If you love to heat style your hair, you’re no stranger to heat protectant—or, at least, you shouldn’t be. While you may love the big, voluminous curls or sleek, polished locks you achieve with the help of your go-to hot tools, all of that heat styling can take a serious toll on the look and feel of your tresses. That’s why if you want to keep creating the looks you love without dealing with excess dryness, frizz, or breakage, you’ll need to add a heat protectant to your hair care routine ASAP.
While every mane can benefit from a heat protectant, not all formulas are created equal—and you should invest in a product that’s best suited for your hair type and concerns. Below, we’re breaking down what you need to know about heat protectant, plus our best heat protectant sprays and formulas you can buy now.
Do hair heat protectants really work?
Much like wearing gloves to protect your hands from germs, heat protectants act as a barrier between your strands and your hot tools. These formulas coat the hair cuticle and minimize the effects of heat damage, help manage frizz, and protect against color fading. It’s important to note that heat protectants don’t protect your hair from damage completely but help to reduce the chance of damage Even if you use heat protectant every time you use hot tools, we recommend taking breaks from heat styling every few days, air drying, and keeping your hot tools on the lowest temperature setting.
Do you let heat protectant dry before straightening?
If you wrap your hair around your curling wand the second after you apply a heat protectant, that sizzling sound may be all too familiar. This is the result of your hot tool coming into contact with the liquid that’s still damp in the hair. That’s why we recommend distributing the product evenly throughout your mane and waiting for it to dry completely before you begin styling.
What are the best heat protectants?
If you’re searching for the best heat protectant to add to your routine, we’re here to help! From heat protectant sprays to leave-ins to hair oils, read on for 24 formulas for every hair type and concern.
Our Best Heat Protectant Products
Biolage Professional Hydra Source Blow Dry Shaping Lotion
A welcome addition to the fan-favorite Hydra Source range, Biolage’s Blow Dry Shaping Lotion does it all. The formula protects against heat, helps cut your drying time, hydrates your hair, and helps your style retain its shape for up to 72 hours. Impressive, no?
Redken Thermal Spray 22 High Hold
Redken’s Thermal Spray 22 High Hold is like a hairspray and heat protectant in one. This holding hair mist with mega control holds your tightest curls or flat-ironed looks in place all day and all night.
Matrix Food For Soft Multi-Use Hair Oil Serum
Infused with nourishing ingredients like avocado oil and hyaluronic acid, Matrix’s Food For Soft Multi-Use Hair Oil Serum smooths and softens hair with added heat protection. Plus, it’s super lightweight for buildable application without weighing hair down.
Mizani Press Agent Press Agent Thermal Smoothing Raincoat Styling Cream and Press Agent Press Agent Thermal Smoothing Raincoat Styling Serum
Calling all silk press lovers! Mizani’s Press Agent Thermal Smoothing Raincoat Styling Cream and Press Agent Thermal Smoothing Raincoat Styling Serum are must-haves in your hair care regimen. Better together, these layerable formulas ensure your curls and coils lay sleek, shiny, and flyaway-free so you get the most out of your blowout. They each contain a UV filter, too, to safeguard your color from the sun.
Redken Quick Blowout Heat Protecting Blow Dry Spray
Redken’s Quick Blowout has a flash-drying formula with benefits like frizz control, all while protecting hair from heat damage. Don’t forget to shake first! It’s a bi-phase formula, meaning oil and water, so you have to shake to reap all the amazing benefits.
L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Fluidifier Blow Dry Cream
Ideal for normal to sensitive hair types, the Serie Expert Fluidifier Blow Dry Cream is designed to defend hair against the damaging effects of heat styling, plus promote manageability and hair’s natural shine. Apply three to five pumps to towel-dried hair from lengths to ends before blow drying.
Kérastase Resistane Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer
If you're currently growing out damaged, over-processed, or weakened hair, but you still want to blow-dry it or use hot tools sometimes, make sure you always get some help from Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer. This primer not only protects hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit so damaged hair doesn't get worse, but it also repairs breakage so strands become stronger.
Redken Thermal Spray 11 Low Hold
For those with fine hair, you need a lightweight heat protectant that also provides styling control. Redken’s Thermal Spray 11 Low Hold is a heat-protective medium control spray that provides a clean-feeling and touchable hold perfect for curling wand or flat irons looks.
Biolage Professional Thermal Active Hair Spray
Biolage’s Thermal Active Hair Spray does triple the work as a heat protectant, hair treatment, and volumizing spray. This formula, infused with blue agave nectar, strengthens and conditions hair while guarding against heat styling and adding body and volume.
Matrix Mega Sleek Iron Smoother Leave-In Spray
If you’re searching for a heat protectant to help you achieve super-sleek, frizz-free locks, pick up Matrix Mega Sleek Iron Smoother Leave-In Spray. This de-frizzing leave-in spray helps protect against high heat damage and humidity for all-day frizz control and smoothness.
Redken Oil For All Multi-Benefit Hair Oil
Heat protectant products are meant to do just that—guard your hair against damage—but we love it when our hair products do double duty like Redken’s Oil For All. This editor-tested, multitasking hair oil works as a heat protectant, shine booster, and frizz controller for every hair type.
L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Huile Originale
If you’re all about luxury when choosing the products you add to your routine, you’ll love L'Oréal Professionnel’s Mythic Oil Huile Originale. Formulated with argan oil, this nourishing hair oil protects against heat damage, adds shine, and softens strands while taming frizz.
Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray
After you color your hair, you need to swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated to protect your color. The same thing goes for your heat protectant. If you’ve recently colored your hair but can’t get enough of your flat iron, we recommend picking up Pureology’s Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray. This product offers 21 benefits for hair, including heat protection, detangling, hydration, and added shine.
Matrix Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Hair Treatment
If you only have five minutes to get ready in the morning, you need a multi-tasking hair product to help style, treat, and protect your hair from heat. The Matrix Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Hair Treatment has 20 beautifying benefits for your hair, including boosting shine, helping prevent breakage from brushing, adding moisture, fighting frizz, and protecting against heat damage.
Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique Blow Dry Primer
If you have dry hair, every hair product you use should help moisturize your mane—including your heat protectant. Kérastase’s Nutritive Nectar Thermique Blow Dry Primer nourishes the hair fiber, creating smoother, shinier hair while protecting it from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Redken Extreme Play Safe Strengthening Heat Protectant
Hair damage is inevitable for those who can’t go a day without relying on their hot tools. That’s why you need a formula like Redken Extreme Play Safe Strengthening Heat Protectant. This 3-in-1 leave-in treatment reduces damage caused by hot tools, strengthens the hair fiber to reduce breakage, and protects hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner
If you’re a curly girl who’s sworn off blowouts and flat irons, you may believe there’s no need to incorporate heat-protectant products into your hair care routine. However, you should pick up a heat protectant if you’ve swapped your blowouts for a voluminous wash-and-go dried with a diffuser. A multipurpose product like Mizani’s 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner not only helps prevent heat damage but also boasts 24 additional benefits, including reducing dryness, adding smoothness, and enhancing shine.
Kérastase L’incroyable Blowdry Hair Lotion
Kérastase’s L’incroyable Blowdry Hair Lotion reshapable heat protectant lotion, made with repositionable shape memory, allows you to switch between styles easily while controlling the look of frizz for up to 96 hours.
Redken Big Blowout Heat Protecting Jelly Serum
Craving the ultimate bombshell blowout without any of the damage? Try Redken’s Big Blowout Heat Protecting Jelly Serum for 24-hour body and bounce with added heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mizani Style Shifter Society Heat Screen
Much like sunscreen, you can’t just apply heat protectant once. You should use a heat protectant product whenever you heat style your hair. If you just can’t seem to remember to reapply your heat protectant, Mizani’s Style Shifter Society Heat Screen is the perfect heat protectant for you.
It has heat-activated style memory, meaning you can apply the product once and reactivate it just by restyling your hair using heat. Formulated with beeswax and cranberry seed oil, the product provides heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kérastase Discipline Keratine Thermique Blow Dry Primer
Getting a case of the frizzies after a blowout is never fun. We recommend prepping hair with Discipline Keratine Thermique Blow Dry Primer before whipping out any heat tools. This heat protectant doubles as a leave-in treatment that will leave hair smooth with fewer flyaways.
Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream
This blow-dry primer cream provides heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with reworkable and re-touchable hold. The Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream is great if you love to switch up your look throughout the day.
Kérastase Blond Absolu Cicaplasme Hair Serum
Excessive heat styling can quickly diminish the vibrancy of your blonde hair color, so we recommend using a heat-protecting product like Kérastase Blond Absolu Cicaplasme Hair Serum. This heat protectant, formulated with hyaluronic acid, strengthens and smooths hair, repairs damage, and provides heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Are you in search of heat-proof styling hacks? Find expert tips and tricks on how to use these salon-quality products at Hair.com. You can also use our salon locator to get professionally styled at a salon near you.