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Is a tourmaline ceramic flat iron better for your hair?

We’re having a lot of fun posting tweeting to our top 100 beauty friends on Twitter and we’re getting some good questions from our followers. Here’s one example:

NM tweets…Any insight to new technology in flat-irons: nano fusion, far-infrared heat, crushed tourmaline, ionic and effects on hair?

The Left Brain leaps to respond:

Here are some specific flat iron claims that NM questioned along with my comments.

1. Tourmaline technology produces up to 20 times more moisture-locking ions than other professional irons. Being solid ceramic versus a coat of ceramic, it allows for more crushed tourmaline gemstones, thus producing more negative ions and creating shinier, silkier, and more reflective hair.”

There is no scientific evidence that I could find which would support the 20 times claim or an indication of what ions are formed. The only reference I could find was that it produced Hydroxyl ions when put in contact with the water. There is no evidence that these ions have ANY positive effect on hair. More important for characteristics like shine, silky feel and reflectiveness is the condition of the hair. If the hair is not damaged, it will look shinier & feel smoother. Ions have nothing to do with it.

2. “Tourmaline is a natural source of negative ions.”

What ions? Ions have to be some kind of element or compound. There is no such thing as “negative ions”. There are “negative hydroxyl ions” or “negative chlorine ions” but there are no “negative ions”. I can’t refute or confirm without an indication of what kind of negative ions they are talking about.

3. What’s the difference between ceramic and tourmaline?

Ceramic is a material composed usually of clay. Tourmaline is a silicate, precious stone. They are just different types of inorganic materials.

4. “Ionic technology emits negative ions, which neutralize the positive ions that cause static in the hair. It breaks down water molecules to 100 times smaller, allowing moisture to easily and quickly absorb into each strand, therefore creating softer, smoother hair.”

No, this isn’t true. Water molecules are not made smaller. Water molecules stay the same size. There is no published scientific report to demonstrate that Tourmaline irons create less static than ceramic ones.

5. “Hair carries a positive electrical charge caused by dryness. Over time this positive charge increases, and as hair becomes drier, the more open the cuticle becomes. When a flat iron or hair dryer is heated, negative ions are created, canceling out the positive charges and smoothing the hair cuticle.”

Hair carries both a positive and negative charge but it’s not “caused” by dryness. It is the result of damaged proteins which can be caused by heat damage, styling damage, environmental damage, sun damage, etc. It’s not true the the cuticle becomes more open because of ions and it’s also not true that “canceling positive charges smooths down the cuticle”.

6. “Far Infrared Heat – This technology heats the hair from the inside out, causing less surface damage. Said to straighten hair faster hence reducing damage.”

No it doesn’t. These flat irons work the same as regular flat irons. They transfer heat from the surface through the hair not the other way around. There is no proof that they work different.

7. “Is Far Infra-Red heat more energy efficient? Does it really heat hair from the inside out – is that even possible?”

These flat irons do not heat the hair from the inside out. I suppose it would be possible to heat the hair from the inside out, but I’ve never seen a flat iron that actually does. And even if you could do it, there is no evidence that it would make a noticeable difference.

8. “The Ionic Energy and the Silver Nano Technology kills 99.9% of bacteria and air born viruses. “ And, if nanotechnology is generally used in conjunction with silver, how does that figure in to a ceramic plate iron? And how/why is it known for its natural anti-bacterial and antifungal properties?

I have no idea what technology they are talking about. The heat from ANY flat iron will kill bacteria and viruses. Nano technology won’t make a bit of difference. Silver is known to have antibacterial properties. But I don’t understand what exactly is the benefit of a flat iron killing bacteria and viruses?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BeautyDiva September 6, 2014, 6:08 pm

    There is deffinately a difference in flat iron technology. You can see and feel the difference depending on which type of flat iron you use. The proof is in the ratings of the products being used.
    Whoever doesn’t believe that there is a difference is obviously ignorant.

    • Randy Schueller September 7, 2014, 10:14 am

      BeautyDiva: We’re not saying that there’s NO difference between different flat irons. We’re just saying that the claims they make are ridiculous and people shouldn’t be tricked into spending more money on a flat iron just because it’s made of tourmaline.

    • Cosmetologist March 13, 2015, 5:18 pm

      BeautyDiva: Ignorance is being uneducated, uniformed.

      I believe assuming these claims are true just because one iron makes your hair temporarily “look or feel” better than another iron, is ignorant. We all know and/or have seen how–over time–daily use of ultra hot hair irons DAMAGES hair–but BUT BUT the hair definitely “looked & felt better” WHILE we were damaging it.

      Just because you’ve seen and/or felt a difference in hair (yours and/or others) from iron to iron doesn’t mean the CLAIMS these manufacturers are making–with no proof other than claims like YOURS–are factual proof.

      That you believe “ratings” are “the proof” are a testament to your own ignorance–and I don’t mean that to be harsh–simply sincere.

      I’m a hair stylist and have found I have personal favorites (irons) that vary depending on the client’s hair type. What works great on one doesn’t necessarily work to the same degree of greatness on another. Capiche?

  • Joan March 20, 2015, 11:14 am

    I personally love my Karmin! 🙂

  • margaretphillips July 29, 2015, 2:52 pm

    I really like my Karmin =D

  • michellehenninge December 4, 2015, 8:39 am

    Best I have ever used is the Karmin 😉

    • Lindsey November 30, 2016, 5:10 pm

      Which Karmin did you get? the G3? or the salon series one?

  • Markus Kobi February 13, 2016, 10:56 am

    Despite all of the buzzwords and fairy tales used to market the benefits of one technology over another- I have consistently been given the same ruling principle regarding a major difference between ceramic irons and irons with tourmaline nano technology, and in using both types for many years…I have personally found it to be true. Ceramic ironing seals available moisture into the hair as it straightens, while tourmaline ironing straightens while driving/locking available moisture out of the hair. Once I began to understand this, it became easier to select the right type of iron for individual hair types and different situations. I’ve found tourmaline irons to be a better choice for smoothing naturally curly hair, but an inferior choice to ceramic for smoothing compromised/chemically treated, or naturally dry hair. Tourmaline can often be overkill for damaged hair in my experience, with static, flyaways, and a result that is more ‘limp’ than smooth.

    • Randy Schueller February 14, 2016, 8:10 am

      Markus: That’s an interesting hypothesis to explain the how tourmaline irons work differently from ceramic ones. However, I’m still skeptical this is true. Do you have any evidence (or at least a theoretical mechanism) to explain how ceramic could seal moisture in hair. I’m not aware of any and I’d love to learn if there’s really anything to this or not.

  • Wisdomseeker February 3, 2017, 3:54 pm

    Excluding the possible placebo effect, what do you think scientifically accounts for the voluminous anecdotal responses about the differences in quality and performance of flat irons?

    • Randy Schueller February 4, 2017, 7:53 am

      As I pointed out in my response to Beauty Diva’s comment we’re not saying that there’s NO difference between different flat irons. We’re just saying that tourmaline and ceramic don’t have any special properties that allow them to modulate moisture in hair. There may be significant differences in overall quality from one iron to another. (Sturdiness of the handle, power of the heating unit, etc etc.)

      There’s nothing wrong with buying a more expensive model if you like the way it performs and you can afford it. But you shouldn’t be tricked into spending more because it contains made of “magic” minerals.

  • Mai March 9, 2017, 3:53 pm

    Would any one advice me for the best flat iron technology for curly dry thick hair. I lost in all comments what to buy??

    Thank you