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Thick, frizzy, thin or curly - no matter your hair type, there's a hair straightener to do your mane justice. The best hair straightener heats up quickly, with a long cord and temperature settings to suit your hair type. Like hair dryers, most hair straighteners are made with ceramic to keep your hair healthy with even, gentle heat. We've done the research, and here are our fave picks for Australia's top hair straighteners.
How we picked
We started out by checking CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, as well as trusted consumer comparison site CanStar Blue. Both offered some guidance around what makes a great hair straightener, but in the immortal words of Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception, we needed to go deeper.
Next, we took to ProductReview.com.au to see what real Aussies thought. There were hundreds of hair straightener reviews, so we selected the highest-rated from the most-reviewed, and checked our picks against what was readily available in stores. After weighing up price, performance, and ease of use, we ended up with our guide to the best hair straighteners in Australia.
Types of hair straighteners
The most common material for hair straightener plates is ceramic. Ceramic holds and distributes heat evenly, and is nice and smooth for tug-free straightening. Some plates are also made with tourmaline, which is a semi-precious stone that converts moisture in air into negative ions. This science calms your hair down, as negative ions cut the static that causes unruly hair.
You may also see 'infrared plates' on hair straighteners. Infrared plates heat hair from the inside-out for gentler heat. These kinds of plates are sometimes controlled by microcomputers that consistently measure hair temperature to prevent burning.
What makes a good hair straightener
You may wonder why hair straighteners offer such wide temperature ranges when they're all designed to do the same job. It turns out that different hair types require different kinds of heat. If your hair is thin or damaged, you'll need less heat, ideally between 150-180°C. 'Normal' hair can also be straightened on a lower heat to prevent damage, but 150-190°C is the sweet spot. Generally speaking, coarse or thick hair needs slightly higher heat, so you'll need to set your straightener between 160-200°C. To pinpoint the right temperature for your hair, think about the kind of style you're going for. Softer styles require gentler heat, whereas super-straight styles and more 'set' curls require higher heat.
The most common plate size is around 1 inch, or 25mm. This size is ideal for normal to thin hair, especially if you prefer to straighten using smaller sections. Standard plates are also the perfect size for curling. If your hair is thicker or damaged, wider plates cover more ground faster so your hair is less exposed to high heat. Wide plated-straighteners like the Cloud Nine have plates around 40mm, and GlamPalm's 32mm 'mid' plate offers a sweet spot for frizzy or damaged hair.
A large part of what makes an easy-to-use hair straightener boils down to buttons. Some, like the ghd, only have an on / off button, with one preset temperature for 'normal' hair. Most straighteners now offer a few heat settings, and some even have LCD screens to display the current temperature. You may also see temperature dials like on models like the Remington, or LED light-up options like the Cloud Nine.
Mid-range and higher-end hair straighteners often have a few extras thrown in to sweeten the deal. The most common we saw were heat mats that double as carry cases, hair brushes, and extra sectioning clips.