Over the last few years there have been a lot of changes when it comes to hair straighteners. Gone are the days of big, ugly lumps of metal and plastic which weigh a ton, now it is all about sleek, simple designs which don’t scorch your hair. The biggest step towards the now near perfect hair straighteners we have today was the invention of “ceramic plates”. These cause a lot less damage to hair than their metal counterparts and they also straighten more effectively, and heat up quicker (something which is very important to the modern world)
Another huge advance in technology is the use of ionic and infra red technology in straightening irons. Whereas the old style straighteners dried your hair out, leaving it straight and a bit frizzy and frazzled looking, nowadays straighteners claim to actually lock in moisture and reduce frizz. The smaller designs also allow you to straighten the hair closer to your head so you don’t end up with really big hair, and looking like one of those people whose head is too small for their hair .
So how many of these advances in the design and technology of hair straighteners are really important? Well this is something which a lot of people disagree on, although I do think that most would agree that ceramic plates are a must. As far as I am aware, all modern straighteners are made with either ceramic, or ceramic coated plates these days so this shouldn’t be too much of a worry when searching for your new set of irons (although do be aware that if they are just coated with ceramic, they tend to scratch and expose the hideous, hair burning metal beneath). Below, I have listed some of the more dubious features which often adorn straighteners and whether or not I think they are important or indeed if they even work..
Ionic Technology – Ionic Technology makes hair frizzy and less dried out however you have to be aware that ALL straighteners damage hair. No straightener improves, or moisturises hair…. but some of them dry it out a little less than others and this is the case with Ionic straighteners. You can pick up hair straighteners with this technology pretty cheap these days so if it sounds like something you want, I say go for it.
Wet-to-Straight – With these straighteners, it is claimed that you can skip the whole blow drying process and straighten wet hair. However, from my experience, this isn’t strictly true .To really get good results with these straighteners you generally have to dry your hair at least a little bit before using them. If you use them on wet hair, it takes ages to get your hair dry and styled so really they don’t save you any time at all, as you would imagine they would. They also leave hair looking very dried out and frazzled if you use them often on wet hair which is a big no no. Having said that, many of these kinds of straighteners, such as the Phillips ones, are actually good as normal straighteners on dry hair. So basically, don’t pay extra for this feature but if they are cheap enough then maybe try them as normal straighteners but don’t expect to go from wet-to-straight without a bit of a struggle and without causing a lot of damage to your hair.
Temperature Control – Some hair straighteners allow you to change the temperature of them from hot to super hot, to super mega hot etc, etc. Whereas this sounds like quite a good feature to have, as you would imagine that the cooler they are, the less damaging they are, in actual fact I have found it to be pretty pointless. Basically all of these straighteners straighten at their best when they are on their highest setting, so why bother with the others? Maybe if you have very thin, short hair then a cooler setting would work ok too but certainly for me, I always crank the heat up to the top setting for the best results. So don’t feel like this is a neccessary feature for your hair straighteners to have as it really doesn’t add much.
“Shiver function” – This is something relatively new which has been added to straighteners, and in particular the new Phillips hair straighteners have it. Basically it is meant to stop condensation forming on the inside of your straighteners and thus damaging them. Is it something that you need? Well, no, not unless you live in the Arctic. Personally I have had lots of pairs of hair straighteners without this function and I never had any problems with them breaking due to condensation! Yes, it is great if you are in extremely cold conditions, but otherwise it is a huge gimmick.
Sleep Mode – This is basically where the straighteners will turn themselves off after a certain period of inactivity – just like your computer will do. I personally think this is a great feature because I know I often worry after leaving the house that I have left my straighteners on and will come back to a pile of ashes. It gives you peace of mind and as a bonus feature I really think it is a good idea. However, it is in no way neccessary and if you are a very careful person then there is no need to look for straighteners with this feature. However, if you’re a bit of a scatter brain like me, it is nice to know that you aren’t going to be the cause of your house burning down so do give straighteners with this function a few bonus points when making your choice (then you just have to worry about the oven, the iron, the hob, the curlers….).
Rapid Heat Up – There is nothing more annoying when you are in a rush than having to wait for what seems like an age for your straighteners to heat up (especially if you only want to straighten your fringe!). Straighteners that heat up fast are therefore a must and you can get them for the same price as those which take forever to heat up so why not? The quickest set of straighteners I have ever seen are my GHD’s which take under 10 seconds to heat up to their optimum temperature. There are plenty of cheaper models which heat up in a matter of seconds too so always check the box/description to see how long they take to get hot.
So… that pretty much covers all the features that descriptions of hair straighteners will boast of and now you know which ones to pay that bit extra for and which ones you’ll never use or need in a million years!