Our extensive experience with flat irons over the past decade reveals that barrel material offer NO GUARANTEE of success. Instead, consider other factors when buying a flat iron. Your best bet is to try the flat iron before purchasing it to see how it performs on your hair. Important: two similar types of hair (e.g. fine hair) may react differently to a given flat iron.
People may boast the merits of tourmaline, titanium and everything in between, but the fact is manufacturers remain vague on the actual concentration of these materials in the iron. It’s just a marketing angle, so don’t let these fancy minerals influence you. Test the iron on your hair to get a true reading of its results. It’s the only way to be sure it works well!
To give you more insight into flat irons before you start shopping around, here are a few factors to consider:
– Dual voltage device:
If you intend to travel with your iron, remember that using a voltage transformer won’t protect your device. Your flat iron must be designed to handle variable voltage.
– Width and shape of plates:
The plate width used to be indicative of iron performance, but modern irons are so effective (regardless of plate width) that you can have fun trying different tools to achieve various looks.
Mini-irons (plates about 15 mm) can be very practical when travelling, to smooth bangs or very short hair.
Today’s “conventional” flat irons (25 mm) can create a variety of styles (flat, curl, flip) and reach fairly close to the roots.
Wider plate flat irons (38 mm) are useful to straighten very long or ethnic hair, but are less flexible in terms of style variations compared to narrow flat irons.
Flat plates produce smooth straight tips, while curved plates give a slightly more natural finish. Both types of plates produce basically the same styles when using the right techniques. It’s easier to achieve a very straight finish using the flat plates, while the curved ones will impart more shape.
– Length and attachment of the power cord:
A swivel cord is a huge plus because it keeps the power cable from tangling. Regular irons usually have a 1.9-metre power cord, however 2.4-meter (8 feet) power cords are usually found on professional irons, allowing stylists to move freely around the customer. Choose the length appropriate to your personal use.
** When storing the iron, NEVER wrap the cable around the iron because this will shorten its usage life. **
– Choice of temperature:
There is no required minimum. Either it straightens or it doesn’t!
Avoid excessive heat that can damage your hair. Nobody needs to heat a flat iron up to 230°C or 450°F (unless you have very textured hair). In the past, professionals needed such extreme temperatures when chemical hair straighteners first appeared. These treatments required high-temperature irons to finish the job. It’s been a key marketing feature ever since. In fact, 210°C is more than enough to do a good job and anything higher damages hair. Instead of cranking up the heat, try lowering it a notch. Experiment with different degrees until you find the ideal setting to style your hair. In addition, it’s better to slide the iron a little more slowly along the hair at a lower temperature in order to limit damages.
Rule of thumb: The finer and/or damaged the hair, the lower the temperature. Conversely, the bigger and/or healthier the hair, the better it will withstand heat.
Another sign that your iron is too hot is when it leaves a mark at the starting point.
– Digital display:
A digital display often gives you more temperature settings as opposed to fixed-temperature models (always maintaining maximum temperature, which is usually not ideal).
The iron should be easy to handle and operate. If you’re constantly triggering the power button by mistake, that may be a clue that this iron is not designed for you!
Straightening your hair with an iron requires you to lift your arms for a few minutes. Choose an iron that’s not too heavy for easier handling.
– Automatic shutdown option:
A practical feature for anyone who already came back from work to find the iron still working… better safe than sorry!
– Warranty :
The standard warranty is 1 year. At 2 years, it’s unbeatable!