Is a Flat Iron or Straightening Brush Better for Your Hair?

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Flat irons have long been the go-to tool for straightening hair. More recently, straightening brushes have been rising in popularity. The two tools do essentially the same thing, though they work pretty differently. If you’ve ever wondered if you should use a flat iron vs a straightening brush to straighten your hair, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we break down what each tool is and their biggest differences. Discover the best straightener for you!

(Image Source: Getty / NPHOTOS)

What Is a Flat Iron?

You’re likely very familiar with what a flat iron is at this point, but we’ll give you a little refresher to be safe. A flat iron is a straightening tool with two plates between the prongs that heat up to straighten your strands. There are a variety of different plates that can be used, including ceramic, ionic, and titanium. A flat iron can even be used to curl the hair—that is, if you’re skilled enough to know how to do so.

What Is a Straightening Brush?

A straightening brush is another type of straightening tool that looks like a, well, brush. Instead of utilizing plates that press down on the hair, it uses heated bristles to straighten the strands. The bristles are often made of nylon or silicone materials and the hot plate is ceramic or ionic.

These are not to be confused with blow dryer brushes. Though they can also be used to straighten hair, they’re often sought after more for their blow-drying powers than their ability to straighten strands. They can also be used on wet hair, which isn’t often the case with straightening brushes or even flat irons.

Flat Iron vs Straightening Brush

The differences between a flat iron and a straightening brush are pretty apparent, based on looks alone. One looks like a brush, while the other doesn’t. Still, there are plenty of other differences worth getting into.

A flat iron tends to heat up to much higher temperatures than a straightening brush. This makes flat irons a more suitable choice for those with coarse, curly hair that tends to be on the thicker side. Your strands require a bit more heat to get them straight. Also for that reason, straightening brushes tend to be better for those with thin to normal hair. Your hair type doesn’t require as much heat so you can use a straightening brush.

Because flat irons may require a ton of heat to do their job, they’re not meant to be used every day. All that heat damage really does a number on your strands. Straightening brushes, however, can absolutely be used more regularly. They can even be utilized for touch-ups in between your straightening sessions on your curly or thick hair.

Flat irons do work faster than straightening brushes, more often than not, so if you want your hair straightened fast, opt for the former. They’re also generally more inexpensive than straightening brushes. But, there’s a good chance you’re able to find the right hot tool in your budget.

While a flat iron is faster and often easier to use, it doesn’t offer the ability to add volume to your strands like a straightening brush does. That is why many with fine or thin hair types use a straightening brush over a flat iron—it gives their locks a little extra oomph.

Ultimately, whichever tool you choose is up to you. We’d suggest using a flat iron on curly, thicker hair types and a straightening brush on straight, thinner hair types.

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