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How To Choose The Right Heat Protectant For Your Hair

photo of woman using flat iron on hair

Of all the hair products we use on a daily basis, none gets forgotten as often as the heat protectant. When you’re rushing to flat iron bedhead into a presentable style before work, it’s the step you skip most. Packing a suitcase for your beach vacation with the girls, it’s the one beauty product that gets the boot from an overflowing liquids bag.


Let’s make this clear: Heat protectant is probably the most important product you own. Whether you’re a blow dry addict or use a curling iron just once a week, hanging on to platinum blonde hair or wearing your natural color, this beauty must-have can mean the difference between healthy-feeling mane and a crackly, dry bird’s nest.


However, not all heat protectants boast the same benefits. Mattison Perron, Kérastase brand ambassador and expert stylist, recommends finding a formula customized to suit your hair goals and needs. Need more info? Keep reading.

The Basics Of Heat Protectant

Every head of hair is a little different and therefore requires a unique combination of products. At any haircut or color consultation, your stylist should be able to give you the rundown on your mane. Is it dry or oil? Healthy or damaged? A deep understanding of your hair type will enable you to form concrete hair goals.


It isn’t just the fabric of your hair that’s important to understand, either. There’s a good reason stylists want to know details about how frequently you shampoo and whether or not you use a curling iron multiple times per week. Your habits determine the kind of products you need.


By the time you’re dropping heat protectant into a digital cart and hitting “buy,” you should have taken several concerns into consideration. Don’t believe the myth that heat protectant products merely minimize the damage caused by heat. These days, they can help you accomplish so much more.

The Right Temperature

One of the biggest parts of choosing the right protectant product is understanding the way hot tools work. Blow dryers, flat irons, and the like can heat up to temperatures in excess of 450 degrees. That’s an excellent bonus if you have extremely curly, difficult to style hair, but it can also be extremely damaging. Your heat protectant should guard your strands against the heat level you’re using. There’s no point in using a product that guards up to 350 degrees if the actual temperature is much hotter.


Perron takes the idea one step further, advising that you take into account potential deceptive temperature indicators from hot tools.

As an added note, stylists generally recommend using your tools at the lowest possible temperature that still works for your hair. If you can turn your curling iron down two notches and notice your hair still holds a curl, you’re headed in the right direction.

The Styling Aid

Many women don’t like using several styling products every day, finding that it leads to quick buildup. If we’re putting a voice to your feelings, Perron has a solution you’ll love: Use a heat protectant that works double duty.


“Clients should always address their main hair concern when shopping for a thermal protectant,” the stylist explains, “While a barrier between your hair and heat is always a good idea, what else is the product offering you when it comes to styling?”


Perron recommends returning the hair goals you’ve probably worked out with the aid of your stylist. From Kérastase, the stylist loves the Thermique products for their multitasking approach to hair care.


“For those with damaged hair look for something that is resurfacing and strengthening like Ciment Thermique,” Perron says. “If your main concern is unruly hair, Keratine Thermique will provide smoothing and taming that will help keep your style smoother longer. And for those with dry hair who are looking for an everyday product to polish and nourish, they would benefit from Nectar Thermique.”


Unlike what we’ve been told for many years, heat styling shouldn’t mean backtracking when it comes to your mane goals. The right product will leave you with hair that looks and feels beautiful.

The Ride-Or-Die Restyler

There’s even a product fit for the ladies who do their heat styling on days two and three after shampooing. In fact, Perron is practically a spokesperson for the habit.


“I love a heat protectant that reactivates every time I use heat,” she says. “Because I only wash my hair a few times a week but use heat almost every day, I need something that will keep my hair safe and help hold the style even on dirty hair days.”


From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, the professional stylist stands by L’incroyable Blowdry Crème for medium to thick hair—restyle without reapplying, just add heat. The reshapable heat-styling cream offers thermo-protection at up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit, controlling the look of frizz for 96 hours in high humidity. If you’re looking for a similar formula for fine hair, choose L’incroyable Blowdry Lotion.


Armed with a heat protectant for every need and desire, you’ll never leave one out of your daily routine again. More heat, fewer problems.

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