best straightener on dark brown, natural hair

Best Straightener Hair Guide

Let's see if these D.I.Y. kitchen hacks really pass muster.

If you’re in the market for a versatile hair tool to get your hair smooth in a flash, look no further than a hair straightener. No matter the type of your hair or the look you’re going for, the best hair straightener is the gadget that can help get your hair straight in a flash.

Although any hair type can benefit from some of the best flat irons, it’s important to learn about how each type works so you know if you’re using the right one for your specific hair type. Keep reading to get in the know about what to look for and what to avoid when it’s time to find the best  straightener out there for you:

The Best Hair Straighteners for Your Hair Type

best straightener long hair
The right straighter can make it easier for you to achieve the results you want.

Easily the most important thing to consider when selecting your new hair tool is the type of material it’s made out of. Hair straighteners are characterized by a clamp-like structure with a hot plate on each side. Typically, hair straighteners are created with ceramic, glass, metal, titanium and, most recently, tourmaline.

1. Metal or Glass-Plated Hair Straighteners

Point blank: You’ll want to avoid these hair straighteners. With a price tag that won’t break the bank, these straighteners first look like a wonderful option when in the market for a new flat iron. Unfortunately, these materials might not be the best for your tresses: Not only do they take forever to preheat, but once they claim to be good to go, it turns out that the plates can get unevenly heated which could potentially lead to “hot spots,” or burning your hair in some areas.

2. Ceramic Plates

We’re fans of these hair straighteners because they’re true to their word: They heat up quickly and evenly, and provide a super sleek, straight finish. If you find that you’re always in a hurry but still need incredible hair straightening, then one with ceramic plates is definitely for you!

Don’t forget to smooth out any frizz or flyaways by using some hair serum like Suave Biotin Infusion Anti-Breakage Serum. 

3. Titanium Plates

Known for being strong and durable yet more lightweight than ceramic, titanium (a.k.a. metal) plates offer the style you’re looking for, minus excess strain from using a heavier iron.

4. Tourmaline Plates

Just think of these plates as the crème de la crème. One of the the newest hot tool innovations to hit the market, tourmaline is a naturally-occurring element that produces negative ions when reacting to heat. Long story short, this magical element allows these straighteners to style hair at a faster pace, meaning there’s much less heat exposure on your locks. On top of the heat benefit, tourmaline kicks it up a notch by sealing the hair cuticle, allowing your tresses to look extra straight and shiny.

Apart from plates, the only other thing you need to keep in mind is temperature. The rules are simple: The thicker your hair, the higher temperature range you may need to tame it.

More to Consider When Getting Hair Straighteners

When picking out the best flat iron keep all of this in mind, and remember that while hair straighteners are best known for creating smooth tresses, they’re equally as skilled at creating beach waves, face-framing flips and even bouncy curls.

And since we know you’re about to fall in love with the versatility of this tool, just be sure to start off with a heat protectant product like TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Protectant Spray to shield your locks from too much heat damage.

More of The Best Hair Straightener Options

1. Flat Iron

As the quintessential hair straightening tool, the flat iron is one of the easiest ways to get slicked, straight hair. When choosing a flat iron, make sure to pick one that has tourmaline-infused ceramic plates and emits infrared heat. These types of flat irons seal in moisture and give hair that telltale silky, shiny look. When straightening your hair, work section by section to prevent any frizz or flyaways while ironing.

Due to the amount of heat being used, you may find that you’re hair can feel really dry post-flat ironing. To revive your strands, complete the style by using a hair serum. It helps make your hair shiny and soft as it repairs and smooths down damage.

Approximate time: 30-45 minutes

2. Blow-Dryer

While blow-dryers can do everything from dry wet locks to infuse volume, they can also cause damage when used too often. Before you create your straight strands, use a heat protectant.

Approximate time: 20-30 minutes

3. Hair Straightening Brush

A hair straightening brush is one of the most recent innovations in the market that works on both dry and wet hair. An easy-to-use tool, they are generally fitted with plastic bristles and a ceramic base, which has flexible bristles pass through the hair smoothly without harmful tugging thus allowing you to detangle hair as you straighten. A less damaging and time-consuming option, a straightening brush could be a great tool for the occasional hair straightener.

Approximate time: 10-15 minutes

4. Chemical Straighteners

Hard-core straight hair seekers might find some refuge in getting a chemical straightener. There are many options out there, including Brazilian straightening, Japanese straightening, and even permanent straightening. While the formulas used can vary, they all involve a chemical process to straighten hair, which can take hours and regular upkeep. Do your homework before you decide which straightening option to go for.

Approximate time: 2-3 hours 

5. The Hair Product Route

For those on a heatless mission, you’ll be happy to hear that hair products can actually help with making your soft, smooth and straight. Try TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Shampoo and TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Conditioner, whose formulas (when used together) work to give you salon-smooth hair designed to last up to a week. Another favorite is TRESemmé Keratin Smooth 7 Day Heat Activated Treatment, which works to make hair less frizzy and more manageable.

Approximate time: 10 minutes

At-Home Straightening: Natural Hair Straightening Products and Beyond

best straightner natural waves
At-home straightening products, such as hair masks, may smoothen your hair, but not necessarily provide stick-straight results. Photo credit:

If you’ve ever opened up Pinterest or scoured the web, you’ve probably chanced upon some popular home remedies that have been purported to have gentle hair-relaxing and smoothening benefits. Some swear by the efficacy of a coconut milk-lemon juice cocktail in smoothening out and relaxing natural curls; some use regular milk instead, and let it sit on strands before washing.

There are still others who swear by creating a mask out of mashing a banana and papaya together and drizzling it with honey (sounds delish!). Placed on strands and left to sit until hair is completely dry, then washed out and subsequently blow-dried, the mixture is supposed to leave hair straighter and smoother than before.

Most of these D.I.Y./kitchen-counter hair hacks have yet to be proven, and even so, probably yields highly subjective—and inconsistent—results. None of these ingredients can promise to straighten hair consistently from root to tip. The most they can do is perhaps provide a heavier-than-usual conditioning film onto hair that flattens out curls in the moment, with the help of some heat styling.

Keratin Treatments and Keratin-Infused Products

Keratin, a naturally occurring protein in hair, is a beauty buzzword that’s been having quite the moment in recent years. As a chemical process, a keratin straightening treatment is said to “spackle” lost proteins in the hair shaft, with the keratin effectively bonding onto gaps in the strand with the help of heat (via a styling tool). This helps straighten out the hair, with effects lasting for up to three months.

There has been some controversy regarding these processes due to the addition of the straightening chemical formaldehyde into the treatments, and the jury’s still out on whether it definitively has harmful effects.

Keratin-infused products, on the other hand, usually have smoothening and frizz control as their main benefits. TRESemmé 7Day Keratin Smooth Shampoo, Conditioner and Heat Activated Treatment help coat hair with keratin—and in the case of shampoos and conditioners, sometimes even a lower level of sulfates—to result in shinier, sleeker strands that are more frizz-resistant than most, but for a shorter amount of time (commitment-phobes, rejoice!). Other keratin-infused reinforcements, such as shine sprays and heat protectants, can further extend these benefits by offering more long-lasting shine and hold.

Will you get permanent results?

Unless you resort to a complete rebonding of hair via a Japanese straightening treatment, these at-home natural hair straightening products and keratin treatments, though gentler, can only provide a temporary fix. Our natural hair structure can only be altered permanently through chemical means, processes that can make our strands more vulnerable to irreversible damage down the line.

We hope this will help you find good hair straighteners. Check out more about straighteners in our recap of ceramic hair straighteners.

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