This article focuses on high-end flat irons and the properties that affect their cost. Features such as a quality heating system or heating element, the materials used to construct the plates and the range of heat settings, typically set the high-end styling tools apart from less expensive ones.
Integrated Advanced Heating System (IAHS) – One of the most advanced heating elements used, IAHS involves having a tungsten element embedded ceramic plates. This type of heating element works well because very little heat is lost in the transfer from the flat iron plates to the hair.
PTFC Heating Element – The PTFC heating element is based upon using infrared heat to radiate slow even heat to the hair. This essentially heats the in the less damaging way from the core to the outside. This heating method also provides long lasting straightening and is more protective for the hair. It also helps to seal in hair moisture, also preventing hair damage. The best stylers have a 40 to 60 watt heating element.
Ceramic vs. Tourmaline Heaters – There are only slight differences between ceramic and tourmaline heaters. Some flat irons have both. These types help to prevent hair damage due to the way that the heat is dispersed and the way that the hair is heated from the core. This is much less damaging to the hair cuticle. Tourmaline enhanced ceramic elements produce 20 times more negative ions than pure ceramic heaters. Negative ions are essential to counteract the positive ions in hair. This creates smooth, shiny and silky vibrant healthy hair. The technology behind ions has often been debunked as simply ineffective and untrue, however side by side tests between stylers with and without ionic technology definitely show better results with the irons featuring the ions.
Ceramic vs. Tourmaline Plates – The differentiation between the plates and the heaters in a flat iron can get somewhat confusing, especially as you are reading features on the box. Just try to keep it straight that the plates can be made from these materials, but the heating element can also be encased in or made from these materials as well. Both are features signifying a quality flat iron.
Most stylers have layers of ceramic and/or tourmaline coated on to the plates, rather than solidly constructed of these materials. The more of the material used, the more expensive and better quality the flat iron.
Heat Settings – The best temperature depends on the thickness and texture of your hair. Research has shown that the an optimum setting of 370 degrees works well on most hair types. Having a wide range of heat settings is a nice feature in a flat iron so that you can experiment and find the absolute lowest heat setting that will work for your hair. When it comes to reducing damage to the hair cuticle, lower the heat is better.
Warning – Stay away from stylers with aluminum or metal plates. These can be very damaging to the hair and the heat dispersal can be very unpredictable, causing burning.
Special Features to Consider
When shopping for a flat iron, make sure that you take note of the position of the heat setting dial, the position of the on/off switch and general ergonomics. If possible go to look at the irons in person and test them out by holding them in your hand in the position you’d use when styling. Even the high-end flat irons sometimes have the tragic flaw of poorly positioned buttons or dials which can get in the way when you are styling, or worse, that are position so that you can accidentally change the settings as you are using the tool. This can be an aggravating menace and will no doubt have you regretting your choice in styler.
Specific Flat Irons to Consider
The top rated flat iron using IAHS technology and with 100% ceramic plates is the FHI Heat Runway Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Styling Iron – Priced from $425 $450
Reviewers are most impressed with this tool because it heats up quickly and provides sleek professional looking results. Quality results are a must since the FHI Heat Runway Professional is extremely expensive. The high cost can be attributed to the fact that the plates are 100% pure ceramic, as opposed to ceramic coating.
The FHI Heat features one of the widest ranges of heat adjustment going as low as 140 degrees and as high as 450 degrees. The beveled edges of the plates can be used to flip and curl the hair, in addition to straightening it.
Some reviewers have complaints about the durability of the product, however one could argue that if a person takes great care of a high-end product like this, it should last for years.
The Keratin Complex Croc Iron 450 comes in next as a high rated, high-end flat iron featuring these key technology features. Priced at around $240, this iron promises to infuse the hair with keratin, a protein that provides strength and shine. Reviewers are generally pleased with the results they see with the Croc, however the keratin concept is somewhat suspect in terms of being a ‘real” technology. If anything, the effects of the keratin over time would diminish as it wears off of the plates.
Overall, however, this is a quality tool which also boasts of a unique ergonomic design which can help stylists to stay comfortable, especially when dealing with thick or large quantities of hair.
GHI and CHI flat irons are extremely popular and high rated options in the $150 $250 price range. Both brands feature a wide variety of flat irons, all highly rated, and most featuring the PTFC Heating Element and ceramic plates.
Purchasing a high-end Flat Iron
Most manufacturers offer a warranty to cover malfunctions, but not damage from use. They also usually only cover the product if it is purchased from an authorized retailer, such as a salon, or directly from the manufacturer. When purchasing a high-end flat iron it is NOT advisable to purchase from general websites, Amazon, or eBay. Websites might offer deep discounts for these expensive styling tools, however, they can sometimes sell counterfeits or, as stated earlier, the warranty may be invalidated.
As with many products, when you choose to invest and spend a little more on a high-end flat iron, you usually get what you pay for. You will typically experience faster styling time, longer lasting results, and better quality results when using these professional styling tools. They also tend to last longer, if you take care of them, and your investment show’s its true value over time. On the other hand, lower priced options, particularly in flat irons, are also usually adequately suitable to most people’s styling needs and there is no real reason to spend so much money unless you simply want a higher-end model.