Would you spend a day out in the sun without slathering on SPF first? We hope your answer is no. In the same vein, you shouldn’t heat style your hair without first spritzing on a heat protectant spray. Just like sunscreen safeguards your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, the best heat protectant sprays shield hair from the heat damage done by hairdryers, curling irons, flat irons, and other hot tools.
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“Heat protectant sprays are a necessary part of anyone’s routine who often use heat to style their hair,” says Shelley Gregory, Global Pro Club Color Expert & Educator, celebrity colorist. “They not only add extra moisture to your hair and make a great primer for all other products, but they also protect your color, shine, and the health of hair.”
In other words, just a few spritzes can be super beneficial. “I always try to explain to clients to think of a heat protectant as a primer for your hair, like what a makeup primer would be to your face,” Gregory says. “When you use a makeup primer before all of your other products, it’s not only is good for your skin, but it also makes all your other products perform better.”
Gregory explains that heat protectant sprays work to save your strands by forming a shield around hair fibers that intensely protects from stressors like sun, humidity, and hot tools. They add essential moisture to the hair, which is lost when styling with heat, and smooth the cuticle for smoother styles, too. “They’re also key for protecting anyone who has color in their hair,” she adds, saying they will help prevent fading or brassiness over time.
So, what should you look for when shopping for a heat protectant spray? “Find one that is right for your hair texture and porosity,” Gregory says. “Someone with thicker hair might want more moisture in a cream and someone with finer hair might want a lighter spray heat protectant.” Whatever your texture, look for ingredients like humectants (like panthenol and glycerin), nourishing oils, and amino acids (aka keratin).
How to use heat protectant sprays:
To make sure you’re maxing out the benefits, Gregory breaks down the best way to apply heat protectant sprays below.
- After a shower, towel dry your clean hair.
- Separate hair into four large sections on each quadrant of the head and apply heat protectant spray evenly to each section.
- After applying evenly all over, brush through to make sure all the product is evenly distributed throughout.
- Apply any styling products before blow-drying.
Shop the best heat protectant sprays to keep your hair happy and healthy:
“Pretty much any of the Kérastase Thermiques is what I use daily on my clients,” says Gregory (who works with the brand). “They have a special formula for all hair types and needs, and I love that it is prescriptive to your exact need. The new Serum Chroma Thermique is such a great addition to all colored hair client’s routine because it has antioxidants to protect color and hair from oxidative stress, protecting your hair color investment.”
The ultimate twofer, this safeguards strands from heat styling and enhances hair color by preventing dullness and color fade. A blend of hydrating tamanu oil and keratin nurtures locks, leaving them soft and shiny. The fruity fragrance is the perfect final touch, a mix of sandalwood, musk, Chinese tea rose and freesia.
In addition to majorly cutting damage from your hot tools, it’ll decrease blow-dry time to get you out the door faster. You can expect less breakage, plus it fights frizz caused by humidity and thermal damage.
Essentially a one-stop-shop for your hair, this spray truly does it all. Boasting a whopping 21 benefits, and designed for all hair types and textures, it does so much more than protect hair from heat damage. It also detangles, adds shine, conditions, smooths, helps prevent split ends, fights frizz and static, and adds silkiness, to name a few.
In addition to protecting hair from heat, this also guards it from friction. Designed to work when heat-activated to prevent styling damage and hold your hair shape, it leaves hair shiny and soft.
Like all Moroccanoil products, this one contains their signature ingredient, argan oil, to condition and nourish hair while protecting it from thermal damage. It’s also spiked with panthenol, a form of vitamin B5, to moisturize and leave locks with high shine.
Save your strands from heat damage sans any icky ingredients. Made with 93% natural origin ingredients, it’s spiked with flax seeds and antioxidant-rich ferulic acid to strengthen and protect hair while providing light hold, volume and shine. The subtle scent of apple, lavender, lemon, and honey is an added bonus.
Cover all the bases with this heat protectant spray that doubles as a detangler, courtesy of hyaluronic acid and elastin protein to smooth strands. The weightless spray is designed to work for all hair types, including colored and chemically processed hair.
Worth the splurge, this luxe heat protectant helps deliver salon-level blowouts. Not only does this prevent future damage, split ends and breakage, but it helps restore hair from present damage, with rosehip fruit oil and the Oribe Signature Complex that mitigates environmental elements, oxidative stress, photoaging and the decline of natural keratin.
In case the name didn’t give it away, this heat protectant spray contains coconut oil to deeply hydrate hair. The lightweight spray also adds shine, smooths, tames flyaways, and reduces static. Its coconut and agave fragrance will transport you to a tropical island with every spritz.