What to Look for in a Flat Iron

Ceramic vs. metal, when to splurge & my best flat iron picks

woman using flat iron on hair
Tinatin1/Getty Images 

Buying a flat iron can be daunting as they come in all sorts of price ranges and there are so many on the market. Here are a few tips to help you buy your best flat iron.

Splurge on Ceramic Irons

Ceramic irons conduct heat better and are less damaging to hair than cheaper metal plates. Metal plates tend to have "hot spots" which can damage hair whereas ceramic plates emit negative ions, which helps to control frizz.

Unfortunately, a really good iron will set you back $70 on up. But the investment is worth it.

Narrow Plates Means Easier Access to Hard-to-Get Spots

Modern flat irons tend to have narrower plates so you can get to spots that are too hard to get to with a large flat iron. Your best bets are 1-inch plates to 1 1/2 inch plates so you can get as close to the crown as possible. Choose a wider plate if you have thick, curly hair and lots of it.

Pixies require smaller plates. Aim for a 1/2 inch flat iron. These can be hard to find, but mini flat irons come in this size. You might opt for one of these rather than a full-size iron.

Thermometer Gauges & Shut-off Capabilities

While some expensive flat irons don't allow you to set the temperatures, you really do want one that does. This is because we all have different hair types and finer, straighter hair does not require the same heat as thickly textured hair does.

I like a flat iron that will turn off after a period of non-use. This means I can leave the iron on and not worry that I'm going to burn my bathroom down while I go off to work.

How to Properly Use a Flat Iron

Now that you've found your perfect flat iron, you'll want to use it properly. Damaged hair from flat irons generally comes from misuse, not the flat iron itself, so read the directions carefully before putting​ the iron to your hair.