Gone are the days when you had to decide whether straightening your hair was worth the damage it did to your locks. With plenty of heat protection sprays on the market and high-tech irons that not only work to protect your hair but add shine, there’s no reason not to put hair straighteners on your list of beauty essentials.
But before you buy, make sure you know what size tongs you want. As well as standard sizes, there are usually slim plates for short hair and wide plates for long hair. Some also double up as curlers – usually the slim plate options are good for this. Once you get them home make sure you don’t apply too much unnecessary heat to your tresses, around 185°C is the perfect temperature.
We tried and tested a whole range of straighteners to find the ones that keep hair super straight all day but not at the expense of its health. Top features to look out for are ‘sleep mode’ which automatically switches off irons after 30 minutes; adjustable temperature settings where you can set the level of heat applied to your hair and extra-long and rotatable cords to make styling easier.
1. GHD White Platinum Styler: £160, Look Fantastic
As well as looking great on your dressing table, these white-coloured stylers also do an amazing job of sorting out even the curliest of hair. You know with GHD you’re getting quality and a pair of straighteners that will last for years but these will also look after your hair, especially if it’s dyed. The various heat sensors in the plates deliver the optimum heat for your hair and the result is smooth and shiny-looking locks. There’s also an extra-long cord, so you can walk across the room for the hairbrush as you style, and a trusty sleep mode.
2. Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener: £139.00, Look Fantastic
Cloud Nine was established by the same person who founded GHD, so it’s no surprise that this pair impressed us too. These tongs are not only great at straightening, they’re also good at curling, so if you’re after a two-in-one combo then this pair’s ideal. The best bit is the temperature control panel; we found that even with a low heat you could still get long-lasting styles. It also has a hibernation mode, so no mild panics that you’ve not switched them off when you get to the office. They made our hair look really shiny and fresh - it almost looked like we’d had a blow dry.
3. Braun Satin Hair 7 ST780 SensoCare Straighteners: £65.94, Amazon
Although Braun isn’t necessarily known for hair care, more shavers and electric toothbrushes, these straighteners are cleverly designed and give you a smooth, frizz-free finish. You can use the ‘intelligent display’ to personalise heat settings to suit your hair’s thickness, length and colour which we found useful, and they’re designed to curl hair too. They’re a slightly cheaper alternative to some on the list but still offer similar polka-straight results.
4. Hershesons Titanium Ionic Professional Straighteners: £98, Hershesons
There’s plenty of science behind this pair – the titanium build means it produces more beneficial negative ions when it heats up giving you shiner hair, less frizz and longer-lasting styles. If, like us, you’re unsure what negative ions are, then all you need to know is when we tried this pair out we loved the results. They give you super-sleek locks, you can control the temperature to keep your hair healthy and they have a rotating cord, meaning they’re easy to handle.
5. Toni & Guy Style Fix Straighteners: £29.99, Boots
At a bargain £30, these straighteners from hair gurus Toni & Guy are ideal for someone who likes to style hair every now and then. They’re handbag sized, so take up minimal space in your suitcase when you’re on your travels and although the plates are smaller than the others we tested, they still keep your hair surprisingly straight throughout the day. There’s also a curler and waver available in the same range and at the same price, if you want the full set of compact hair tools.
6. T3 Single Pass X Straighteners: £165, Space NK
If you have long, thick or coarse hair look no further, as this wide plate pair from hair electronics expert T3 is the best option for you. It will power through the thickest of hair and comes with two handy sectioning clips to make straightening easier. T3 has won many beauty awards for its products and is a firm favourite among celebs (including Britney Spears and Liv Tyler) so you’re in good company if you purchase a pair.
7. Remington Keratin Radiance Straighteners: £44.99, Boots
Remington has a range of hair-styling products, from curling wands to volume brushes, in its new Keratin range, including this pair of brilliant straighteners. The plates are coated with Keratin and Macadamia oils, meaning you get super-soft and silky hair after use. It actually feels like you’re giving your hair a treatment and the heat protection sensors change the temperature of the irons when needed to reduce any damage – although you can adjust the temperature yourself if you’d prefer. At just £45 we think this pair is great value and left our hair feeling the softest out of all the ones we tested.
8. L’Oreal Professional Steampod Brazil Fantasy Limited Edition: £145, Look Fantastic
If you fancy trying something a bit different, then these Steampod straighteners are worth considering. To use, you fill the steampod (a small plastic container attached to the cord) with water and plug in the irons, turn on, set the temperature and place the plates on your hair in the direction of the arrows on the plate. As you move the irons down your hair, the integrated comb detangles knots and you’ll notice steam coming out of the jets – it looks like you’re literally ironing your hair. But the result is a super-straight, professional-looking finish. And the steam is meant to reduce the damage to your hair too.
The Verdict: Hair straighteners
GHD is our winner for keeping our hair straight the longest, but other good options are the Cloud Nine Original irons, especially if you’re into curling too and the Remington Keratin straighteners - they’re especially good if you love having soft hair.
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