How to Choose the Perfect Flat Iron

Every girl should have a quality flat iron. I'm all about low price and free beauty products that work … but being cheap here is a definite no no. Invest in a quality tool that is going to last you for years. Do not pick up a cheapo iron at the grocery store and expect to just "make do".

Problems with cheap irons:

Cheap irons =
# 1 Cheap plates. Just because it says ceramic plates does not mean good plates. Ceramic is the material inside the plates not what Touches your hair. Crappy plates will catch your hair on the way down ripping hair and leaving dents and marks.

# 2 Uneven heat. Some places will get hotter than others leaving uneven results making more work for you.

# 3 Plates not clamping right or all the way. Ugh. What a pain having to put extra pressure on certain parts of the iron to make contact with your hair.

# 4 Not made to last. Your not going to have a $ 20 iron for years. Its going to short out. . loose heat. . . or break in some way so why throw good money away.

# 5 Extra work and damage. Time is money. Having to re-iron the same section of hair 3 or 4 times will only cost you more time and more wear and tear on your hair.

What you should look for in a good iron:

# 1 Of course ceramic or porcelain plates. Ionic is preferred but honestly a good even heating set of ceramic plates is ideal for any hair type.

# 2 Adjustable temperature. Look for an iron with an adjustable temperature control that heats up to 400 degrees or so. This should give you a good range to work with for just about any hair texture. Find the lowest possible temperature to get your hair straight in one to two passes with the iron.

# 3 Swivel cord. This is vital for a few reasons. Ease of use being the most obvious. But another reason is less possibility of your iron shorting out from wires being crimped and torn inside by winding while styling.

# 4 I prefer an iron with spring loaded plates. This is definitely optional and there are a lot of good irons with non spring loaded plates. The more pressure you put on the spring loaded plates the closer the plates get to the heating element which makes for easy temperature adjustment with just a squeeze of the hand so you can put more heat where it is needed and less on delicate areas.

# 5 Correct plate size for your hair. You may think that the longer your hair the bigger the plate should be. NOT SO! The larger irons are more difficult to get into tight spots like around the hair line and close to the scalp. The larger irons are really for people with hair that is straight already to use for touch ups and finishing. An iron between 3/4 "and 1 1/4" is ideal for any hair length. Easy to maneuver into tight spots and with a good iron this is plenty big enough for even thick waist length hair like mine! What about all the mini irons? Well if you have really short hair or want something just for bangs they are great. But do not buy them for novelty or traveling or your hair is more than 4 inches long.

# 6 Pricing. Expect to pay anywhere from $ 100 to $ 300 for a quality iron.
Some of my favorite iron brands are CHI, GHD, RUSK, Paul Mitchell and T3. I have 2 CHI irons one for personal use one for salon use. I have had one for 10 years or so and the other for about 6 years. Farouk Systems was bought out a few years ago and a lot of the newer irons have problems with shorting out. The original old CHI irons were the best irons ever made IMO. If my CHI's ever break I plan on getting one GHD and one Paul Mitchell iron. This list of irons are only brands I have tried personally. I'm always borrowing someone else's iron to see which ones I like the best for different price options for clients and friends.