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After your hair dryer, a pair of hair straighteners was probably the second hair tool that you ever invested in. They’re a vital part of your hair arsenal to tame frizz and create sleek styles. These days, the best hair straighteners on the market smooth in seconds, whilst also being kind to hair.
Straighteners nowadays are also seriously smart – with temperature control, specialist plates and frizz-fighting technology. Don’t underestimate how important choosing your next pair of straighteners is.
Gone are the days of ironing your hair with a singular heat setting (and seeing the toll it takes on your strands). As technology has come on, so too have the tools. (2021’s best hair dryers included.) GHD is constantly updating its beloved stylers to meet the demands of hair, there are now new ways of straightening (more on the L’Oréal Professional’s Steampod below) and as ever, Dyson is making huge advances in the name of haircare.
How to choose the best hair straighteners
Depending on the length of your hair, the width of the straighteners matter. The wider plates (approximately 5cm) suit longer hair better, the thinner plates (<5cm) will work better on shorter hair. The wider plates also suit thicker hair types.
What the plates are made from is important. The words to look out for are:
Ceramic – you typically find that the less expensive straighteners have ceramic plates. They take a bit of time to heat up, but it is evenly distributed.
Metal – Metal plates are the ones that get hot within seconds and tend to cost a little more money.
Ceramic-coated – These are metal plates, coated in ceramic. The plates heat up really quickly and the heat is more evenly distributed. These tend to be the most expensive.
If you have really fine or thin hair, the idea of adding high temperatures to it seems mad. This is why the best hair straighteners now have a variable temperature setting.
So many women use straighteners to tame frizz. Frizz is caused by too much positive charge on the hair, so much like with the best hair dryers, ionic technology aids your tools in taming frizz.
This is an obvious one. You either prefer a really, really long cord which means you can style standing up, wherever. Or you like a shorter cord that packs away neatly.
Best hair straighteners in 2022:
Best affordable hair straightener
Plates Ceramic infused with copper | Heat Settings 9x (<230°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 3M
Whether you’re not one for straightening that often or you just don’t want to spend that much, Remington has plenty of super affordable, and really decent, options on the market. You still want to be able to rely on your styler, even if you’re not dropping the big bucks. There are nine (yes, nine) temperatures settings to choose from on Remington’s Copper Radiance Straightener. It also shuts off after 60 minutes and heats up within 15 seconds.
Best hair straightener for frizzy hair
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings 5x (127°C to 210°C) | Ionic Technology YES | Cord Length 2.7M
This is the straightener that every girl with wild and frizzy hair dreams of. It’s specifically designed to deal with unruly hair and will flatten even the most stubborn locks with its wide, powerful plates and its advanced digital heating system that maintains heat consistently throughout use, creating gorgeously smooth tresses.
It boasts a microchip brain (yes, really!) that monitors the heat for accurate styling, and this ensures a beautiful long-lasting finish. It features the latest tourmaline ceramic technology, and the wider plates significantly reduce styling time. An investment worth making.
Best hair straighteners for speedy styling
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings 2x (165°C and 195°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 2.7M
The beauty of these straighteners is that they heat up in a moment. And we really do mean a moment. Simply click the plates together and off you go. Instant Heat as they call it. The plates are also infused with Tourmaline and Sericite, which help to heal the hair by sealing the hair’s cuticle and locking in moisture. Making these the best hair straighteners for an everyday straightener user.
Looking for hair tools with sustainability credentials? Cloud Nine is partnering with Clean Hub, an enterprise that takes non-recyclable plastics and turns them into alternative fuels. By becoming a more responsible company when it comes to waste, the brand is set to prevent 1000kg of plastic from entering the ocean – a vital step in saving our seas.
Best cordless hair straightener
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings 3x (160°C, 180°C and 200°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Lenth Cordless
We knew we weren’t going to have to wait too long for cordless straighteners. I mean it’s a no-brainer, right? There are a fair few on the market now, which means we can cart some of the best straighteners around with us in our handbags without fear of finding a plug. Good hair on the go. These Babyliss beauties are our favourite cord-free styler because they speedily charge up in three hours and you have 30 minutes of styling time to play with.
Best luxury hair straightener
Best straightener for short hair
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings 1x (185°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 2.7M
The thinner plates on this styler make it ideal for shorter crops and fringes. It utilises the same technology as the ghd Original tool, just on teeny floating plates, which are designed so that shorter strands are easier to get to so that you don’t end up with hair sticking out at an odd angle.
Best hair straightener for curling hair
Plates Ceramic-coated | Heat Settings 1x (185°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 2.7m
The world’s first ‘smart straightener’ is almost too good to be true. Predictive technology assesses every section of your hair for its size, thickness and speed and adjusts the power accordingly. So regardless of whether you have slight waves or corkscrew curls, this powerful tool will adapt to your hair type. They’re also incredible at creating beachy waves and curvaceous curls. In fact, there are many, many, many how-to videos online showing you exactly how to do it.
Best hair straightener for damaged hair
Plates Ceramic-coated | Heat Settings 5X | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 3M
One of the route causes of damaged hair is heat (alongside colouring and brushing), so the idea of applying heat to strands with excessive breakage seems mad. However, Remington’s Hydraluxe Pro Hair Straightener has a hydracare mist function, which essentially relaxes your hair right before straightening. This allows you to style at lower, less damaging temperatures. No straightener can actually protect your hair, but this one does a really good job of preventing further damage.
Best hair straightener for fine hair
Plates Ceramic-coated | Heat Settings 5X | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 2.5M
Fine hair is a little bit like damaged hair, you want to ensure you are protecting it at all costs. Because it’s not as robust as thicker hair. First tip before straightening fine hair is to make sure your hair is completely dry (it’s at its most vulnerable when wet). The other thing you want is a straightener with ceramic plates and numerous heat settings that allow you to choose lower heats. Guess what? The Remington Keratin Protect Intelligent Ceramic Hair Straighteners tick all of those boxes.
Best hair straightener for afro hair
Plates Ceramic-coated | Heat Settings 3x (180°C to 210°C) | Ionic Technology No | Cord Length 2.4M
If your hair is particularly brittle hair from over-styling or regular colouring, L’Oréal Professionnel’s revolutionary straighteners that use steam to smooth strands are the best hair straighteners for damaged hair. They cause 78% less damage than your typical heated plate straighteners.
Best hair straightener for shine
Plates Ceramic-coated | Heat Settings 5X | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 2.7M
Lots of people believe that if you straighten your hair with any old hair straighteners, they’ll automatically make your hair shiny. Wrong. You need a pair like this Panasonic one. It has technology that means the plates maintain and distribute heat evenly and you’re able to straighten strands in just one stroke. This reduces the chance of damage, which is the anti-shine. It also comes with moisture-rich nanoe particles, which encourage your hair’s natural shine. These particles are released from the straighteners, penetrate into the hair shaft and make sure that the moisture levels inside are as they should be and tighten the cuticles. The result, super-duper shiny hair.
Best hair straightener for thick hair
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings (185°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length 2.7M
With all of the iconic ghd technology and 70% wider plates, the ghd Max is the ideal styler for thick hair. It cuts down styling time by half (depending on hair length). The best thing about these is that they’re just the same as the beloved Platinum+ – they have a rounded design, which means they can be used for sleek and straight looks or loose waves and curls. They’re also pretty nifty on long and curly hair.
Best hair straightener for curly hair
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings 32X | Ionic Technology YES | Cord Length 3M
Those with curly hair know that your hair is constantly calling out for moisture. A happy curl is a hydrated curl. So when straightening curls, you don’t want to forget about that key point. This is what makes these straighteners so perfect. The plates are infused with Keratin, Argan and Coconut oils for the smoothest look possible. There are also 32 heat settings, so you’re able to move between 80°C and 235°C to find the best heat to straighten your coils.
Best travel straightener
Plates Ceramic | Heat Settings 1X (185°C) | Ionic Technology NO | Cord Length Cordless
We were all wondering how long it would take ghd to bring our its own cordless straightener. The thing that sets this one aside from the others is its size. It’s really small and nimble, which makes it perfect for travel. It can be charged up in a car, on your laptop or in the mains. And it’s been approved safe for travelling with you in the cabin on a plane. With full power, you have 20 minutes of styling time. It really is like taking your favourite pair of ghd stylers wherever you go.
In the past, ok in the 90s, when all we wanted was poker-straight hair, we used to grab our straighteners, clamp them over our strands, as firmly as possible, and drag them from root to tip, without a care or thought. Thankfully, those days are over, but there are still ways of improving our technique.
‘A common mistake with straightening is going over the same piece of hair multiple times,’ warns Larry King – hairstylist extraordinaire, founder of Larry King Haircare and Marie Claire Hair Awards 2021 judge. The trouble with this he says, ‘is one side of the hair straightens better and easier than the other. This causes irreversible heat damage and breakage usually on one side than the other. Invest in good tools that maintain the condition of your hair too.’
King also explains that to achieve the best results it’s all about identifying your hair type, the look you’re trying to achieve and finding the appropriate tool to suit. Once you know that you’ll know to get the most from the settings on your straighteners. ‘There are multiple different ways to straighten thick vs thin & long vs short hair,’ he says. He recommends a high-intensity heat for thicker hair: ‘With thick hair, you want to aim to take the density out, but with finer hair you just need to gently take the curl out, so lower the temperature for thinner hair.’
‘If you want a straight, sleek look, whilst maintaining some volume, use a lower temperature. This will take out the curl but maintain the volume. If you wanted it sleeker and flatter, taking out the density, then you want a medium temperature, around 165°C – 185°C. If you go too hot on a straightener you find you then can’t change the look. So will struggle to add volume or curls later on.’
If you battle frizz on a daily basis, or just like ironed-out styles, the best hair straighteners are absolutely essential to your beauty arsenal. Along with one of the best hair dryers and hair serum, the perfect pair of irons will make your hair super sleek in a matter of minutes.