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Ultimate Flat Iron Buying Guide for Total Beginners 2022

We all know that choosing the perfect flat iron for your hair is not simple. There’s just way too many different brands, materials, and features on the market. I mean, where to even start right? We know how you feel. That’s exactly why we prepared this guide for you to choose the best flat iron for your hair’s needs.

If you’re a complete beginner, shopping for your first flat iron or just looking to an upgrade for your old one, this article is for you. We will provide you with the most comprehensive information and walk you through everything you need to know. You’ll find tips and advice on choosing the right flat iron, starting from materials and features down to the price tag!

1. Plate Size

Flat irons come in a wide range of sizes, varying from 1/2 inch to 2.5-inches. Choosing the right iron size for you will depend on may factors including your curl pattern, thickness, length of hair, and desired results.

Look out! It’s crucial to choose the right flat iron size also because it will affect how much heat is applied to your hair.

Smaller Sized Plates:

Plates that range from 0.5 inches to 0.75 inches are considered small.

Who Are They For?

  • Those with bangs, pixie haircuts, short hairstyles,
  • Travelers
  • Fine to normal hair texture
  • Desire to create tight curls

Pros:

  • Can reach very close to the roots and tame flyaways
  • Provides extra precision when styling specific sections
  • Easier to hold and maneuver, especially for smaller hands
  • Less risk of burning your face or hand with excessive heat

Cons:

  • Takes longer to style if you have thick hair
  • Not suitable for long hair
  • May burn users with larger hands

Medium Sized Plates:

1- inch plates are the most commonly found size on the market.

Who Are They For?

  • They fit every hair type and length perfectly
  • Best for fine and delicate hair
  • Can create loose waves, curls, and flips

Pros:

  • Creates more volume than the smaller sizes
  • Will not cause damage from excessive heat
  • Perfect for achieving a big variety of styles
  • Easy to handle with large or small hands

Cons:

  • May take longer to work through with very long hair
  • Not ideal for very short, pixie styles that require extra precision

Larger Plates:

Plates that range from 1.25 inches to 2.5-inches are considered large.

Who Are They For?

  • Ideal for straightening thick and long hair in one pass
  • Perfect for creating beach waves
  • Not the best for shorter hair or tighter curls

Pros:

  • Provides faster styling with more coverage
  • Creates sleek and smooth styles with less effort
  • Less risk of burning the scalp

Cons:

  • Can be tricky to use around the face and neck
  • In case of delicate hair, may cause risk of damage from heat
  • Can be tiring to use long periods of time
  • Difficult to control for people with small hands

Bottom Line:

Are you still having doubts about which plate to choose? Then we definitely recommend 1- inch plates as they are the most versatile and work well on all hair types.

Temperature Control

Another crucial factor to consider before you make your decision is temperature control.

Look out! Flat irons with more temperature settings give you better control over the heat.

How to Choose Wisely

  • If you have fine or fragile hair, it’s better to go for a temperature starting point of 250°F or lower. You shouldn’t exceed temperatures above 300°F.
  • For very thick and stubborn hair, look for a higher temperature range. You can go up to 450°F.
  • If you are in between, look for a model that allows you to adjust the temperature with 10°F or 15°F increments to be on the safe side.
  • Flat irons with microchips can adjust the temperature for you. We recommend this option for beginners.

Bottom Line:

It’s crucial to choose a flat iron with temperature control for fine or fragile hair in particular. Don’t forget that the right setting will depend on the type and condition of your hair. In doubt, always start low and work your way up to find the right temperature for you.

2. Plate Material

The material of the flat iron is another important factor to consider. Flat irons are mostly made of ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium.

Ceramic Plates:

Ceramic plates are the most common type on the market.

Who Are They For?

  • Ideal for gentler and safer hair styling sessions
  • Best choice if you have delicate or fine hair
  • A better option for beginners
  • Suitable for everyday use
  • Not very effective on very thick or stubborn hair

Pros:

  • Provides even and gentle heat distribution
  • Cheaper than other materials
  • Delivers an intense dose of heat
  • Easier to regulate the temperature as it heats up slowly

Cons:

  • Longer to heat up time

Titanium Plates:

Delivers the highest level of heat, providing faster results

Who is it for?

  • Best for a quick hair styling experience
  • Ideal for people with thick, coarse, and stubborn hair
  • Best option for professionals

Pros:

  • Naturally durable and lightweight
  • Delivers the highest level of heat for faster styling results
  • Heats up quickly and retains that heat for longer
  • Conducts the heat quickly and spreads it evenly across its surface

Cons:

  • Typically more expensive than ceramic plates
  • Can cause heat damage to thinner, more delicate hair.

Tourmaline-Infused Plates:

It is not possible to find straighteners completely made out of tourmaline. Rather, it is a crystal coating usually infused in ceramic or titanium plates.

They have all the benefits of the material combined with tourmaline’s incredible frizz-reducing properties.

Who is it for?

Best for people who struggle with frizzy and dry hair

Pros:

  • Creates high levels of negative ions for shiny and frizz-free results
  • Creates a smoother finish than other materials
  • Heats quickly and evenly
  • Can straighten at much lower temperatures than ceramic or titanium plates

Cons:

  • Typically more expensive than other materials
  • May not be as durable as titanium plates

Aluminum Plates:

You should avoid using aluminum plates as they can damage the hair.

Aluminum heats up unevenly and creates hot spots that can cause damage to the hair.

You may also like: Titanium Vs Ceramic Flat Irons

3. Wet to Dry Irons

A wet-to-dry flat iron is equipped with a special venting system located down its length. This helps to release steam that is produced when it comes in contact with moisture in your hair. Instead of cooking your hair like with regular flat irons, this innovative tool has holes along the plates to let out the gas produced by water inside the strands.

They help to reduce frizz, lock in moisture, and create smooth and polished styles.

So, for beautiful, healthy locks make sure to use a wet-to-dry flat iron on hair that’s at least 80% dry!

Who is it for?

Ideal option for people who wants to save time on styling their hair

4. Floating Plate Technology

Floating plates are not 100% attached to the flat iron. They can tilt into different angles. This gives the plates more flexibility to adjust the pressure and friction constantly. As a result, heat will be distributed evenly across the hair strands for a smoother and more consistent look. That also prevents snags and tangles.

5. Automatic Shut-off

Hair straighteners with automatic shut-off have motion sensors embedded within the plates. Once you are done using the straightener, it will shut off automatically in around 30 minutes.

This is convenient for those who are prone to forgetfulness and guarantees that the flat iron won’t be left on.

6. Digital Display

Digital display is a great feature to have on your flat iron. It will tell you the exact temperature and give you more accuracy with styling.

7. Dual Voltage

A dual-voltage (1) hair straightener means that it can be used safely in any country overseas and is a great investment if you travel often. They have two voltage setting options which you can switch between: 110v to 220v.

8. An Ergonomic Design

An ergonomically designed flat iron gives you the ability to achieve salon-quality results at home.
Look for these qualities while making your decision;

  • 360° free-movement swivel cord that allows easy maneuvering
  • a professional-length cord that won’t get tangled
  • a non-slip grip that ensures smooth and consistent results
  • a cool-tip is also great to have for preventing accidental burns
  • a lightweight design that makes it easy to grip and control

Wrap Up

Every individual has different priorities when it comes to choosing the best flat iron. It’s important to consider the features that are most important for you. There are so many different options on the market that cater to every possible need. So take your time, and make sure that you find the right one for your hair type and styling needs!

You may also like:

Flat Irons For Fine Hair
Flat Irons For Thick Hair
Flat Irons For Black Hair
Flat Irons For Curly Hair

Flat Iron Cleaning 101

 

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