The beauty of black hair is in its versatility. We have the choice to wear our naturally curly hair; try protective styles like braids, locs, and twists; or straighten our textured tresses—the options are endless. But whenever you're in the mood to switch up your curls to bone-straight stands, you must keep the right flat irons in your corner.
Heat damage is real, which is why it's essential that the quality of your flat iron is top-notch. The last thing you want to do is burn your hair with poorly made hot tools that weren't made with the health of your hair in mind. You don't have to spend a hefty penny on a good flat iron, either.
Once you start shopping, you'll probably notice that a lot of today's irons contain ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium technology instead of the old-school plain metal plates. What's the difference between these three and are they worth it?
- Ceramic produces negative ions and evenly distributes heat. You'll find it on many good irons that aren't super pricey.
- Tourmaline goes a step further by generating more moisture-locking ions which result in smooth, silky hair that's less prone to frizz.
- Titanium transfers heat very quickly, so you're able to get straight results using fewer passes. Ideal for thick and coarse hair types, titanium irons are great for straightening natural locks. Irons containing titanium tend to be more expensive because they usually deliver salon-quality results.
Buying a flat iron including any of these types of plates is worth it for helping prevent damage. Let's take a look at 10 of the best irons you can buy for black hair.
BaBylissPRO, Nano Titanium Ultra Thin Straightening Iron, $140
This flat iron receives rave reviews. With a five inch long plate, you can straighten wider (not thicker) areas of hair, thus allowing you to finish the job more quickly. This iron heats up to a max of 450 degrees, and you have your choice of plate width in 1 or 1 1/2 inches. With its ultra-thin body, this lightweight iron is perfect for women with very long and/or thick hair. You won't have to worry about your arms getting tired during your straightening session! Ultra-smooth titanium plates glide across the hair without snagging or pulling, and with 50 heat settings, you can get a very precise temperature.
One caveat: Be careful where you purchase your BaByliss tools as there are many knock-offs available, particularly at Amazon and eBay. If you check out the BaByliss website, you'll find authorized retailers who are selling the real thing. There are few things worse than shelling out the same amount of money you'd spend on the actual brand and receiving a fake. Plus, some sellers offer a "steal" or bargain on fake irons—if the price seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Another under $50 flat iron, this one is purported to work wonders on all hair types, including natural black hair. The temperature adjusts from 140-450 degrees, and the swivel cord makes it easy to move while using this iron. One downside is that this one doesn't have automatic shut-off, so if you know you're not the type to always unplug your heat tools, this may not be your best option. (You should definitely unplug your heat tools, though, for the record.)
CHI, Tourmaline Ceramic Hairstyling Iron 1″, $100
One of the best known brands in high-quality styling tools, CHI offers many options in flat irons. This classic pick, which also comes in four colors, reduces static electricity in your hair while straightening, resulting in fewer flyaways. Heat settings range from 180-410 degrees, so this max temperature is suitable for most hair textures.
Remington, S5500 Digital Anti Static Ceramic Hair Straightener, $20
At $20, this Remington iron is a fine choice for anyone who doesn't want to shell out a fortune on a flat iron. This is perfect for women who don't heat style their hair often and therefore don't really need a truly durable tool, or for the woman who's not sure a $100 iron fits in her budget. Either way, this affordable option has 30-second heating up to 410 degrees on a digital display so you know exactly what temperature you're applying to your tresses. With a 60-minute shut-off, you don't have to worry about this iron staying on all day if you rush out the door and forget to turn it off yourself.
Another affordable flat iron, the Infiniti Pro by Conair contains 1 1/2-inch plates, in case you're someone who wants slightly bigger plates. This iron reaches a max temperature of 455, just over of the usual high of 450. Tourmaline ceramic-coated plates help to reduce heat damage via "hot spots." With a 15-20 second heat-up time, this is a great tool to use when you're in a hurry to start straightening.
Paul Mitchell, Neuro Smooth Flat Iron, $135
This iron reaches a max of 450 degrees and features 1 1/4-inch titanium plates. If you're familiar with Paul Mitchell products, you know the brand believes in quality. This is another tool featuring a digital display, so you know exactly what temperature you're applying to your tresses.
Croc, Classic Nano-Titanium Flat Iron, $140
If you're very concerned about the temperature you use on your hair (and you really should be), you'll appreciate the more precise measurements on this iron. From a low of 200 degrees to a high of 450, you can control the temperature 10 degrees at a time. This is a huge plus over irons that have few exact measurements on the dial. If you want to use 360 degrees, you should be able to do it without having to estimate: the digital display cuts out the guesswork.
Bio Ionic, OnePass Straightening Iron, $199
Celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims, who has worked with A-listers like Gabrielle Union, Zendaya, and Mary J. Blige, says this is his go-to flat iron for his celebrity clients. "I love Bio Ionic OnePass Straightening Iron. The heat penetrates hair strands evenly and safely," explains Sims. "You literally only have to do one pass on each section for a silky finish."
T3, SinglePass Luxe 1" Straightening and Styling Iron, $180
"Once I picked up this flat iron, I couldn't put it down," Sims told us. "It's kind of hard to sum up my love affair with this flat iron in a few words but here it goes. First of all, it heats up in about in 30 seconds, aka it's perfect for rushed mornings. Secondly, it's made with heavy duty technology that heats the plates evenly, making one pass just enough to give you that silky, sleek finish you want. I never have to worry about burning off my edges or weak roots, because its tourmaline and ceramic plates offer up the proper amount of heat that's not damaging."