Sleek, frizz-free hair is one of the most glamorous looks to achieve. But if you have that look naturally, you would always want to try something new with your hair. Flat irons are used to add some interesting curls and tresses to fine hair!
However, celebrity hair stylists like Priscilla Valle recommends that ‘close contact and high heat of flat irons can have a detrimental impact on your hair’. To help you get the best style with flat irons, we’ve composed a guide on the use of flat irons specifically for fine hair. We have covered a list of best flat irons available exclusively for fine hair, their pros and cons and the due care necessary while using them.
Quick Take: Best Flat Iron for Fine Hair
Flat Iron vs Hair Straighteners
While the phrases ‘hair straighteners’ and ‘flat iron’ are often interchangeable, there are a few key differences. Let’s look at them before getting back to our discussion of the best flat irons.
The term ‘hair straightener’ refers to a variety of tools used for straightening the hair. Some of them include flat irons, hair straightening brushes and blow dryers to a certain extent. When referring to blow dryers as hair straighteners, this phrase alludes more to the technique of utilizing a hair dryer and a brush to straighten the hair, a method often seen in hair salons.
Chemical hair straightening is another variation. This method uses chemicals to relax the hair. This works in the same manner in which a perm curls the hair, using chemicals such as sodium hydroxide or guanidine oxide.
Flat irons are specifically the pincer-shaped tool that has two heating plates on the inside of the “arms”. These heat plates are traditionally made from metal or ceramic. While they are most often used for straightening, they can also be used to curl the hair.
How Does Ironing Affect Fine Hair?
Fine hair is much more fragile than thick hair. Fine hair can be natural or can occur through damage often caused by coloring, perming, chemical straightening, or excessive heat. With that in mind, flat irons can exacerbate the damage - a further negative impact on thin hair.
Flat irons tend to reach temperatures between 347 F and 410 F. When hair is exposed to such temperatures, the moisture on the outside of the hair diminishes quickly. Repeatedly exposing the hair strands to such high temperatures with the use of a flat iron also dehydrates the inside of the hair.
This causes the cuticle of hair to become brittle and snap off due to an effect called ‘flash drying’. Thin hair is more susceptible to flash drying than thick hair since it has less capacity to hold water. So thin hair will dry out faster.
Some Fine Hair Care Tips
Since fine hair is more vulnerable to damage while using a flat iron, taking precautions helps in protecting the hair from damage. Some care during your daily regime of hair nourishment would be a good beginning.
Protect your hair from the dehydration that occurs with frequent shampooing. The foaming agent in shampoos contains sulfates which notoriously dry the hair. Try switching sulfate shampoos with natural shampoos which contain essential oils. The oils lock in the moisture, strengthening the protective cuticle around the hair. Also, use a conditioner after you shampoo.
Make sure your hair is completely dry while using a flat iron. Wet or even damp hair will steam when a flat iron is placed against it. This causes added steam damage to the hair, which can be as bad as direct heat damage.
Try using a protector, such as argan oil or keratin-based products. They are readily available in most hair-care departments. They provide a protective layer that helps to distribute the heat more evenly and to dissipate the directness of the temperature. We would suggest adding frizz-ease serum. You may also find another category of products called ‘thermal protectant’ which protects against heat.
Use taming clips to section your hair. This will help you avoid a haphazard job and prevent tangles and burns.
Many people like to use their flat iron on the highest temperature as this irons out the hair more quickly. However, these high temperatures dramatically dehydrate the hair. Reduce the temperature and work more slowly across the hair, relaxing it in a more controlled manner.
To keep your hair healthy and nourished, massage it with coconut oil at least once a month.
Flat Irons That Work Best for Fine Hair
Consider the following features while looking for a flat iron for fine hair.
Look for one that has ceramic plates instead of titanium. Titanium plates, although they heat up quickly, emit very intense and direct heat. Ceramic plates heat more gradually and evenly, helping to prevent flash burns.
You can also consider flat irons with tourmaline. These emit negative ions that strengthen damaged or fine hair. It does this by counteracting the positive ions released by thin or damaged hair and strengthening hair with a neutralizing effect.
For those with long, thin hair that tends to be frizzy at the ends, using a flat iron that has a comb attached or a hair straightening brush is a good idea. This helps to comb out the frizzy ends, preventing it from tangling and fusing together from the heat. Running a flat iron over frizzy ends can make them worse, but a comb will detangle this and give the sleek look.
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Flat Irons for Fine Hair
HSI Professional Glider
BaBylissPRO Keratin Straightening Iron
CHI Fire Red Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron
BIO IONIC Onepass Straightening Iron
Best Flat Irons for Fine Hair
Some flat irons have patented technology and some manufacturers specialize in producing styling tools for fine hair. We have listed a combination of these flat irons that offer great value for the price, avoid damage and are long-lasting.
The HSI Professional Glider is an extremely versatile tool that works incredibly for thin or damaged hair. The ceramic plates are infused with tourmaline crystals to protect the hair from heat damage and to reduce frizz. The heat is adjustable between 140-450° F, giving greater control and enabling it to be used safely with varying hair types.
For those with damaged or thin hair, the eight microsensors incorporated in this flat iron protect against damage by regulating temperature and dispersing heat evenly.
The cord rotates 360 degrees which makes it easy to curl as well as straighten, keeping the hair untangled. This flat iron kit includes a heat protective glove to protect your hand and a travel-sized heat protection argan oil spray. This is a low-budget option and has a one-year warranty.
- Made for travel and helps in maintaining healthy hair with the microsensor technology implanted in it.
- It may pull out hair ends, or burn damaged ends, making them very brittle.
- The blades are quite short, meaning only a small amount of hair can be dealt with at any one time.
"It curls pretty good . . . I think it does a great job, I really do."
The BaBylissPRO Keratin Straightening Iron features titanium blades fused with keratin to protect the hair from heat damage. It functions at a high heat to ensure that the keratin is absorbed into the hair. The Far-Infrared technology locks the heat in to the hair from the inside-out. It has a nine-foot-long swivel cord and weighs only 1.1 pounds, making it very travel friendly.
Equally, while the temperature is adjustable, the keratin technology works best at high heats of 450°F making it less suitable for fine hair.
- The wide blades allow for a smooth finish and quick straightening, as a large amount of hair can be straightened at once.
- Unfortunately it has titanium blades which are not the best solution for thin hair.
"Best Flatiron Ever"
The ceramic blades of the Remington S9950 are infused with Vitamin E conditioners and avocado to moisturize the hair and lock the moisture in place. Quick to heat up, this flat iron has a temperature range of 300 to 430° F. The inch-wide blade makes it great for both curling and straightening various lengths of hair, while the hinge lock makes it easier to travel with. It has an auto-safety shut-off feature to turn it off when not in use.
- The moisturizing blades are a great asset
- It comes with a four-year warranty.
- Though it is designed for travel, it does not have the dual voltage feature that is convenient for international travel.
- Buttons are relatively touch-sensitive which may lead to accidentally making sudden changes in temperature.
- The lowest temperature is 300°F, which is really high for those with very thin hair.
"I really recommend investing in a straightener like this"
The ceramic blades of the CHI Fire Red Tourmaline Flat Iron are infused with tourmaline crystals which help to prevent frizz and protect fine hair while distributing heat evenly. The highly variable heat range -, from 180 to 410° F - means that this product can be used for varying hair types. While this product is higher on the pricing spectrum, it comes complete with a two-year warranty.
- The power cord is extremely long and the swivel connection allows versatile styling.
- The casing gets hot quickly, making it difficult to hold without a glove.
- However, the unit is overall kind of slow to heat.
"I would definitely recommend the CHI Flatiron"
The BIO IONIC Onepass Straightening Iron has ceramic blades that heat up to 400° F in 5 seconds. It features varying temperatures with a high setting of 440°F.
It straightens the hair very quickly due to the five silicone speed strips featured on the blade. The nano-ionic technology helps protect the hair by neutralizing positive ions, while the far-infrared technology conditions the hair.
It has a 10-feet long swivel cord and a wide blade for quicker hair straightening and a more dispersed heat to protect fine hair. This product is pricey, but it is high quality and comes with a five-year warranty.
- The floating blades can provide an unusual user experience.
- Straightens the hair quickly.
- One drawback is that the silicone strips tend to get quite dirty, which affects their performance. This means they need regular cleaning.
"Probably one of the best hair straighteners I've ever had."
Hair Styling and Pure Straightening
Flat irons are an incredibly versatile tool. They’re not limited to straightening the hair; they can be utilized to create a variety of styles.
In terms of straightening, working the iron from top to bottom in a slow and even manner can create pin-straight hair. However, you can choose to create a fuller and curled look.
Start with an inch-width of hair at the top of the head. As you slowly bring the flat iron down the hair, gently twist your wrist about 90 degrees, curving the hair inwards or outwards. This will cause the hair to flick under the chin or outward at the bottom.
If you want to curl the hair, you will need a flat iron with a swivel cord. Grasp an inch-width of hair in the flat iron at the top of the head. Turn the flat iron one rotation so that the hair wraps around the flat iron. Do not pull too tight or it will get stuck.
Slowly pull the flat iron down the hair. This will give a loose curl. For a tighter curl, complete the same steps above, but continue to twist the flat iron as you work it down the hair. The continuous twisting motion will give a more curly look.
If you are looking for a wavy, surfer look, a flat iron can do this too. Wider blades are more suitable, but narrow ones can work fine. Start with the same amount of hair at the top of the head. As you move the flat iron down, twist the hair upward for a third of the length, downward for the next third, and upward again. This back and forth motion creates a wave.
To hold these styles in place, use either wax or hair spray. For curly styles, rubbing wax into your hands, tipping your head upside down and scrunching it into the hair will give a more natural, messy look. Spraying the style with hair spray will keep it more pristine and formal. For ringlets, spray a comb with hair spray and gently run this through the hair once it has cooled down.
Flat Irons, A Great Styling Tool For Fine Hair Too!
Flat irons have changed over the years to include technology that protects the hair and diversify the user experience. Thanks to this technology, people with fine or damaged hair can now achieve the varying styles they are looking for without causing more stress to the hair. Make sure to protect your hair before using a flat iron and try to limit the use. Daily use will still have a harsh impact on very thin hair.