Thinking about flat irons takes me back to my first tryout of hair-straightening. Even with all the patience in the world, I couldn’t do anything more than a fizzy mess. I’m talking about a time when flat irons were just coming to the spotlight, and they had little more to give than heat.
However, with baby steps, I’ve seen the flat iron evolve throughout my professional life as a stylist. It’s not just a heat-dispersing one-trick pony. Also, all hype around the new and improved glass-hair-look made more stylists jump into the flat-iron bandwagon.
If there is anything that my long years of experience have taught me, it’s to always be chivalrous with your hair. You might think rough-handling for one party doesn’t matter, but take it from a professional- it does.
So, if you don’t want hair-damage beyond repair, then getting aboard the professional-flat-iron-train is the way to go. It’s not the price that poses the problem, it’s the sheer volume of products. So, I’ll be taking you through the flat irons I’ve handpicked during my career.
Also, I’ll tell you which one or ones deserve to sit on the top for the throne of being the best professional flat iron.
Table Of Contents
- Top 10 Professional Flat Irons Comparison
- Recommending Top-Rated Professional Flat Irons
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Straightening Iron (Ultra-Thin)
- Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Smooth+
- CHI PRO G2 Digital Titanium Infused Ceramic
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Straightening Iron (Thick)
- CHI Tourmaline Ceramic Hairstyling Iron 1″
- HSI Professional Glider Hair Straightener
- KIPOZI Professional Titanium Flat Iron
- NITION Professional Salon Hair Straightener
- FURIDEN Professional Hair Straightener
- Magicfly Professional Salon Ceramic Tourmaline
- Tips to Help You Choose A Professional Flat Iron
- Before I Pull the Final Strand
Top 10 Professional Flat Irons Comparison
|Name & Brand||Material||Plate Size||Temperature||Price|
|BaBylissPRO Ultra Thin Iron||Titanium||1 inch||Up to 450F|
|Paul Mitchell Pro Express Ion||Ceramic ||1.25"||Heats Up to 410°F|
|CHI PRO G2 Digital Iron||Titanium||1"||Up to 425F|
|BaBylissPRO Thick Iron||Titanium||1-1/4" and 1-3/4"||Up to 450F|
|CHI Hairstyling Iron||Ceramic ||1"||410 F Maximum|
|HSI Hair Straightener||Ceramic ||1 inch||140-450°F|
|KIPOZI Professional Flat Iron||Titanium||1"||450 F Maximum |
|NITION Salon Hair Straightener||Ceramic & Titanium||1"||265°F-450°F|
|FURIDEN Hair Straightener||Ceramic ||1 inch||250℉-450℉|
|Magicfly Professional Flat Iron||Ceramic ||1 inch||Up to 450F|
Is A Professional Flat Iron Worth the Money?
People throw this question at me many a time, and understandably so. It’s natural to be intimidated by heavy terms such as “Professional”. The term itself creates an air of reverence, and people mistakenly associate it with bank-breaking costs.
So, before answering the worthiness of professional flat irons, I’d put you at ease by saying that they’re not as expensive as you’re thinking. I admit that flat irons from top brands can put a serious dent in your wallet. However, the term “top brands” isn’t synonymous with “professional”, capiche?
Coming back to the question at hand, professional flat irons aren’t your average joe at handling human hair. The plates are smoother, the hair doesn’t come off as you pull, and the temperature control is simply a thing of beauty.
As a stylist, I always prefer flat irons that have a balance between performance and effort. Having only performance isn’t enough in this case. Effort or, in other words, how much time I’d have to spend straightening plays a vital role here.
For a professional, time is money. I don’t cherish hours upon hours of pulling and prodding. It has to be quick and efficient.
A professional iron will give you both these qualities. Imagine not having to waste half a day just to get that perfect hair. With a professional iron, I was able to put the magic in anybody’s hair within 30 minutes. Well, my years of experience played a part as well, but the flat iron sure held the fort.
What’s worthy of note is that a pro-tier iron in the hands of somebody who is used to the art of hairstyling can become Orpheus’s lyre. Within minutes, it can create strands upon strands of absolute beauty.
So, if time is of the essence, a professional flat iron is worth the bucks.
Recommending Top-Rated Professional Flat Irons
I’ve either personally or professionally used all the flat irons listed below. There is a reason only 10 flat irons crawled up to my list because each brought something unique to the table. It’s time to put our hands down the detail-mud and see why they’re up for the task.
I’ve been a fashion enthusiast from an early age. After trying my hands on a few casual irons, the BaBylissPro was a breath of fresh air. Even to this date, it has a special place in my wardrobe. I was able to pull some miracle style-work with this baby.
The first thing that caught my eye was how smooth it goes down when pulled. The ultra-thin titanium plates are the miracle workers here. It makes the hair to plate contact seamless, and once I pull, the iron moves around without any hiccups.
Initially, I thought the emaciated plates would probably fall short when dealing with thick and curly hair. However, one tryout changed my impression immediately. So, don’t fall for the thin-body; it has enough oomph to handle both thick and thin hair.
I found the temperature adjustment system to be friendly as well. It’s a simple half-circular dial on the side. Also, every professional will tell you that the more temperature settings, the better. BaBylissPro has 50 of them and tops it off at 450. I think 450 is more than enough for most hairdos out there.
The weight was discomfiting at first, as I was used to dealing with bulkier irons. It took me a bit, but after a few trial and error, I was easily able to get the hang of it. Besides, the minimal weight helped we swoosh from hair strand to hair strand like a ninja.
It doesn’t take long to get kicking. In 30 seconds, the iron conjures enough heat to get down to business. Also, the heat doesn’t hurt the scalp, and the outer border is enough to keep it at bay. Still, if you’re new to hairstyling, it’s best to go slow instead of swooshing and swirling.
I’d recommend using a hair protector gel beforehand. The titanium plates have more oomph compared to their ceramic counterparts. Therefore, I’d advise caution to prevent scorches of any kind.
The BabyBlissPro is not a new face to enter the fashion industry. It’s right up there with the big names. However, I think there are a few quirks that could use a little improvement. For starters, the price is a bit steep. Not everyone can fit this flat iron in their budget. Also, the blue color on the plate-end begins to come off because of the heat.
Finally, the heat dispersion could use some work. At times, the upper-covers catch heat and may burn scalps, head, or skin if the user loses focus. Nonetheless, I think the BabyBlissPro is indeed bliss and deserves the sunshine it gets.
Paul Mitchell’s different hair accessories started making their way to my workstation years before this particular flat iron came out. These manufacturers are in the big-leagues, and so are their products. The Express Ion Smooth+ is a comparatively newer version that gives professionals more leeway.
Some of you might think Paul Mitchell is overrated because they’re a brand. However, I stand against this as I’ve seen what their products can do. The Express Ion Smooth+ also holds the brand name high and does justice to its name.
The eyes of a pro always look for features that add more convenience to the sack. For instance, most people would turn a blind eye to cord length and whether it swivels or not.
However, I fell over my heels for these features. The Express Ion’s 9-feet cord was a blessing for unrestricted movement. Besides, swivel cords helped me get excellent curls with relative ease.
(Note: Not everyone is educated on the term “swivel cord”. So, here comes a sprinkle of knowledge. Swivel cords are attached at the bottom, similar to a standard cord. However, the flat-iron-bottom can swivel or spin along with the cord. It means you can do a 360 with your straightener without twisting the cords.)
The digital temperature readout was a nifty addition as well. It’s not an awe-inspiring feature, but it adds a level of much-needed precision. After adjusting the temperature, I didn’t have to keep checking a dial or switch to see whether everything was in order. A quick look at the LCD screen would suffice.
The straightener takes around 60 seconds to reach its maximum heat of 410. It doesn’t go as high as the BabyBlissPro, but that’s not because of lower quality. The lower max temperature is a result of ceramic plates. Now, you’re probably wondering, aren’t titanium plates all the rage? Yes, they are- but people with thinner hair are better off with ceramic plates.
As much as I enjoyed using this flat iron, it’s far from perfect. Once I changed the temperature, it took nearly 15 seconds to adjust. I’m being picky here, but I prefer my straighteners to keep it under the 10-second threshold.
The recovery time isn’t a major dealbreaker by any means; it just disrupts the flow a little. Still, I think the newest recruit in the long-line of Paul Mitchell has what it takes.
By now, you’re probably wondering I baited you into this article under the false pretense of professional irons being cheaper than one might think. I understand that the first two in my list can stretch many a purse. However, the CHI PRO G2 is the reason I kept urging you not to fear the cost of a pro-iron.
When I was trying the CHI G2 for the first time, what intrigued me was the “titanium statement ceramic”. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact of having both materials in one straightener. To my surprise, this flat iron brought me the best of two worlds.
Ceramic and titanium irons both have distinctive features that appeal and adjust to different hairs. For instance, thin hair adapts well with ceramic and thicker hair with titanium. So, the CHI PRO G2 is a balanced flat iron that can juggle between both thin and thick locks.
I’ve tried it out on both hair types. While the performance was admirable, it gels better with thinner hair. Thick, stubborn locks tend to resist the heat to some extent. Doesn’t mean the results are sub-standard; it just takes a few more swings to tame thick hair.
Similar to Paul Mitchell, this flat iron also has a built-in for quick readout. I know little things like this seem innocent, but once you’re in the grind as a professional, every second counts. The digital meter saves a few seconds by simplifying the temperature data, each second piles up in a busy parlor.
Another feature I relish is the multiple voltage options. Again, it might not seem a big deal, but you’ll live to regret the day you step out of the country, carrying a straightener with no dual voltage. The 120-V outlets are not omnipresent. But I was able to use this flat iron when I was backpacking across Europe.
I’m sold on the CHI PRO G2. It has all the features a master stylist wants on their deck. The temperature rushes from 0 to 425 in 40 seconds span, standard stuff really. Also, the 11-feet swivel cord helps me maneuver with comfort.
All these features can truly help you up your hair game. But what makes the CHI PRO G2 stand out is the price and a limited 2-year warranty.
The price resides in a comfortable-to-buy region, and I think for less than $100 it is a snag-worthy straightener. I believe this product is the front-runner for being the best professional flat iron. I’d say it’s hard to find a deal so sweet at a range so reasonable.
This flat iron is an older rendition of the first product on this list. It’s the first professional flat iron I got my hands on when I set out as a hairstylist. The BabyBlissPRO thick version is not an obsolete shadow of its sibling. I still use it on thick hair, and the results are just lovely!
So, there’s really not much to talk about here because the difference between the thin and thick version is actually thin. Even after all the nitpicking I’ve done over the years, all I can say is the core difference is the weight.
The BabyLissPro Ultra-Thin, as the name implies, is lightweight and easier to handle. In contrast, the standard BabyLissPro flat iron is a wee bit heavier. Now, the difference is weight is less than .5 pounds.
When I tried out the Ultra-Thin version for the first time, the weight didn’t even faze me. No matter which way I used it, I wasn’t able to observe any noticeable changes.
The difference hit me after a month of non-stop use. Once I used the Ultra-Thin version for a month, I realized that my hands weren’t moving as they’re supposed to with the thick BabyLissPro. Did the weight affect my performance? I’d say it depends on what you’re accustomed to.
Initially, I found the Ultra-Thin variant annoying because my hands weren’t ready for such swift movement. Later, after I invested a month on building muscle memory, I was for the Ultra-Thin and against the thick version. It’s really a matter of choice.
Putting all the weight-debate aside, I think the BabyLissPro (Thick) is also right up there with the rest of the pro-tier straighteners. The performance is top-notch, and the noteworthy quality is it can hold a lot of heat, and the distribution is even to boot.
I take this baby out for a swing when someone with super-thick hair rides into the parlor. Stubborn and out-of-proportion hair is BabyLiss’s forte. I’ve worked with a lot of people with unruly African-American hair, and this flat iron had my back.
Also, all the standard features are present- a 9-foot long swivel cord, dual voltage, and solid and smooth titanium plates. There’s a digital readout system as well. All these features are similar to the ones I’ve mentioned earlier.
All BabyLissPro flat irons suffer the same ailments. The towering price without a warranty is a surefire mood killer. To make matters worse, there are a few cheap BabyLissPro knockoffs out there that give out within a month or so. It’s dangerous waters to walk into, but if you get the authentic BabyLissPro, I’d say your hair is in for a wild ride.
CHI flat irons are always my go-to purchase when I’m thinking about the budget. Their many flat irons decorate my workstation, and for a good reason too. The CHI Tourmaline Ceramic is also another budget-friendly-badass I’d say.
So, this particular version of CHI stands out from the one I mentioned earlier with its tourmaline technology. If you’re none the wiser about tourmaline, it’s a mineral that not only straightens but adds volume to one’s hair. The negative ions in tourmaline work against the positive ions of injured hair.
I got the CHI Tourmaline because this two-way friction ends up giving a natural shine to the hair. So, I used it on customers who had thin curly hair, looking to tame the curl. The issue with thin hair is that straightening can make it look dull.
People with thin hair often complain about a I’ m-about-to-go-bald look because flat irons take away the little volume they have.
CHI’s tourmaline minerals counteract this problem by pitting the negative ions of the flat iron against the positive ions of user-hair. So, I’ve used it plenty of times with satisfactory results.
The tourmaline infusion is the primary reason to get this flat iron. However, there are several other goodies that tag along. The 9-feet cord is a swivel-variant, meaning the flat iron can do a 360 without me having to twist my arms awkwardly.
It’s travel-friendly due to its weight and dual voltage options. For someone who’s into exploring the world like me, this feature is definitely a lifesaver.
When I tried my hands on this flat iron, I thought it would take around a minute or so to reach maximum temperature. I was biased against CHI straighteners; I didn’t think ceramic materials can catch heat so quickly. I was pleasantly surprised with its 30-second heat-up time.
Another nifty feature is the floating plates. Let me tell you what floating plates bring to the table. These plates adapt to the movement and hair thickness. So, whenever there’s a collision between an unruly hair strand and the flat iron, the plates re-position themselves. This way, your hair doesn’t come off as you pull.
While the CHI Tourmaline Ceramic does have its pluses, it’s got the no-no’s as well. There’s no LED display to get a quick read of the current temperature. Instead, I had to work with a semi-circular dial. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, it’s just an inconvenience that adds up once you’re using the flat iron couple times a day.
Also, the max temperature isn’t your average joe. So, I’d recommend always wrapping your hair with protection gel while working with this flat iron.
Lot of my not-so-liberal colleagues told me that I can’t dip my hand down under $50 to get myself a top-tier hair straightener. I believed them, that is- before I came across HSI Professional Glider. Now, I’d just say bazinga punks to their face.
The HSI Professional Glider is a serious game-changer in the realm of hairstyling. There was a time when the lowest a stylist could resort to is a CHI flat iron. But CHI isn’t really well-suited for the clumsy and tends to smoke strands. However, the HSI has opened the door for new possibilities.
I’ve been using this flat iron for a year now. Initially, I wasn’t hyped because I thought the straightener would fall flat on its face compared to the big boys. After giving it a swing, I’d say I’m all aboard the HSI fan bandwagon.
So, what makes this flat iron stand out from the get-go is the price. It’s unbelievably cheap. I had to spend one-third of a BaByLissPro. Naturally, I thought the performance would barely hold up. However, the end results are not at all different. I got the same smooth, frizz-free strands from this flat iron as well.
The added accessories it came with were super-cherries on top of the regular cherry that is flat iron itself. People who straighten their own hair usually don’t have a use for hand gloves, as they do it either once a day or a few times a week. But as a professional who’s going at it for hours, free heat gloves are a blessing.
Also, I got a small argan-oil pack, nothing extraordinary, just a simple add-on per se. The standard dual voltage option and silk bag combo is a traveler’s dream come true. It has a swivel cord that adds more flexibility to the plate.
It breaks my heart to complain about such a budget-friendly flat iron, but here goes nothing. The temperature adjustment is dial-based instead of a modernized digital version. The dial is in between the plates, which makes it harder to adjust.
Also, the dial isn’t completely accurate, so I had to rely on a lot of guesswork. For instance, a 350-setting works fine for most hair thickness, but the HSI needs to be at max temperature for any noticeable performance.
Still, I’m willing to do guesswork and go for trial-and-error if it saves my hard-earned green from vanishing. This HSI Professional Glider is everything you want from a straightener with a 1-year warranty to boot, so I’m super-sold on this flat iron. Overall, this straightener is not “a” but “the” contender for the best professional flat iron title.
Once you jump on the budget train with one product, it’s hard not to follow it up with a few more. I got incredible results with the HSI, and after scooping around a little stumbled onto the KIPOZI Professional Iron. I think both the HSI and KIPOZI are pretty neck and neck when it comes to performance.
So, this flat iron is priced around the same under-$50 region. I got a standard temperature range that caps off at 450. I’d say 450 has enough punch to hold down even the thickest of hair.
There’s something to be said about the floating plates. The flat iron adjusted itself easily to the turbulent hair of my clients. Also, the titanium plates helped me transition from strand to strand without any hiccups.
You should take note that this flat iron is a 1.75-incher, making it an inch taller than the standard 1-inch straighteners. The extra .75 inch has its ups and downs. I’d say the extra inches can carry a little more hair, so I can save around 5-10 minutes when straightening.
However, this additional muscle makes it heavier as well. A lot of people (including me) have nothing against heavy flat irons. In fact, the muscle makes it feel robust and expensive. Still, it takes a while to get used to, and amateurs will have a tough time working around the weight.
It’s travel-friendly with its dual-voltage option, but I needed a plug adaptor. The straightener (as claimed by the manufacturer) does indeed adjust itself to different outlets.
What sets KIPOZI apart from the other budget-band is its LCD readout and adjustment system. So, I didn’t have to guess the temperature. It was all there, plain and simple. After powering it up, it didn’t take more than 30 seconds to reach the maximum 450 temperature.
KIPOZI falls short on the cord length by a foot. It has an 8-feet cord, and that was a bummer. You’re probably wondering that a foot’s difference doesn’t mean the end of the world.
However, after I’m adjusted to having all 9-feet flat irons lying around, so it takes a couple tryouts to rewire my muscle memory. I still remember almost killing the machine by stretching the cords too thin.
I think these setbacks are minor and take nothing more than a teaspoon of patience mixed with a sprinkle of time. I think the KIPOZI is a packed-straightener, with excellent and responsive customer service to boot.
After trying out both KIPOZI and HSI, I went out puffy-chested to all my colleagues talking about the cost-effectiveness of both flat irons. Hearing all about my experience with these straighteners, one of them recommended the NITION Professional flat iron to me.
I got it after a week, and it has been a regular in my workstation, I must say. I had to pay a little more, around $20 for the NITION Professional. However, I had no qualms with the extra bucks because it had a couple of useful accessories that justify the expense.
Apart from the flat iron itself, the first nifty accessory that popped out of the package was a pair of hair clips. It was not the usual home-use clips, they’re salon-tier, as they can hold thicker strands and don’t bend in the face of pressure.
Furthermore, a comb and heat glove are icings on the cake. I’ll say the comb-quality is average, not down the professional’s alley. However, it’s for free, so I can’t be too hard on it. The heat glove works fine though, I’ve used it plenty of times, and the flat iron’s temperature didn’t bother me.
I think the NITION separates itself from the other straighteners by giving out an in-depth and easily-understandable instruction manual. Not that I need one myself now, but for someone who’s testing the hairstyle-waters, the instruction can sure come in handy.
The rest of the features are standard, not much different from other flat irons. The temperature goes up to 450, and I liked the design of the LED screen. The LED reminds me of a Jedi lightsaber. Also, it makes reading the current temperature easier, so no throwing stones in the dark.
This flat iron claims to be ceramic but with a sprinkle of 4 different materials. I don’t think that’s entirely possible. I don’t know whether they’re exaggerating, but cramming titanium, ceramic, tourmaline, argan oil, and nano-silver seems like a stretch.
However, the performance is crisp and smooth. From what I’ve seen, there’s no hair burns, no pulls, and the locks end up with a glossy finish. The temperature dispersion is a bit wacky, though, so I’d recommend always having the protective glove on. Also, try to maintain some distance to avoid scalp burns.
I think NITION requires both patience and practice. Rushing the process isn’t the way to go. If you’re committed to your hair, then a deep-breath and adherence to instructions will get you excellent straights and curls.
My eyes met this flat iron when I went to another parlor to check on a friend. I saw a stylist going strong, curling a woman’s hair. What caught my eye, in particular, was the unique temperature adjustment system. It was probably the slickest temperature adjustment I’ve come across, so I decided to get the FURIDEN Professional for myself afterward.
Now, there’s a reason why the temp-adjustment facility of this flat iron got me drooling. It’s neither the typical button-based system nor the semi-circular-barely-visible dial. There’s a rotating knob at the end of the straightener before the cord begins. While the whole device sits still, the knob at the end rotates.
I think this system is dope. It was a refreshing change of pace from the humdrum of adjustment mechanisms. However, I always had to keep my hands on the mid to upper-end of the flat iron. It’s not a manufacturer’s restriction, but nobody wants the temperature to fluctuate mid-straightening.
I don’t think that’s a huge issue, a few conscious practice sessions, and I was good to go. Also, the plates rile up pretty quickly. It took around 15-20 seconds only to reach my desired temperature, and I must say that’s one of the fastest I’ve seen till now.
The tourmaline ceramic material needs no introduction, as well. Tourmaline particles are something any stylist would love to have in their toolkit. Needless to say, the negative ions from tourmaline helped me get smooth and voluminous hair.
I always prefer having swivel cords over static ones. Because you know- flexibility matters! The swivel cords on FURIDEN helped me make some delicious curls.
It’s not just the swivel cord; the overall construction of this flat iron is curl-friendly. It’s not flat; rather, it’s oval-shaped, which is much better in comparison when it comes to curling.
The only thing I didn’t like is the cord-length being 8-feet. I prefer the standard 9-feet or higher ratio. However, it’s not that big of a deal considering all the other features I got from this flat iron.
Also, there’s a 6-month warranty that puts my mind at ease. While 6 months isn’t a whole lot of time, but any warranty proves the manufacturer’s faith in the product. I enjoy being valued, and the FURIDEN team ensures top-notch customer satisfaction.
They’re responsive and provide genuine solutions instead of mechanical blab-fest. So, I’d say the FURIDON Professional is another close competitor in the best professional flat iron race.
I always appreciate manufacturer’s going out of their way to hit some innovative landmark. Magicfly tried to do the same with their professional flat iron, albeit it backfired a bit. It’s a hit and miss sort of flat iron, but I kept it on the list because when it works, it’s awesome.
What is the innovation that triggered me? The manufacturer’s included steam technology into their plates. It means if the steam function is turned on, the flat iron can use the stored water to create vapor in the plate’s surface. I understand the reason behind it, soft steam while ironing improves texture and adds gloss to one’s hair.
Let me tell you how it works. There’s a water tank that needs filling, and afterward, just turn the steam option on and voila. So, steam, coupled with proper temperature, can work wonders. However, this flat iron not being high-end falls short on this end.
When I tried this flat iron, everything was smooth as silk. The steam was complementing the iron’s temperature, and all was good with the world. My euphoria lasted for a couple days until I had my first accident. The water tank isn’t airtight, so there are occasional leaks.
Dripping water wouldn’t have been a serious concern if it wasn’t boiling hot.
If Magicfly can work on an upgrade and fix the water leak issue, I’ll be down with the next rendition of flat irons. This one is good but risky. It doesn’t leak all the time, but even the once-a-week drip is painful. Whenever I take this straightener out for a whirl, I don’t just heat gloves but protective shoes as well.
On the bright side, it comes with a heat glove, so no extra expenses there. Also included are two hair clips I got to use. There’s comb too, it’s not up to the mark in a number of ways, but it works for thin hair.
The cord size is your usual 9-feet, and it rotates. So, Magicfly has got all the flexibility bases covered. The readout meter isn’t digital. Instead, there’s a light right next to each setting. For instance, if I wanted to get a 410, I had to keep pressing the button until the next-to-410 indicator turned green.
The Magicfly Professional isn’t a waste of space if that’s what you’re thinking. On a good day, super-soft, glass-like hair from this flat iron. The problem is the straightener being inconsistent, but I’d say roughly 70-80% of the time the performance was to my liking.
Tips to Help You Choose A Professional Flat Iron
Getting yourself a professional flat iron doesn’t mean excluding the terrific features of a regular one. Most people go bonkers asking around what flat irons do professionals use. I’ve been the recipient of this question a thousand times. It’s time I tell you how the mind of a pro works when deciding to buy a flat iron.
Infused Plates are the Prom Queens
It’s common knowledge that flat irons have two primary plate types- ceramic and titanium. Don’t think that one type has superiority over the other. Ceramic plates take time to gather heat, while titanium is quicker.
Also, the former adjusts well with thick hair because it takes time to gather and maintain heat. The latter fares better with thin hair.
However, a professional wouldn’t go for dedicated ceramic or titanium. It’s better to have fusion plates, a sprinkle of tourmaline or argan oil can butch up the performance of a flat iron by twofold at least. Tourmaline has a negative ion that works perfectly with the positive ion of human hair to create a smooth texture.
Besides, there are plates that give you the best both worlds by fusing ceramic and titanium. It reduces the workload considerably. As a user, I don’t have to worry about switching between irons for thin or thick hair with a multi-material flat iron.
Length and Rotation Matters
The next thing on a stylist’s checklist is cord-length and swivel-ability. It’s hard to know which power outlet remains free when everyone in the parlor is working. Your colleague may hog the nearest outlet, leaving you stranded for hours at a time.
So, the standard 9-feet cord is essential. A lot of DIY stylists don’t need to scratch their heads over this aspect. But it’s critical for professionals. Also, checking whether the cord is trample-tolerant is another concern. Parlors can get busy, so the cord has to hold its own against the occasional stomps.
If the cord can’t do a 360-flip, I don’t think anybody would want it in their wardrobe. Swivel-cords were once a trendy addition, which has now become a make or break deal. Not only does it bump up the flexibility, it’s also impossible to get curls done without a swivel cord.
So, when it comes to cords, the equation is simple- the longer, the better, and it must be an athletic spinner.
The More the Merrier
Any accessory you get with the flat iron is always welcome. Although a comb, clip, and glove seem innocent purchases, they pile up as you need to have a few at the ready in your workstation. So, if the flat iron brings along some guests, I’m more than happy to greet them.
The usual accessories one can find from a straightener include a heat-resistant glove, a pair of clips, and a comb. Now, some people have the misconception that shiny attachments are a manufacturer’s way to dupe customers.
Trust me, that’s not the case. You can get incredible hairdos with a comb and clip to boot.
However, it’s better not to be too reliant on free accessories. If you want top-tier performance from a tag-along comb, I’d say it’s wishful thinking. You can get some basic functions done, but nothing out of the ordinary I must add.
Digital vs. Dial Readout
The answer is as plain and simple as straightened hair. Digital screens beat an old-school dial all day every day. It’s not like manual readout systems are impossible to work with. But every second matter for a stylist on a schedule, and manual readouts are a bump on the road.
Before putting the iron on anybody’s hair, I’d have to do a few mocks just to see if the temperature is right. Also, it’s not easy to understand where the temperature exactly resides, making the process time-consuming. However, a lot of veterans are used to manual dials. For instance, when I get my hands on the HSI, all its quirks are in my bones, so I have little to no problem operating.
But such adjustment and mastery take time, practice, and patience. In general, I’d say digital wipes the floor with manual.
Paying the Price
The popular opinion I’ve heard all my life is- “you don’t have to bother; you’re a professional so you can spare the dime.” Well, I can’t- not always. Even a professional has to cut corners. Budgeting isn’t exclusive for DIYer’s only.
If you’ve hung on till now, you’re aware that the term professional doesn’t translate to bank-breaking expenses. I’ve said it earlier as well; people often think getting the best professional straightener would cost a fortune. However, the reality is pleasantly different.
I’m not saying all flat irons are priced at $50 to $100; there are some blowing the roof off with the price. I’ve seen $500 straighteners, and it can go up to $1000. Still, that shouldn’t concern the less endowed, as we have our own ragtag band of straighteners.
Oval Shape Takes the Cake
Flat irons come in two different shapes- the namesake flat and oval/ circular. Flat is the traditional shape, and it does a great job with straightening. However, the performance falls short when it comes to curling. It’s difficult to maneuver, and the swivels are awkward, resulting in scalp burns or pulls if you’re not careful.
So, the next-gen oval design is the way forward. It does the usual straightening, but it makes curling a breeze as well.
Fetch for a Warranty
Flat irons are a flight risk. It can work one day and draw its last breath the next day. The only thing that makes even professionals quiver is not knowing whether the straightener will see the next sunrise.
So, any warranty, big or small, can put your mind at ease. Return on investment is a core business principle, so stylists need all the use they can get out of a straightener. And for the casuals, if you get a year’s warranty, you’ll sleep tight knowing your hair is going to look amazing for the upcoming 365 days.
Before I Pull the Final Strand
Flat irons used to be this one-bullet-gun that could only heat your hair, and do nothing else. Initially, the straight hairs looked nice, but then frizz crept in, and the hair-damage would be catastrophic. However, those straighteners are a relic of the past.
That’s for the casual usual, if you’re looking to get a name for yourself as a stylist, you should put your best foot forward. And your best foot should have the best professional flat iron to kick more business into your parlor.
The thought of getting the best professional flat iron may scare you, but trust me, the results and acceptable price points will surprise you. I’ve been in this industry long enough to tell you that professional irons are here with a bang.
I don’t prefer taking sides because I believe in the principle of research-before-purchase. Still, I’d draw the curtains by saying that a bus from HSI Professional or CHI G2 will take you to hairdo-heaven, ciao.