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There are so many ways to style your beautiful natural hair (braids, locs, twists, just to name a few), but if stick-straight strands are what you're after, it goes without saying that you'll need the right flat iron for the job. The best flat irons for natural hair reveal smooth, sleek hair without the need for excessive heat exposure and, in turn, damage. For help finding them, we consulted celebrity hairstylist Kimberly Kimble for her top tips. Unsurprisingly, it all boils down to the plates.
"If you want to switch between wearing your hair straight and curly, look for a flat iron with high-quality ceramic plates," she advises. "But if your hair is kinkier or harder to straighten, titanium plates work really well.” If you can afford it, Kimble recommends investing in two flat irons for the best results. “I like to have two sizes of flat irons available," she admits. "A two-inch iron for straightening a lot of hair and a smaller one for getting really close to the roots.”
Now without further ado, here are the best flat irons for natural hair.
Best Overall: HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron
This beloved iron has adjustable temperature settings from 140 to 450 degrees, a perk that Kimble is a fan of. “Always go for a flat iron with an adjustable temperature that reaches 400+ degrees,” she says.
The tourmaline plates reduce frizz by generating negative ions, and the ceramic is built for durability and lasting results on all hair types. Reviewers especially love that the iron heats up really quickly, a great benefit if you're constantly short on time. The one downside is that it doesn't come with an automatic shut-off feature, which for some people is a dealbreaker.
Ceramic produces negative ions and evenly distributes heat. You'll find it in many good irons that aren't super pricey.
Best Budget: Remington 1" Flat Iron with Anti-Static Technology
Maybe you don't straighten your hair that often. Or maybe you don't want to shell out a ton of money for a flat iron. Or maybe you want to take Kimble's aforementioned advice and invest in two flat irons. Whatever the reason, this budget-friendly pick is the way to go. The one-inch ceramic plates style the hair quickly while still being gentle. All it takes is 30 quick seconds to heat up and you can adjust the temp to up to 410 degrees on a digital display. There's also a 60-minute automatic shut-off feature for some peace of mind.
Best Drugstore: Conair Infiniti Pro Flat Iron
This is another flat iron that’s affordable and does the job well without damaging the hair. The tourmaline ceramic plates allow you to straighten the hair in minutes and provides anti-frizz and anti-static results. Its heat setting goes up to 455 degrees, and it boasts 30 different settings to help you achieve various styles. There's also a trusty automatic shut-off feature if you accidentally forget to unplug it.
Best Splurge: Paul Mitchell Neuro Smooth 1.25" Flat Iron
The name Paul Mitchell is synonymous with all things hair, and this flat iron certainly lives up to the name. It features premium titanium plates that glide over the hair with ease, and the SmartSense microchip reduces the number of passes needed to achieve smooth strands. The adjustable temperature control heats up to 450 in 30 seconds and there's also a customizable auto shut-off feature.
Best for Curly Hair: ghd Classic Styler
This flat iron has one heat setting and one heat setting only—an optimum 365 degrees, so if you prefer to be in control of your iron's temperature, this one is probably not for you. Still, it's a great pick for all types of waves and curls, including dense 4a curls. It has a 30-second heat-up time and floating plates make this styler glide easily through hair to straighten, smooth, and eliminate frizz.
Best for Curly Hair, Runner-Up: Kipozi V7 Hair Straightener
This iron’s ultra-smooth nano titanium plate technology reaches a heat setting of 380 in just 30 seconds, a sweet perk for a styling tool in this price range. It targets the frizz and straightens all kinds of curls in minutes. It's even narrow enough to use on bangs and baby hairs.
Best for Damaged Hair: CROC Classic Black Titanium 1.5" Flat Iron
This flat iron is ergonomically designed so you can have more control over fine or damaged hair. The heat settings go from 200 degrees to a high of 450, allowing you to afford that flexibility of heat on any sensitive or breakage-prone areas.
Best for Damaged Hair, Runner-Up: BaBylissPRO Graphite Titanium 1'' Ionic Flat Iron
To fight frizzes, knot, tangles, and split ends successfully while you straighten your natural locks, opt for a flat iron with ionic technology. This flat iron harnesses the power of four advanced technologies: graphite, titanium, ceramic, and ionic and therefore works like a charm on damaged hair.
Best Heat Settings: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Ultra Thin Straightening Iron
This flat iron has received several rave reviews for its ultra-thin design and five-inch plate, allowing for wider sections to be straightened quickly and efficiently. It has 50 different heat settings up to 450 degrees, and the smooth titanium plates can create super straight or wavy styles without tiring out your arms.
Best With Titanium Plates: Moroccanoil Perfectly Polished Titanium Flat Iron
This iron has extra-long four-inch titanium plates that maximize surface area for fast performance and even heat distribution. The titanium plates glide smoothly and effortlessly for silky, frizz-free styles, adding extra shine. The digital display gives precise temperature control of up to the typical high of 450 degrees. It'll also shut off automatically after 60 minutes.
Best for Quick Styling: CHI Original 1″ Ceramic Flat Iron
CHI flat irons are known for their quality and this one, in particular, targets frizz, reducing any static electricity, and creates silky shiny hair instantly. It has a maximum heat setting of 392 degrees.
Best With Argan Oil: Kim Kimble Vapor Infusion Iron with Silk Argan Oil Shine Beauty Treatment
This flat iron uses argan oil infusion vapor that works wonders on unmanageable, frizzy and dry hair, giving a soft and silky look. The tourmaline-infused plates with hydrating steam and infrared heat technology allow you to straighten hair quickly in a single sweep. If you have really dry hair, this iron seals the hair cuticles with moisture for smooth results.