Hair care and removal
How to buy the best hair straightener
What features to look for and how much to spend.
Want sleek, straight hair without stepping into a salon?
In the 1960s, women gave up bouffants for the sleek look of ironed hair. Luckily we no longer need to use the clothes iron to achieve Kim Kardashian-like locks at home, thanks to the modern gift of the hair straightener.
Whether your old straightener has gone to the great salon in the sky or you're buying your first one, make sure you research the latest products to find a straightener that does the job quickly and effectively.
If you're the kind of person who just doesn't feel 'done' without a 'do', a good hair straightener can save you a lot of money at the hairdresser. Cancel that regular blow dry and straighten your hair at home instead. If you're more the type to wrestle your hair into a ponytail each day and wonder how others manage to walk around looking like they married a hair stylist, their secret is now out.
The best performing hair straighteners heated up quickly. This means, of course, you can get started on transforming your tresses sooner, but it also means the straightener returns more quickly to the right temperature after straightening a section of hair, so you'll move through your head of hair at a speedier rate.
Most hair straighteners are tong-style. A few on the market are 'scissor' style, but they tend to be clumsy and bulky.
Hair straighteners come with ceramic or ceramic-coated plates (sometimes with the addition of aluminium or tourmaline), which are claimed to eliminate frizz and static in hair and leave it smooth, shiny and silky. We've found in previous trials that respondents showed no preference for one type or another.
Slim to medium-width plates are suitable for most hair types. Wider plates may speed up the process, particularly for those with longer hair, but they'll make the straightener bulkier and perhaps heavier.
Before buying check the position of the controls, as some people report switching off a straightener accidentally during use.
Adjustable heat setting
This is useful for people with fine or damaged hair who want to use the straightener at a lower heat.
Some straighteners have a loop to hang it on a hook for storage; others come with a stand or a protective heat mat to rest it on, which may fold into a carry bag.
Hair straighteners range in cost from $50 to $370.