Why? Are titanium plates any different from the typical "ceramic" we usually see?
Yes, they really are. Usually you'll see titanium only in very high end flat irons (such as the BaByliss), and to see it at this price point (this flat iron is about $55) is basically a steal (no pun intended).
Titanium will distribute heat more evenly than ceramic, will be more durable, and puts off more negative ions when used (which hair looooves. I found a few references on-line stating that hair can handle higher temps from a titanium flat iron because there is more "slip", so when your hair is moving more easily through the plates you won't have as much damage, and when combined with better overall heat distribution and the negative ions, the titanium is better for your hair.
But does that mean you should test the upper limits of a flat iron that can go up to 455??
To find out, I asked one of my favorite hair stylists, David Hensley, the Chief Creative Officer for Laid Brand Hair Care, and who has done a great job of answering hair questions on 15 Minute Beauty in the past.
@15minbeauty @LAIDbrand different hair types&cond. Is the determining factor for correct temp. settings! I use the BaByliss Nano Titanium pro— David L. Hensley jr. (@RockerStylist) March 6, 2013
@15minbeauty @LAIDbrand this iron has temp settings from 300~450 degrees! Fine, soft , or over processed hair should always have a low to med— David L. Hensley jr. (@RockerStylist) March 6, 2013
@15minbeauty @LAIDbrand more coarse hair or stronger wavy hair can have the highest setting to achieve a smoother&straighter look!— David L. Hensley jr. (@RockerStylist) March 6, 2013
So, basically, just because the flat iron can go that high, does not mean that you should set it that high! If you have fine hair or like me you've processed your hair to death, you should probably still be under 400. Higher temps really are for the girls with coarser or more difficult to style hair. Which means that the girls who have had a hard time finding a flat iron at a "regular" store should rejoice! There's an option for you!
@15minbeauty @LAIDbrand it's MOST IMPORTANT that any hair type or cond. use a heat protectant to control and minimize breakage!— David L. Hensley jr. (@RockerStylist) March 6, 2013
@15minbeauty @LAIDbrand and what better thermal protectant than LAID Brands 'Straight Kinky'!!! laidbrand.com— David L. Hensley jr. (@RockerStylist) March 6, 2013
Yes! Any time you are applying heat to the hair you must not skip your heat protectant spray. A lesson I learned the hard way. The product David mentions, LAID Brand Straight Kinky is a multi-purpose spray that helps to make hair easier to style, protects from heat and UV, adds shine, prevents frizz, etc. You name it, this spray does it! I love that it makes my hair easier to manage.
If you want a less expensive heat protectant option, there's John Fried Heat Defeat Protective Styling Spray, though I haven't tried it out.
I've received Straight Kinky in the past from LAID Brand. Though, I really do like it!