Best Flat Iron for Black Hair
Women like having the option of changing up their hairstyle every now and then, going from curly to straight and back again on a daily basis. For some women, this is easy with the help of just about any hair styling tool, but for African American women, it can be a bit more difficult.
Due to differences in hair texture and thickness, finding the right flat iron can be very difficult, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. Well, our guide to the best flat iron for black hair is here to help you not only to straighten your hair with ease but also to keep your hair healthy while you do so.
Importance of Selecting the Right Flat Iron for Black Hair
Selecting the right flat iron for your hair is very important, especially since African American hair can vary greatly in texture and condition.
Brittle hair is prone to heat damage; therefore, you will need an iron that has a low heat setting option. On the other hand, some flat irons don’t have enough heat to fully straighten thick, curly, texturized hair.
The key to selecting the right hair straightened is quality. You want something that will do the job while limiting frizz and heat damage. Ideally, this will be a straightener that is versatile with heat settings and styling options.
Steps to Straighten Black Hair
Following the right routine is important to not only straighten your hair efficiently but also to avoid any sort of heat damage.
Start with a clean slate; this means washing and drying your hair before you plan to straighten. This will ensure that there is no excess dirt or debris in your hair that can prevent a good straightening job and damage to your flat iron.
Next, you will want to comb or brush your hair. It will be difficult to run the straightener through your hair if there are knots and it may also cause your hair to have kinks that won’t completely straighten.
Probably the most important step is to protect your hair. Use some sort of heat protectant serum or spray to avoid burning your hair or having it snap off in your hands. It will also help to preserve the natural texture of your hair for the days you don’t want to straighten it.
Finally, you will straighten your hair. Take your time and work on a small section at a time, especially if your hair is particularly wavy or curly.
Try not to straighten your hair too often in order to limit heat damage. And in between the times you straighten, moisturize your hair every once in a while with a hair mask in the shower.
What to Look for in a Flat Iron for African American Hair
As mentioned before, your hair thickness and texture will help determine the heat setting you will need to use on your hair. Dry, brittle hair will need a lower heat setting while thick, curly hair will need a higher heat setting.
The plate size – or straightener width – you will need will be determined by your hair length. Longer hair will likely need a wider plate size whereas short hair will need something narrower to help reach the roots easier.
Flat irons these days aren’t just used for straightening – though that is their main purpose. Depending on what you like to do with your hair and if you prefer a minimalist lifestyle (with fewer appliances), you will want to look for a flat iron that has rounded edges for curling as well.
There are a couple of different options when it comes to plate material, and the one you choose is completely up to your preference. Ceramic heats evenly but it is much more fragile (not a good idea for those who are prone to knocking their straighteners off the bathroom counter). Titanium is stronger and more durable.
Some people can handle lots of tugging on the scalp, which is sometimes the case when straightening. However, there are some that are a bit more sensitive, which may make them a bit more apprehensive about straightening. If you are more on the sensitive side, opt for a straightener that has floating plates, allowing more movement and reducing the tug on the hair and scalp.
We’ve already mentioned how flat iron temperature can affect frizzy hair, but those prone to frizzy hair should also look for a flat iron with negative ion technology. This will reduce static and therefore reduce frizz and fly aways.
Top-Rated Flat Irons for Black Hair
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin
The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin flat iron is probably one of the most versatile on our list in regards to heat settings.
There are 50 heat settings, from about 100 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.There are three plate sizes available: 1-inch, 1.5-inch, and 2-inch irons. This gives you more options to choose a straightener that is more suited to your hair type.
You can also rejoice at the fact that it only uses 120 volts of electricity versus the more common 200 used by other flat irons.
It also includes many of the other features previously mentioned such as negative ion technology and durable titanium plates.
- Three sizes available (1, 1.5, and 2 inches)
- Durable titanium plates
- Wide range of heat settings
- Low voltage use
- Flat design don’t allow for easy curling
- Fairly expensive
HSI Professional Glider
The HIS Professional Glider is one of the top picks for flat irons for black hair. Not only do the ceramic tourmaline plates heat evenly but they also include 8 HeatBalance sensors to help distribute heat and maintain temperature.
Though it doesn’t have as many heat settings as the BaBylissPRO, there is still a wide range from 140 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The shape and size of the straightener also makes it a great choice for curling as well, though it is a bit narrow for those with thick hair.
Likely the best part about this flat iron is the price. It is highly affordable for all budgets, making it hard to believe that it is a salon quality straightener for the low ticket price.
- Good size and shape for curling
- HeatBalance sensors for even heat distribution
- Wide range of heat settings
- Affordable for all budgets
- Ceramic plates scratch easily
- Very narrow for long or thick hair
Paul Mitchell Express Ion Smooth+
Paul Mitchell is well known for their excellent hair care products – including serums, shampoos, and styling appliances – and the Express Ion Smooth+ flat iron is one of the best they have.
They have incorporated Express Ion Complex technology which leaves your hair looking healthy and smooth with an incredible shine. There is very little need to worry about any unwanted frizz when using this flat iron.
The LCD screen on the iron lets you know exactly what the heat is set to so you can ensure that your hair is always safe and protected no matter what your hair type is.
- Fast heating
- Express Ion Complex creates super shiny hair
- Dual voltage
- Beveled edges for curling
- Only comes in 1.25-inch size
- Few heat setting options
ghd Classic Styler
The ghd Classic Styler is very similar in design to the HSI Professional Glider. They both have rounded edges and a 1-inch width which are great for curling as well as ceramic plates that heat evenly for a nice, smooth finish.
It only heats up to 365 degrees Fahrenheit (versus 450 degrees on the HSI Professional Glider), but it is still hot enough for thicker, curly hair.
One of the great features included with the ghd Classic Styler flat iron that is not found with the HSI Professional Glider is the inclusion of floating plates. These allow for a bit more movement to reduce tugging and pulling on the hair and scalp.
- Floating plates reduce tugging
- Ceramic plates heat evenly
- Great for creating soft waves
- Universal voltage
- This model only comes in 1-inch wide
Croc Classic Nano-Titanium
Croc makes some great hair styling appliances, and the Classic Nano-Titanium flat iron is nothing short of fantastic. It comes in a 1.5-inch size with rounded edges that make it great for creating soft waves.
There are 25 heat settings ranging from 200 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which may not be as low as some of the others we looked at but still low enough to prevent damage on brittle hair.
Some of the bonus features included with this flat iron include auto shut off – for those who tend to be a bit forgetful – and a digital display so you know exactly what the temperature is set to.
- Digital display
- Auto shut off
- 25 heat settings up to 450
- Rounded edges for curling
- Straightener itself is fragile if dropped
Our top pick for the best overall flat iron for black hair is the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin (check it on Amazon) straightener.
It is the most versatile of all the flat irons on our list. It comes in various sizes and has 50 heat settings; both of these details make it a great choice for most women of all hair types.
Though it is a bit on the expensive side, it is well worth the investment to have a salon quality flat iron that will last you for many years to come.