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Flat Iron, Hot Brush, or Hot Air Brush?

Making the Right Choice

If you are looking for the best styling tools for straightening hair and wondering which is best for your type of hair, the flat iron vs hot brush argument stops here.

It's time to set the record straight! Read on for a helpful comparison of flat irons, hot brushes, and hot air brushes.

Using a flat iron, hot brush, or hot air brush to straighten hair is an easy decision if you clearly understand the characteristics of your own hair. There are a few other issues that come into play as well, so let’s get straight to the point.

Naturally Curly Hair

Curly hair comes in a variety of types, from natural coarsely-textured hair to gentle waves. Regardless of where you are in the spectrum, the straight hair experience is within reach for just about anyone with the right tool.

Flat irons:

Flat irons press hair between two heated metal plates using high temperatures that relax the hydrogen bonds in the hair strands. High temperatures can dry out hair fast and the metal plates can have hot spots that can burn hair. So, always choose a flat iron with ceramic technology to ensure even heat for less damage. Good quality flat irons typically feature ceramic and ion-generating technologies like tourmaline that add shine, reduce frizz, and prevent damaging hot spots.

Flat irons are powerful and therefore best for thick, very curly, and hard-to-control hair. They are easy to use and get quick results. In comparison, a hot brush usually takes a longer time to get similar results. Flat irons also come in various plate widths from ¾ inch to 2 inches to accommodate different hair lengths and textures. Shorter, kinky hair is easier to style with a narrow plate while longer hair responds better with a wider plate.

Hot Brushes:

Hot Brushes straighten hair using heated plates and bristles that glide through the dry hair strands to relax the molecular bonds that keep hair curly. They straighten hair and add shine while maintaining volume.

If your hair is of average to thin thickness or if it's damaged, these hot straightening brushes are a good choice. Many of them feature ceramic and ionic technology that adds shine, neutralizes static to remove frizz, and protects your hair from damage with lower temperatures and no hot spots. Bristles are made of nylon, silicone, and ceramic materials to glide gently and smoothly through the hair.

Hot Air Brushes:

Hot Air Brushes are a great option if you like to style while you dry damp hair. Many hot air brushes feature a round brush head that’s more frequently used to add volume by creating waves and curls. On some models, the brush head rotates for more efficient performance.

Quick Comparison:

Flat Irons vs. Hot Brushes vs. Hot Air Brushes.

Flat Irons:

For thick, very curly, difficult-to-style hair

High temperature requires a careful touch to avoid damage

Quicker results, but does not add volume

Best for infrequent use, once a week or less

Less expensive than hot brushes

Hot Brushes:

For average to thin or damaged hair, can be used daily

Lower temperatures for less chance of damaging hair

Takes a little more time, but adds shine and maintains volume

Use a hot brush to straighten dry hair

A little more expensive compared to flat irons

Hot Air Brushes:

Dry and style at the same time

For average to thin or damaged hair, can be used daily

Also works on thicker hair but may take a little longer to dry

Lower temperatures for less chance of damaging hair

Smooths create volume and add shine

A little more expensive compared to flat irons

Perfect for refreshing hair between shampoos

recommended hair styling tools:


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