The Best Hair Straighteners Add Instant Shine to Your Style

These picks are coming in hot.

A model poses backstage at the Iceberg Since 1974 fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2023/2024 on February 22, 2023 in Milan, Italy.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It took over a decade, but I finally discovered the secret to perfectly sleek, frizz-free hair. Hair serums, the shine-boosting shampoos and conditioners, and blowout balms are helpful, but having one of the best hair straighteners in my arsenal is the true key. Thankfully, flat iron tech has come a long way since the early 2000s, when fried and fringed hair was (somehow) in vogue. Now, hot tools are developed to boost shine and preserve hair health. "Early flat irons had metal plates and required direct, often uneven heat, increasing the risk of damage," explains Syrenthia Quiñones, a Licensed Salon Professional and Senior Manager of Sales & Education at Mane. "Modern flat irons feature ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium plates for even heat distribution and less damage."

Often, hair straighteners come with adjustable temperature controls and digital displays to reduce overheating and provide smoother, shinier hair with less frizz. Ahead, hair professionals and editors share their picks for the best hair straighteners, including cordless and travel options.

What to Look For in a Hair Straightener

  • Material

The damage-inducing metal plates from the early aughts are still on the market, so do your research and know what material you're applying to your precious locks. "Make sure to invest in a high-quality hair straightener with ceramic or tourmaline plates (I prefer ceramic), as they distribute heat more evenly and cause less damage compared to metal plates," advises Ashanti Lation, a celebrity hairstylist who's clients include Lizzo and Normani.

  • Heat

If you can't handle the probably shouldn't have your hair straightener turned up that high. "Most hair straighteners come with adjustable heat settings for a reason," adds Lation. "You should be using a temperature that is conducive to the thickness and health of your hair. Using a heat setting that your hair can’t handle can damage your hair tremendously."

  • Cords

are cordless, making it easy These days, parking in front of a mirror with an accessible outlet isn't a necessity. Some tools come cordless, making it easy for you to straighten your hair on the go.

The Best Hair Straighteners

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How to Keep Hair Healthy With a Straightening Iron

As an expert in and benefactor of healthy hair, Lation constantly emphasizes the importance of protecting your hair, especially if you regularly use flat irons or any heat. "Remember, maintaining healthy, straightened hair is about finding a balance between styling and caring for your hair," he shares. Below, a few of her tips to keep your hair happy while enjoying a hair straightener.

Use a Heat Protectant

A heat protectant spray or serum is a must-have before using any heat styling tool. Products like VIP Luxury Hair Care's Silk Shot Serum & Spray Set (Lation's favorite) or Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer (Marie Claire's overall best heat protectant of 2024) will help reduce damage by creating a barrier between your hair and the heat.

Adjust the Heat Setting

Get clued in on what setting your hair likes to be straightened at—and don't go any higher. "On fine hair, keep the temperature low. Thick hair you can increase the temperature," shares Hurtado.

To get specific, Amika recommends below 360 degrees Fahrenheit for fine or thin hair, 360 to 380 degrees for normal, medium, or wavy hair, and 380 to 450 degrees for thick, coarse, or curly hair.

Limit Heat Exposure

Taking a break between hair straightening sessions will allow your hair to recover from the heat trauma, thereby maintaining its natural moisture and elasticity.

Proper Technique

Remember, the damage occurs during the straightening process, so be careful. "Section your hair and use smooth, even strokes when straightening," shares Lation. "Avoid going over the same section of hair repeatedly, as this can cause unnecessary damage."

Demi Moore on the red carpet.

If you need straight hair inspiration, look no further than Demi Moore's long, sleek style.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to Use a Hair Straightener

You must apply a heat protectant before straightening your hair. Once that's done, you can divide your hair into smaller sections for more manageable styling. "For each section, clamp the flat iron close to the roots, gently tap the iron two to three times to achieve added smoothness and control at the root, and then slowly slide it down towards the ends," explains Quiñones. "Repeat this process for each section until you achieve the desired style."

The stylist also suggests using smaller sections if you want better control. For a smooth finish, pair your flat iron with a fine-toothed comb, running the comb through each section as you work.

Should I Use a Straightening Iron?

Everyone can use a straightening iron, but some people should proceed with extra caution. Individuals with scalp conditions are strongly encouraged to consult their dermatologist before picking up a hair straightener. "Pregnant women should also speak with their healthcare provider due to potential changes in hair texture and susceptibility to heat damage during pregnancy," adds Quiñones.

Meet the Experts

Raven Hurtado Headshot
Raven Hurtado

Stylist Raven Hurtado began her career at Maxine Salon in 2009. After working as an Assistant for three years, Raven was inspired by the talent and passion of the stylists and colorists and enrolled in cosmetology school. Now celebrating ten years as part of the Maxine team, Raven pulls creative inspiration from magazines and social media. She specializes in working with her clients to create a long-term plan for achieving healthy hair. Raven enjoys working with long hair to create tousled, beachy styles.

Syrenthia Quinones Headshot
Syrenthia Quiñones

With over 20 years of immersion in the dynamic beauty industry, I’ve honed a passion for cultivating authentic growth through transformative education and strategic leadership. Throughout my journey, I’ve led cross-functional teams, leveraging innovative training methodologies to elevate performance, drive sales, and forge enduring client relationships. My track record of crafting impactful learning experiences, coupled with a deep understanding of brand marketing, has fueled my commitment to empower teams and individuals to excel in this captivating realm of beauty and cosmetics.

Ashanti Lation Headshot
Ashanti Lation

Ashanti Lation is a celebrity hair stylist, healthy hair care advocate, and social media influencer. Her platform focuses on healthy hair growth for both natural and relaxed hair while also sharing her techniques and opinions on hair products and tools. Her followers love her for authenticity, as well as her insights on business, travel, and life.

Sophia Vilensky
Freelance Writer

Sophia Vilensky is a Freelance Beauty Writer at Marie Claire with a beauty, wellness, and entertainment journalism portfolio that includes contributions to Byrdie, Bravo, Teen Vogue, and Us Weekly. Growing up in a family of beauticians—and through her own personal studies—she developed an in-depth understanding of aesthetics, cosmetic product formulation, and beauty treatment development and has also held roles as a senior copywriter, content strategist, and proofreader for top beauty and wellness brands. Even so, you'd be hard pressed to find her with her hair and makeup actually done. Sophia is based in Minneapolis and is a 2019 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she majored in English and minored in cinema studies. During her time at the university, she was the Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Minnesota Daily, earning the 2019 Editor of the Year award for her work. She connected deeply with the Twin Cities arts scene, collaborating with leading beauty professionals, designers, and artists. Graduating Summa Cum Laude, her thesis—a close-reading of Vanderpump Rules—was featured on NPR. When not immersed in writing or testing new products, Sophia enjoys watching reality TV, reading, and exploring the newest woo-woo wellness trends. Keep up with her on Instagram @sophiavilensky.