From Flat Irons to Hair Straighteners, Here’s the Difference Between Your Favourite Hot Tools

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details about your favourite styling tools let’s get one thing straight (really straight). 

Although the terms 'straightener' and 'flat iron' are frequently used interchangeably, they refer to slightly different items. 

Straighteners include any device that straightens hair, including flat irons, straightening brushes, hot combs, and even blow dryers.

Flat irons, on the other hand, just refer to tools with two plates to iron your hair straight. 

So there you have it: a flat iron is always a straightener, but not all straighteners are flat irons.

To work out which one is right for you, we’ve put together a little list outlining the differences between our top straightening tools.

Dyson Airwrap™ Styler Complete_ From Flat Irons to Hair Straighteners, Here’s the Difference Between Your Favourite Hot ToolsDyson Airwrap™ Styler Complete_ From Flat Irons to Hair Straighteners, Here’s the Difference Between Your Favourite Hot Tools

So, which hair straightener is right for me?

Flat irons might be the most popular and best-known option for straightening your hair, but they're not your only choice. Some other hair straighteners include:

Straightening brushes work a lot like blow dryers, blowing hot air on your hair. These brushes grab your hair, allowing you to gently blow it straight without pressing your hair between two scorching hot plates. The BabylissPRO Elegant Hot Air Brush - 32mm is a great example of this, with a round barrel that smoothes the hair while adding volume and heat. It’s quick and easy, allowing you to get two jobs done at once.

Some hot brushes don’t blow air, but simply glide through your tresses, applying heat and providing glossy results. One of our favourites is the Silver Bullet Hybrid Ceramic & Ionic Straightening Brush. This innovative styling brush helps to apply a smooth frizz-free finish and is extremely easy to use. However, this one is a skip if you are looking for a dead straight finish as it does supply some volume and movement.

The original straightening tool, blow dryers are an ideal choice for anyone with wavy hair. If your hair only has a slight bend, simply blowing it dry will be enough to straighten it. Curlier hair needs a more proactive approach, including the use of a brush to flatten the hair shaft whilst creating volume. The Parlux 3800 Ceramic and Ionic Hair Dryer is an excellent choice for all hair types. It relies on negative ions to protect the hair from heat, producing luscious locks and a glossy shine.

When it comes to hot tools, you want one that will provide every finish. Enter the Dyson Airwrap™ Styler Complete. Beyond the perfect curls this styling tool provides it also comes with volumizing and smoothing brushes, for your lushest hair ever. Plus, it comes with a pre-styling dryer attachment for a perfect blowout. While it is an investment this is a highly versatile styler that will get you where you need to go any day of the week.

Okay then, what's different about a flat iron?

Flat irons apply direct, even heat to your hair, making them more damaging than most other straighteners. However, the heat of a flat iron also makes it the most effective option. 

If you have very curly or coarse hair, need longer-lasting results, or want to add shine to your hair, a flat iron is probably your best bet. Here are some of our favourite options:

A quality iron that heats evenly

To minimise the damage of your flat iron, invest in a quality iron that heats evenly. We love the ghd V Gold Classic Professional Max Styler for its versatility and ease of use. It’s wide Ceramic plates help to gather more hair and heat it in fewer passes, causing less damage overall. It is also perfect for those with thick, long hair, and significantly cuts down styling time. For a salon finish, we recommend making this upgrade.

A quality iron that heats evenly

For sleeker styling try a flat iron with Titanium plates like the BaBylissPRO Graphite Titanium Straightener. This clever straightener comes with 10 heat settings so you can choose the right option for your hair type. The slim plates are 25mm so they are particularly ideal for shorter hair types or for concentrated heat. Using this styler you are bound to have silky hair in no time as it uses Titanium, Ceramic and Graphite elements to help you achieve the perfect results.

The Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener - Nickel/Fuchsia is an innovative styling option that uses unique and flexible copper alloy plates to heat the hair and provide an outstanding finish. Hair is easily gathered so you can heat the hair in fewer passes, thus creating less damage. Intelligent heat control allows you to choose between three optimal temperatures depending on your hair type. Plus, it has a cord free option, which we think is the ultimate freedom.

The Cloud Nine The Original Iron has a reputation for being an all-round outstanding straightener that is straightforward and easy to use. It heats up in 20 seconds and provides variable heat from 00-200 degrees celsius, which is the perfect range for most hair types. It’s the original, and arguably the best one-and-done Ceramic straightener, which is certainly a fan favourite for a reason.

What About Chemical Straightening?

We love chemical hair-straightening treatments because they can provide some pretty impressive long-lasting results. 

Salon treatments are the most effective option, offering several weeks of straight hair. But, they can be pricey, require a lot of after care, and when done wrong can be damaging. 

A more affordable and less damaging option is an at-home keratin treatment, which works to infuse the hair with keratin and other nutrients, reducing frizz and damage

Keratin treatments won't fully straighten your hair, but they do increase the life of each blowout and can mitigate frizz to make your flat iron more effective.

Get more of the best hair straightener know-how in these handy little guides...

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

    Join Now >
    Filled with the usual things we know you'll love, and surprises you might not expect, it's real rewards, really simple.