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What Is the Difference between Hot Combs and Flat Irons

Last updated Mar 22, 2024

Many people who want to style their own hair want to know the difference between a hot comb and a flat iron. To get a great hairstyle, you not only need to find the right haircut for your face shape and the right products for your hair type, but you also need the right styling tools to keep your hair beautiful.

There is an ongoing debate about hot combs and flat irons, but it's safe to say that both have pros and cons. Below we will present you with the benefits of hot combs and flat irons to help you determine exactly which one is right for your hair.

Table Of Contents

What is the difference between a hot comb and a flat iron?

Many people have the misconception that flat irons and hot combs are the same tools, but they are not. Although they are used for similar purposes, flat irons and hot combs are different. We choose hot tools according to the length, type, thickness, etc. of our hair.

Hot combs

A hot comb, also known as a straightening comb, is a hairstyling tool that is heated and used to set the hair's style. Hot combs have been used for a long time and started becoming popular when the American culture embraced the African texture of hair.

Unlike flat irons, hot combs have teeth throughout the comb - just like the regular combs we normally use to comb through our hair. Hot combs are popular with people who have curly hair or hair that is more difficult to straighten, especially African hair. 

Because they are more controlled and can straighten each section of hair better and the results are smoother than hair straightened with a flat iron because the teeth of the comb will catch and straighten each strand of hair, but flat irons will always miss some hair or have uneven heat transfer.

Flat Iron

A flat iron is a broad term for a hairstyling tool that generally flattens and straightens hair through two heated plates. These types of straighteners flatten your hair by heating the plates without damaging your natural waves and curls too much.

Many people often confuse flat irons with straighteners, but here's an important distinction: while all flat irons are straighteners, not all straighteners are flat irons. A straightener is a tool used to straighten hair, so a hot comb can be called a straightener, but a flat iron is not.

Flat irons create lustrous hair and are a great tool choice for a variety of activities or occasions, whether it's for work or school, everyday wear, or for going out on a date.

Hot combs and flat irons fundamentally can be summarized in 3 points:

● A straightener is any tool used to straighten hair, which may be a flat iron, a hot comb, or even a hair dryer.

● A hot comb is a styling tool with a comb shape that uses heat to straighten hair.

● A flat iron is a styling tool that uses a heated plate to "flatten" the hair.

How do I use a hot comb?

How do I use a hot comb?

A hot comb looks just like a regular comb but is a little heavier. Want to know how to use a hot comb? Follow the steps below.

Step 1: The first step is to cut the hair.

Step 2: Use a heat protection oil or serum on your hair first. Make sure you remember this! This is very important to protect your hair from the heat of the electric comb.

Step 3: Run the hot comb through the hair from top to bottom, moving smoothly and slowly, being careful not to stay on one spot of hair for too long, which can cause burning or scorching.

Step 4: Do not repeatedly work on one spot of hair, but move to the next section of hair promptly.

Step 5: When using a hot comb, beware of burning your neck or scalp. Although the hot comb comes with an insulated handle, if you accidentally touch your skin, it is likely to be very painful or burned.

How do I use a flat iron?

How do I use a flat iron?

Step 1: Start with a haircut, which will be easier to handle.

Step 2: Use heat protection spray, then start at the roots and place the plate over the top of the hair. Whether you choose a flat iron or a hot comb, it is important to heat protect your hair before you heat it up - this is important for all hair types.

Step 3: Carefully slide the flat iron down the hair from the top to the bottom, then release the plate.

Step 4: Repeat this on the next section of hair until you have completed the entire head.

Hot comb or flat iron, which one should I choose?

Deciding between a hot comb or a flat iron ultimately comes down to your own personal choice, different hair types will benefit from different products. In general, hot combs are best for thick or coarse hair because the teeth of the comb penetrate the hair strand more easily. However, with changes and improvements in technology, these are no longer a problem

Hair type

Hair type

Your hair type is a key factor in determining whether you choose a hot comb or a flat iron, different hair types require different tools, heat, and products to be used.

Difficulty of use

● Flat irons are easier to use and are usually simpler for most people, even if you are new to them.

● Hot combs are also easy to use. Generally speaking, if you can operate a hairbrush, then mastering a hot comb should be easy. One thing you need to watch out for is overheating, as this can burn your hair.


Depending on the amount of hair you have, it may take longer to use a hot comb, even up to 40 minutes! Flat irons are much faster because they don't require a lot of preparation. Flat irons are a better choice if you want to get out the door quickly.


● The Flat Iron is better suited for people with naturally curly hair because it essentially eliminates the frizz associated with curly hair.

● You can create a variety of different hairstyles with flat irons. You can use flat irons to create curls, straighten hair, add texture and curl ends.

● Hot combs are often used for curly hair because they work with all textures of curls.

● Hot combs create smooth, straight hair with little to no frizz! The teeth of the hot comb are not very wide, making it easier to create tight curls and waves. You can also use it to straighten your hair.


● Flat irons can be made from many different materials. Some examples of materials used to make flat iron plates include: ceramic, tourmaline, and titanium. The ceramic plate is the most popular material for flat irons because it heats up quickly and evenly and doesn't take much time to set.

● Hot combs are usually made of metal. The best type of metal for making a hot comb is usually steel because it is durable and rust-resistant.


Whether you choose a hot comb or a flat iron, both devices are easy to operate and safe for your hair, provided that they provide a protective treatment for your hair. Depending on your hair type, you can use either a hot comb or a flat iron.

A hot comb will make the hair softer but will take longer to straighten. A flat iron is more adaptable, but without temperature regulation, it will make hair brittle. Overall, flat irons are a more advanced tool and can provide a wider range of hairstyles.

Read more:

A Guide To Choosing The Perfect Curling Iron Size

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