If you are African American and you love to style your hair, then it might be important for you to find the best flat iron for African American hair. African hair is naturally very kinky and somewhat dry so it is important to flatten and straighten it with flat irons that distribute heat evenly, in order to achieve the healthiest results.
The best flat iron for black hair is different from the best flat irons on the market.
Choosing a flat iron for African-American or other ethnic hair types is not much different from choosing a flat iron that will work well on thick or curly hair – the difference is in the preparation and treatment needed before and after straightening. Ethnic hair tends to be coarse, but African-American hair is the most porous – meaning it is easier to lose moisture & sustain heat damage. Using moisturizing conditioners regularly is more important when heat styling black hair, before and after styling.
Shine-enhancing products commonly used on black hair are not the best choice when using a flat iron – spray laminators or oil based products can literally fry on hot surfaces, so use sparingly or not at all (tourmaline or titanium will add natural shine by smoothing hair). Other than that, much like coarse hair of any ethnic type, the trick is in straightening small sections at a time, looking for wider plate sizes (1 1/2″ & up), and practicing to find the right heat and technique.
There are two kinds of flat irons: the ionic flat iron and the ceramic flat iron. Each offers unique benefits that you need to understand so that you know which one to use for particular style choices. It may even be wise for you to own both kinds, especially if you like to change up your hair styles quite often.
The ionic flat iron works by infusing negative ions into your hair. This concept was originally considered to be the most beneficial, but studies have shown that it actually leads to more damage. Ceramic irons use ceramic plates which heat the hair a little differently. Ceramic irons also heat more evenly, which gives you more control over the heat, which is important, obviously, because too much heat can and will damage your hair.
Coarse or Curly
Your hair is thick, full of texture and can be wiry, unruly or quick to tangle. A professional flat iron is a must for straightening thick or curly hair because you can handle (and need) the high temperatures and advanced technology to flatten without damage. Try these:
- HAI Convertable Ceramic Flat Iron » Solia Tourmaline Ceramic Ion Flat Iron 1 1/4″ »
- Ozon Titanium Flat Iron » Sedu Revolution Tourmaline Ionic Styling Iron 1″ »
- BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium 1 1/4″ Straightening Iron » Croc 2 Infrared Flat Iron 1″ »
Normal, Medium Thickness or Wavy
We know there’s really no such thing as “normal” hair. By the term, we simply mean hair that’s middle-of-the-road: medium-thickness, not overly dry or oily and doesn’t break easily. It tends to be straight to wavy with some body, and easily adapts to different styles. Try these:
- Hot Tools Pink Titanium 1″ Flat Iron » HAI eLite Nano XT 1″ Flat Iron »
- GHD Classic Styler Ceramic Hair Straightener »
- FHI Ceramic Technique Flat Iron 1 1/4″ » Sedu Pro Ionic Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron 1 1/2″ »
Thin, Fine, or Naturally Straight Hair
Thin, fine and naturally straight hair can be styled with just about any flat iron. Choosing a flat iron with temperature control is important for fine or straight hair in particular. The finer your hair, the cooler your tool temperature should be. Experts suggest starting as low as possible (somewhere around 180°F) and working your way up if necessary. If you notice frizz, dry ends or breakage, the iron may be too hot. (Use the chart above for guidance.) Try these:
- GA.MA Ceramic HP Flat Iron 1″ » Cricket Centrix Ceramic Flat Iron 1″ »
If you are considering using a flat iron, then you also need to make sure that you are properly caring for your hair. Use the right conditioners to make sure that your hair already has enough body and is strong enough to handle the kind of abuse that it will experience. You might look for something with essential oils from almond, olive, or coconut, which penetrate the roots and the follicles more deeply than regular water and soap.
Once your hair is cleaned properly, it is also necessary to dry it properly. It should be quite obvious that you cannot simply apply the direct heat of a flat iron to soaking wet hair. This is not only grossly ineffective, but it can cause damage to your hair too. Similarly, hair that is too dry and is exposed to a temperature that is too high can also be very damaging. As you can see there is a bit of an art when it comes to properly caring for your hair.
Whether you rarely straighten your hair or you prefer to do it every day, the proper hair maintenance routine is very important. With the right hair shampoo, conditioners, and equipment you can always be sure that you look your best.