Best Hair Straightener 2017
- Best hair straightener GVP Digital Ceramic 1″ Styling Iron With a real-time digital display, good-size plates, and no sharp corners or gaps to snag your hair, the GVP makes straightening quick and effortless.
The GVP Digital’s temperature range is as wide as the rest, and its plates are big enough to grab a strand of hair without being too big to maneuver. It heats up as quickly and is about as light as the rest of the straighteners, and the casing never snagged our hair. The 9-foot-long cord means you won’t have to lurk near a power outlet, and its auto shutoff keeps your home and belongings safe. The casing is solid black, and the design is simple and straightforward, but it doesn’t look cheap.
If our pick is unavailable, we recommend the Rusk W8less. It was the third-lightest hair straightener we tested at 0.50 pound, but the slim plates get just as hot as the GVP’s, and the cord is the same length. The smaller design of this straightener makes it great for curling or flipping hair. It also fits nicely in a suitcase.
If you find yourself going through new hair straighteners on a semi-regular basis, Conair Infiniti Pro offers the longest warranty—five years—among the hair straighteners we tested. The 1-inch-wide model is lightweight at 0.51 pound and comfortable to hold. The plates are also an inch and a half longer than our pick, at about 5 inches, which can make it cumbersome to flip or curl hair but is useful if you want to work with thicker sections of hair at once.
Who should buy this
Anyone can use a hair straightener, but how well a straightener will work on your hair—how straight it will get, how long it will stay that way, and how much damage it will endure from the heat—depends on a combination of genes, climate, and practice. The curlier or more textured your hair, the more heat, time, or styling products you’ll need to invest to get the style you want; the finer your hair, the more easily it will be damaged by high temperatures. If you live in a humid climate, your hair will reabsorb water more quickly, which restores its natural (less straight) shape. With practice, you can figure out the ideal temperature for your hair and how to best maneuver the tool to create the style you want, but it’s best to take things low and slow at first.
The downside is that a straightener can damage hair if used incorrectly—or even correctly. (See the How we picked section where we address the heat-hair conundrum.) If you can straighten your hair to your liking with a less direct heat method, like a hair dryer, you should probably stick with that.
If you dye your hair lighter colors, like blondes or reds, you probably want to stay away from straighteners. Cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski has tested straighteners on hair dyed in a range of colors and found that high heat from straightening can change color noticeably for blondes or redheads. “A brown color won’t be as noticeable if there’s a change typically,” he said.
If you already own a hair straightener you like—one that you can hold and maneuver easily, and that heats to the temperature you want and stays there—you’re probably set.
If you find the device clumsy to use, you’re damaging your hair unnecessarily. If it’s hard to hold and move around, you’re probably clamping your hair too tightly, unevenly, or for too much time. If hair regularly gets snagged or otherwise caught on the device, you’re forced to apply more heat on those areas to fix them. “Any time there’s friction, there’s tugging and snagging and fatiguing of the hair,” said researcher Evers. “You’re spending more time at that one particular portion of the hair and potentially causing more damage.” If it’s set at the right temperature but the plates tend to cool between passes, you’re probably forced to redo the same sections more than two times and damage it in the long term (and spend excessive time on your hairstyle). If your current straightener doesn’t have granular temperature settings, or if it takes many passes even at its highest settings to get your hair straight, replacing it with a straightener that gets a bit hotter and lets you find that sweet spot for your own hair may not only save you time, but also may save your hair some breakage or split ends.
We can’t promise that you’ll never damage your hair again; it’s a risk you take whenever you use a flat iron. But by using a quality device and using it correctly, you can reduce your chances for heat damage and keep your hair looking healthy (and straight).