The 12 Best Flat Irons for Natural Hair in 2024

All the style, none of the damage.

woman with straight hair
(Image credit: Getty/AND-ONE)

Any haircare aficionado will readily tell you that keeping your hair healthy, strong, and hydrated takes a lot more than simply using your favorite shampoo and conditioner. It requires time, attention, scalp care, and, sometimes, a whole lot of leave-in conditioner—especially if you're the proud owner of curls or coils. Indeed, natural hair is often more delicate and requires more moisture than straight or wavy hair, and therefore requires nourishing shampoos designed for natural hair, plus leave-ins and styling products that both support the wearer's style of choice and enhance hydration. It's therefore no surprise that when shopping for a flat iron for natural hair, it's also essential to think carefully about this hair type's needs.

So, what makes some flat irons more suitable for natural hair than others? I spoke to Kim Kimble, celebrity hairstylist and founder of her eponymous haircare brand, to better understand what to look for in a flat iron, what to avoid, how to flat iron hair without causing damage, and, of course, which flat irons are best for straightening natural hair. 

What to Look For in a Flat Iron for Natural Hair

There are a variety of flat irons on the market, many of which have unique features that are suited for certain hair types, curl patterns, and style goals. Kimble says, "When looking for a flat iron for natural hair, it's important that you make sure you find a straightener that's equipped with all the features to suit your hair needs and avoid any damage." More specifically, she advises, "Your flat iron should have high-performance plates, customization options, consistent heat, and functional design."

And just as it's important to know what to look for, it's also important—perhaps even more so—to know what to avoid. If you have natural hair, Kimble says, "In order to prevent heat damage as much as possible, it's best to stay away from flat irons that have high maximum temps. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should be using too high of heat. Try to stay away from high temperature—never go above 425 to 430 degrees." 

Heat damage can cause breakage, frizz, and dryness, and can hinder hair growth in the long term. So, although it's tempting to crank up the heat when you're styling your hair in a rush, keep in mind that heat damage will cost you more time, money, and aggravation in the long run.

Safely Flat Ironing Natural Hair

Heat damage, of course, is always a possibility when using flat irons and other heat tools on your hair. For that reason, it's important to be mindful when using these tools that you're doing so in a way that's safe and healthy.

"You should always prep natural hair first by using a heat protectant," says Kimble. In particular, she recommends her brand's popular heat protectant spray. Using such a spray, she explains, "ensures your hair is coated before applying heat."

It's also best not to rush your styling process. More specifically, make sure you resist the temptation to straighten hair right after washing it. "You should never flat iron wet natural hair," Kimble agrees. "Make sure your strands are completely dry." Otherwise, you could cause lasting damage to your hair—something that's not worth the extra few minutes you saved by skipping blow-drying.

"Lastly," says Kimble, "I wouldn't recommend straightening your natural hair more than twice a month—especially if your hair is color-treated or damaged." While there's nothing wrong with using heat tools occasionally, remember that repeated application of heat to your hair is never good for its long-term health, no matter what pains you take to style carefully.

And once you've finished flat ironing your hair? To maintain your style, Kimble suggests, "The best way to maintain their style after using the flat iron is to protect the hair at night while sleeping. This can be done by using a silk or satin pillowcase, a silk/satin scarf, or a bonnet." I, for one, am a huge fan of bonnets and hair wraps, which are handy even when I'm wearing my hair au naturale.

The Best Flat Irons for Natural Hair

Meet the Experts

Kim Kimble
Kim Kimble

Kimberly Kimble, better known as Kim Kimble, is a celebrity hairstylist, beauty expert, and business owner who has styled the likes of Shakira, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Zendaya, and others. She also owns her own beauty brand, Kim Kimble, which provides high-quality haircare, extensions, and more—with a focus on keeping natural hair healthy and well-styled. Originally from Chicago, she is now based in Los Angeles. 

Mideyah Parker
Mideyah Parker

Mideyah Parker is a celebrity hairstylist who graduated from the Aveda Institute in Tallahassee, Florida. She has styled celebrities like Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Laila Odom, and more, and has worked with brands such as Tory Burch, Prada, Versace, Marc Jacobs, and others. She is currently based in New York City.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at