Though 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 use two plates to iron your hair straight. So whereas a flat iron is always a straightener, not all straighteners are flat irons.
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: 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.
Blow dryers: The original straightening tool, blow dryers are an ideal choice for women 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.
Rollers: Believe it or not, rollers don't just create curls. They can also soften tight curls and add volume and smooth texture to fine, straight hair. Cold rollers, such as Velcro rollers, work in conjunction with a blow dryer or slowly add shape overnight.
Hot rollers, such as the Cloud Nine C9 The O Ultimate Set, heat up quickly. Simply roll your hair and then forget about it as you perform the rest of your beauty routine.
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.
And because you're moving your hair through two polished, flat plates, a flat iron can add shine. When used in conjunction with thermal hair treatments, the right flat iron can even infuse your hair with healthy nutrients.
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. 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.
What About Chemical Straighteners?
Chemical hair-straightening treatments rely on the magic of chemistry to give you longer-lasting straightening. Salon treatments are the most effective option, offering several weeks of straight hair. These products often use harsh chemicals, so repeated use of salon-based relaxants can damage your hair.
A more affordable and less damaging option is an at-home keratin treatment. These products infuse the hair with keratin and other nutrients, reducing frizz. 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.