Those with natural virgin hair are usually afraid of playing around with it in fear of unintentionally dealing damage to it. That’s why many naturals opt not to have their hair relaxed or color-treated.
Too much exposure to heat can also turn your healthy, shiny hair to dry and brittle strands, which is why regularly straightening your hair with a flat iron is yet another styling method that raises eyebrows among those with natural hair.
Heat damage? No thanks.
But in reality, there’s nothing to be afraid of if you straighten your natural hair with a flat iron the right way.
All you have to do is take all the precautionary measures necessary to care for your hair before and after ironing it out to make sure it stays bouncy, shiny, and moisturized.
See also: The 16 best flat irons for natural hair silk press
Is it okay to iron natural hair?
Flat ironing natural hair is completely okay.
Many irons today are designed to ensure the integrity and overall health of your hair is preserved when you heat style with them.
But like all things in life, too much of anything is too much.
Using excessive heat frequently on your natural hair can cause major damage and breakage. You just have to be aware of your limits when it comes to heat tools.
One thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be straightening your natural hair with a hot tool every single day.
It’s a fantastic go-to for special occasions, but daily styling is a no-no if you want to retain moisture, bounce, and shine in your hair.
That said, try your best not to heat style your hair with a flat iron more than once or twice a week. Any more than that and you could be seeing major heat damage consequences like frizziness, dryness, and breakage.
Ironing natural hair is also okay as long as your hair is freshly cleaned and dried from wash day.
If you iron out wet or dirty hair with lots of oil and gunk in it from the last few days, you could end up just dealing more damage to your hair by boiling the water or oils it.
How can you protect natural hair from heat styling damage?
Heat damage due to straightening your hair with a flat iron is inevitable, but there are a few precautionary measures you can adopt to ensure you keep your natural hair as healthy as can be.
The golden rule of heat styling natural hair is that you need to go in with a heat protectant before ironing.
Try a thermal protectant spray or a silicone-rich leave-in to help form a protective layer around your hair cuticle to soften the blow of heat damage.
Another tip is to find a flat iron that uses ceramic plates.
These plates use infrared technology to heat up and are much gentler on the hair than plates made of titanium, which tend to blaze up fast and can burn fine hair.
(You can read Titanium vs Ceramic Curling Iron Comparison for more details)
You should also cop a flat iron that has adjustable heat settings. That way, you have full control of how hot your iron is before it touches your hair.
A good temperature to go by for ironing natural hair is around 300-350°F.
Many irons boast of their ability to go up to 450°F, but that’s not always necessary, especially if you want your hair to retain at least some moisture.
Remember: It’s always better to iron your hair in multiple passes at a low heat than one pass at a scorching temperature that can burn it.
The 16 Best Flat Iron for Natural Hair
ghd Platinum+ Ceramic Flat Iron
This flat iron by iconic hair brand ghd is the first of its kind to use ultra-predictive technology to adapt to each section of your hair.
It assesses your hair 250 times per second as you iron it out to ensure that it stays in the optimal temperature of 365°F to keep your hair healthy and strong.
The ceramic plates are precision-milled with a gloss finish to ensure smooth glide as you style your hair. This also adds some shine to your hair, which is always fabulous.
Conair Double Ceramic Flat Iron
This charming white and rose gold iron by Conair boasts of double ceramic-coated 1-inch plates, which can be gentle on your hair. That means even and consistent heat without the damage.
With five adjustable heat settings, this flat iron can be used on any hair type, from fine and fragile to thick and curly.
The iron has extra-long plates so that you can straighten out more hair in each pass for faster and more convenient styling.
INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron
You have to be very cautious of the heat settings on your iron when dealing with delicate, natural hair, so the 30 adjustable heat settings of this Remington flat iron will come in handy.
It can heat up as far as 455°F in an even distribution across its plates, so it’s a great flat iron for curls that are hard to straighten.
The plates are made with tourmaline ceramic, which is very friendly to the hair.
It causes less heat damage than other plate types, so you’ll be left only with sleek, frizz-free, healthy hair.
NITION Professional Salon Hair Straightener
This flat iron’s ceramic plates are infused with nano silver, argan oil, and tourmaline to be extra gentle to natural hair and allow it to retain a lot of its moisture and shine.
This design also reduces static, so you can kiss frizz goodbye.
It has six different heat settings, from 265 to 450°F, so you’re always in control of the iron’s temperature.
All you need to do is rotate the end of the straightener until the digital screen displays your preferred heat setting.
Remington 8510 Anti Frizz Therapy Hair Straightener
Another iron infused with hair-loving ingredients is this one by Remington.
The ceramic plates are formulated with micro-conditioners that help tame frizz and keep your hair shiny and sleek as you straighten it.
It’s great for maintaining the overall health of your natural hair.
This iron only takes 30 seconds to heat up and can go as high up as 450°F. That said, its floating ceramic plates pull it back a bit because it’s more gentle to the hair.
INFINITIPRO BY CORSAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron
This iron is made with tourmaline ceramic plates, which means it helps reduce heat damage you would normally incur when ironing natural hair.
It also gets rid of frizziness and flyaways, so you can flaunt sleek, smooth, straight hair.
The plates of this flat iron are unique because they’re wider than the usual slim irons.
With floating plates of this size, it’s easier to create super smooth locks as you straighten your hair.
KIPOZI Pro 1-Inch Flat Iron Hair Straightener
This iron is designed with an advanced heating system, which means it gets hot quickly—perfect for ladies who are always in a rush to get their hair done before going out.
Because it heats up instantly, you can get away with straightening your hair with one pass of this iron’s ceramic plates.
Fewer passes almost always means less heat damage, so that’s a fantastic bonus!
HOT TOOLS Signature Series Ceramic Digital Flat Iron
This ceramic flat iron by Hot Tools is made with a unique micro-shine technology that leaves your hair looking glossy and lustrous after heat styling.
It also helps reduce frizziness to keep your hair smooth.
The heat can go up to 450°F with this iron, and thanks to pulse technology, it holds its hot temp for long—no inconsistent temperatures here!
There’s also an LCD digital display where you can read the current temp of the plates.
Paul Michael Pro Tools Express Ion Smooth+ Ceramic Flat Iron
This ceramic iron by Paul Mitchell helps minimize heat damage from your styling.
It’s designed using far-infrared technology that helps retain moisture in the hair. It’s also charged with ions that keep static at bay for little to no frizz.
Belarus his flat iron has rounded edges, it’s awesome for versatile hairstyles.
Apart from pin-straight hair, you can create glamorous curls and tousled waves with this iron as well.
Remington S9500PP Pearl Pro Ceramic Flat Iron
If you want a smoother glide to your hair when you iron it out, this Remington iron is the one for you.
Its ceramic plates are elevated to salon-level smoothness and shine because it’s infused with real pearls to help it glide effortlessly onto your natural hair.
The ionic heat is distributed across the plates evenly, so you don’t get inconsistent textures as you use the iron.
It heats up to 450°F in as fast as 30 seconds, so you don’t have to waste time before styling.
CHI Lava Infused Ceramic 1″ Straightening Hairstyling Iron
This flat iron stands out immediately because of its rich, hot red pop of color in a sleek, black design.
The design is inspired by hot volcanic lava, which is infused in the iron’s ceramic plates.
Lava rocks help deliver a consistently hot temperature across the ceramic plates.
It’s also charged with ions that can help eliminate frizz and static.
It also helps efficiently seal the hair cuticle, ensuring that moisture can be retained.
Andis 67095 High Heat Ceramic Hair Flat Iron
This high-heat iron boasts of a whopping 20 heat settings in total, so you can pick the precise temperature your natural hair can handle.
It heats up to 375°F, so you never have to worry about dealing too much damage above the 400°F mark.
It’s made with ceramic plates, which are known to be relatively gentle on the hair.
It helps keep the hair moisturized, giving it a shiny and glossy appearance after straightening.
Remington S5500 1″ Anti-Static Flat Iron
If frizzy hair is the bane of your existence, you’ll love this anti-static flat iron by Remington.
It’s designed with anti-static technology that keeps your hair frizz and flyaway-free. That means smooth and sleek hair all day long!
The plates are made of ceramic, which is always excellent for healthy, natural hair.
That said, the plates are also coated with titanium, which helps them heat up quickly for your convenience.
HairArt H3000 Tourmaline Ceramic Straightening Iron, 1 3/8″
If you want a bit more luxury when you straighten your hair, try out this diamond-infused iron by HairArt.
Its ceramic tourmaline plates are coated in diamond, which makes for an ultra-smooth and effortless glide on natural hair.
Diamond also seals the hair cuticle better, reducing frizz and split ends in the long run.
This iron has multiple heat settings and can go up as far as 450°F, which is great if you have thick or textured hair that can be difficult to straighten.
Related: The 15 curling irons for long thick hair review
CHI Original 1″ Flat Hair Straightening Ceramic Hairstyling Iron
If you’re looking for a classic cult-favorite hair iron, this CHI flat iron should be your go-to.
It has everything you need to achieve straight, salon-beautiful hair without dealing too much hair damage.
It’s made with 1-inch ceramic plates to be more gentle on your hair. It also only heats up to approximately 392°F, so it doesn’t hit those excessively hot temperature levels.
Because it has somewhat of a rounded curve in its shape, it can be used for all kinds of hairstyles, from waves to all-out springy curls.
Revlon Salon Straightener Copper + Ceramic Flat Iron
This iron by Revlon is unique because the plates are two inches wide, which makes for a smoother, easier glide on the hair for faster styling.
The plates are made with a unique combo of copper and ceramic, which lead to shinier and healthier hair with less heat damage.
The iron comes with a detachable smoothing comb so you don’t pull or snag your hair as you style it, resulting in less hair fall.
If you have natural hair that is healthy and untouched, you don’t have to be afraid of flat irons.
With the right iron, you can start feeling confident about straightening your hair and playing around with different heat styles, such as beachy waves or perfect curls.
All you have to do is remember the golden rules: Wear some form of heat protection, Keep the iron’s temperature at a safe level, and Don’t heat style every single day.
Finish off by restoring some of your locks’ health with a nice hair treatment, and you’ll be good.
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