Hair Tool Materials: Ceramic, Titanium & Tourmaline

Choosing the right hairstyling tool often comes down to the material. There are a few elements your flat iron or hair curler can be made of, and the specific material has a major impact on the kind of results you can expect. 

 It’s not something shoppers think about often, and to be quite frank, we know hair care brands don’t always explain it well. So to make things crystal clear (or tourmaline clear), here’s everything you need to know about hairstyling tool materials, which hair types they’re best for, and the special considerations based on the type of tool.  

Main Styling Tool Materials

titanium, clay, and tourmaline

Sure, most styling tools are made of plastic and metal, but the key components are the ones that actually emit heat and come in contact with your hair. Here’s what you should know about each one. 

Ceramic hairstyling tools

Ceramic hairstyling tools are made out of the same material as your grandmother’s fine dinnerware, i.e., clay that’s molded into shape and then treated at a very high heat. Ceramic is one of the most common materials for styling tools because it heats up gently and evenly, and it’s also very smooth and resistant to scratching. 

This material can also generate a small amount of negative ions that help keep the hair looking smoother. It can take a bit of time for a ceramic tool to heat up completely but it’s an excellent choice for fine or damaged hair that can’t handle extreme temperatures. That said, it’s also fragile, so ceramic straighteners and curlers can break easily when dropped.

Titanium hairstyling tools

Titanium is the hottest of the hotties, and not just because of its gleaming metal sheen. This metal is the most intense conductor of heat in the styling tool world, which is both its biggest positive aspect and also its greatest downfall. It heats up fast and can reach higher temperatures than other materials. 

Unfortunately, the heating isn’t always very even, so it can also have “hot spots.” It’s the best option for anyone with coarse, styling-resistant hair or for professionals who need to work quickly. 

Ceramic tourmaline hairstyling tools

Ceramic tourmaline takes things to the next level as far as gentleness, speed, and results are concerned. Tourmaline is a beautiful gemstone with a unique physical ability. When it’s heated, it emits a significant amount of negative ions - much more so than ceramic alone. 

These negative ions help moisture to evaporate quickly, which results in faster styling time. They also have a cuticle-sealing effect that results in healthier hair that looks smoother and shinier. At the same time, ceramic tourmaline also still offers that even, gentle heating of ceramic, so it’s an excellent option for just about any hair type.  

As for durability - this type of ceramic is usually applied as a thick coating over metal, which ensures that the plates or barrels won’t break easily if dropped. It’s basically the best of all worlds! 

Painted hairstyling tools

If there’s one category of hairstyling tools to avoid, it’s painted ones. Instead of being coated or made of molded materials, these are styling tools made of aluminum painted with a light coating of material that’s usually infused with a negligible amount of tourmaline (if at all). 

Unfortunately, companies don’t usually admit to having painted tools, so the best way to identify them is to look at the price - they’re usually much cheaper than true ceramic or ceramic tourmaline styling tools would be.  

Choosing By Hair Type

styling tool materials for different hair types

Ultimately, we think it comes down to ceramic tourmaline or titanium when deciding on styling tools. Here’s how to decide based on the state of your hair! 

Thin or fine hair

When you have thin or fine hair, your goal is to choose styling tools made of materials that will keep your hair healthy and intact. Ceramic and ceramic tourmaline are the best materials for your hair type because they’ll maintain your hair’s overall health by keeping the heating even. 

Another thing to consider is choosing tools that’ll give you volume. You may want to use a smoothing brush or blow dryer to create sleek styles. These kinds of tools emit heat in a less direct manner while helping it retain some height, whereas flat irons that can make your hair too pin-straight. 

Fragile hair

If your hair has been damaged by styling tools or bleaching, it’s so important you avoid styling tools with titanium plates or barrels. Instead, aim for gentler options. Ceramic is a safe choice, but ceramic tourmaline is the best because of its ability to generate cuticle-smoothing negative ions. 

Finally, how you use your styling tools is just as important! Make sure to use heat-protecting sprays prior to styling, and avoid turning the temperature up too high. 

Thick hair

It can take forever to style thick hair since there’s simply so much of it. That’s when a tool with the capacity to emit a lot of heat will work best. Titanium will give you the fastest results. On the other hand, thick hair can still get fragile or frizzy - if that’s an issue for you, aim for ceramic tourmaline instead. Thanks to the tourmaline, you’ll still enjoy fast styling times but with less damage. 

Coarse hair

Coarse hair is often very resistant to holding a style, so you may want to choose titanium hairstyling tools, despite the increased risk of heat damage. Especially when you’re straightening your hair, titanium will do the fastest job with a minimal need for repeated strokes. 

Choosing a Material Based on the Product Type

Glister hairstyling tools

When choosing the ideal material for your hair, you’ll also want to consider the type of tool you’re actually shopping for - the considerations are very different between a blow dryer, flat iron, and curler. 

Blow Dryer

Blow dryers are a little different from other tools. They don’t need to come in direct contact with your hair to style it, which means that as a category, they’re gentler than flat irons or curlers. 

Even so, the heating element at the core of your hair dryer can still make a difference! Most blow dryers have a metal core that emits heat, but nowadays, there are also more advanced options. 

At Glister, we use the same ceramic tourmaline technology to elevate our Interstellar Blow Dryers. Adding a layer of this material over the dryer’s heating element makes for a tool that dries more efficiently while preserving the hair’s health and boosting its shine. If your hair is very fine or frizz-prone, it’s pretty much a must-have. 

Hair straighteners

Hair straighteners are the tools where the material is definitely the most relevant. Take your time to decide between fast-styling but potentially damaging titanium vs ultra-smoothing tourmaline ceramic. While a ceramic or tourmaline flat iron might require more passes over your hair, it can be worth it for the minimal damage. 

There are a few other factors to consider though. Floating plates are a huge bonus when looking at flat irons, regardless of material. Floating means that the plates aren’t rigidly fixed to the straightener, but that they’re actually a little flexible. This means better contact with the hair but with minimal risk of pulling or tugging. 

Other factors you’ll want to keep in mind include plate size and temperature controls.


When using a curler, the heat component stays in contact with your hair for a lot longer. This means that titanium curlers are much more damaging compared to quick-gliding titanium flat irons. 

That’s why it’s best to choose ceramic or tourmaline ceramic hair curlers. Tourmaline ceramic will keep the curls looking very shiny and bouncy, and since it’s still a quick-styling option, the curls tend to stay intact. That said, if your hair is extremely straight and doesn’t want to hold a curl, you may have to resort to a titanium tool. 

Finally, there are, of course, other factors to consider, like barrel size, whether you want a clip curler or curling wand, and what kind of heating controls the tool has. 

Metal, clay, and gemstones 

We tend to think of hairstyling tools as high-tech creations, but if you think about it, their most important components are made of metal, clay, and gemstones. 

At Glister, we love the balance of gentleness and efficiency (not to mention the beautiful sheen and enhanced smoothing effects) that tourmaline gemstones add to the styling process - that’s why all of our tools are enhanced by ceramic tourmaline. 

When in doubt, we think ceramic tourmaline is always the way to go, but you can also give titanium a try if your hair is feeling particularly stubborn. Either way, we’re certain you’ll create some marvelous hairstyles!