History Of The Flat Iron
The History of Hair Straighteners
Hair straighteners are, for many of us, an essential part of our beauty routine. Some of us use them daily and some just for the weekend, but there’s nothing like the confidence boost you get when you’re done doing your hair. Your time and work paid off and you feel ready to conquer the world. Hair straighteners are also great when you want a change of look: if you have naturally straight hair, you can use the hair straightener to create waves or curls; if you have naturally curly hair, you can use the hair straightener to achieve a sleek, straight style. Hair straighteners have been tweaked over the years to ensure safety and efficiency, and I thought it might be nice to look back and see how this hair tool giant was created in the first place.
The First Hair Straighteners
We have Parisian Marcel Grateau to thank for inventing the first heated rods in 1872. It was actually a comb with metallic teeth, which then inspired Erica Feldman to use it on her hair to control it. It didn’t end there; in 1909, Isaac K. Shero found out that the best way to straighten hair was by using two clothing irons, pressing them down together on both sides, which then left the hair sleek.
A few years later, in 1912, the Scottish Lady Jennifer Bell Schofield took this idea to another level, and invented a hair tool that had two metal plates on either side, joined by a hinge at the bottom. This allowed the user to clamp and unclamp the metal plates on their hair, leaving behind perfectly straight hair. She had grown tired of the curly haired norm and wanted to be different. She was definitely a woman ahead of her time, which then inspired other women to follow suit and try it out themselves. Her invention is the model that most resembles the hair straighteners we know today.
Women in the 1950’s would use a clothes iron to straighten their hair by placing their hair on a flat surface and ironing it as they would for clothing. By the 1980’s, beauty companies decided to improve the safety and efficacy of previous designs by surrounding the two hot plates with insulating plastic. This reduced burns and made it easier to use. I think we can all agree that this was a huge step forward!
Advanced Hair Straighteners
While the two plated hair straightener is the one that has stuck around, it doesn’t mean that the technology remains the same. It's been improved on further. Nowadays we have many different materials to choose from when deciding on a hair straightener; it’s now a matter of knowing which to choose and why.
As I’m sure many of you already know, not all hair straighteners are of the same caliber and when you want to protect your locks from damage, you have to go with a high quality material and brand. Stay away from any hair straightener whose plates are not made out of ceramic or titanium; these lower quality hair straighteners are basically just metal plates, making them very harmful to your hair. Ceramic and titanium hair straighteners are the best of the best (titanium being the top tier for stubborn or thick hair), especially when the plates are 100% of the material! While it may be pricier to get a 100% ceramic or titanium hair straightener, I think it is well worth the investment. These straighteners won’t break or damage your hair, and if taken care of properly will last you many years.
Now let’s talk hair straighteners HG (or holy grail), mine being ISA Professional’s Mirror Titanium Digital Straightener. Not only is it a beautiful candy apple red, it’s also tapered around the plates, making it easy to create waves and curls with it. The plates are also made out of, you guessed it, mirror titanium, titanium that is so smooth that the plates look like black mirrors. It’s also digital, which is amazing because it allows me to choose the right heat setting for my hair type. This hair straightener has such an advanced design and is so easy to love because it doesn’t tug my hair, heats up super quickly and has cut my hair styling time by half!
I have color treated, frizzy hair which can be hard to control but this straightener was up for the challenge and then some. I almost couldn’t believe it myself but my smooth, shiny hair is the proof. I’ve also gotten many compliments on how shiny and healthy my hair looks, so this tool is definitely a winner and a permanent staple in my hair care collection.
Hair Straightening Brushes
I also want to talk a little about the newest trend hitting the beauty world right now, hair straightening brushes. These brushes have a built in heat plate on the base of the bristles, making it the only tool you need to straighten your hair. Some women with thicker or coarser hair like using the brush and then quickly using their hair straightener after, to ensure maximum smoothness.
The tips of the bristles are cool to the touch and have no give, making it easy to use and you won’t have to worry about burning yourself. Gone are the days of using a blow dryer before getting that sleek look you want; these brushes will give your hair the control you need. As with any hair tool, always look for a quality brand and materials, as well as a digital temperature readout. Remember, you need to find the right temperature for your hair type, in order for the hair tool to work its best!
What's your hair straightening regimen like? Do you use hair straighteners, curling irons, hair straightening brushes? Tell us in the comments below.