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Buying the right flat iron can get very overwhelming: there are many varying size options to choose from. Not only that, but you also have to take into consideration the plate materials and think about your purpose behind getting the straightener. For example, if you wish to use your straightener for styling your hair curly or wavy, you may want to avoid a large flat iron as they're difficult to maneuver. Also, you'll want to consider your hair type and how damaged it is.
Sounds complicated? Don't worry!
We've specifically designed this know-it-all guide so you won't ever find yourself at a retailer aimlessly looking through shelf after shelf for the right hot tool.
Ready? Alright, let's get this started!
First things first, you should definitely determine an adequate plate size for your needs. There are several sizes available in the market, the most common of which include: 1-1/2'', 1'' and 3/4".
Large plate flat irons are not commonly purchased unless the user is intending to apply it over long or thick hair (think: more surface area covered at any one time means less total time spent styling the hair).
Generally speaking, hair and beauty bloggers recommend larger plate irons for people with unruly hair. Having naturally coarse and frizzy hair myself, I feel that I have a good understanding on the matter and I must say that I have some reservations on this particular topic. Keep in mind, however, what works for me, may not work for you.
I usually opt for a smaller flat iron because it's easier to have a firm grip and I often need to get to those tiny baby hairs that always give me a hard time. Plus, larger plates may cover more hair but it may not give the precision and pin-straight look that I want which a small plate straightener does.
The following picture shows the largest size that we carry at 1-1/2" from Glam Palm's Classic Digital line:
Typically, most people go for the 1 inch plate size as this is their safest bet. This remains a popular contender since it is suitable for all hair types. An additional benefit is that "1 inchers" are fairly easy to maintain a firm grip while styling, unlike the ones above standard sizing. As you can imagine, comfort plays a big part in one's preferred plate size.
One last point I'd like to make is that because they are at such a reasonable size, they manage to cover a significant amount of surface area without taking too much of your time. When you add time-efficiency and comfort to the formula, you'll realise the great value that standard size plates provide!
Once again, we've displayed a picture from Glam Palm's Classic Ceramic line below at the 1 inch size, so you can have a better idea of the plate size differences:
As you can see, there is a substantial discrepancy between the standard size and the 1/2 inch wider plate.
Meanwhile, smaller straighteners are designed for travel or whenever you'd need to get super close to the scalp. Generally speaking, smaller plate straighteners are ideal for someone who wants precise and good results over small areas. It is for these reasons that stylists often choose to use them on their clients' roots, as a finishing touch after a treatment. People with short hair also stick with small straighteners. For example, men who sport spiky hair or women who have bangs or bobs will stick with small straighteners since this offers them more controlled movement and suits their needs the best.
This size can also be beneficial for people with damaged hair as less heat is applied over their hair, in comparison to a larger plate iron. People with fuller, coarse hair may also feel that the outcomes of using a small plate flat iron gives them the pin-straight look they're going for. Whereas, with a large plate iron, they may feel that their hair is still puffy and would need to go over it several times before getting their desired results.
As seen above, we have Hair Treats' Moda line with their Bam Bam straightener; available at just 3/4", this is currently the smallest size that we carry.
Much like plate size, there is a wide selection to choose from amongst plate materials. In this section, we'll go over some of the most commonly used and explain why someone would opt for them. Or, in some instances, why EVERYONE should avoid it at all costs!
Like everything else in life there is a lot of give and take; for the most part, you'll have to see if a material's specific pros outweigh its cons and make an informed decision as to what you feel will suit your needs the best.
So, for the first plate material we have...
The most widely known and used is the ceramic plate. For starters, it was one of the earliest to be introduced in the market. Thus, it garnered a significant amount of devout ceramic plate lovers, not surprisingly.
Secondly, it is well liked for conducting heat evenly and well! Its good conductivity means that, in most cases, you won't need to straighten the same hair section over and over, as the first time will suffice. I have to say, however, if you have thick and coarse hair, there is an even better option (titanium plate) that will be discussed later on.
Ideally, ceramic plates are best suited for people with thin and fine hair. So, if this is your case, look no further!
Shown above is GA.MA's Italy CP1 flat iron; it heats up to an ideal range of 150°C-220°C . What's nice about ceramic plates is that, due to their intrinsic properties, they don't heat up to extremely high temperatures. This ensures that your hair won't get overly damaged. Moreover, GA.MA's CP1 straightener already comes with a dial so that the user knows exactly the heat exposure their hair is being subjected to.
There aren't enough good things you can say about ceramic plates, really; they're an absolute industry favorite!
In contrast to ceramic plates, tourmaline flat irons are a new addition to the market. They are drastically more effective thanks to their ionic property; in their powder form, negative ions are continuously released, keeping moisture in the hair. At the same time, they reduce the heat level required to straighten it. This makes for shinier and damage-free hair.
Since tourmaline flat irons aggregate higher customer value, they are a little pricier, but oh so worth it!
Compared to ceramic plates, titaniums have the upper hand in terms of time-efficiency. For one, they heat up at a faster rate and can reach higher temperatures. This is a very sought-after quality, especially for people with very curly or Afro-textured hair. However, people with fine hair are advised: stay away from this plate material! Titanium has some serious conductivity capacities and the last thing you want is to have your hair burned.
As seen above: Hair Treat's Moda CROC straightener in the color fuchsia. Available in black and blue. With universal voltage, you can pack this in your luggage and rest assured that it'll work anywhere in the world you decide to go!
I've got two words for you: steer clear!
They may be A LOT cheaper than the available options, but there is a good reason for that. They are poor conductors of heat and will often have hot spots, such that heat distribution is very uneven. Essentially, your hair will have some strands that are heat damaged, others that won't be straightened properly; definitely NOT a good look on anyone!
Particularly important if you're planning on using a flat iron several times a week, you want to make sure you feel comfortable holding it for an extended period of time. This applies to other styles that require a fair bit of swivelling, for example, curling.
Titanium and Tourmaline iron plates last considerably longer than ceramic ones, so you'd probably want to prioritize the newer alternatives.
And that's it for today!
Uff! This has been a veryyy long blog but I hope that this thorough guide has been helpful for you in making a decision!
Best wishes and till next time!