What's best – steam straightener vs flat iron? What are the pros and cons of each? And which straightener is much better for curly hair. Learn more here!

If there is one hairstyling tool that is a favorite of many women out there it is the hair straightening iron. But did you know that there are many different types of straighteners?

The most popular certainly one of course is the flat iron which straightens hair by clamping down your strands between two hot plates to change their texture.

But there are others like hot brushes, steam hair straightening irons and even blow dryers that help straighten hair. 

And choosing one among these may be a real dilemma. 

So today I'll expand around the differences from a stream straightener along with a flat iron and which you should choose!

Steam Straightener Vs Flat Iron

Steam hair straighteners simply make reference to hairstyling tools that have a barrel full of hot water that turns to steam when you use it on hair. This makes straightening easier because it provides extra heat and moisture. Steam straighteners could be either hot styling brushes or flat irons. It is simply these tools use steam as the primary supply of heat. 

Flat irons comes in various materials too like ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium. However the chief distinction between a steam straightener and hair straightener is the fact that water can be used in the former but a flat iron simply uses hot plates to straightener hair. 

What Is A Steam Straightener

A steam hair straightening iron can resemble a flat iron initially. But the main difference between the structure of both hot styling tools is the fact that a steam straightener has a chamber where you have to fill in water and its plates have tiny ceramic bristles (that look like a boar bristle brush).

Now the water chamber obviously needs to be filled up with fresh water any time you make use of the straightener on your hair. 

And the bristles guide the steam towards the hair, therefore it is not the plates which are straightening hair. 

Steam straighteners are actually effective on natural 4c hair!

Pros And Cons Of Steam Straightener

Advantages of Using a Steam Straightener 

  • A steam straightener is one of the best hairstyling tools for low porosity hair because it helps open hair cuticles and adds moisture towards the shaft.
  • It likewise helps frizzy hair look shiny and smooth as dryness is among the main reasons for frizz. 
  • If you're concerned about direct heat causing damage to your hair, a steam straightener is good for you. They don't cause “hot spots” in hair as they don't use plates. 
  • Steam straighteners are a much better option for curly/coily/4c hair types as they give high temperatures try not to supply direct heat. As well as because the steam helps control frizz. 

Disadvantages of utilizing a Steam Straightener 

  • The bristles on the steam straighteners allow it to be difficult to straighten large sections of hair at one go. So utilizing a steam straightener on very thick or long hair can get difficult.
  • You have to complete water chamber any time you make use of the steam iron. So that could possibly get quite frustrating
  • As steam may be the only supply of heat during these kinds of straighteners, the tool will not work if the water in the chamber gets dry completely. So that you can expect the steam straightener to operate just for 15-20 minutes tops.
  • Steam is gentler on hair than direct heat from plates. However, the steam can remain on hair and boost the temperature. Therefore it can in fact cause damage to fine, thin hair.
  • You cannot control the temperature of a steam hair straightening iron. 

What Is really a Flat Iron

Flat irons are what we should call “regular hair straighteners”. They usually consist of two plates made of either ceramic, tourmaline or titanium that may straighten hair by passing it between them.

Pros And Cons Of the Flat Iron

Advantages of Using a set Iron

  • Flat irons do not require water to become filled every time before use. Therefore it is less cumbersome to use a hair straightener, especially if you're straightening hair on a busy morning.
  • Also, the possible lack of bristles and the variation within the width of flat iron plates means that you are able to straighten wider parts of hair and longer hair in one go. 
  • Flat irons tend to be better for high porosity hair as these hair types won't take kindly to excess moisture in the steam.
  • Ceramic hair straighteners get heated up slowly and distribute heat evenly so might be far better for finer, damaged hair. 
  • The biggest advantage of a flat iron over a steam straightener is that you can control the temperature on this tool and go low or high depending on hair needs. 
  • Flat irons also come in different sizes and tend to be lighter due to the lack of a water chamber. So they are far easier for travel. 

Disadvantages of Using a set Iron

  • Some hair straighteners can make “hot pockets” where an area from the plate is much more heated than the rest. This can lead to damage and uneven straightening. 
  • Unless the flat iron comes with negative ion technology it isn't very helpful for controlling frizz. 
  • You should go over frizzy hair several times to have it right having a hair straightener.
  • There are several different materials of hair straighteners and you'll have to complement one together with your hair needs exactly to prevent damage and increase efficiency of straightening. For example, ceramic does better with thin, damaged hair while titanium is better for thick hair. 

Differences Between Steam Vs Flat Iron

Differences Steam Straightener Flat Iron
Build Comes with bristles around the plates that release steam to straighten hair  Designed with ceramic, tourmaline or titanium plates that will get heated to straighten hair
Temperature Settings No temperatures available as only steam is used  Multiple temperatures available and you can change the amount of heat on hair
Travel Friendliness Water barrel makes the steam straightener bulkier  Comes in various sizes and generally more lightweight
Ease of Straightening Bristles allow it to be difficult to go over wider sections or multiple sections at one Plates width differ and larger ones can easily straighten thick, long sections of hair
Quickness of Straightening Needs here we are at water to get heated and you may do only small parts of a time Quicker as you can select larger parts of hair and some irons with 30 second heat up feature
Frizz Control Adds moisture to hair so good for controlling frizz and suited for low porosity hair Not extremely effective at unless they contain negative ion technology
Suitability For Damaged Hair Suits damaged hair as steam doesn't directly apply heat to hair Can suit damaged hair if ceramic plates are used at low heat. 

FAQs About Steam Hair straightening iron Vs Flat Iron

Are steam straighteners great for curly hair?

Yes, absolutely. Frizzy hair requires a much more heat than regular hair textures to get perfectly straightened. Yet at the same time, they are more fragile and vulnerable to damage. So they are perfect for straightening frizzy hair because the steam doesn't directly heat the curls yet the moisture removes frizz to provide you with perfect straight locks.

Do flat irons ruin your hair?

The correct answer here is- this will depend. Any kind of heat applied to hair whether from the various kinds of flat iron or any other flame will damage hair to a certain degree. However, the amount of heat and also the fragility of the locks are what determines if your flat iron will ruin hair.
A ceramic hair straightener which doesn't cause problems and gets hotter evenly won't cause much damage. But a titanium flat iron may be safe on thick, frizzy hair but end up ruining fine, thin hair because it gets too hot.

Final Thoughts on Steam Straightener Vs Flat Iron

To sum it all up, steam straighteners would be the better match for coarse, frizzy hair as they provide extra heat and the moisture from the steam can control frizz to a certain degree.

However, if you have straighter, finer hair textures than I'd suggest taking a hair straightener, especially one with a ceramic coating as they help distribute heat evenly and don't get too hot. 

Additionally you should also consider hair porosity while using these items. 

A steam straightener can perform low porosity hair far better because it opens up hair cuticles and offers a sort of conditioning treatment by permitting moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. 

So choose wisely!

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