No time? My pick for the best flat iron for fine hair is the Bio Ionic OnePass Nano-Ceramic Straightening Iron.
Who doesn’t love smooth, sleek hair? If you’ve ever tried straightening fine hair (and oh, maybe, possibly frying it to a crisp), you’ll know it’s imperative to be extra careful with the appliances you use to get the pin straight look.
With a ton of hair straighteners on the market, it can be daunting to know which flat iron is best for fine hair. We’ll go over what you should look for and how to get those silky smooth strands without damaging your locks.
We’ll be reviewing the following flat irons in this article:
- Bio Ionic OnePass Nano-Ceramic Straightening Iron
- HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron
- Bed Head Pixie 1/2″ Straightener
- HAI Classic Convertable Professional Flat Iron
- Remington Wet 2 Straight Hair Straightener
Best Straighteners for Fine Hair
Best Salon Quality Flat Iron: Bio Ionic OnePass Nano-Ceramic Straightening Iron
Bio Ionic’s OnePass Nano-Ceramic Iron is a high quality straightener that works extremely well on fine hair. (It says something that a lot of users who swear by Bio Ionic’s OnePass used to be CHI loyalists.)
The OnePass has all the components you should look for in a good flat iron – ceramic plates, adjustable heat settings, a long swivel cord that doesn’t get in the way, to name a few – but what really sets it apart are the silicone speed strips that give you sleek straight hair without multiple passes.
There are 2 silicone strips near the outer edge of one plate that help secure and keep your strands in place while you glide. You might think the strips would slow things down (or worse, snag your hair), but they actually make straightening faster because they grip and distribute hair across the plates evenly.
Hair glides smoothly between the plates without snagging. You’ll save time and your hair since fine hair is easy to straighten in one pass.
The Bio Ionic OnePass leaves hair shiny and healthy-looking with its negative ion technology that tames frizz and helps hair retain moisture.
It comes in both 1” and 1 ½” widths. If you have long hair, you can save even more time by choosing the 1 ½” version, which has an additional silicone strip on the other plate.
Do note that some users have experienced the silicone strips coming off, which is uncommon but can be problematic. For best results, make sure to clean the plates often so that hair product doesn’t build up on the strips.
It’s also not cheap. But it’s better to invest in a good quality flat iron that reduces damage to your hair if you plan to straighten it on a regular basis.
- Silicone strips grip hair without snagging, straightening efficiently in one pass
- Nano ionic technology leaves hair smooth, shiny, and soft
- Heats up quickly
- Contoured ergonomic exterior is comfortable to hold
- Adjustable heat settings from 240°F to 400°F
- Hair product builds up in the strips if not cleaned regularly
- May require more than one pass for some hair types
Best Budget Flat Iron: HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron
The HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron is hard to beat for the price and features.
It has ceramic plates infused with tourmaline crystals, which help smooth and protect hair from damage with negative ions.
It comes with floating plates that flex from side to side, ensuring your hair makes contact with the plates at all times while you straighten.
There’s a wide heat range, adjustable from 140°F to a high of 450°F. Fine hair is best served between 200°F to 300°F, depending on your hair texture. Start off on a lower temperature and adjust upwards if necessary.
It’s a good choice if you travel internationally since it is dual-voltage for worldwide use. You’ll just need an adapter that fits the outlet wherever you’re going.
The biggest downside to this particular straightener is the fact that you can’t set it to an exact temperature setting. The heat dial adjusts from low to high but it doesn’t indicate what temperature you’re setting the iron to.
Also, there is no auto shut-off feature, which would be nice if you’re prone to rushing out of the house after doing your hair.
- Floating plates keeps hair flush against the plates while straightening
- Tourmaline-infused ceramic plates smooth frizz and protect hair from heat damage
- Dual voltage 110-200V allows you to straighten hair anywhere in the world
- Wide range of heat settings
- No auto shut-off
- Heat dial does not specify actual temperature setting
Best for Short Hair and Roots: Bed Head Pixie 1/2″ Straightener
Short, pixie styles don’t get a lot of attention when it comes to straightening. So it can be hard to find the best tool for it, since most flat irons are made for medium to long hair.
For short crops, narrow (i.e., less than 1” wide) flat irons are essential in order to get as close to your roots as possible.
The Bed Head Pixie Straightener is only ½” wide, which is perfect for short dos. It’s great for getting hair around your ears and on the back of your neck straight, and makes for a fantastic precision styler near your roots.
It even tames crazy ends that stick out every which way.
Lightweight and easy to handle, the flat iron heats up quickly so you’re never waiting around too long. The tourmaline ceramic plates help control frizz and flyaways, plus it has a wide range of heat settings to cope with any hair type.
My biggest complaint about this flat iron is that it’s hard to read the temperature control dial both because of where it’s placed and because the numbers on it are so tiny. Adjusting the heat setting works fine, but I definitely prefer digital controls and display.
- ½” plates gets near your roots easily without burning your scalp
- Adjustable temperature control from 140°F to 430°F
- Dual voltage, compact size and weight make it great for travel
- Tourmaline ceramic plates tames frizzies and flyaways
- Auto shut-off
- Manual heat dial placement and type is hard to read
- Specific use only (mostly short dos)
Best Straightener OR Curler: HAI Classic Convertable Professional Flat Iron
If you like using a flat iron to get both straight hair and curls, the HAI Classic Convertable Hair Straightener is great at creating both styles with one appliance.
(“Convertable” isn’t misspelled. It’s HAI’s trademark term to denote that it can be used as a straightener or curler.)
The HAI Convertable plates are 1 ¼” wide, which makes the straightening process a little faster since you’ve got more surface area than the standard 1” plate. If you struggle to get out of the house on time like me, that extra ¼” can really save some precious minutes in the morning!
Power and temperature controls are located on the inside of the iron and there’s an LED light that flashes red when it’s ready for use.
The plates are very smooth and have beveled edges so there’s no snagging while you slide your hair through. Plus, you don’t get any edge creases when using it as a curler because the outer casing is rounded for smooth curls, waves, and flips.
For curls, clamp a 1” section of hair at the root. Then twist the iron while your hair is pressed between the plates, wrapping your strands around the entire barrel as you glide your hair through.
There are 2 versions available – the HAI GOLD Convertable has gold plates, and the Classic Convertable has blue plates.
The GOLD is a good option if your hair is more resistant to styling since it can heat up to 450°F. It’s ceramic plates have an additional layer of protection built in to help protect hair from the higher heat.
The Classic Blue heats up to 410°F and is usually enough for fine hair. Both versions are lightweight and won’t give you hand cramps or sore arms after styling.
The HAI Convertable is pretty unbeatable as an all-around styling tool for the price. If it came with auto shut-off and dual-voltage so I could use it anywhere in the world, it would be the perfect styling tool!
- Equally effective as both a straightener or curler
- Adjustable temperature control from 250°F to 410°F (Blue) or up to 450°F (Gold)
- Ergonomic design and lightweight for a comfortable hold
- Smooth beveled ceramic plate doesn’t snag hair
- Has served many users for years without losing heat
- Swivel cord kind of iffy, don’t wrap it around the iron when not in use for better longevity
- No auto shut-off
Best Wet to Dry Flat Iron: Remington Wet 2 Straight Hair Straightener
For the ultimate in time-saving (or if you like to leave your style choices to the last minute), a wet to dry flat iron might be in order. The obvious benefit of a wet to dry straightener is that you don’t have to wait til your hair is completely dry before using it.
The 2-in-1 function can also help save your hair from unnecessary heat styling if you normally blow dry your hair before straightening.
Keep in mind that straightening dry hair is always best for optimal results. However, for a wet to dry, the Remington Wet 2 Straight Hair Straightener is as good as it gets.
It has 5 vents on the outside of the top plate, allowing steam to escape. This removes moisture, like a steam iron on your strands as it dries and straightens at the same time.
Because of this, be careful to keep the top plate facing away from your scalp at all times so you don’t scald yourself.
There’s a heat dial with 30 different settings, as well as a light that indicates whether it’s best used for damp hair (green) or dry (amber). It’s a nice guideline, but you’ll need to try it out and see what setting works best depending on how wet your hair is.
Tip: Make sure your hair has been towel-dried so that it’s damp and not totally wet. If it’s very wet, your hair won’t get dry unless you do multiple passes, negating the efficiency benefit!
- Straightens and dries hair at the same time
- Works on dry hair too
- Large range of heat settings
- The plates don’t fully touch from end to end – only the tips touch when closed
- Potential for scalding yourself with steam if not held correctly
How Does a Flat Iron Affect Fine Hair?
Fine hair is more fragile than medium or coarse hair because each strand is thin. It’s more likely to be damaged by heat styling, and if you like straightening your hair, you risk drying out, frying, or breaking it if you’re not careful.
Don’t confuse fine hair with thin hair. Fine hair refers to the width of each individual strand, while thin hair refers to the amount of hair you have.
If you have both fine and thin hair, you’ll want to be extra careful with the amount of heat styling you do.
Flat irons can be extremely damaging because you sandwich hair between 2 heated plates, subjecting it to intense, direct heat. They also remove water from your locks, which allows your hair to be straightened and stay that way until it absorbs moisture again (usually the next time you wash your hair).
Remember, the less heat you use, the better.
Flat Iron Buying Guide
One of the benefits of having fine hair is that it’s generally easier to straighten than coarse hair. It takes less heat to style, which is a good thing!
The 2 most important things to look for in a flat iron for fine tresses are:
- Plate Material (ceramic or tourmaline ceramic)
- Adjustable Temperature Controls
Your first line of defense for protecting fragile hair will be the plate material. Look for ceramic plates, or better yet, tourmaline ceramic.
Ceramic is beneficial for fine hair because it’s smooth, conducts heat evenly, and retains heat well. Ideally, it’s best to get an iron with solid ceramic plates for the best damage protection.
The good news is ceramic flat irons are widely available in all price ranges from budget to high end.
Cheaper ceramic flat irons are usually only coated with ceramic. While the outward appearance may be the same, a ceramic-coated plate won’t heat as evenly as pure ceramic. Additionally, it may wear or chip off over time, exposing the metal underneath, which can lead to hot spots on the surface.
Solid ceramic plates are the best but it’s often hard to tell which ones are 100% ceramic vs. ceramic-coated.
An even better combination is tourmaline ceramic. Tourmaline is a crystallized mineral that’s crushed and infused into the plate.
It emits negative ions when heated, which neutralize the positive ions in dry, frizzy hair. It makes hair shinier and silkier, but is also usually more expensive. When you see the term “ionic technology” on the box, this is what it’s referring to.
Lastly, there are also titanium plates in some of the newer high end models. The benefits of titanium are that it heats very quickly, is lightweight, and is more durable. Salons use them for their efficiency since they heat quickly and can tame wild hair into smooth, sleek glass hair.
Unless you really need the higher power and time-saving efficiency that titanium provides, fine hair is normally best served with ceramic.
Floating or Fixed Plates?
Something you may want to consider if you’ve ever had issues clamping your hair securely with a straightener is getting one with floating plates.
What are floating plates?
Though it doesn’t sound very secure, all it means is the plates can tilt from side to side as you pull your hair through. The benefit is that you get better compression and uniformity as your hair is pressed, which saves you from having to do multiple passes.
The opposite are fixed plates, which are anchored to the housing in a fixed position.
Flat irons come in varying widths, from as narrow as ½” to as wide as 2 ½” across. Which is best for you depends on your hair length, how quickly you want to be able to straighten your hair, and how curly or wavy your natural hair is.
1” and 1 ½” are the most popular widths, but straighteners are available in ¼” increments with some models.
Narrower plates under 1” wide are best for getting close to your roots and for short hairstyles. ½” and ¾” plates are the narrowest available and work well for reaching difficult areas, like behind your ears or near the nape of your neck.
On the flip side, if you have medium to long hair and don’t want to spend upwards of an hour or more straightening, get a wider plate. 1 ½” is a great starting point, but if you feel like that’s still taking a while to cover the entire length, try a 2” iron.
Adjustable Temperature Controls
Make sure the flat iron has adjustable temperature controls, and that it’s lowest heat setting is under 300°F. Ideally, you’ll want a digital control and display indicator so you can set a specific temperature.
Some straighteners come with pre-set settings for fine, medium, and coarse hair. This is useful as a guideline if you’re not sure what temperature to use. Try the setting for fine hair and adjust up or down from there as needed for your tresses.
Ionic vs. Nano vs. Infrared Technology
If you’ve spent any time looking at the latest straighteners, you might be left scratching your head. Ionic? Nano tech? Infrared? What do all these fancy technologies do? Here’s the lowdown (without getting too technical):
Ionic technology refers to ions – i.e., atoms or molecules – and their electrical charge. Ions can have a positive or negative charge after interacting or colliding with other particles.
Dry, frizzy hair has an abundance of positive ions. To counteract them, hair appliances built with ionic technology emit negative ions when heated. The negative ions eliminate static and break down water molecules for better absorption into the hair shaft, which leaves it softer and smoother.
In nanotechnology, nano just means “small”, as in small particles. It’s usually built in conjunction with ionic technology, as it refers to the appliance’s ability to break down water droplets into tiny molecules, which can be absorbed more easily. The increased moisture helps seal the cuticle layer, making your hair shinier.
Finally, infrared technology uses a form of electromagnetic radiation – infrared – as it’s heating method. Infrared heat has longer wavelengths that penetrate the hair shaft to the core, heating it from the inside out. It’s similar to how the sun’s radiant heat warms you from the inside out.
This is better for your hair, and means you can use less heat to style. The other benefit with far infrared is less time needed to straighten!
Protect Your Hair
Last but not least, remember to use a heat protectant to shield your hair from heat damage. Heat protectants are available as sprays or serums – either will work as long as you make sure to apply evenly to all strands before styling.
As we’ve discussed, the key to straightening fine hair is to get a good quality ceramic flat iron and use as low a heat setting as possible.
It’s hard to pick just one winner from the bunch. Because everyone’s priorities are a little different, it’s a toss up between the salon-grade Bio Ionic OnePass and the value-driven HAI Classic Convertable.
Both are excellent choices for getting smooth, straight tresses while protecting hair from excess heat damage. The Bio Ionic has the edge for superior straightening with its silicone strips, but it does cost a pretty penny.
For everyday use, the HAI Convertable is tops for it’s versatility and longevity. Lots of flat irons short out or lose heat after a couple years. This one has been known to last 10+ years for some users, making it one of the longest lasting straighteners around.