Hair Straighteners: Buying & User Guide – Flat Iron or Brush, What is Best for Your Hair?
A hair straightener is a grooming tool designed to remove curls or kinks from your hair. There are several types of hair straightening tools and methods available. Whether your hair is curly or straight, it is the hydrogen bonds in your hair which act as the “glue” to help keep its shape. Heat is able to weaken these hydrogen bonds which then enables the hair to be temporarily restyled.
In this article, Groom+Style reviews and compares the two most common tools for hair straightening – flat iron straighteners and hair brush straighteners.
Our art of hair explains which device is best for your hair type and its requirements, as well as how to use each device effectively.
The heat of the devices can cause discomfort and damage, whether you use a flat iron or a hair brush straightener. Therefore, it is essential to consider using a thermal protection spray (link to Amazon) and a good moisturizing conditioner to protect both your hair and scalp.
Some Background on Hair Straightening Devices
If we look at the history of hair straighteners, we can see how they evolved. Let’s take a look at how hair-straightening devices develop.
In 1872, Erica Feldman used the first ironing device to straighten her hair. However, it was nothing like the best steams irons we have available today. Over the generations, people have used chemicals and various other heating tools to straighten their hair. Some of these were successful, while others weren’t, and it’s primarily due to safety issues.
The design of the modern flat iron hair straightening tool, comprising a heated iron with two flat metal plates, is more than 100 years old. It was invented in 1912 by Lady Jennifer Bell Schofield. Since Lady Schofield’s first hair iron, the world has seen considerable improvements in its design. These modern devices are great for both the hair and the scalp. Its electric power also makes them much easier to handle and control by the user.
Flat Iron Straighteners
Flat iron straighteners generally work best on very thick, curly, frizzy, or the type of hair that African-Americans usually have. They use a much higher temperature than hair brush straighteners. Moreover, the heat can be transferred very effectively to the hair due to the clamping technique in which the hair is tightly between the two flat plates. Excessive use of flat irons can potentially damage your hair. Unlike hair brush straighteners, flat irons cannot be used to add volume to your hair.
If you think of traveling with your flat iron straightener, our team suggests you bring a heat-resistant storage bag (link to Amazon) with you.
The benefits of flat iron straighteners
There are several benefits of flat iron straighteners, which include:
- Effectiveness in flattening thick or curly hair
- Ease of use and efficient
- Long-lasting styles that don’t need regular care
The drawbacks of flat iron straighteners
There are also some disadvantages to using flat iron straighteners:
- Due to the higher and more direct application of heat, excessive or careless use of these devices can potentially damage the hair and cause scalp dryness
- The iron plates in some of the cheaper versions may produce hotspots (areas on the plates that are significantly hotter than other areas), possibly causing damage to your hair.
- The flat irons will not add volume to hair like how brushes do. It will make it lie extremely flat
Flat irons come in many different designs. If you are looking for a fast and effective way to straighten your hair occasionally but have thinner or shorter hair that damages easily, a higher-quality flat iron model with thinner plates may be an appropriate option.
Ceramic plates vs. titanium and tourmaline plates
Another point to consider when considering purchasing a flat iron is the material of the plates. In this article, our team compares ceramic or titanium plates.
- Ceramic flat irons heat evenly and do not produce damaging hot spots that titanium plates may. They are cost-effective and suitable for home use.
- Titanium and tourmaline plates offer the highest level of heat transfer for the strongest and fastest results. This makes them more suitable for thicker hair and salon use.
How should I use a flat iron straightener?
As with hairbrush straighteners, it is best to condition your hair before using a flat iron. You may also consider using thermal protection spray due to the hotter nature of these devices. Before straightening your hair, ensure it is as dry as possible – or you will steam yourself and your scalp.
Whilst waiting for your flat iron to heat up, separate your hair into sections. When the flat iron has reached the required temperature, clamp the plates together at the top of the section and work your way down to the tip of the hair. You may need to repeat this step several times on a section, depending on the hair thickness, to get it as straight as possible.
The Groom+Style Team has put together a great guide on flat iron straighteners to help you find the best flat iron model to meet your needs – top 5 best flat iron hair straighteners.
Hair Brush Straighteners
Just like how we mentioned, it is known that excessive heat can damage your hair and your scalp. In fact, water hotter than body temperature (98°F) needs to be avoided for some hair types. Therefore, if you have thin hair or hair that is easily damaged, a hair brush straightener should be your first choice. They generally use a lower level of heat than a flat iron. Thus, it’s a safer device for people who have easily-damaged hair. In addition to flattening hair, hair brush straighteners can be used to add shine to dull hair.
Hair brush straighteners come in three different styles:
- A flat de-tangling electric brush which is useful for untangling your hair and adding shine
- A rotating round barrel electric brush that adds volume to thin hair
- A double-plated rectangle brush which is useful for damaged or only slightly curly hair as it does not heat itself up
The benefits of a hair brush straightener
Hair brush straighteners are popular for the following reasons:
- Suitability for thin or easily damaged hair due to low heat levels
- A minimum risk of accidental damage to hair as hot spots rarely occur.
- Removal of static electricity while adding negative ions
- More manageable process, as hair is being brushed and flattened at the same time
- Adding shine to dull hair
- Quick to reach the ideal temperature
- A safer device on the hair and scalp so users can use it frequently
The drawbacks of a hair brush straightener
There are some disadvantages to using a hair brush straightener, which include:
- Inability to flatten very thick or curly hair
- More time-consuming to straighten and style hair than flat irons
How should I use a hair brush straightener?
Hair brush straighteners work best on damp hair. Hair should be well conditioned in order to achieve long-lasting smoothness and style. Start by utilizing the lowest possible temperature, and separate your hair into smaller strands to make it simpler to straighten. If you find that some parts aren’t straightening the way you would like, then consider raising the temperature for that section. Using this method will ensure your hair is protected from heat damage.
Have a read of this handy guide to the top 5 best hair brush straighteners if you think this type of device is the best option for you. It will help you find the perfect model for you and your hair!
There are obvious differences between flat iron straighteners and hair brush straighteners. Thus, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both carefully, and fit them with your key needs before making your purchase.