any size professional straightener; if your hair is long, however, you may want to purchase the largest size to make straightening your hair faster. Very fine hair often does best with smaller plates, usually less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters).

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The material used to make the plates of a professional straightener is possibly one of the most important parts of choosing one. If your hair is relatively easy to straighten, ceramic plates are usually appropriate. Ceramic provides an even heating temperature and a very smooth surface, thereby limiting damage to the hair shaft. Plates made from tourmaline, a mineral, are often good for people with frizzy hair. This mineral naturally emits negative ions, thus reducing frizz and improving shine.

If your hair is very curly or does not hold a style well, a titanium professional straightener may work best. These variants typically heat up much more quickly than ceramic versions and tend to hold heat better. As a result, you will usually be able to straighten your hair nearly twice as quickly as with other types of straighteners. Older flat irons often utilize aluminum as the main component of the plates; in general, it is best to avoid these types of straighteners because aluminum does not conduct heat as well as other materials and can increase damage to your hair.

The best flat irons usually have precise temperature controls. Rather than only having a low, medium, and high setting, these straighteners allow you to set the device to a specific temperature. These flat irons tend to maintain the same level of heat without fluctuating, thereby lessening damage to your hair and giving better overall results. Many professional straighteners can be set to over 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius).

When choosing a professional straightener, it can also be helpful to look at the overall design of the device. If you only want to straighten your hair, go with a flat iron that is square around the plates. If you would like the option of curling or bending your hair with the flat iron, choose a professional straightener that is curved and smooth around the plates.

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