Despite the huge numbers of people worldwide who use them in their everyday hair care, the history of hair straighteners is known to few. The straightening iron device, of two flat heated plates on a hinge that we press together over areas of hair in order to straighten it out, has become an essential gadget of modern beauty. All salons have straighteners in stock, and hundreds of people own one for use at home. The origins of the device, however, are surprisingly far back in history.

It was actually in 1872 that the closest original predecessor of the hair straightener was invented. Parisian born Marcel Grateau is given the earliest attribution of a “straightener”, as he created a heated rod used for both curling and straightening hair. It became known popularly as the Marcel Wave, and a modern brand is still named after this hair styling forefather, the Marcel Handle.



Grateau went on to create a slightly more advanced version of his invention years later in 1906, when he came up with a heated styling tool that had metallic teeth. It was late on in his career, however, and he was upstaged just three years later in 1090 when Isaac Shero patented his invention. This was the first instance of two flat irons that were pressed together, although at this stage they were separate.

Finally, it was in 1912 that the closest ancestor of the modern straighteners was born. Scottish heiress Lady Jennifer Bell Schofield, having studied many of the earlier designs and attempts, combined the best features to create a hinged, two plated iron.

Hair straighteners are now some of the most used appliances in the world, with huge brands having emerged to dominate the market. The most successful of these is ghd, or Good Hair Day, who have only been producing products since 2001. Their heated hair stylers, however, are almost unanimously agreed to be the best quality technology available. Many agree that ghd straighteners are the best in the world.

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