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How to buy the best hair straightener

What features to look for and how much to spend.

woman straightens other woman hair

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.

Why should I get a hair straightener?

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.

What should I look for in a hair straightener?

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.

What features are available in hair straighteners?


Most hair straighteners are tong-style. A few on the market are 'scissor' style, but they tend to be clumsy and bulky.

Plate material

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.

Plate size

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.

Control buttons

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.

How much do hair straighteners cost?

Hair straighteners range in cost from $50 to $370.

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