The Wall Street Journal December 14, 2022

The Wall Street Journal


The Best 7 Hair Straighteners, According to Professional Stylists


Haircare experts say these flat irons ensure the smoothest strands

Whether you straighten your hair daily or stray from your natural curls only occasionally, the best flat irons are as notable for what they don’t do (burn, parch, snag, dull or dent hair) as they are for what they do. A great styler should leave you with such a sleek shine that your mane becomes a de facto mirror for onlookers, according to stylist and grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness, of Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” 

According to top stylists, here are the models you should consider adding to your arsenal of hair tools to maximize smoothness while minimizing damage.

Versatile choice

Platinum+ Styler - 1" Flat Iron

“I like the versatility of being able to use this as a straightener or for waves,” says Austin, Texas-based Van Ness, who also created their own haircare brand, JVN Hair. The tool also has a no-brainer element: There’s only one heat setting. At 365 degrees Fahrenheit, the plates are both hot enough to get the job done, but not so hot that they’ll scorch your hair, according to the brand. For the straightest, glossiest results, Van Ness recommends using a continuous, downward gliding motion—not just with the flat iron itself but also with a heat-resistant comb. 

Battery-powered convenience

Corrale™ Hair Straightener / Styler

This cordless hair straightener can run on battery power for 30 minutes—a trait that comes in particularly handy when Van Ness is on set. “It’s nice to touch hair up without a cord in the way,” he explains). The Corrale is also prized among pros for its flexing plates made from micro-hinged manganese copper engineered to apply heat evenly to each strand, so you can avoid multiple passes, according to Dyson. And while the main point of the flexing plates is to reduce heat damage, a helpful bonus is that they don’t leave dents at the ends of your hair.

Thick hair pick

Lucea 1.5" Professional Flat Iron

For Brooklyn-based stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew—who has created stunningly sleek (and for that matter, stunningly textured) looks for Kerry Washington, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Ariana DeBose—the T3 Lucea 1.5-inch Flat Iron is a go-to. “It straightens thick, long or coarse hair in one pass,” she says, though even fine hair responds well as long as you work in larger sections. To avoid exposing your hair to undue heat, the tool not only maxes out at 410 degrees, but it also uses wide ceramic plates (compared to typical 1-inch flat irons)​​, and more surface area means less heat exposure time. The flat iron also allows you to select the appropriate temperature by factors such as hair texture and length. 

Short hair pro

Nano Titanium Prima Styling Iron

When you’re working with short hair or need something slim for maximum maneuverability, this 1-inch model from Babyliss is the way to go, says stylist Raven Hurtado of Chicago’s Maxine Salon. “It’s my favorite for smoothing out baby hairs around the hairline—and I can also get close to the roots,” she explains. It has five LED heat settings, maxing out at 465 degrees, and its plates also generate negative ions to decrease frizz and static.  

Quick styler 

Megastar Flat Iron

By incorporating a far infrared light strip, this straightener heats hair from the inside out for quicker styling (read: minimized heat damage). The tourmaline plates also emit negative ions to neutralize frizz-causing positive ions, so that even thick hair emerges soft and silken, according to the Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist Mara Roszak, who’s tended to the tresses of Zoe Saldaña, Olivia Wilde and Lily Collins.

Moisture preserver

The Conductor 1 Inch Precision Germanium Flat Iron

Another tool that incorporates both far infrared light and negative ions for speedy and smooth styling is the Confidante Moisture Maintenance Styler from Amika. This one also offers a bit of extra reach with 4-inch-long plates (25% longer than most, according to the brand). The upshot? You can work through even thick sections in a single pass, says Linh Nguyen, a “Project Runway” hair stylist and creative director at PR at Partners Salons in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Vented option

The Sunny Styler

Clearly, when stylists go into hot tool design, it’s with their own needs—and those of other pros—in mind. So when Trademark Beauty, co-founded by celebrity stylist Joseph Maine, debuted this innovative addition to the category, the love from fellow stylists was almost instant. “I like the versatility of this iron,” says Nunzio Saviano, owner of the celebrated eponymous salon in New York City. “It allows for sleek styles, [and] can easily create body and waves.” Stephanie Angelone, master stylist at New York’s RPZL Hair Extension & Blowout Bar, adds, “the most standout feature is the vents alongside the plates and the back of the iron that cool your hair during styling to reduce damage, increase shine and lock in the style.”

The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of the Buy Side from WSJ editorial team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.