Silky, sleek, pin-straight tresses were all over the runway last spring and brought the whole subdued, minimalist look back in a big way. Ergo, if you’ve got anything from natural waves to thick, curly locks but want your hair looking ready-to-wear, a few passes of the best hair straightener in your cabinet are in order.
Unfortunately, hair-straightening appliances and treatments are notorious for the damage they leave in their wake. Subjecting your hair to heat and chemicals is detrimental to its health, period. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you just can’t resist, we recommend investing in good tools—even if they’re pricier, they’re one of the beauty products well worth splurging on. As far as keratin straightening products go, make sure you opt for a formaldehyde-free treatment. In terms of flat irons, make sure whichever model you purchase uses ceramic heating elements, offers different heat settings and sports a temperature display.
In order to minimize dryness and heavy-duty breakage, it’s recommended that you keep your flat iron on the coolest heat setting possible during use (no hotter than 347 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition, only break out your straightener for special occasions (the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using flat irons no more than two or three times a week). Patience is a virtue when it comes to home hair-straightening—allow your hair to air dry before you even turn on the iron, or else you’ll end up with a lot of steam and maximize the amount of damage to your tresses.
On the bright side, flat ironing is no longer the only option when it comes to achieving that pin-straight look. If you want to spare your hair the heat and chemical treatments, scientists and hairstylists have come up with some great natural-based, toxin-free alternatives. Of course, these don’t quite compare to the options that bring a little heat, though they do come very, very close.
Whether you’re seeking the lesser of all evils when it comes to flat irons or you’d prefer to play it safe with some hair straightening serum, we’ve rounded up the best hair straightening products to suit all tastes in the slideshow above. Check them out, then let us know your go-to in the comments below.