A hair straightener, sometimes also called a flat iron, uses heat to smooth and straighten one's hair, and can make the difference between looking good and looking fabulous. Unfortunately, many manufacturers produce poor quality straighteners which are notorious for snagging, ripping, or breaking one's hair. The best flat irons are those which maintain a high and consistent temperature, glide smoothly over one's hair, and feature high-quality heating plates. Telling the difference between these different types of units can be very difficult, so always look for those manufactured using quality materials.
For that reason, high-quality straighteners are oftentimes fairly expensive. For many shoppers, buying online at websites such as eBay can do a great deal to help mitigate the high cost of high-quality hair straighteners. Before making a purchase, shoppers should familiarise themselves with the distinguishing aspects of the different types of hair straighteners, as well as the various options commonly included in most units.
Different Hair Straightener Sizes
The different hair straightener sizes are typically useful for dealing with different lengths or thicknesses or hair or for travel situations. Longer or thicker hair is likely to require longer and wider plates.
One-Inch Hair Straighteners
One-inch hair straighteners are the most prolific, and have heating plates one-inch wide. These are great for travel and for straightening short hair, because the small size offers the user more control. It is not recommended that shoppers with thick or long hair purchase one-inch straighteners, as they likely take far longer to properly straighten hair than two-inch models, and prices between the two are generally quite comparable.
Two-Inch Hair Straighteners
Two-inch hair straighteners feature heating plates which are two inches wide and are a great medium option for those with thicker short hair or thinner long hair. They are easier to find and generally cheaper than the options which feature wider plates, and they offer more control than wider options, which may be too unwieldy for short bangs.
Three-Inch Hair Straighteners
Three-inch hair straighteners feature heating plates which are three inches wide. This makes straightening long or thick hair much less time consuming or difficult than using smaller straighteners. That said, these units can be difficult to find and are usually too heavy to use for extended periods of time. For travelling, smaller straighteners are highly recommended.
Types of Heating Plates
Hair straightener manufacturers use many different materials to manufacture their heating plates. Certain materials are known to offer quality results, while others are known to be hallmarks of cheaper brands.
Ceramic Heating Plates
Ceramic heating plates are ultra-smooth and heat incredibly evenly, and they are a hallmark of higher quality heating plates. Ceramic hair straighteners are also better for the health and appearance of one's hair, as the ceramic releases negatively charged ions when heated. These negatively charged ions close hair follicles, which smooth the shaft. Many manufactures have capitalised on consumer ignorance of this, and often charge top dollar for so-called 'ionic' hair straighteners. 'Ionic' hair straighteners are simply models with ceramic heating plates.
Ceramic-Coated Heating Plates
Relatively few manufacturers use true, 100 per cent ceramic for their heating plates, and instead cover titanium or aluminium metal plates with layers of ceramic. Over time, these layers may flake or chip, which can damage hair and cause uneven heating. Though true, all-ceramic models are fairly expensive and rare, and for many users, the benefits may well make up for the additional cost. Some manufacturers do produce off-brand models which are considerably cheaper than highly marketed salon brands.
Titanium Heating Plates
Titanium heating plates are ultra-hard and conduct heat well. That said, they conduct heat little better or worse than many cheaper metals. Instead, titanium, like ceramic, releases negative ions when heated. Titanium releases far less negative ions than ceramic models. But titanium models, like ceramic models, can be prohibitively expensive for many users.
Tourmaline Heating Plates
Tourmaline heating plates heat somewhat less evenly than titanium models, but like titanium, shed a small amount of negative ions. In some cases, tourmaline hair straighteners may combine the tourmaline with ceramic for best results. Hair straighteners using tourmaline heating plates are generally very affordable compared to those featuring ceramic or titanium, and they represent a great compromise between budget and quality.
Steel Heating Plates
Steel heating plates heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly, but can quickly become damaging to one's hair, and they are known for not being as smooth as other varieties. In most cases, steel heating plates are a hallmark of a cheap hair straightener and should be avoided. If hair straighteners with steel plates are the best which can be afforded, then shoppers should go for an option in which the steel has not been painted, as this many times reduces the damage the plates do to one's hair. Users of steel heating plates with paint should do their best to avoid chipping paint through the life of the straightener.
Aluminium Heating Plates
Aluminium heating plates are common in travel hair straighteners, as they are very lightweight and heat up quite quickly. Those, unfortunately, are the only redeeming qualities of these types of heating plates, which are rougher than higher quality options and can easily damage one's hair. These are generally among the cheapest types of hair straighteners, and in many cases also the most poorly manufactured.
Glass Heating Plates
Glass heating plates are gradually being phased out, and with good reason. Though they heat up very evenly, over time they may be prone to cracking; even when in top condition can easily snag, break, and damage one's hair. They are also very heavy, and are oftentimes uncomfortable to use for those with long hair. Glass heating plates, like aluminium and steel options, should be avoided where possible.
Common Hair Straightener Options
Hair straighteners come with a wide variety of options which vary between manufacturers and models. Some of these options make specific straighteners easier to use, less likely to snag, or safer for users.
Curved Heating Plate Edges
The vast majority of hair straighteners have straight heating plate edges. These are more likely to snag hair than curved heating plate edges. Curved edges also give users more styling options, including the ability to create a wavy or curled look with ease.
Though most hair straighteners allow users to have at least two control options, generally the more temperature control that users have, the higher quality the straighteners are. When using hair straighteners, individuals should always begin at the lowest temperature setting and then adjust to higher settings, as beginning at a high setting does more damage to hair. Hair straighteners with temperature controls which are recessed are less likely to be accidentally pressed while straightening.
Wireless Hair Straighteners
Some hair straighteners are available with wireless options. For those who frequently tangle or twist cords, this is a great option. Hair straighteners of this kind generally rest on chargers when not in use, which ensures that they heat up to the appropriate temperature and stay warm through entire straightening sessions. Wireless hair straighteners are likely to be more expensive than wired varieties.
Buying an Affordable Hair Straighter on eBay
Websites such as eBay have a wide variety of affordable hair straighteners for their clients to choose from. To begin searching for a hair straightener, go to either the eBay home page or any of eBay's interior pages. Once there, find and click the search bar. Type in the words or phrase which describes the type of hair straightener you would like to buy. A good example includes "ceramic hair straightener". Creating a relatively brief or general search ensures you get the most potential results. When you have finished typing, click "enter" to view those items which match your search query. You can then opt to organise or refine these results based on the item's specific qualities.
Contacting a Seller
There are several situations in which you may want to contact an item's seller, such as needing more information about the item's condition or requesting more photographs. To contact an item's seller directly, simply browse the item's listing page and click on the "Ask a Question" link.
The key to identifying affordable hair straighteners only comes after understanding what makes for good hair straighteners. The point is to identify high-quality straighteners which can be had for a great value, rather than wasting money on cheap models which snag and damage hair. First, shoppers should determine what size of hair straighteners they need to purchase. Generally, the longer and thicker hair is, the larger models are needed. As for determining quality straighteners, the heating plates are going to be the quickest, easiest identifier of quality. Ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium heating plates are almost unilaterally a good sign, while shoppers should avoid those using other metals or glass, where possible.
Just because budget is limited does not mean that shoppers should be stuck with cheap, potentially damaging hair straighteners. Shopping online at websites such as eBay is likely to help save individuals significantly on the cost of high-quality straighteners.