Ceramic and porcelain are used to make things of beauty, not only in art, but in hair styling. Ceramic hair straighteners allow women to get stick-straight hair with a healthier appearance than they can with uncoated metal irons.


Ceramic straightening irons, also called flat irons, have different degrees of quality and technology based on the material used and the way it’s applied to the tool. Because porcelain is a type of ceramic, porcelain and ceramic irons aren’t very different. Although porcelain irons are ceramic, not all ceramic irons are porcelain.


Ceramic is defined as a hard, brittle and heat resistant material made by firing a nonmetal material such as clay. Ceramic flat irons usually consist of a metal base covered with thin layers of ceramic coating. Few companies manufacture ceramic irons with pure, solid ceramic plates because they’re expensive and break easily, according to Misikko.com, a hair tools retailer.


Porcelain is a hard, white and translucent ceramic that is glazed. Fine china is an example of high quality porcelain material. Straighteners that have ceramic porcelain enamel over the metal plates allow hair to glide between the smoother plates more easily, according to manufacturers.


A quality ceramic iron can be identified by the amount of coats the plates has. A purely 100 percent ceramic iron, with no metal plates underneath, will not chip or peel over time, unlike those with coated ceramic or porcelain enamel. Plates on lower quality tools will begin to wear off within weeks or months because they have few layers of coating, causing uneven distribution of heat on hair.


Both ceramic and ceramic porcelain irons emit evenly distributed ions, negatively charged atoms that neutralize and smooth the hair shaft, according to Misikko.com. Any hair iron, no matter how expensive or what it’s coated with, will damage hair after prolonged or frequent use because of the high heat required to straighten the hair shaft.