Straight, sleek hair can be a clean, classic style no matter how old you are. The best way to achieve the look is getting a good hair straightener styling tool—and knowing how to use it.
Invest: Not all hair straighteners are created equally. There’s a noticeable difference in using a cheap tool versus a more expensive one. If you want the best results, it’s worth investing in a professional quality tool—it works better and faster, but will also last longer. Look for a straightener with ceramic plates, which creates negative ions that neutralize the positive ions in frizzier hair, resulting in smoother strands. There’s also less chance that your hair will get caught while styling. You can also get ceramic plates that are infused with tourmaline, which is even better for your hair—but it’s also more expensive.
Size matters: The length of your hair will determine what size straightener will work best. (The size is measured by the width of the plate.) If you have short to medium hair, go with one something that’s 1” to 1.5” wide. For those of you with longer and thicker hair, it will be much easier with a straightener that is 2” wide. For bangs, it might be useful to use a smaller 0.5” tool.
Clean hair: Any hair straightening tool, regardless of quality, will work better if your hair is clean. When you have a lot of build-up from styling products, grease, or even dirt, the hair can clump when you try to pull it through the tool—this can cause more damage to your hair. Also make sure that your hair is completely dry before using a straightener.
Minimize damage: As handy as this hair styling tool is, I must also stress that using it too much can damage your hair because of the excessive heat. But there are a few things you can do to minimize damage: use a heat-protecting serum before styling, use deep-conditioning hair treatments, don’t go too close to your roots, and avoid using the highest heat setting. Also, use a hydrating shampoo and moisturizing conditioner regularly to keep hair hydrated.
Other styles: The great thing about hair straighteners is that they can create other styles too. I didn’t believe it at first, but they actually work great to do waves and curls. Here’s how to do it. Take a small section of hair and clamp it where you want the curl to start. With the plates clamped over your hair, rotate the straightener once in the direction you want the curl to go, and then pull it down through the length of the hair. For bigger waves, use bigger sections of hair. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it right on the first try. If you’re going to be using your straightener for curls too, look for one that has plates with rounded edges so that you don’t end up with dents when styling.
My personal recommendation: I’m a huge fan of the T3 Pro Mini Tourmaline Flat Iron.