Flat irons or hair straighteners have come a long way from the simple and often dangerous hair care tools they were several decades ago. Modern electrical flat irons made from ceramic, tourmaline or titanium plates are much safer and more effective at hair straightening.
A flat iron is however not the only tool you can use on curly and frizzy hair. Hair straightening brushes have become more popular in recent years partly because of safety concerns about flat irons. Some users see straightening brushes as safer and much easier to use.
Which one should you buy?
The answer depends on your needs and most importantly, what type of hair you have. Below we compare the two tools in terms of design, ease of use, safety and performance to help you choose the right one for your hair.
1. Flat irons
Flat irons are of course the most popular option. A flat iron consists of two electrically heated plates between which clumps of hair pass through and get straightened out.
Most flat irons today use ceramic plates to provide even and fast heating. This ensures that your hair is straightened evenly. Some premium brands use tourmaline or titanium plates.
With most flat irons, you can adjust the heat based on how curly or thick your hair is. Almost all brands come with an auto shutoff feature for safety.
- They perform better. Because they heat up to higher temperatures, flat irons tend to straighten hair better than brushes. They are especially ideal for thicker and extra curly hair.
- With a flat iron the hair stays in shape for longer, usually for a couple or more days. This is because of their higher heat settings and better overall performance. You can use a flat iron 2 to 3 times a week while still maintaining curl-free hair.
- They provide more styling versatility. Unlike straightening brushes flat irons can do more than just straighten hair. The ghd IV Styler for instance can also create curls, flicks and waves.
- They are more likely to cause hair damage. Because they get hotter and have more direct contact with hair, flat irons pose a bigger damage risk to hair compared to straightening brushes. That’s why it is important to take extra caution when using a flat iron. Use it only 2-3 times a week, start with a lower heat setting and if possible, use a hair protection product.
- They take longer to straighten hair. If you have really thick hair, you could spend as long as 1 hour trying to straighten it. This is because you can only straighten a small section of your hair at a time.
2. Hair straightening brush
A straightening looks almost like a normal brush and you use it like one too. The only difference is that a straightening brush is electrically heated and must be used with more care to prevent hair damage.
A straightening brush should only be used on dry and already-combed hair. This protects your hair and makes the straightening process easier.
- They are safer. Straightening brushes don’t subject your hair to as much heat damage as flat irons. They are especially ideal if you have thin and weak hair. Additionally, a straightening brush poses less risk of accidentally burning your hands, scalp or ears. That’s why it is recommended for younger users over a flat iron.
- They are faster. A straightening brush takes half the time or less of a flat iron. This is a big advantage if you have busy mornings.
- You can use a straightening brush every day without damaging your hair.
- Straightening brushes are not ideal for thick hair.
- With a straightening brush, your hair will not stay styled for long. You’ll have to use it more often, usually daily, to keep the curls away.
Hair straightening brush vs Flat iron
A flat iron is best if:
You have thick or extra frizzy hair that requires more heat to straighten. A flat iron is also ideal if you don’t want to straighten you hair every day.
Just make sure that you use the right heat setting and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
A straightening brush is best if:
You have thin or delicate hair. A straightening brush is gentler on hair and is likely to cause less damage. It is also ideal if you want a straightener that adds more volume to your hair. We also recommend it for kids and teens as it poses fewer safety hazards.