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Understanding Flat Irons: Ceramic, Tourmaline, Ionic and Titanium

Flat Iron TypesThere are several types of flat irons on the market, made of differing materials.  With all of the terms and buzz words that surround heat tools, it can be difficult to determine what the best irons are and which are worth spending a few extra dollars on.  Let’s look at the most popular terms used to describe flat irons and try to get a better understanding of what they all mean.

Ceramic:  These plates allow for even heat distribution which means that the chances of one area being overheated are low.  This ultimately means that it has less potential to burn or damage your hair.  Ceramic is the most basic material that you want your flat iron to be comprised of and it is arguably the most commonly used.  I would suggest that you find an iron that is pure ceramic, some tools that are marketed as “ceramic” simply have a ceramic coating.

This does not just apply to less expensive, consumer models but also some high-end professional flat irons as well.  The ceramic coating can potentially chip or peel exposing the metal below (usually aluminum) and may damage your hair.  Irons that are pure ceramic plates usually include that information in the description.  These are more delicate so you have to be careful not to slam the plates together, but overall are an excellent choice.

 Example of a ceramic flat iron >>

Ionic: The term ionic usually means that the flat iron generates negative ions.  Hair is usually positively charged due to its water content (H2O+) and therefore a tool that provides negative ions while styling results in smoother, shinier, frizz free hair.  This applies not only to flat irons, but also blow and hooded dryers.  The important thing to remember is that “ionic” does not refer to a specific material – all ceramic irons generate negative ions, while tourmaline and titanium boost their output.

 Example of an ionic flat iron >>

Tourmaline:  What exactly is tourmaline?  It is a crushed brittle gray or black mineral that occurs as a prismatic crystal in granitic and other rocks.  In hot tools, these crystals are crushed into a fine powder and infused into the flat iron’s metal plate.  Therefore a ceramic or titanium iron may be tourmaline.  Tourmaline flat irons have a very high output of negative ions (much more than ceramic alone) and create extremely sleek, shiny hair.

 Example of a tourmaline flat iron >>

Titanium: Titanium is a metal that excellent heat conduction, consistent heat, allows for minimum temperature variation and therefore minimizes heat damage.  It heats very quickly, also has a high ionic output, and transfers heat faster than ceramic.  This is arguably the “best” type of flat iron to have (at least until they come out with something better, which you know always happens) but you will have to decide for yourself which iron is best for you and your hair.

 Example of a titanium flat iron >>





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EbonyCPrincess

About EbonyCPrincess


EbonyCPrincess is a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel youtube.com/EbonyCPrincess



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6 Comments

  1. 1

    so do ceramic ones cause snagging??

    • 2

      In my experience, it depends on the quality of the flat iron. If it is only coated in ceramic then it might start chipping of and cause snagging but if it is pure ceramic then it’s less likely to. Having said that, if you can afford it, a titanium one is the best. I have the hana titanium and the plates are so smooth, they just glide through my hair.

      • 3

        I agree with Hairchica. Always look to purchase the best quality flat iron that you can afford with ceramic being the absolute minimum. You can pick up a decent ceramic one for $30-$40 so they don’t cost the earth. Don’t even bother with the aluminium ones. 

  2. 4
    LittleBabyBug Jones says:

    In my experience the ceramic works amazingly well. Pure ceramic, that is. I swear by the FHI. You will hardly get split ends and breakage using the FHI provided you don’t overdo it. I can’t say that for other irons i’ve used.

  3. 5

    Pure ceramic and tourmaline is the best combination for any hair type, in all my years working at a salon. Honestly, the best we’ve had there is the Karmin G3 Salon Pro
    Styling Iron, it’s mostly great on thick, curly hair but it works amazing on all
    hair types since it has genuine ceramic tourmaline plates and adjustable heat
    settings of up to 460F.

  4. 6

    That’s why I recommend the karmin g3, ceramic flat iron!

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