I Use the Same Flat Iron as I Did When I Was 13—Here's Why It's Still My Go-To

I've been styling my hair since I was 13. Admittedly, "styling" is a strong word for what I was actually doing during that time. It was 2008, so I wasn't interested in maintaining healthy hair or embracing my naturally wavy texture. I was only interested in getting stick-straight strands, so I became best friends with my mom's flat iron. As often as she'd let me use it (which wasn't that often...it was mainly regulated to special occasions like holidays or my middle school talent show), I'd excitedly plug it in, brush through my hair, and clamp down on un-sectioned strands with abandon. 

While my technique definitely left something to be desired, the flat iron was legit. It was effective and easy to use (even for 13-year-old me). While I've used countless heat tools since then—especially since becoming a beauty editor and testing products for a living—I keep coming back to the original. It's a no-fuss, foolproof option, and I don't think I'll ever feel any different. Keep scrolling to see the nostalgic flat iron in question and the before-and-after pictures that prove its efficacy. 

Here it is—the original CHI Ceramic Flat Iron. If you're anything like me, I'm sure this will inspire some serious nostalgia in you. For me, it reminds me of going to get my hair cut at the local JCPenney salon with my mom, which is where she eventually bought the flat iron I used in middle school. 

It feels like it's been around forever, but there's a good reason for that. As I said, it's a basic, fuss-free tool that delivers results. While I'm not interested in super straight hair anymore, I still use it regularly to enhance the smoothness, shine, and slight wave of my hair. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

Here's what my naturally wavy hair texture looks like without any intervention on my part. Before taking this picture, I shampooed, conditioned, towel-dried, and went straight to bed. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

Here's my hair immediately after using the flat iron. Like I said, I'm not interested in stick-straight hair, although I am interested in smoothing out the rough texture of my hair and adding some shine. Basically, I'm all about perfecting my hair—not totally changing it. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

With help from a little dry shampoo (which I use to extend the life of my style but also add some much-needed volume), my hair has body and dimension. It's all thanks to CHI Flat Iron and its 1-inch ceramic plates. Not only do the plates create an easy glide through the hair, but they also encourage a silkier, shinier, and smoother texture. This is my favorite effect, since mine happens to be dry, rough, and damaged thanks to regular chemical processing. 

When I want to enhance my wavy texture even more, I'll flip my wrist as I pull through my hair, creating beachy s-waves throughout the mid-lengths and ends. You can even use it to curl your hair if you use the right technique—that is, looping your hair through the plates and pulling downward. It's nothing if not versatile.

The Styling Products I Use With My CHI Flat Iron

This is my favorite dry shampoo. It absorbs excess oil so well that it extends the life of my style up to three days longer than it would normally last. It also adds volume to my roots, which my fine hair desperately needs. Yes, it leaves the white-gray residue, but it's nothing time and a brush can't fix. 

Heat protectant is a must! Trust me—I didn't use it for so long and my hair paid the price. I notice way more split ends and breakage when I go without it. It's a total necessity.

Remember how I said I never sectioned my hair back in the day? Yeah, I fixed that. Sectioning my hair before using my flat iron has made a huge difference in the end result. These days, my hair looks way more refined and professional because I'm getting into all the layers. 

I use this Deep Conditioning Serum constantly. Whenever my mid-lengths and ends are feeling dry, I'll rub a little bit of this between my palms and slide it down my strands. It actually replenishes the lipid layer in the cuticle structure of the hair to enhance shine and elasticity.

This shine spray gives my hair a glossy, reflective look without any sticky residue.

Shop 5 Other CHI Products

Next: I Have Thin, Flat Hair, But This Old-School Product Gives Me '90s Volume

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.