Getting a sleek, smooth look can be difficult if your hair is naturally dry or has dried from damage. High-heat flat irons can do more harm than good. As celebrity stylist Jasmine Santiago notes, all hair is naturally dry, so applying high heat to it will suck out the moisture causing damage.
Instead, finding a flat iron that works well with dry hair to prevent further brittleness is invaluable to glossy, healthy hair. Understanding what to look for in a flat iron will prevent it from flash-burning your hair and causes it to dry out more over time.
Comparison of the Best Flat Irons For Dry Hair
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Flat Iron vs. Hair Straighteners
While the words flat iron and hair straighteners are used interchangeably, there is a difference. A flat iron is a very specific tool that has two blades which are usually made of ceramic or titanium. It is squeezed together and run down the hair to either create poker-straight hair or to create flat ringlets (if twisted while pulling downward). It uses high direct heat to get this effect.
The term ‘hair straightener’, however, can refer to a number of different tools. A flat iron is a type of hair straightener but is not the only tool of this sort. When you use a hair dryer and a brush to blow out the hair, creating the impression of straightness, this is also referred to as a hair straightener.
Moreover, there are a plethora of brush-style hair straighteners that either have heated plates inside the brush that straighten the hair, or they blow hot air out to straighten the hair. In fact, rollers and hot rollers can be classed as a type of straightener, as bigger versions can be used to relax very tight curls and create straighter, voluptuous hair.
Another type of hair straightener which is more permanent is chemical straightening, often referred to as chemical relaxing. This works by breaking the disulfide bonds in the hair. This is done by using an extremely potent alkaline chemical, usually strong sodium hydroxide, to straighten the hair. This dries the hair out terribly. Alternative 'no lye' solutions have been invented, but they still pose great risks to the hair as they contain strong chemicals such as lithium hydroxide and guanidine hydroxide.
How Does Ironing Affect Dry Hair?
Using a flat iron can be damaging to any hair type, but dry hair is the most likely to become negatively affected. Each strand of hair has moisture inside. When you apply a flat iron to your hair, it prompts the moisture to turn from liquid to gas. This can cause this moisture to create pressure inside the hair and burst out, causing brittle, broken hair. It can also make the hair appear frizzy.
At the same time, highly-heated irons can damage the outside of the cuticle of the hair. The cuticle is there to protect the hair, keeping it soft and shiny. This allows more moisture to be evaporated, leaving their hair even more dry and brittle. Continuous conditioning will help to reduce this damage since it coats and protects the hair.
Flat Irons That Work Best for Dry Hair
Accordingly to celebrity stylist Justine Marjan, the most effective yet protective temperature to use a flat iron is 375F. This is just below the temperature that glass blowers use to mold glass without shattering it. Hair is similar to glass in this respect. Searching for a flat iron that has variable temperatures, especially ones that work at the lower end, is integral to protecting dry hair. Equally, titanium blades have quite direct, high heat which is harsh on the hair. Ceramic blades are far more kind to dry hair.
A comb in an iron can help to detangle the hair but can cause mechanical damage by pulling the hair. Usually it is better to comb your hair before straightening, as the high heat will cause the hair to stretch if it gets snagged. It could then break off.
Also try looking for tourmaline technology. It uses negative ions to straighten the hair more easily, needing less heat and providing protection. You can also look for blades that are infused with protecting components like keratin, Vitamin E, and other types of moisturizing oils.
Review of the Best Flat Irons For Dry Hair
Let’s take a look at some of the best flat irons on the market.
Herstyler Colorful Seasons Ceramic Flat Iron, Dual Voltage, 1.25 Inch, Purple
The Herstyler Colorful Seasons features 100% ceramic blades, variable temperature, and heats to 465F in just 25 seconds. Available in a variety of colors, it is lightweight and durable.
Remington Pro 1" Digital Heat Flat Iron with Anti-Static Ceramic Technology, Purple, S5500
This extremely well-priced flat iron is designed to fight frizz with its anti-static technology and ceramic blades.
3. GHD Gold Styler 1 Inch - Straightener Flat Iron
Featuring a rounded body for versatile styling, the GHD Gold Styler has ceramic blades and a ceramic heater, for even heating technology and a sleek finish.
4. Remington S9620B T|Studio Silk Ceramic Flat Iron, Hair Straightener, 2-Inch
With two-inch-wide floating ceramic blades that heat to highs of 455F in just 15 seconds, the Remington S9620B is designed to give salon performance at home.
5.RUSK Engineering CTC Technology Professional Straight Iron
Featuring Ryton housing, titanium blades, and a ceramic heater, this RUSK flat iron is designed to tackle stubborn curls and cowlicks to create extremely straight hair.
Hair Styling and Pure Straightening
Flat irons can be a wonderfully diverse tool, even if you do have dry hair. As long as the correct steps are taken to protect your hair, you can use a flat iron for a plethora of styling outcomes. Obviously, the first way to use a flat iron is for straightening, but even this can be done through different methods.
By sectioning the hair and slowly running the flat iron from roots to tip, one section at a time, completely perpendicular to the head, you will achieve a poker-straight look. However, if you were to round the straightener as you work it down the hair, you can create a flick, either inward or outward, depending on the way you twist your wrist.
Moreover, you can curl your hair using a flat iron. First brush your hair and section it off. Take a section of hair, about an inch wide at a time. Clamp this in the flat iron. As you work the flat iron from root to tip, you need to continually twist the flat iron, so that the hair wraps around the outside of the flat iron.
Do not clamp too hard or it will get stuck. The more you twist the flat iron, the tighter the curl will be. For example, for a loose curl, clamp the hair, twist the flat iron once so the hair wraps, and then gently pull downwards; this will give one large, loose, ringlet.
Alternatively, you can create a wave with a flat iron for that beachy look. Section off the hair and take a section a little shorter than the length of the blade. Clamp this and then work this a third of the way down the hair, twisting your wrist upward and outward. At the third way point, switch to bending inward and outward for the second third, and then switch back to upward and outward for the last third. This creates a wave.
Flat irons have changed over the years to compensate for all types of hair, even dry and damaged hair. Research is key to understanding which flat iron you need to help protect it from becoming drier or being exposed to potential damage. Make sure to read the reviews from real people about how each flat iron worked with their dry hair.