September 08, 2021 6 min read
By a certain age, everyone with hair below their earlobes has attempted to straighten, curl, or - heaven forbid - even crimp their hair. As you get older, you may start to actually consider the damage these denaturing processes are doing to your hair. Beyond that, a person may also start to wonder if the tool they are using is the best for the job. Nowadays, there are so many hair tools on the market, it may be hard to determine which is best. The easiest place to start is with the materials of the heated elements. If you want to avoid frizz and damage, is ceramic the way to go? If high heat is a priority, is titanium the best flat iron or curling wand plate material option? You also have to consider whether something has coated aluminum plates or if they have pure ceramic/tourmaline plates. Whether you are a flat iron loyalist or a curling wand devotee, read on to find out which is the best flat iron or curling wand plate material for your needs.
Let’s start with tried and true titanium. Think of titanium flat irons and curling wands as the Iron Man of the hair styling world: Titanium plates can handle intensely high heat, reach full temperature in a flash, and can endure a lot of wear and tear.
Because it operates at such high heat, titanium flat irons are best for those with hard-to-manage, naturally thick, curly hair. The high temperatures allow you to achieve a sleek, straightened look with fewer passes over the same strands; the fewer times you have to use high heat on your hair, the better. Type 3B-4A curls will have an easier time achieving quick results with a titanium flat iron. Similar recommendations are made for those looking to add curls and waves: If you have thick hair, the intense heat of a titanium curling wand is the best option for full body in the blink of an eye.
Despite all the positive reviews for titanium styling tools, not every professional hair stylist recommends using these powerhouses at home. If you are a hair care novice, it’s probably best to stay away from styling tools that are capable of reaching temperatures as high as 450 degrees in less than a minute. When used frequently, Titanium hot tools dry out hair, which leads to more breakage. Often, newbies underestimate how much heat is actually needed for their hair type. Though higher heat is best for thick hair, the inexperienced run the risk of severe damage. Singeing off a chunk of hair is the result of too much heat and not enough experience.
Ultimately, titanium is best flat iron or curling wand plate material for those with very specific, hard-to-manage hair types, experienced at-home stylists, and professionals.
Around the turn of the century, it felt like there was a major shift in the hair care market: Ceramic styling tools became the creme-de-la-creme and the go-to for anyone “in the know” with some extra cash on hand. Ceramic flat irons were billed as higher quality and better for hair than their aluminum predecessors. But what are the actual benefits of using a ceramic styling tool?
Interestingly, ceramic flat irons and curling wands can reach temperatures as high as any titanium iron. This means that it is also a great option for those with thick hair, curly or otherwise. Pure ceramic heat-styling tools evenly distribute heat and pass smoothly over strands.
The fact that ceramic plates distribute heat evenly means that you can achieve a slick, frizz-free look in fewer passes. Ceramic tools are known for their smooth glide, even if you press firmly to insure a tight grasp. This is particularly helpful to those with extremely curly or coiled hair.
A ceramic heat-styling tool works well for pretty much all hair types. However, you should always read the fine print: Make sure you are buying pure ceramic and not ceramic coated.See the “Pure vs. Coated” section below for a better understanding of what this means.
Most of us have heardof tourmaline before, but what istourmaline? Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral? In fact, it is a mineral. Tourmaline is a gemstone that comes in a variety of colors. When researching online, you may find that people call this gemstone a crystal, which is technically correct and refers to its crystalline appearance. What makes it useful in heat-styling is that tourmaline becomes electrically charged when heated. This means that when heat styling your hair, the tourmaline produces negative ions that fight against frizz-causing positive ions, thus taming your hair and giving it a sleek, fly-away-free look.
Browse any major hair care website, and you will find Tourmaline Ceramic heat-styling tools. This combination was created to achieve the smooth glide of ceramic with the frizz-fighting qualities of tourmaline’s negative ions. Tourmaline Ceramic tools are great for those who love to heat-style, but want to avoid too much damage. The smooth glide prevents breakage and the negative ions lock in moisture and shine. Take note that though marketed as Tourmaline Ceramic, most tools on the market are merely “coated” (again, see the pure vs. coated section below).
Every hair type, whether fine or dense, can use tourmaline flat irons and curling wands. Most models will prove more affordable than their titanium counterparts. Though they often reach the same temperature as titanium tools, the benefit of tourmaline is that those negative ions fight off the dreaded frizzies. It also is less likely to damage already fragile hair strands.
Good for all hair types, but best for those fine-haired folks worried about losing more than they have to give. These combo-plates offer many advantages and are a safe starting point for newbies. With limited snag and even heating, fewer passes are needed for perfectly curled or straightened hair.
Tourmaline Ceramic tools are now the gold-standard for at-home styling tools.
When investing in a heat-styling tool, whether it be a flat iron or a curling wand, you want to make sure you’re purchasing the right tools for the job. Regardless of hair type, if you buy a pure ceramic or pure tourmaline-ceramic tool, you will get the best possible performance. When a heat-styling tool is “pure” that means that the plates are made entirely of tourmaline, ceramic, or tourmaline-ceramic. From top to bottom, your plate is just one material. These “pure” plates also referred to as “100% tourmaline ceramic” are a combination of tourmaline and ceramic that are baked in a mold to achieve the ceramic plate. The highest quality of these tourmaline ceramic materials are triple baked to ensure the strongest and most uniformly heat conducting material.
If you have a coated tool, this means that the base of the plate is probably aluminum with a top-coat of tourmaline or ceramic. What you are really using is a plain metal tool with a top-coat flourish. Coated tools do not provide the even heating of ceramic, nor does the tourmaline do as well fighting frizz. It is an inexpensive alternative to pure tools, but you get what you pay for: The plating will eventually crack and flake off, leaving you with a potentially hair-damaging or useless heat-styling tool.
When searching for the perfect heat-styling tool for your hair, there is always more to consider than just brand and cost. You have to ask yourself, what is my hair type and which plate materials work best for that type? Professionals love titanium because it heats quickly, can withstand high temperatures, and give you great styling results on all hair types. If you have thick, curly or coily hair and are experienced with self-styling, you might consider investing in a quality titanium flat iron or curling wand. However, if you are a bit of a novice, have normal to fine hair, or want a more gentle heat-styling experience, you should skip the titanium tools. Instead, consider a tourmaline iron. Yes, they may land on the pricier side, but they will help increase shine and reduce frizz. Though ceramic was once considered trendy, it is now a staple in many heat-styling tools. Ceramic plates are perfect for those who are old hat or just learning; with even heating you won’t have to crank up the temperature to achieve your ideal look. Less heat always equals less damage! This is also true when using tourmaline-ceramic heat-styling tools. All the benefits of ceramic combined with the perks of tourmaline. If you find yourself in a toss-up, it won’t hurt you to choose a tool that’s a two-fer.
Remember to always read the fine print! If your flat iron or curling wand is only ceramic or tourmaline coated, they won’t necessarily have the even heat of a full-ceramic tool and are prone to flaking and chipping.
Whether you shop at specialty beauty supply stores or order the latest thing off of Amazon, hopefully this guide will point you in the right direction. Invest wisely and take good care of your hair.
NuMe is synonymous with healthy styling. NuMe has spent the last decade elevating the standards of professional hair care with its range of high-performing and award-winning products.
All NuMe Straighteners and Curling Wands, regardless of material, are made with pure plates and barrels, plus have added Far Infrared Heat and Negative Ion Conditioning technologies that work harmoniously to give you fast, long-lasting results.
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