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Curly & wavier hair are the current trend but let's be honest - sleek & shiny hair is always enviable. But sleek & shiny can quickly become dry & damaged if you're using a busted flat iron or using it wrong. High quality straighteners work faster & make hair smoother then their lesser counterparts. So even though they may be more expensive it's still a no brainer when it's saving you precious time & keeping your locks prettier.

There are different plate types, different widths & different temperatures. But there are so many terms & options out there it's sooooo confusing. So lets break down what it all means.

The basic plate type is just that - basic. This plate is plain metal - although they're the cheapest they also take the most toll on your hair, Ceramic is better because they are less likely to singe the hair. Why the different price points when it comes to ceramic? Because some are entirely ceramic & some are ceramic coated metal. The last is tourmaline. Tourmaline is a stone that is layered on top of ceramic which gives an even smoother effect with less friction, therefore causing the least damage humanly possible.

Flat irons also come in different widths. Wide ones are best for long hair & can be quicker because you can straighten more hair at a time. But they can be harder to control when you're trying to get in smaller areas like behind the ears or the nape of the neck. Narrow ones are better for short hair & kinkier curls where you really need to get close to the scalp & in every nook & cranny - especially in those areas where the wide ones can be a bit harder to handle. Narrow ones can also be used to create a curl so there's an added benefit. I'm definitely partial to a more narrow one but when it comes to flat irons width really is a personal preference.

The FHI Heat Platform Tourmaline Flat Iron pictured is one of my current faves.

I also really like the Salon Tech Silicone 450 1" flat iron.

Temperature control is also a MUST! At the bare minimum the flat iron should have a low, medium & high heat setting. The better ones will have a dial where you can actually choose the exact temperature - higher for thicker, coarser hair & lower for finer hair.

Remember - the same tips apply that we discussed with Back to Basics - Curling Irons. NEVER straighten hair wet - always make sure it's 100% dry. Also use a good thermal protector & try not to use a hot tool every day - give your hair a break! PS higher end products are often coming with thermal protecting benefits built in that sometimes can protect the hair for up to 3 days - if you are attached to your current styling product no biggie - just get a separate thermal protector to spray in your hair before your flat iron. These sprays are also really good to use on second or third day old hair if you're going to be touching up with a hot tool.

My fave stand alone thermal protector is Living Proof Restore Instant Protection. It's totally weightless & protects your locks when you're getting out of control with your hot tool. It also helps shield against humidity & UV rays. It protects up to 450 degrees & like I've said if you're using a tool over 450 you're cut off.

Hope this answers a few of your flat iron questions. If you have any questions just ask here or over on social media. In the meantime have fun - and don't fry your hair.

Cheers - Hal

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