The most important thing about a heat protectant is that you’re using one at all. Without coating your hair in a protective layer before styling it with a hot tool, you're leaving it vulnerable to dryness and damage, including breakage and split ends. So, pick up one of the heat protectant sprays featured ahead. Not only are they easier and less messy to apply than balms, creams, or serums, but since sprays are lighter-weight than those other vehicles, they won’t weigh down fine hair, interrupt curls, or leave behind a greasy residue. The best heat protectant sprays possess more than just protective powers, too: Thanks to some combination of silicones, proteins, and nutrient-rich oils, these formulas can also help speed up blow-drying time, reduce static and frizz, restore moisture, and soften split ends. (And some heat protectant sprays do even more than that, as you’ll soon find out.)
Remember: Whether your hair is damp or dry, before exposing it to any form of heat, coat your strands with a few spritzes of heat protectant first. Also, try and let your heat protectant dry fully before using a straightener or curling iron, otherwise, you might experience a bit of sizzling.
Ahead, you'll find six of the best heat protectants you can get on Amazon, no matter your hair type, budget, or hot styling tool of choice. You’re just a few spritzes away from the soft, smooth, not-totally-destroyed hair you deserve.
1. Best Splurge
This professional-grade blow-dry spray from Kenra gets universally glowing reviews all over the internet. It claims to provide heat protection up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit, cut blow-drying time in half, and detangle, soften, and defrizz hair in the process — all of which check out, according to its many devotees. In this formula, argan and jojoba oils provide nourishment and some natural heat protection, while a raft of dimethicones seal each strand in a protective coating to ward off damage and humidity. This is a great, non-sticky choice for people with all hair types, and people love its luxe scent.
2. Best For Flat Ironing
You could use any heat protectant on this list before you flat iron your hair, but I think this John Frieda flat iron spray is the smartest choice for that. It’s kind of genius, actually. The formula's blend of lightweight polymers is heat-activated, so your hair gets smoother, glossier, and stays protected with each pass of your straightener. The spray also contains hydrolyzed keratin to help actively repair damage — something from which frequent flat-ironers can undoubtedly benefit. This works best when spritzed on wet or damp hair, so you’ll need to blow dry or wait for your hair to air dry before you go in with your straightener. Either way, this heat protectant promises to maintain your style for up to three days.
3. Best For Curly Hair
When I spoke to amika Global Artistic Director Naeemah Lafond about flat irons recently (she likes this one from amika, FYI), she stressed the special importance of using a heat protectant on curly hair. Without one, Lafond said, you run the risk of damaging your natural curl pattern. Plus, curly hair typically requires hotter temperatures to get the job done, which leaves it more vulnerable to damage and breakage (though it's equally important to use a heat protectant before blow drying). Try this Cantu heat protectant if you’re looking for a reasonably priced option that won't mess with your curl pattern. In here, shea butter keeps your hair feeling soft, moisturized, and silky, even after applying intensive heat. Reviewers with all curl types confirm that it doesn’t create tons of buildup, and it does a beautiful job of taming unwanted frizz.
4. Best Drugstore Pick
Here’s another budget-friendly option, this time for all hair types. You can use this L’Oreal spray to protect your hair from all manner of hot styling tools, but it’s especially useful for achieving super-sleek results with your straightener. It protects your hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’ll accommodate the most intense heat setting on pretty much any flat iron you might use. The product itself receives almost no demerits (it’s one of the best-rated heat protectant sprays on Amazon), but reviewers have suggested using caution with the nozzle. The spray dispenses evenly but intensely, and it can leave a slippery film on your bathroom floor. Have your Swiffer to hand!
5. Best Scent
I understand that qualifying scent is a subjective phenomenon, but I’m risking some imprecision for Moroccanoil Perfect Defense. I’ve never met a person who isn’t straight-up obsessed with Moroccanoil’s signature scent, which comes courtesy of sultry amber and fresh florals. Beyond the irresistible scent, this heat protectant does, in fact, do its job very well. It’s infused with argan oil, which is one of the best natural thermal protectants and frizz-reducing ingredients out there. Thanks to argan oil’s massive stores of fatty acids, it also suffuses dry, damaged hair with lots of moisture. This spray protects hair from heat of up to an impressive 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and comes in a fairly large, 6-ounce bottle, as well as in a travel-friendly 2-ounce size.
6. Best Multitasker
Type As, Virgos, working parents, other folks skilled in the art of multitasking — this Pureology spray is for you. Along with protecting your hair from hot styling tools, this workhorse boasts a whopping 20 benefits: It detangles, conditions, smooths, controls frizz and static, prevents split ends and breakage ... you name it. You can’t go wrong with this show-off. But seeing as Pureology makes some of the best color-protecting hair products out there, I think it’s an especially good choice if you have color-treated hair. In particular, one of this spray’s (many) jobs is to protect your dye from both hot styling tools and environmental aggressors that can cause fading, thanks to a special UV filter and tons of antioxidants.