News & Politics

Smooth Talk: The Best Flat Irons

A flat iron is a girl’s best friend in Washington humidity. Here are ones stylists swear by.

In Washington’s humidity, blow-drying hair with a round brush isn’t enough. Many women follow up with a flat iron to achieve sleek, frizzless locks.

Ironing hair is nothing new; when my mother was in college in the ’70s, her friends straightened their waist-length hair on ironing boards with the same iron that pressed their bell-bottoms. Now there are dozens of high-end flat irons for hair.

Hairdressers have favorites, but most recommend flat-ironing no more than a few times a week. “Even the best ceramic irons are tough on hair,” says Guillaume Choquet, owner of O salon in Georgetown.

And, says dermatologist Thomas Nigra, “Don’t iron too close to the root—it kills the root, and it won’t grow back.”

These are brands of irons recommended by area stylists. Some models are labeled “professional,” but all can be purchased from such sites as and

With any flat iron, Char Chung, a straightening specialist at Eclips in McLean, recommends working with two- to three-inch-wide sections of hair—or smaller pieces if you want more precise results.

BaByliss: BaByliss PRO irons have a digital temperature control; the Nano Titanium model reaches 450 degrees. Higher heat is best for very curly, thick hair. Models range from $59.99 to $199.99.

Magic Ionic: These professional models with “ion-generating” technology give incredible shine, says Chung. $100 to $165.

HAI: Several sizes, from the ⅜-inch “Twig” to a 2¼-inch model that stylists say works better for longer hair. $69.95 to $145.95.

GHD: Popular in England, GHD stands for Good Hair Day. These ceramic irons have rounded, pivoting plates that can both straighten and create waves. “It smooths out hair faster than any other iron I’ve tried,” says Ruth Harper of Georgetown’s Roche Salon. $190 to $220.

CHI: “It’s the one you see pretty much everywhere,” says Choquet. “My 13-year-old daughter has one, and we use them here.” One of the first to produce ceramic flat irons, CHI sells one- and two-inch models as well as the 0.7-inch-wide mini—great for short hair. $95.95 to $134.95.