If You Heat-Style Your Hair, Make Sure You're Not Skipping Out On This Key Step


If you're someone who regularly heat styles your hair, you're probably already familiar with the potential damage it can cause. But saying no to hot tools — be it blow dryers, curling irons, or straighteners — isn't always realistic, hence, the importance of properly protecting your hair with some type of shielding product. But with all the different formulas out there, narrowing down the best heat protectants for hair can be tricky — which is where this handy guide comes in.

To get the lowdown on all things heat protectants, I got in touch with colorist Lucille Javier of Sally Hershberger salon at Hudson Yards in New York City. Javier says that any hair type can benefit from using a heat protectant, but notes that they're "especially great for hair types that are chemically-treated." (Chemically-treated hair tends to be more brittle, so it needs all the extra protecting it can get.) According to Javier, when shopping for a heat protectant, the key terms to look out for are "smoothers, strengtheners, and UV protectants," which will help prevent and counteract the worst side effects of heat styling.

As for how to use a heat protectant properly? Typically, you'll want to apply the product on damp hair before styling, though some products can also be applied on dry hair — it really depends on the formula. As usual, just be sure to the instructions first.

Scroll on to discover five of the best heat protectants to use for healthier hair.


The Best Heat Protectant Spray, According To Amazon Reviewers

More than 3,000 Amazon reviewers gave the HSI Professional Argan Oil Thermal Protector a perfect five-star rating on Amazon. Spray it on your hair before styling to keep it protected from temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit — it'll also help speed up blow-drying time. Additionally, the argan oil-infused formula doubles as a leave-in conditioner: It helps detangle knots and enhance shine, resulting in healthy-looking, silky-feeling hair.

"This is, BY FAR, the best heat protectant I have ever used ... I have wavy fine hair, so it's very hard to find a balance between getting enough moisture and not weighing down my hair. This product does that beautifully, and I feel good putting it on because the argan oil really coats the hair and keeps it healthy," wrote one Amazon reviewer.


The Best Under-$5 Pick

A must-have for anyone who blow-dries their hair, this L'Oreal Paris priming spray will seriously speed up the process. Not only does it cut down on how long it takes to dry your hair, but it also protects it from heat damage and reduces frizz. You can use it to protect your hair from curling irons and straighteners — all that, for under $5.

"This is my all time go to hair heat protector. I blow dry my hair after every shampoo and since I started using this product I notice way less breakage," reported one reviewer. Another customer commented, "The spray smells amazing and cut my drying time in half. I was actually shocked how quickly my hair dried [...] Usually takes me 20 minutes to blow dry with a flat and large round brush and my dry bar blow dryer. Using this primer I was done in 10 minutes flat."


The Best Heat Protectant Cream

Functioning both as a blow-drying finisher and heat protectant, this creamy formula from Briogeo is infused with a decadent blend of rose hip, coconut, and argan oils, as well as vitamin E, to keep hair healthy and soft. It protects hair from temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit while simultaneously cutting down on frizz. Like all of Briogeo's products, it's cruelty-free, vegan, and made of mostly (95%, to be exact) natural, plant-based ingredients.

One reviewer wrote, "I have very fluffy, thick hair which I style with a curling iron or flat iron three times a week. This stuff keeps my hair frizz-free, soft, and shiny. And it smells great!"


The Best Heat Protectant Oil

If you love using oils in your hair, the Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum is for you. This lightweight oil softens and strengthens your hair without weighing it down, thanks to Amika's hero ingredient, sea buckthorn berry oil, which is packed with omegas that help keep your hair protected from heat damage and environmental aggressors. The deliciously scented oil also increases shine and tames flyaways, and it can be used both before and after styling on dry or damp hair.

"First of all, this bottle lasts FOREVER, so worth every penny. I was looking for a heat protectant that was similar CHI but not nearly has heavy or greasy. This is perfect. It's a light serum that smells GREAT and really does protect your hair. I've been using it for about a year and I have gone longer between haircuts, and my ends are SUBSTANTIALLY better and not nearly as split and gross as I was seeing. Very much recommend!" reported one satisfied customer.


The Best Heat Protectant Hairspray

The Beachwaver Co. Great Barrier Heat Protectant Hairspray makes it easy to style your hair and keep it protected at the same time. The formula, which can be used on either damp or dry hair, prevents damage from both the environment and hot tools by forming a protective barrier on your hair. Additionally, it offers medium hold (so you can use it to secure updos), cuts down on frizz, and smells delicious.

"It's an amazing heat barrier and eliminates the fried ends issue from flat irons, etc. It keeps my curly hair straight even in humidity!" raved one reviewer. Another wrote, "It gives my curls long lasting stay but keeps my hair soft and moveable."

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