A hair straightener or hair iron is another invaluable and versatile tool in any grooming inventory. As well as doing exactly what it says on the box, a straightener can be used to create curls and prevent frizz, depending on your hair type. A good straightener should leave hair professionally groomed and healthy, while preventing damage.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Hair straighteners and irons change the structure of the hair, modifying the positive hydrogen bonds that determine its natural shape. When heated, these bonds are temporarily rearranged, thus straightening the hair.

HOT STUFF
Just like selecting the right hair dryer, multiple temperature settings are a key consideration when investing in a straightener. A high heat setting is recommended for thick, curly or coarse locks, while the lowest setting on the device will take care of thin, fine and fragile hair. Some straighteners feature a new generation ceramic element for super-fast heat recovery, enabling continuous use without losing heat from the plate surface.

IT’S ALL IN THE PLATES
Hair types and lengths are variable; as are the plate sizes in straighteners, so make sure you have the right width for the job. A plate width of 25mm applies less heat and adds volume to short- and medium-length locks, as well as curling and waving all lengths. A wider 30–40mm plate is best for medium to long hair. Plate surfaces are also important – ceramic and tourmaline plates emit negative ions to keep your hair hydrated and shiny and are generally better for fine hair, while titanium plates heat faster and are best for the thick and coarse variety. Floating plates move to adjust pressure on your hair, protecting the hair shaft and preventing split ends. Plates with slightly rounded edges are more versatile should you wish to add curls, and for that dead-straight look, go for a model with squared-off edges.

GOOD
VS SASSOON SALON CERAMIC STRAIGHTENER
A basic, slimline straightener for creating silky, smooth and frizz-free tresses or curls and waves, the Salon Ceramic features six heat settings that lets you easily customise the temperature to suit your hair type. Ceramic Tourmaline floating plates deliver smooth results and lock in the shine as you style. It’s easy to use and perfect for thick hair.
BETTER
SILVER BULLET ENVY STRAIGHTENER
Your locks will be the envy of all with this Fastlane professional straightener from the specialists at Silver Bullet. Friction-free, floating 25mm ceramic plates eliminate pull for smooth and easy use, while an adjustable temperature range of up to 230°C caters for all hair types, with Advanced Surround heat for faster curls, flicks and waves. There’s dual voltage and a heat resistant storage pouch for travel, plus four crocodile clips for added convenience.

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BEST
SILVER BULLET ELYSIUM STRAIGHTENER
Delivering faster and smoother straightening for all hair types, this salon-quality straightener features deep, penetrating infrared heat tech to smooth the hair from the inside out, with a temperature range of 130°C to 230°C and Advanced Surround Heat. The 38mm wide titanium-infused plates will benefit long, thick locks and damaged hair – regular use will reduce damage over time.

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YOUR A-B-C FOR STRAIGHTENING HAIR
– Ensure your hair is 100 per cent dry.
– Starting at the bottom, mark out a manageable 25mm thick section. Clip the rest up.
– Holding your hair taut, move the straightener right up to the roots of the hair, as close as possible to your scalp (without feeling the burn!)
– Close the straightener with minimal pressure and begin moving it towards the ends at a medium pace. Continue with the full bottom section, before letting down your next section and continuing.