Hair straighteners, or hair irons, have been used for decades by women looking to give their hair a chic and sleek appeal. They are applied directly to the hair, and when heated, work very much in the same way as a traditional iron would. Running down the length of the hair, these hair straighteners produce the stick straight appeal many covet. Yet what exactly are these hair straighteners made of?
As with any sort of device, hair straighteners have evolved over the years. In such, the materials used to make them have as well. The ones we use today are typically made out of ceramic, yet in the earlier days they were made from aluminum. Hair straighteners were in use as early as the 1870s, and these first few models were created out of heated aluminum or metal. When the metal was warmed up on any heat-producing source, it was then put directly to the hair, often singeing and burning the hair and emitting a less-than-pleasant odor.
Today, there are still varying materials used for the hair straighteners. The less expensive kinds are made out of coil metal. The most common type of coil metal turned to for these are then copper. From the hair straightener device, the copper is then heated from the coils in the head of the iron, and the copper plates are then run through the hair. These kinds of hair irons are called coil metal heaters.
Ceramic-coated plates are used in the higher quality hair straighteners. These ceramic materials are noted for not only being the safest for the hair, but in providing the best results. In fact, Sedu ceramic is one of the most widely used and turned to materials for flat irons today. They are sold in many varying styles, models, and with different heating capabilities, but all are centered around the ceramic plates.
There are also titanium plates that are used in many of the higher quality brands of hair flat irons. The titanium plates are usually resistant to cracking, evenly distributing heat, and work well to get the job done. They can be heated either in the coil metal fashion or through the TC method, relying on the chemistry of ions to get the temperatures right. In this second instance, they are coated in ceramic.
The plates of a hair flat iron, regardless of what materials they are made of, are sometimes further coated in a protective shield other than ceramic. These coatings can be from Teflon, which is durable and resistant to chipping but not too great for the hair. Tourmaline is also a coating used for many plates, and is similar to the quality of ceramic-coated plates, and better for your hair.
Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.