– Flat irons are one of the most versatile tools available for styling hair. With a flat iron, you can straighten the tresses, turn the ends of a style under and even create waves and curls. The secret to creating an endless number of styles is to choose the right type for your needs, and drugstore.com makes that an easy task with a huge selection of flat irons. read more about ethnic styling products » | resource library for hair care »
Professional versus Home
The very first thing you'll need to decide when shopping for a flat iron is whether you wish to purchase a model from a professional styling tools collection or a home styling tools collection. Professional products are generally more expensive than styling tools designed only for use at home, but they are often more durable and contain more advanced features than designs made solely for home use. If you'll only be using your flat iron occasionally or have a limited budget, a home flat iron may be the best choice. Women who use a flat iron daily or who have hair that is very coarse, curly or otherwise difficult to work with are often better served by investing in professional-grade models.
Choosing the Right Plate Size
After you have decided whether to opt for a professional or home use flat iron, you'll need to decide what plate size is right for you. The plates are the two flat surfaces that you run along the hair to produce various styles. The widest flat irons are 1-1/4 inches to 1-1/2 inches in size while the smallest flat irons on the market are typically 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide. The longer your hair, the wider the plates on your flat iron will need to be to produce results. Wider plates are also needed for thick and coarse hair and for curly hair.
The Importance of Temperature
The width of the plates on a flat iron isn't the only feature that determines how easy it is to style with this hair care tool. Temperature also plays an important role. Coarse, thick, curly and long hair all require higher temperatures to produce results, but you should always use the lowest possible heat setting to get results. Because every person's hair is different, look for flat irons that have a temperature range, giving you the flexibility to try out different heat levels to find the one that works best for you.
The Latest in Plate Design
The final consideration you'll need to make is what type of plates you want your flat iron to have. Ceramic and tourmaline are two of the newest and most popular varieties, as they produce negatively charged ions that cut down on frizz and make the hair appear shinier. Sometimes, these types of flat irons are referred to simply as "ionic" models. Titanium is another high quality plate material that gets hot quickly and evenly distributes temperature. You can also find infrared flat irons, which use a special type of light energy to produce heat. Less expensive flat irons may be made from aluminum or other types of metals.
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