Hair straighteners, or flat irons, have been around for over a decade now, and many different types have been produced in that time. Differences in style, heat settings, heating technology and most notably, plate materials. The plates, or blades, are the point of contact between the hair and the hair tool, and therefore, can be of huge significance when it comes to how your iron performs. Up through the late 1990’s, Teflon or aluminum plates were pretty much the common material. As innovation progressed, hair tool developers realized that these materials cause hot spots, and damage to the hair due to the uneven heat distribution.
In the early 2000’s, a ceramic coating was placed on the aluminum plates. This coating provided a more even heat distribution, and less damaging effects to the hair. It wasn’t long before some companies started developing solid ceramic plates. The solid ceramic plates have great heat distribution, but are brittle, and over time can crack. These cracks end up snagging the hair and give the user a terrible hair straightening experience.
Although ceramic is still being used in many large brands such as CHI and Conair, it has its issues. The manufacturing process for ceramic coated plates is not high tech. Molten ceramic material is sprayed like paint, onto the contact surface of the aluminum plates. The plates are then kiln-heated to cure. The small layer of ceramic that is approximately 0.2mm in thickness, doesn’t provide an extreme amount of protection from the heaters within the aluminum plates. Also, the difference in properties from the aluminum and ceramic cause the materials to detach over time, and eventually the coating rubs off, giving you essentially, an old-fashioned aluminum hair straightener from the 1990’s.
In the mid 2000’s, companies like Ozon and Babyliss discovered the properties of titanium could make a better flat iron. By 2011, titanium had become the newly accepted professional choice by hairdressers. The titanium plates widely used today are not 100% solid titanium, but rather, an alloy commonly referred to as nano titanium, which has just enough of the element to get the desired properties, without getting the undesired ones. Titanium plates last for years, never crack or scratch, and outlive the iron itself. The composition of the plates also give the plates the most even and responsive heat distribution, giving no hot spots, and allowing the iron to glide smoothly through the hair.
In conclusion, in the battle vs. ceramic and titanium flat irons, titanium wins without question. Ceramic irons perform as well as a titanium iron, for the first month or so, but after time, the plates, whether solid or coated, give way, and eventually snag and damage hair.