In our good year of 2021, it seems curly hair is finally receiving the praise it deserves. But that doesn't mean those with ringlets and coils can't still experiment with heat styling. After all, there's something liberating about the ability to transform your texture at will.
Finding a great straightener for curly hair is a journey in and of itself. Like snowflakes, every curl pattern is unique, and a tool that works well for one curly-haired person might not cut it for another. To help you determine what type of flat iron will effectively (and safely) straighten your mane, we've broken down the nitty-gritty, from material composition to recommended temperatures and heat protectants.
Titanium vs. Ceramic: What’s the Difference?
As Ulta notes in its Hair Tool Guide, titanium flat irons distribute intense heat quickly and evenly. That makes them a great choice for thick, textured hair, and they tend to be the preferred option among professionals.
If you have fine or damaged hair, however, the high heat of a titanium straightener could cause breakage and dryness. That's where ceramic comes in. Flat irons with these non-metallic plates produce negative ions that seal the hair cuticle, which results in a smooth, healthy-looking finish. Many ceramic straighteners are also infused with tourmaline, a mineral that maximizes the output of negative ions.
What Temperature Should Your Straightener Be?
The temperature you choose for your straightener should be a fairly intuitive decision. Finer hair requires a lower heat setting to prevent damage, while coarse strands can safely withstand higher temperatures. According to Ulta, fine or chemically treated hair should be ironed below 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, medium-textured hair can handle between 300 and 380 degrees, and tighter textures may require up to 450 degrees to achieve the desired pin-straight look.
How to Protect Curly Hair While Straightening
Two words: Heat protectant. A quality protective oil or spray can mean the difference between retaining your natural curl pattern and creating severe long-term damage. Some products work more effectively on dry hair, while others should be applied to damp or wet strands. No matter which you choose, keeping your straightener below the product's maximum protectant temperature will ensure it functions properly. For example, if a spray protects against heat up to 350 degrees, you shouldn't exceed that number when styling.
With these factors in mind, we scoured the internet for the best straighteners for every curl pattern. We ended up with 15 high-quality flat irons that have received the approval of curly-haired customers from all over the country.
According to reviews, these are the best straighteners for curly hair:
- Best Overall: Kipozi Professional Titanium Flat Iron
- Best Rated: HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Flat Iron
- Best Durable: GHD Classic Original IV Hair Straightener
- Best Value: Remington Wet2Straight Flat Iron with Ceramic + Titanium Plates
- Best Affordable: Remington S5500 1” Anti-Static Flat Iron
- Best Splurge: T3 Lucea ID 1-Inch Smart Straightening & Styling Flat Iron
- Best Straightener Brush: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler
- Best for Fine Hair: Infinitipro by Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron
- Best for Tight Textures: Croc Classic Silver Titanium Flat Iron
- Best for Frizz: CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium 1 1/4″ Straightening Iron
- Best Cordless: Conair Unbound Cordless Titanium Multi-Styler
- Best for Damaged Hair: Nition Professional Salon Hair Straightener
- Best Mini: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron
- Best for Volume: Furiden Professional Hair Straightener
- Best for Shine: CHI Deep Brilliance Black Titanium Hairstyling Iron
Best Overall: Kipozi Professional Titanium Flat Iron
This affordable titanium flat iron can adjust to any temperature between 170 and 450 degrees, but if you're not sure which is right for your hair, you can also select one of three default heat settings. Its extra-wide 1.75-inch plates can effectively straighten more hair in a single pass, and curly-haired shoppers say its results are worth every penny. "I have very thick curly hair, and in a matter of 45 minutes my hair was the straightest I've ever been able to get it on my own. Hands down the best hair straightener for the price I paid. It even passed the test with Florida's humidity and remained straight the next day," one wrote.
Shop now: $32 with coupon (Originally $37); amazon.com
Best Rated: HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Flat Iron
The HSI Professional Glider has amassed more than 44,000 five-star ratings, which explains how it became the best-selling straightener on Amazon. At just $40, the flat iron has a temperature range of 140 to 450 degrees, a rapid heat-up system, and a 360-degree swiveling cord that moves with you. Plus, its 1-inch plates are made with tourmaline ceramic that creates lasting, natural-looking results. "My hair is dry and curly," said a reviewer. "This flat iron makes it smooth, soft, and shiny in only 20 minutes. And guess what? It stays for a whole week if I want it to."
Shop now: $40; amazon.com
Best Durable: GHD Classic Original IV Hair Straightener
This user-friendly straightener comes with one 365-degree heat setting suitable for all hair types. Its ceramic plates heat up in 25 seconds, and its automatic sleep mode will turn it off after 30 minutes of non-use. Not only does the flat iron have a two-year manufacturer's warranty, but customers say it's built to last. "This is my second GHD. My first lasted me 12 years and was fantastic until the day it died. Highly recommend them for styling and durability," one wrote.
Shop now: $140; amazon.com
Best Value: Remington Wet2Straight Flat Iron with Ceramic + Titanium Plates
The Remington Wet2Straight Flat Iron gives users the benefits of titanium and ceramic all in one device. The 1.75-inch plates are made from a unique blend of both materials, and as the product name suggests, they're safe to use on wet and dry hair alike. Despite its variety of features and thousands of perfect ratings, the straightener costs a mere $30. It's also available in a 1-inch model for $25.
Shop now: $30; amazon.com
Best Affordable: Remington S5500 1″ Anti-Static Flat Iron
A $20 straightener might sound too good to be true, but curly-haired Amazon shoppers say this ceramic tourmaline flat iron does everything they need it to and then some. It has six heat settings with a maximum of 410 degrees, and its 11-inch length makes it easy to maneuver through strands. "I love this so much because it actually irons my thick and curly hair! Such a life-saver," wrote one reviewer.
Shop now: $20 (Originally $28); amazon.com
Best Splurge: T3 Lucea ID 1-Inch Smart Straightening & Styling Flat Iron
Not to be dramatic, but the Lucea ID flat iron can do just about everything but your taxes. Its Heat ID technology adjusts the plates' temperature to best suit your hair type, which makes it ideal for those with multiple textures and curl patterns. The straightener's ceramic plates even have a built-in negative ion generator for extra frizz control. According to a third-party study cited by the brand, 97 percent of users who tried the Lucea ID said it gave them "smooth, shiny, frizz-free results."
Shop now: $235; nordstrom.com and ulta.com
Best Straightener Brush: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler
The before-and-after photos in this brush's reviews section tell you all you need to know about its straightening abilities. Its sturdy paddle brush and ionic drying system smooth and straighten wet strands with ease. It's earned over 12,000 five-star ratings, and this reviewer says it's strong enough to get through her 4C hair: "This has changed the game. Right after washing my hair, I'll pass this through and in less than 20 minutes I'm done with my whole head. There's really no need to flat iron afterwards."
Shop now: $34 (Originally $50); amazon.com
Best for Fine Hair: Infinitipro by Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron
This sparkly purple straightener might look like something out of Lizzie McGuire's bathroom, but it's actually full of advanced features, from a 15-second heating time to 30 temperature settings. Customers with fine hair love that the tourmaline ceramic plates are gentle yet effective. "I have very fine hair and it's difficult to find a flat iron that allows me to add some body without damaging it. This flat iron is the only one I've found that does exactly what it says it will," one wrote.
Shop now: $30 (Originally $45); amazon.com
Best for Frizz: CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium 1 1/4″ Straightening Iron
The 1.25-inch CHI G2 combines the benefits of ceramic and titanium in one seriously effective, frizz-fighting device. Users can select one of three temperature ranges to best suit their hair type, and the round-edged plates will rapidly smooth unruly hair without causing snags or breakage. One reviewer went so far as to call it the "best flat iron" for frizz, adding that it "glides" through her curly tresses.
Shop now: $74; amazon.com
Best Cordless: Conair Unbound Cordless Titanium Multi-Styler
Yes, cordless straighteners exist, and this one from Conair has received the approval of over 1,600 Amazon users. The titanium device can curl or straighten hair of all textures with its four heat settings that reach up to 400 degrees. It has up to a 25-minute cord-free run time between charges, and according to reviewers, that's more than enough. "No more fighting with a cord while straightening my hair. It's easy to use, heats in a nominal amount of time, and stays heated long enough to get the job done," one wrote.
Shop now: $64 (Originally $100); amazon.com
Best for Damaged Hair: Nition Professional Salon Hair Straightener
The plates of this Nition flat iron are infused with hydrating argan oil, titanium, and tourmaline, then coated with a layer of ceramic. As a result, it's as protective as it is functional. Shoppers say the straightener actually made their color-treated hair look and feel healthier. "My highlights were retouched a week ago so my hair is a bit dry/damaged, but instead of making it worse, this iron smoothed the ends to perfection," a customer raved. "The heat control allows me to use only the heat I need on my thin hair." The tool's gorgeous champagne-gold color is just the cherry on top.
Shop now: $57 with coupon (Originally $60); amazon.com
Best Mini: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron
If BaBylissPro is good enough for Jennifer Lopez, it's good enough for us. The brand's travel-size flat iron clocks in at just 6 inches long, but it contains the same high-end technology as its full-size models and reaches temperatures up to 440 degrees. Reviewers say it's strong enough to tame a section of curls with one swipe. "I use [this straightener] on my daughter's hair, which is thick and curly," said one. "It takes me about 20 minutes to do her full head. Hands-down the only straightener that leaves her hair smooth and straight."
Shop now: $30; amazon.com
Best for Volume: Furiden Professional Hair Straightener
A pair of angled ceramic plates allows this flat iron to lift hair up and away from the scalp with every pass, adding body and volume at the roots. It also comes with five versatile temperature settings, a 15-second heating time, and a 97-inch power cord that makes it easy to use anywhere. This reviewer says it eliminates the "flat pancake look" other straighteners have left her with: "It straightens while giving hair volume. Love the end of it… no ripping hair out, and the edges are smooth. Great temperature control, too. Stop looking already and BUY THIS."
Shop now: $52 with coupon (Originally $65); amazon.com
Best for Shine: CHI Deep Brilliance Black Titanium Hairstyling Iron
CHI's Deep Brilliance line integrates olive and monoi oils into tools to strengthen hair and restore shine. The Black Titanium Hairstyling Iron is compatible with all hair types due to its adjustable temperature settings, which cap off at 450 degrees. Customers claim it leaves even coarse textures with a polished, glossy finish. "I rarely take the time to write reviews, but this straightener is amazing! My hair looks shiny and silky and it definitely seems to cut down on frizz. Definitely recommend for people with course, curly, or hard-to-manage hair," one reviewer wrote.
Shop now: $107; amazon.com
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