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In the quest for ultra-smooth, ultra-sleek strands, there’s no denying that hot tools are a necessity. (No matter how naturally straight your hair is, you’re going to need a blow dryer, at least, to get it completely smooth. And if you’re starting with thick or curly hair, you better believe a flat iron will be involved, too.)
That being said, pairing your tools with the right products is equally important. We’re not just talking about a smoothing shampoo and conditioner, but the subsequent styling products. The latest straightening formulas on the market smooth and straighten, yes, but also offer a host of other benefits—like heat protection, strengthening, and more—to help maintain the health and integrity of your hair.
Keep reading for the best hair straightening products out there.
Best Overall: Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Iron Smoother
No matter your natural texture, a few spritzes of this formula will help smooth it out, fast. It’s especially great for humid weather since it’s ideal for locking out frizz—plus, it contains shea butter to impart plenty of moisture. It protects hair from temps up to 450 degrees, and, when paired with the accompanying shampoo and conditioner, leaves strands up to five times smoother.
Best Budget: John Frieda Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight Flat Iron Spray
Don’t feel like styling your hair every day? We don’t blame you. Enter the beauty of this straightening spray. Polymers and keratin proteins wrap around each hair strand, leaving it smooth and sleek for up to three days (or until your next shampoo). Still, it doesn’t feel heavy or stiff, so your strands will still be soft and touchable.
Best for Curly Hair: SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Finishing Oil Serum
At the risk of sounding obvious, straightening naturally curly hair is much more challenging than straightening other textures. (Not to mention that curls already require more TLC in order to avoid damage.) Enter this product. It smooths, protects, and imparts plenty of shine, thanks to a combo of coconut oil and coconut milk. It's also nice and hydrating, which is always a good thing for curls. FYI, it’s meant to be used on dry hair, so try using it post blow-drying but pre-flat ironing, or as the final step in your routine.
Best for Frizzy Hair: Kératase Discipline Keratine Thermique Blow Dry Primer
True to its name, think of this as the haircare version of a makeup primer, an essential prep step for ensuring perfect results. In this case, the formula coats damp hair with a blend of keratin and ceramides, which work in tandem to smooth out the cuticle, the outermost layer of the hair. (The smother the cuticle, the sleeker the finished style.) The formula is also great for warding off unwanted frizzies and flyways, thanks to its anti-humidity effects.
Best for Color-Treated Hair: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3
Technically a strengthening treatment, this beloved formula (and Byrdie fave) does double-duty as an ultra-effective smoother, too. Credit a science-backed formula that works to repair the protein bonds in your hair that are broken due to heat damage, coloring, and more. Ideal for all textures, use it a few times per week and prepare to be amazed at just how much smoother, shinier, and healthier your hair feels afterward.
Best for Thick Hair: R+Co Mood Swing Straightening Spray
Like curly hair, thick hair also often needs a little extra help in the smoothing department. This particular spray is our top choice, thanks to a formula packed with natural extracts to strengthen the hair, tame frizz, and add a healthy dose of both shine and softness. Also nice: It lasts up to three shampoos. Just keep in mind that it is heat-activated, so make sure to use it on damp hair before blow-drying.
Best for Fine Hair: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment
Finding the right type of smoothing products can be tough for fine hair—anything that’s too heavy or rich can quickly weigh down your strands and leave them looking limp. That’s why we appreciate this multi-tasker. Not only does it replace multiple stylers to condition, strengthen, and smooth—it also volumizes, a major boon for those with fine hair. More specifically, it touts a unique thickening molecule that creates space between each strand for plenty of fullness.
Best Long-Lasting: TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment
Apply this smoothing styler once (on damp hair, before blow-drying and flat-ironing) and reap the benefits for, wait for it, up to one week (or three washes). That’s right—the results last even after you wash your hair, making this the perfect alternative for times when you want a sleek look for days on end (think during a vacation), but don’t want to deal with daily styling.
Best Natural: EvolvH SuperFinish Polishing Balm
This clean formula contains none of the silicones that are so commonly found in many other straightening products. Instead, it relies on jojoba oil and soy bran lipids to add moisture, smooth flyaways, strengthen the hair, and deliver heat protection without ever feeling greasy or heavy. There’s also no wrong way to use it. Apply it on damp hair before heat styling, on damp hair before air-drying, or as a finishing touch to seal in your sleek style.
Best In-Shower: Garnier Fructis Sleek Shot In-Shower Styler
Want to shave off some precious minutes from your hot tool styling routine? Try this innovative in-shower product. All you have to do is mix equal parts of it with your shampoo and wash hair as normal. You’ll still have to blow-dry, but the added sleekness it imparts (credit Moroccan argan oil) means you’ll be able to skip the flat iron.
Best for Damaged Hair: Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream
You’ll want to be extra cautious when smoothing damaged hair, given that too much heat styling will only cause even more damage. If your tresses are in need of a little extra TLC, this is a must. A trio of oils—coconut, argan, and rosehip—not only offer the smoothing benefits but also add tons of hydration and protect from heat and other environmental stressors.
Best for Shine: OGX Smoothing + Liquid Pearl Luminescent Serum
Straight, sleek styles only look better the shinier they are; this serum is choice for both smoothing and scoring a glass-like sheen. Credit sea kelp plus pearl extract, which work together to leave your hair looking gorgeous and radiant, much like the effect a highlighter has on the skin.