The Difference Between Ceramic & Titanium Flat Irons
With so many terms used to describe flat irons, it is difficult to determine what they all mean and if they are important or simply clever usage of certain “buzz” words to make the tool sound more impressive. Most people are unsure how the different metals affect the performance of the flat iron. So what exactly is the difference between ceramic versus titanium flat irons?
Before we can discuss the two metals, first allow me to explain exactly what ‘ionic’ means. An ion is defined as an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Whenever you see the term ionic on a hair tool (flat or curling irons, hooded or blow dryers) it refers to the ability of that tool to generate negative ions. Hair is positively charged due to its high water content so when your strands are coated in negative ions it neutralizes the charge and results in hair that is sleek, straight, shiny and smooth. Both ceramic and titanium are ionic metals, but titanium is a stronger generator. Now that you understand that principle, we can examine the differences between ceramic and titanium flat irons.
Ceramic: Arguably the most popular material used, ceramic plates allow for even heat distribution which means that there will not be any overheated or cold spots. This is important not only for consistent results, but also because it means that you have less potential to burn or damage your hair. Many flat irons are not pure ceramic but instead are aluminum with a coating of ceramic on the top. While this makes them more affordable, you should use them with caution and always check the plates before using. The coating can chip or peel, exposing the inferior metal below and the peeled areas can also snag your hair. Do not be followed by the cost of the iron either, that does not determine whether an iron is coated or not – many of the expensive professional models are not 100% ceramic. Look for words like solid ceramic and pure ceramic. Brands like CHI and the less expensive Andis have been around since the beginning of ceramic irons and seem to provide consistently good results.
Titanium: Titanium is a metal that excellent heat conduction, consistent heat, allows for minimum temperature variation and therefore minimizes heat damage. It heats very quickly, also has a high ionic output, and transfers heat faster than ceramic. This is arguably the “best” type of flat iron to have because all of its properties are superior to ceramic. However, many professionals think consumers should stick to ceramic for those same reasons. Because titanium gets hotter and transfers heat better, it can potentially be more damaging if you are not careful. I personally found my titanium iron to product better results while requiring less passes to achieve the straightest strands. So it really is up to you to determine what works better for your hair.
This article would not be complete if I didn’t briefly explain another very popular term – tourmaline. Tourmaline is a crystalline mineral that is crushed into a fine powder and infused into the metal plates of the flat iron. Tourmaline flat irons have a very high output of negative ions (much more than ceramic or titanium alone) and create extremely sleek, shiny hair. So the next time you see a flat iron described as ionic, ceramic or titanium with tourmaline technology – you will know exactly what each of these terms mean.