– If you're looking to get that sleek, straight style of your dreams with a flat iron, choosing one that is of adequate size is of the utmost importance. Flat iron size refers to the width of the plates. The largest flat irons on the market have plates between 1.25 inches and 2 inches in size, and drugstore.com carries a wide selection of these large flat irons. read more about 1.25 to 2 inch plates » | resource library for hair care »
The length of your hair will be one of the greatest determiners of which size flat iron is right for you. Generally, hair that is long, meaning that it hangs below the shoulders, is best straightened with flat irons with 1.25-inch to 2-inch plates. The wider plates provide a larger surface area to pull long strands straight as you style, so that you can get the best possible results with the lowest heat setting possible to reduce thermal damage. Using a large flat iron on hair that is shoulder length or shorter is less than ideal, as the plates will be too large and awkward to maneuver.
Considering Your Long Hair's Texture
To determine which specific size of plates is right for your needs, you'll want to take the texture of your hair into consideration. If your long hair is very thick, choosing a 2-inch flat iron will help you to get the best results. Long hair that is thinner can be styled with a 1.25-inch or 1.5-inch flat iron. Coarse hair also benefits from the use of larger plates, making 2-inch models the ideal choice for those whose individual hair strands are very large in width. Finer long hair can be styled with smaller 1.25-inch plates, and 1.5-inch plates are ideal for those with an in-between or "normal" hair texture.
Large Flat Irons for Shoulder-Length Hair
If your hair falls to your shoulders, a larger flat iron may be the ideal solution for your styling needs, depending on its texture. Shoulder-length hair that is very thick, very coarse or naturally very curly is best suited by a flat iron with 2-inch plates. For moderately thick, coarse or curly shoulder-length hair, choose a 1.25-inch or 1.5-inch flat iron. Tresses that fall to the shoulders, are of average thickness and that have a natural wave are best styled with 1.25-inch to 1.5-inch plates. If your hair is of normal texture and naturally straight or if you have fine hair, a large flat iron will likely not be the best choice for your needs.
Best Practices for Using a Flat Iron
Using your flat iron correctly and with the right styling products will help you to get the best results and minimize the risk of damaging your hair with the heat from the styling tool. Always use the lowest possible heat setting to get your desired results. The thicker and coarser your hair, the hotter your flat iron will need to be. Before exposing your hair to the heat from the flat iron or from any other thermal styling tool, apply a thermal protective styling product to reduce the risk of damage.
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