Types of Hair Brush Straighteners
There are many women for whom a flat iron simply isn’t the right choice; their sensitive or thin hair is quickly turned to toast by the high temperatures produced by flat irons. That’s why electric hair brush straighteners became an overnight sensation a few years ago when videos of these often odd-looking contraptions started popping up on YouTube and Facebook. Manufacturers quickly responded, and today there is a wide variety of brush straighteners to choose from.
There are two common types of hair brush straighteners. “Paddle” or flat brushes look and perform very much like standard detangling brushes, with bristles built into a ceramic or tourmaline plate. The heat generated by the plate works to straighten the hair while releasing negative ions that make it shiny and smooth.
“Barrel” or rotating hair brush straighteners also detangle, straighten and add shine. In addition, hot air is directed into the hair as their ceramic or metallic barrels rotate, adding volume to thin hair. These are the best option for long hair, and the fact that the barrels are circular provides the added benefit of being able to curl as well as straighten.
Less common but still worth mentioning are “hybrid” styles of hair brush straighteners. Some are similar to a flat iron but with bristles on each of the plates, while others have a rotating barrel on one side and a plate with bristles on the other. You’ll also see lots of inexpensive, non-heated straightener brushes, but we won’t be focusing on those in our reviews.
Important Features of Hair Brush Straighteners
Heat levels are most important, and everything else is tied for second place. The true benefit of these appliances is that lower temperatures are suitable for easily-damaged or thin-to-medium hair, so it’s crucial that they’re able to operate at the appropriate temperatures. 365° is considered optimal for medium-thick hair, and straightening very thin or brittle hair calls for temperatures closer to 300°. Some models also have settings as high as 450° for use on very thick or very curly hair.
Types of Bristles
The bristles on a hair brush straightener should also be considered. Nylon is best for sensitive scalps or hair that doesn’t become a bird’s nest in the blink of an eye. Some straighteners have bristles tipped with tiny balls made of silicone, rubber or other materials, and they’re a better choice for women whose hair tangles easily because they help “cut through” the tangles without snagging. They’re more comfortable, too.
Other factors may also be important to you, including the weight of the unit, how comfortable the handle feels in your hand, whether there is an LCD display and an automatic shut-off feature, and the length of the power cord. But remember: heat levels come first, because they determine whether your hair comes out straight, shiny and silky – or a damaged, fried mess. Everything else is secondary.
1. Glamfields Heated MCH Hair Straightening Brush
When is a “big head” a positive instead of a negative? When the head is on a high-quality hair brush straightener, of course. This Glamfields product jumped to the top of our rankings because the Groom+Style review team simply loved the large size and shape of its rectangular brush head; it’s bigger and wider than on other straightening brushes, allowing it to grab more hair on each pass. That, plus the comb’s dense teeth, lets you get the job done more quickly, whether your hair is thick or thin, lustrous or dry.
The Glamfields straightener, like most of our top-ranked models, releases negative ions to fight frizz while preventing split ends and knotting. Performance, though, sets it apart from the pack. Hair is straightened beautifully and quickly with the unit’s metal ceramic heater requiring just a 40-second warm-up, eliminating a long wait for the brush to reach temperature. And speaking of temperature, there are 12 heat settings ranging from 250° (ideal for brittle hair) to 450° (hot enough to straighten extremely thick or wavy hair).
This hair brush straightener is well-designed and comfortable to hold, with a 360° swivel power cord that lets you position the brush at any angle you find optimal. It comes packaged with a heat-resistant glove, in a gorgeous gift box. And somewhat surprisingly for a high-end product, it’s priced very reasonably. The team had no trouble ranking the Glamfields brush at #1.
2. AsaVea MCH Hair Straightener Brush 3.0
Here’s a slight caveat to our effusive praise of the Glamfields model as “the best” hair straightener brush: this AsaVea is slightly better for thicker hair. However, it’s usually more expensive and not as good for thin hair.
Once again, the key to this brush’s performance is a big comb which grabs large volumes of hair, with a curved base that funnels hair right to the comb. It also delivers heat via metal ceramic (MCH) technology; the combination guarantees very fast hair straightening, as it does with Groom+Style’s #1 straightening brush. Heat-up time for the AsaVea is about 60 seconds, slightly longer than it is with the Glamfields but not bad at all.
There are 12 heat settings on this brush with a selectable temperature range from 250-450°, so it can be used on all types of hair even though it’s best on thick locks. However, this model does not generate negative ions, which are the best weapon against frizz and create smoother, shinier hair. (The AsaVea 4 does use ionic technology and sells for a similar price, but the review team prefers the 3.0 because it uses MCH for more consistent heat delivery, doesn’t have brush tips that can catch on hair, and has more heat settings.)
An additional nice touch is that the AsaVea’s has an anti-scald feature similar to the Glamfields, which ensures that the hot brush won’t touch or burn your skin.
3. MiroPure 2-in-1 Ionic Hair Straightener Brush
It wouldn’t be fair to highlight a straightening brush that’s great for thick hair without also selecting a product that’s best for extremely thin or damaged hair. The MiroPure has 16 different heat settings and is capable of reaching 450° to straighten all types of thick and normal hair. What’s most notable, though, is that it can straighten hair at temperatures as low as 170°, perfect for very thin hair that’s likely to be fried at higher temperatures. It’s difficult to find a model suitable for that type of hair; the review team recommends the MiroPure.
The high-density bristles on the professional-style nano comb are designed to prevent curly hair from catching in the teeth. However, that also means straightening your hair can take longer than it does with the Glamsfields or AsaVea, because you may need to make more passes with the brush. Heat-up is fast (60 seconds) and the heat is evenly-distributed thanks to metal ceramic technology. The double-ionic generator works to prevent frizz and split ends.
This model has anti-static control and comes with a heat-resistant glove. You’ve probably guessed by now that the MiroPure, like its major competitors, is only meant for use on dry hair. And it’s usually priced lower than both of the models ranked higher by Groom+Style, making this an excellent alternative to those products.
4. Apalus Brush Hair Straightener
The Apalus Brush Hair Straightener is another flat heated hair brush, primarily for use on dry hair. It applies constant heat when you turn it on, although it takes longer to warm up than models which use metal ceramic heating technology (this one simply uses ceramic plates). It can reach 180°F in 60 seconds, but will take three minutes to hit its top temperature of 450°. That can make this unit frustrating to use if you have to straighten thick hair.
The brush is automatically programmed to operate at 365° which is suitable for delicate hair, but has optional settings for hair with a natural texture (410°) or is very thick or wavy (450°). The brush has no-scald tips, so there are no concerns about the high temperatures damaging your hair or your hands.
The Apalus works relatively quickly, taking approximately ten seconds per pass to straighten most types of hair, although you will have to straighten small sections at a time. That makes it an inexpensive lifesaver if you need a quick straightening before heading off to work. The Apalus hair straightener can also be used as a detangling brush and massager to straighten frizzy or unmanageable hair, if used in conjunction with Agam essential oil or Moroccan oil.
5. Revlon Perfect Heat 2 Inch Tourmaline Ceramic Hot Air Spin Brush
The Revlon Perfect Heat works best on partially dry hair. Hot air blows from inside the brush while the soft bristles spin to take the curl out of your hair. Alternatively, you can leave the ends of your hair curly while straightening the rest. You can also turn off the spin function if desired. The added benefit of a unit that has hot air blown from the inside is that you don’t have to wait for the straightener to heat up.The Revlon 2” Perfect Heat (which also is available in a model that has 1” and 1 ½” brushes instead of the 2” one) is a rotating brush, which more or less combines the effects of a hair dryer and a brush in one appliance. Its ideal use is for styling longer hair or creating greater volume.
The brush has two heat settings, the ability to rotate the bristles in either direction to prevent tangles, and a cold shot button to cool things down when required.