Ever go shopping and end up in the aisle full of hair straighteners and suddenly feel like you need one, like now. Then you pick one up, then a second, a third: Ceramic, tourmaline, titanium. Whaaaaaa??? Ionic technology?—What does that even mean?? Am I the only one that spends like 15 minutes (probably even longer) reading boxes trying to figure out which flat iron is best? One flat iron gets 15 degrees hotter, the other uses nanotechnology, but does any of this even matter?
I used to spend so much time in stores googling flat iron reviews and hair straightening technology, only to leave empty handed and overwhelmed by all the options. After doing quite a bit of research, I put together this blog post for you guys so that next time, it won’t be so difficult.
Now before I begin, I want to emphasize that heat as high as any of these flat irons can go is not good for the hair. Its best to stay away from heat altogether, but since I do like to wear my hair straight sometimes, I wanted the straightener with the least damaging effects. Remember to prep your hair properly prior to straightening to also reduce the potential damaging effects.
Ok, now, here’s what I found:
Ceramic flat irons/hair straighteners are those that use heated ceramic plates to straighten. These flat irons ensure an even distribution of heat, both important for aesthetic results and hair health. When shopping for ceramic flat irons, it is important to check that the plates are pure ceramic. Often times you will come across flat irons that indicate they are “ceramic coated.” While these are often a more affordable option, the ceramic coating eventually wears off, exposing your hair to a more inferior metal beneath, often aluminum, resulting in damages.
Whether or not a ceramic flat iron markets their ionic technique, you can be sure that ceramic flat irons will infuse your hair with negative ions, allowing for less frizz and more shine. If you have fine hair and/or a loose curl pattern, chances are you won’t have much of a problem using ceramics as they are perfect for this hair type. Ceramics, however, while often more affordable then their titanium counterparts, may not be the best option for thicker, coarser hair.
Titanium flat irons are those that use titanium metal plates. They heat up quickly and retain heat well. What does this mean? Less passes when straightening and in this case, less is better. Titanium also heats very evenly, minimizing the damaging effects of the heat. Due to its powerful effects, titanium irons typically result in a quicker straightening time. While many appreciate the titanium iron, it is potentially more damaging since it is more powerful. Like ceramic irons, titanium irons will also distribute ions into your hair, resulting in a sleeker look. These irons are likely a better fit for those with thick or coarse hair.
About those ions...
So we know what ions do, but what are they? An ion is an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Often times, a flat iron (and other hair products) will indicate their use of ionic technology. This simply means that the equipment will expose your hair to negative ions, balancing the positive charges and sealing the hair shaft resulting in hair with reduced static, frizz and a smoother look. All ceramic irons generate ions. Titanium and tourmaline ions, however, will have a greater ionic effect.
Tourmaline is a crystal that when ground into a fine powder can be infused into flat iron plates. Due to its great ionic properties, using a flat iron with tourmaline results in even silkier hair with longer lasting effects.