NBC News September 15, 2021

NBC News


5 top-rated hair straightening brushes in 2021


How effective are hair straightening brushes? Hairstylists weigh in on their efficacy and provide tips on how to shop for the best ones.

Heated hair straightening brushes are bubbling up on TikTok — the #hairstraightenerbrush tag has 1.6 million views so far — and users like blogger Sabrina Greenway say these hot tools are beneficial for low-maintenance styling. But what exactly are hair straightening brushes? And will they genuinely work for your hair styling needs? To help answer these questions and more, we consulted hairstylists and rounded up highly rated options readily available at popular shops.

Top-rated hair straightening brushes

To help you discover worthwhile hair straightening brushes, we rounded up top-rated models across various budgets and aligned with expert guidance. These selections are sold at Shopping reader-favorite retailers, ranging from Ulta and Sephora to Walmart and Amazon.

Best brush overall: InStyler
InStyler STRAIGHT UP Straightening Brush

Given its high rating and cost, InStyler earned the top spot on our list of hair straightening brushes. Hairstylist Shelly Aguirre of Maxine Salon called this "a great tool for the price," and noted the ceramic and ionic features make it "a good value" item that can help protect hair from damage.

InStyler claims it takes only 30 seconds for this hot tool to reach a maximum temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit — it also features six other heat settings that are displayed on the LCD screen. The STRAIGHT UP is also equipped with a swivel extension cord to help prevent tangling while in use. It received a 4.2-star average rating from more than 1,380 reviews at Ulta.

InStyler also sells a compact version of this hair straightening brush dubbed the STRAIGHT UP MINI — it earned a 4.4-star average rating from more than 290 reviews at Ulta.

Top-rated affordable brush: Infiniti Pro by Conair
Infiniti Pro by Conair Hot Paddle Brush

In our guide to the best flat irons, hair stylists previously explained that hot tools made with ceramic plates or barrels are capable of heating up evenly and leave hair looking shiny. They also noted ceramic hot tools are best suited for those with dry, damaged or fine hair rather than thick, coarse hair.

Infiniti Pro by Conair's offering combines three bristle types — nylon, silicone and ceramic — with ionic technology, a favorite feature among hair experts because it helps prevent frizzy hair. In addition, this hair straightening brush has three pre-set heat settings, maxing out at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The brand's hair straightening brush received a 4.1-star average rating from more than 840 reviews on Amazon.

Top-rated splurge brush: amika
amika Polished Perfection Thermal Straightening Brush 2.0

Aguirre said she would recommend this investment-worthy hair straightening brush to clients because it also boasts ionic technology, which “will make the hair shinier without sacrificing the integrity.” This hair straightening brush also features amika's iRed beam technology, which the brand claims will help the heat better penetrate hair cuticles and "preserve moisture." It earned a 4-star average rating from nearly 180 reviews at Sephora.

Top-rated travel-friendly brush: Drybar
Drybar The Baby Brush Crush Mini Heated Straightening Brush

The Baby Brush Crush Mini utilizes ionic technology. Given the travel-friendly size, Drybar's hair straightening brush is especially helpful when you want to touch up your bangs or part during vacation or after exercising. Drybar says it will take about 2 minutes for the Baby Brush to heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This portable brush earned a 4.1-star average rating from nearly 280 reviews on Amazon.

Top-rated brush set: MiroPure
MiroPure Enhanced Hair Straightener Brush

Rounding out our list is MiroPure's brush, which received an impressive 4.5-star average rating from more than 12,850 reviews on Amazon. It features a ceramic coating like hair stylists recommend, plus it is the sole model on our list that boasts 16 temperature settings, ranging from 360 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also the only brush on our list that comes with a carrying case and a protective glove. If you typically forget to turn off your hot tools, you'll likely appreciate that this model powers down after 60 minutes of non-use.

How to shop for a heated hair straightening brush

Ahead, we summarize the pros and cons of using a heated hair straightening brush, plus share expert guidance on what differentiates them from their non-heated counterparts and outline how to use them.

Benefits and limitations:

If you're dealing with frizz and flyaways because of the summer humidity, you might be looking for ways to help achieve smooth and silky straight hair at home. Heated hair straightening brushes can help remedy those styling concerns for most hair textures, including straight, wavy and loose curl patterns.

However, if you have tightly coiled natural hair, you won't be able to achieve a silk press with just hair straightening brushes alone, experts said. Instead, the brushes will just cut down on frizz and smooth natural hair, which is helpful before braiding, noted hairstylist and natural hair expert Courtney Foster.

What is a heated hair straightening brush and should you use one?

Heated and traditional brushes look similar but the latter typically feature a ceramic coating either on the paddle or on the brush bristles — and sometimes both. Hair straightening brushes made with ceramic coating are known for even heat distribution and glide through hair smoothly, which is why hairstylist Shelly Aguirre of Maxine Salon recommended them over options made from tourmaline or titanium. She is also a fan of ionic technology because it can help cut down on pesky frizz. Despite those differences, you use heated hair straightener brushes in a similar way to non-heated brushes — brush gently through your hair from root to tips until you achieve your desired look.