Achieve sleek locks with our low-down on the best hair straighteners, plus our top tips

Whether you love sleek long hair or a chic, straightened bob, hair straighteners are a must-have in many people’s styling arsenal. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for hair straighteners, so different straighteners, techniques and even products can help different hair types achieve a sleek, straightened look. Discover our edit for the best hair straighteners and our top tips on straightening your hair.

How should I straighten my hair type?

Fine or damaged hair

Fine hair can get damaged by heat quite easily, and those with damaged hair also need to be super careful with their haircare routine to avoid any more damage.

Before using any heat, make sure to apply heat protection to your locks to help prevent any heat damage. If you have time, try to air-dry your hair instead of using a hairdryer to try and reduce the amount of heat on your hair.

You should also be careful of the temperature of your hair tools. Lots of hair straighteners come with temperature control, so try to use the lowest setting first, and if that doesn’t straighten your hair, work your way up to a hotter setting.

Straight hair

If you have naturally straight hair, skip the hairdryer and let it air-dry, so you’re not applying any unnecessary heat. Then, apply your heat protection and straighten as normal.

Curly hair

Straightening curly hair starts with the right prep.

It’s normally easier to straighten curly hair if you blow-dry it first, because you’ll be starting with a slightly straighter base than trying to counteract your natural curls.

After washing your hair, apply a small amount of leave-in condition particularly to the ends – but don’t use too much, because this might make your hair look oily once it’s straightened. This will help keep your locks hydrated, which is super important when using heat on curly hair.

Make sure to use heat protection then detangle your hair with a comb, before blow-drying.

Once your hair is dry, straighten your hair in small sections so you don’t miss any pieces. Some hairdressers recommend the ‘chase method’ for straightening curly hair. This is when you place the comb just before the straightener then move both down each section of hair at the same time. It may be fiddly at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be left with sleek locks.

Finally, apply some hairspray to help keep your locks sleek and prevent frizz.

Are there different types of hair straighteners?

There are! Although most hair straighteners can work on all hair types, hair straighteners can be made differently to suit various preferences or hair types. Because of this, there might be certain features in a hair straightener that you can look out for whilst shopping.

Hair straighteners work by pressing two heated plates on either side of a section of hair. The main difference in hair straighteners is the plate material, and these can be made with ceramic, tourmaline-infused, titanium and more.

Ceramic plates spread heat evenly across your hair whilst reducing frizz. Tourmaline-infused are made with a special technology that means they neutralise static electricity (meaning they’re great for reducing frizz!) whilst protecting the plate itself from wear and tear, so they tend to last longer.

Titanium plates are more lightweight and can reach higher temperatures – but they may be too hot for fine or damaged hair.

Our top picks for hair straighteners
Best for: all-rounder on a budget

Try: BaByliss Rose Lustre 230 Hair Straightener

• Three heat settings up to 230 degrees Celsius

• Automatic shut-off

• Heats up in 30 seconds

With ceramic plates and three different heat settings, BaByliss’ hair straightener creates a smooth finish on most hair types. It also comes with a heat-proof mat, perfect for protecting your surfaces.

Best for: minimising damage on a budget

Try: Remington Ceramic Straight 230 Hair Straightener S3500

• Eight heat settings up to 230 degrees Celsius

• Heats up in 15 seconds

With four different types of protection, Remington’s hair straightener is tourmaline-coated, creating frizz-free, shiny locks. The floating plates glide across the hair, perfect for quick styling and touch ups.

Best for: straightening and curling

Try: Remington ONE Straight & Curl Styler

• Five heat settings up to 230 degrees Celsius

• Fast heat up

• Automatic shut-off after 60 minutes

Can’t decide between a new hair straightener or curler? Why not buy both? This two-in-one hair tool easily switches from hair straightener to curler, with anti-static plates to leave hair smooth. Plus, the swivel cord and ultra-fast heating up makes this great for fuss-free styling.

Best for: long hair

Try: BaByliss Elegance 235 Straightener

• Three heat settings up to 235 degrees Celsius

• 15 second heat up

• Automatic shut-off

With three heat settings, this straightener has longer plates than a normal hair straightener, making it a great choice for long hair. Its Advanced Ceramics heating system also provides consistent heat for even styling.

Best for: super-fast styling

Try: CLOUD NINE Hair Straightener The Touch Iron

• Heat settings from 165 to 195 degrees Celsius

• Instant heat up

• Automatic shut-off after 30 seconds

Touch up hair in a touch with CLOUD NINE’s innovative hair straightener, with mineral-infused plates to leave hair strong, shiny and smooth. Simply tap the straightener plates together for it to heat up, and increase the heat by tapping twice.

Best for: low-heat straightening

Try: Dyson Airstrait Straightener Bright Nickel and Rich Copper

• Three heat settings from 80 to 140 degree Celsius

• Automatic switch-off after 3 seconds

Dyson’s newest hair tool, this is a hairdryer and hair straightener in one, using powerful, directional airflow to straighten hair whilst drying it. You can also use it on dry hair as a straightener – perfect for simplifying your routine.

How do I use my hair straightener effectively?

1. Prep starts in the shower

Whilst some hair salons offer keratin straightening treatments (it’s a bit like a perm, but for achieving straight hair and not curly), you can’t straighten your hair through shampoos or conditioners. Instead, create a smooth starting base for straightening your hair with our range of smoothing shampoos and conditioners. They’re also normally packed with hair-loving ingredients that’ll moisturise your hair, looking after your locks in the long-run.

2. Rough dry your hair or let it air dry

Depending on what hair type you have, you may see better results blow-drying your hair or letting it air dry. But we’ve all been there – sometimes it’s easier timewise to blow-dry your hair before styling. So, make sure you apply a heat protectant before you get started.

‘Rough drying’ is a hairdresser term that means shaking the hairdryer back and forth over your hair, facing the hairdryer down to reduce frizz. Then, once it’s mostly dry, you can blow-dry like normal using a brush, so your hair is smooth when you straighten it.

3. Straighten one section at a time

After applying heat protectant, start to straighten your hair one section at a time. If you have thick or curly hair, you might want to section your hair so you can focus on the bottom half first.

Take your time straightening each section at a time. Like we talked about earlier, some hair types like curly hair may want to use the ‘chase method’ with a comb. You might find that your hair needs a couple of passes with the straightener to get the best results, so make sure you’re monitoring the temperature of the hair straighteners (and be careful with your fingers!)

4. Finally, spritz some hairspray & finishing products

Make sure your hair stays straightened all day long with a spritz of hairspray. If you have thicker hair, you may want to use a small drop of hair serum to give your hair an extra boost of shine. Or, if your hair’s prone to frizz, spritz some anti-humidity spray to help keep your hair smooth.

Can I curl my hair with a hair straightener?

Hair straighteners are super versatile, and with the right technique, you can use your hair straightener to add curls or waves to your hair. Two hair tools for the price of one!

Learn more about curling your hair with straightener with our easy tutorial.

How do I look after my hair straighteners?

Safety precautions when using your hair straightener

Like other hot hair tools, you need to be careful when using a hair straightener to reduce the fire risk. Switch it off as soon as you’ve finished using it, and unplug it from the socket. Wait for it to cool down before putting it away.

Hair straighteners can get really hot, so make sure to be careful when using them to avoid burning yourself – or the surfaces around you. You may want to use a heatproof glove to protect your fingers, or a heatproof mat to rest your hair straighteners on to avoid damaging any surfaces.

Making your hair straighteners last

We all want our hair tools to last for as long as possible, and you can help prevent your hair straighteners from breaking prematurely with the right care.

• The products you use on your hair can leave a residue on your hair tools, so whilst your hair straightener is unplugged and cold, use a damp cloth to wipe the plates

• Avoid wrapping the cords around the straightener, because this can damage the inner wiring or break your hair straighteners, making them dangerous to use

• When travelling, use a protective cover or pouch to protect your hair straighteners’ plates, so they don’t get accidentally scratched. A great budget-friendly alternative to this is a sock – but make sure your hair straighteners are cooled down before putting them away

I think my straighteners are broken – what should I do?

If your straighteners aren’t heating up, check that they’re plugged in properly and that the plug itself is working. If they still aren’t working, there might be an issue with the hair straightener’s wiring or another internal fault, so you might need to buy a replacement.

Thankfully, some hair straighteners come with a warranty, so you can return them to get a replacement free of charge.

Caring for your hair post-straightening

Looking after your hair after using heat

Using heat on your hair doesn’t automatically damage it. In fact, with the right prep and care, you can still use your heated hair tools on a regular basis. (Phew!)

• Always, always, always use a heat protectant before applying any heat

• Heat protection, hairspray, maybe even some finishing sprays – when applying heat to your hair, you tend to use a few styling products. Every third or fourth wash, give your hair a deep clean and remove any product build-up with a clarifying shampoo

• Similar to a clarifying shampoo, every so often nourish your hair with a hair treatment or mask. You could also take this a step further and make it a pamper sesh with a face mask or bath!

• Try to use the least amount of heat as possible. You can do this by setting your hair straighteners to a low temperature, and only applying enough heat you need to style your hair

• Every so often, give your hair a break from the heat with no-heat hairstyles, like braids or heatless curls

Do I really need to use a heat protectant?

One word: yes.

You may be able to get away with it every so often, but continuous use of heated hair tools without any heat protection will seriously damage your hair, leaving it dry, brittle and unable to hold a hairstyle. Just like how your make-up routine starts with your skincare, your hair styling routine starts with how you look after your locks. By keeping your hair nourished and healthy, you can ensure it stays manageable and perfectly primed for your fave hairstyles.

Heat protection products don’t just create a protective barrier between your hair and the heat – they also help to lock in the goodness from the rest of your haircare routine, plus help to prevent frizz.

Common misconceptions about hair straighteners

Can I straighten my hair whilst wet?

While this seems like an easy shortcut, using a normal hair straightener on wet hair can damage your hair in the long run, even if its only slightly damp. Make sure to thoroughly dry your hair before your straighteners go anywhere near it, or maybe wait a few minutes between blow-drying and straightening to give your hair some extra time to air dry.

Do hair straighteners work better when they’re hotter?

A higher temperature doesn’t always mean better results. Using a high temperature on your hair straighteners might damage your hair, especially if you have fine hair. However, thick and curly hair can handle a higher setting with less chance of damage – of course, as long as you’re using a heat protectant.

Will straightening dyed hair make the colour fade quicker?

Heat can damage dyed hair and make the colour look less vibrant, however this doesn’t have to be the case. Use a heat protectant to prevent your dyed looks from fading too early before the next salon (or Boots hair dye aisle) visit.

Will straightening my hair make it frizzier?

Frizz is normally a sign of hair needing moisture. Give your hair an extra moisture boost with one of our deep conditioning hair treatments, or incorporate a moisturising shampoo and conditioner into your haircare routine.

Now that you’ve gotten our low-down on hair straighteners, why not take your styling routine to the next level and discover our top picks for the best curling wands? Or, explore our edit of the best heat protectants or our fave overnight hair treatments, perfect for giving straightened hair a pamper. Tame your tresses and get ready to turn heads with our fab range of haircare tips and tricks!