Benefits of using ceramic flat irons
For many people, the differences between metal hair straightening appliances and ceramic flat irons are unclear. Is it really worth it to buy a slightly pricier ceramic straightener than a metal heated or teflon-coated appliance? The answer is yes. Where other straighteners cause significant damage to hair overtime, ceramic flat irons work to correct this damage for healthier locks. Here's how:
Damaged hair is positively charged. This can be because of chemicals, static electricity, or metal heated appliances. When flat irons boast that they are “ionic,” they are simply saying that they produce negatively charged ions. This helps smooth the hair shaft and calms the hair because it neutralizes the charge. It helps to lock in the moisture and oils needed for smooth hair. All ceramic straighteners produce these ions.
Another feature present in all ceramic flat irons is far infrared heating. This type of heating converts light into heat, directly heating objects without affecting what surrounds them. It is able to penetrate the hair and heat it from within, reducing damage. This is a very effective way to heat hair without causing damage.
100% ceramic flat irons
Most ceramic flat irons are made from plates of aluminum or titanium and then coated with layers of ceramic. Though they are healthier for hair than metal heated appliances, there are a few ceramic flat iron disadvantages. Namely, the ceramic layers can crack over time, unevenly heating and potentially damaging hair. Some high end brands offer 100% ceramic flat irons. These are often very pricey, but the results show that they are clearly the best for achieving smooth hair through even heat distribution.
Tourmaline is considered the next best thing to having a 100% ceramic flat iron. Tourmaline is a precious stone that is ground down to a powder and is then incorporated into the ceramic plates of the iron. It has a high negative ion output, resulting in shinier, sleeker, frizz-free hair. Titanium flat irons produce similar results.
The ceramic flat iron advantages are clear: sleeker, smoother hair through even heat distribution and output of negatively charged ions. With so many brands producing these flat irons, it can be difficult to gauge which is the best. Solia Tourmaline Ceramic Ion Flat Iron (1-1/4”) was rated by users of the hair website Folica as one of the best flat irons available.
Take caution before straightening with a ceramic flat iron
Prior to straightening, it is advised that flat iron users apply a thermal protector to the hair. These products are designed to protect the hair from the negative drying effects of the appliance. Many well-known hair brands offer them, including Nexxus, Pantene, Chi, and Frizz Ease. Just look for a bottle saying “heat protector” or “thermal protection.” Also, many flat irons available today can heat up to 450° F. It is important to note that this setting should be reserved for people with strong, healthy hair. Those with thin or damaged hair should consider using a lower temperature to avoid further damage.
Buying a ceramic flat iron for black hair
Buying a ceramic flat iron for black hair is not much different that buying one for thick or curly hair. The difference is in the treatment of the hair before and after straightening. Due to how porous it is, African American hair tends to lose moisture fast and is very susceptible to heat damage. Thus, moisturizing before and after hair treatment is key.
Using products that add shine to black hair is a common practice, though be advised that these products really shouldn't be used when applying heat to the hair. These oil-based treatments can literally fry under heat, causing significant damage over time. The tourmaline and titanium in high quality ceramic flat irons can naturally add shine, making these products pointless. Note that it is still important to use a thermal protector on the hair before straightening.
Styling black hair may require a higher end flat iron in order to not dry the hair out further. Using a wider plate size and working in small sections are key to successful styling. Corioliss Wet to Dry Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Flat Iron is a great option for black hair styling. It helps protect the hair from damage while adding smoothness and shine.