Best Flat Iron for African American Hair

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The typical African American hair naturally grows in curves – including curly corkscrews, springy spirals, and tight zigzags (Types 3B through 4C). It has evolved both as a fashion statement and a political one from the Afro hairstyle to cornrows and dreadlocks. Today, people with tight curls – whether African-American, Asian, or Caucasian in origin – have more choices about how to style their hair. This includes hair straightening which can be achieved with the use of chemicals or flat irons.

There are risks associated with either of these methods. Flat irons, though, are considered so much safer if chosen carefully and used properly. In this article, we will guide you on how to choose the best flat iron for African American Hair.

My Top 3 Best Flat Irons for African American Hair



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BaBylissPro Nano

Titanium Plated Ultra-Thin

Straightening Iron

Many Plate Width Options

Titanium Plates

50 Heat Settings

Extended Plate Length 5 Inches Long

3 Year Warranty

HSI Porfessional 

Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic 

Flat Iron 

1 Inch  and 1 1/4 Inches Plate Width Options

Ceramic Plates Infuces with Tourmaline Crystals

Heat Dial for Temp Settings

Plate Length 3 1/2 Inches Long

360° Swivel Cord


Infiniti Pro

By Conair Tourmaline

Flat Iron

1 Inch  and 1 1/4 Inches Plate Width Options

Ceramic Plates Infuces with Tourmaline Crystals

30 Heat Settings

Extended Plate Length Approx 4 Inches Long

Auto Shut-Off Feature

 

Understanding the characteristics of African-American hair

When it comes to straightening African-American hair, you first need to understand its natural characteristics.

  1. Uneven diameter. In general, African-American hair has uneven cross-section. This means that the strand’s diameter varies along its length. This makes it very fragile. The sections with the narrow diameter are prone to breakage. You have to choose a flat iron that will provide the needed heat, yet will be gentle enough for these weak points.
  2. Natural dryness. Kinky hair tends to be dryer than naturally straight ones. That’s understandable because the scalp’s natural oils would have to travel through tight coils before reaching the tip. Properly moisturized hair will sustain heat better without getting damaged. Pick a flat iron that will protect your hair and lock moisture in.
  3. Frizzy texture. African-American hair may seem coarse, but it’s more correct to describe it as fine, fragile, and frizzy. This texture is the result of your hair’s natural dryness, uneven cross-section, and density. Find a flat iron that you can adjust through micro-settings, not just the basic low, medium, and high.

These are the typical characteristics of an African-American hair. Before buying a product, though, make sure that it describes your type of hair, not just African-American hair in general.

 

Choosing the Best Flat Iron for African American Hair

Before you press “Buy”, take a closer look at some important features.

Plate width – narrow widths are for short hair, while wide plates work best for long hair. Take note that you’ll have an easier time flattening African-American hair with plates not less than 1-inch wide.

Plates that are 1-inch wide will work best for shoulder-length hair or shorter. It will not only straighten hair, but also add body to it. For longer hair, you’d be more efficient with the bigger 1-1/2-inch size.

Plate material – heating plates are made of various materials, like ceramics and titanium.

High-end flat irons mostly use titanium for its plates. This metal has superior heat-conducting properties and incomparable smoothness. A cheaper alternative will be ceramic heating plates. The advantage with this material is that it heats evenly and flattens hair under lower temperature.

Temperature and micro-settings – temperatures between 300°F and 400°F will work best for African-American hair.

One important feature to look for is the presence of temperature settings with small increments. This will allow you to start at the lowest, increasing slowly to the optimum heat needed. This way you spare your tresses from useless, yet harmful, extra heat.

Plate length – a longer extended plate will allow you to straighten wider sections of hair per pass. However, you also don’t want the plate to be too long that it becomes too unwieldy.

Other Features

You may want to look at other features which are more compatible to your personal preference. Some of these are shape, slimness of housing, and LCD temp readout. Heating time can also be a factor, but we made sure that all the 3 products below are fast heaters.

 

Best Flat Irons that will work for African-American Hair

We’ve come up with our top 3 flat irons for African-American hair, and they’re shown below. It must be noted that our comparison were based on the features required for this particular hair type. The tables below show how they fared against the set criteria:

 

  1. BaBylissPro Nano Titanium-Plated Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron

best price BaBylissPro Nano Titanium-Plated Ultra-Thin Straightening IronBabylissPro Nano Titanium straightening irons are available in great variety.

Why BabylissPro Nano made it to our Top 3:

Plate width Many size options, including 2-inch width, so it won’t be difficult to find the best fit best for your long or short curly tresses.
Plate material Plates are made of titanium which makes straightening fast and snag-free. This is combined with ionic technology to protect hair from the damaging effects of high heat. Titanium also lends a natural sheen to hair.
Temperature & microsettings You can adjust heat through 50 settings to its maximum of 450°F.
Plate length The extended plate is 5 inches long and straightens a section in just one pass. This means that attaining pin-straight hair will only be minutes away instead of hours.
Other Features Very versatile since it can also be used for fragile, very fine hair if you adjust the temp between settings 1 and 10 (240°F-275°F)

Comes with a 3-year warranty against all defects or faults in manufacturing or materials.

For dense kinky hair, like most of type 4 hairs including African-American hair, we recommend either the 1-inch or 1 ½-inch wide titanium-plated flat irons.

 

  1. HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron

best price HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat IronHSI Professional is a very well-reviewed and well-liked flat iron. It makes straightening type 4C hair an easy thing to do, which is saying a lot if you know the 4C type.

Why HSI Professional made it to our Top 3:

Plate width Available in 1-inch and 1-1/4-inch width options. If you don’t keep your hair very long, a 1-inch wide plate would do you fine.
Plate material Made of ceramic plates infused with tourmaline crystals. The technology used makes it gentler to sensitive hair by sealing hair and locking in moisture.
Temperature & microsettings There’s a heat dial which you can turn in minute increments from the lowest temp of 240°F to a max temp of 410°F.

The downside to this: You wouldn’t know the exact temp unless you get the model with the LCD screen. With the basic model, you will only know that you’re increasing the temp with each clockwise turn of the knob.

Plate length The extended plate is 3-1/2 inches long.
Other Features The plates float on its base at self-adjusting angles based on hair thickness and texture.

Comes in dual voltage allowing you to use it wherever you travel around the world.

360° swivel cord

This styling device carries an incredibly inexpensive price tag, which ranks it among our must-have grooming devices.

 

  1. Infiniti Pro By Conair Tourmaline Flat Iron

best price Infiniti Pro By Conair Tourmaline Flat IronInfiniti Pro has one of the highest temp settings in the industry, and this high heat is well-balanced with tourmaline technology to prevent hair damage. It’s the ideal combination for hairs described as tight corkscrews and Z-shaped strands.

Why Infiniti Pro made it to our Top 3:

Plate width Sizes are available from 1-inch to 1-3/4-inch plate widths, which is close enough to the options offered by BaBylissPro.
Plate material Made of ceramic plates infused with tourmaline crystals. The technology used makes it gentler to sensitive hair by sealing hair and locking in moisture.
Temperature & microsettings You can choose from 30 heat settings. Max temp is 455°F.
Plate length The extended plate is around 4 inches long.
Other Features Comes with auto shut-off feature.

Settings 1-8 allows this flat iron to be safely used on thin and delicate hair.

For straightening and flipping shorter curls, the 1-inch size would be great. But for long curly tresses, the 1-3/4-inch size will be a real time-saver.

 

Conclusion

Which flat iron you will eventually choose depends on what you need. African-American hair will vary in terms of length, volume, and subtype. The styles you’ll want to attain must also be taken into account. A 1-inch flat iron, for instance, can do the job of both a straightening iron and a curling wand. A 1-1/2-inch or 2-inch flat iron, on the other hand, will be the better choice when it comes to attaining that bone-straight relaxed look. But don’t expect it to have the dual functions of its 1-inch counterpart.

All three products we’ve named work remarkably for hair types 3 (bouncy curls) and 4 (tight zigzags), which describes the range of hair types of most African-Americans. These flat irons protect hair while they straighten and style. What’s really good is that the straightness holds for several days. This means that you’ll need to heat your hair less often.

Summing up, the best flat iron for African American hair must be capable of attaining the heat required to straighten this particular hair type. At the same time, it must come with a technology that protects hair from damage.