7 heat protectants that'll help shield your hair from damage
Spray (most of) the guilt away
By Team BEAUTYcrew
August 30 2021
We all know heat styling isn’t the best for the health of your hair, but since we're still partial to the confidence boost a good blow-dry gives us, we can't hang them up completely, okay? Sue us.
However, because we want to have the best of both worlds (perfectly coiffed waves and as fewer split ends as possible), a good heat protectant is key.
What do heat protecting products do?
As the name suggests, a heat protectant for hair shields hair that’s about to be styled by a blow-dryer, straightening iron, curling tong or any other form of heat styling tool, from the damaging effects that these high heats can have on your strands. They create a protective barrier over your hair cuticle to slow down heat absorption while also distributing heat more evenly to reduce potential damage.
Of course, they don't give you 100 per cent protection, but they definitely minimise how much damage those extreme heats cause to your hair. Most heat protectants will simultaneously lock in moisture and reduce water evaporation, too, which is also greatly appreciated. You can even find some that speed up your blow-dry time; bonus.
How to choose the right one?
It can be hard to know if a heat protectant is working, so it can feel like it's a bit of a waste of effort, but we promise it's not. Basically, if you’ve never used a good one then you may think that parched, coarse feel you get every time you straighten your hair is simply normal. But it’s when you start seeing the health of your hair improve (even with daily heat styling) that you know you’ve found a keeper.
Most heat protectants will work on any hair type, but keep in mind that fine hair may find a cream or oil formula too heavy. Also, if your hair has specific needs, such as requiring extra hydration, repairing properties, protection from colour fade or frizz-fighting help, there are formulas out there that tackle these in addition to providing heat protection.
Phew, a lot to take in, huh? Well, don't worry; we've done the formula-finding work for you. So, without further ado, here are our favourite heat protectants...
Kérastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Hair Oil
Kerastase® Elixir Ultime L'Huile Originale is a front-runner in a number of hair categories in our opinion; from hair oil to thermal protection, this golden oldie has been a mainstay in many beauty lovers’ routines for years for a reason. Thermo-Reactive Polymer technology forms a protective mesh that ensures hair health during heat styling, protecting the hair from any potential dryness, while essential nutrients such as glucides, proteins and lipids provide strands with some much needed nutrition. Genius.
$59 at Adore Beauty
ghd Bodyguard Heat Protect Spray
Developed by ghd hair stylists, this heat protection spray utilises protecting polymers and conditioning agents to smooth the hair cuticle and ensure sleek, smooth styling minus the breakage. The lightweight, invisible finish means you can use this pick to create a number of different styles without impacting the final result. Happy styling!
$35 at ghd
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil
If you need an added boost of bond-reinforcing action during heat styling, then why not try enlisting the help of this repairing, protecting, smoothing and softening hair oil formula? The multi-purpose pick can be applied to damp or dry hair to aid in protecting against heat up to 230 degrees celsius, while also helping to smooth unwanted frizz, flyways and coarse, unruly hair too.
$50 at Adore Beauty
evo icon welder heat protection mist
This thermal spray helps to hold your styling creations while also providing heat protection from thermal styling temperatures up to 230 degrees celsius. Enjoy styles with an amped-up shine factor, plus the peace of mind knowing they’re going to hold for twice as long thanks to a damage-resistant formula.
$34 at Adore Beauty
CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Regenerating Serum With Prickly Pear Oil
Smooth frizz, flyaways and protect from heat up to 230 degrees celsius with this hair-strengthening pick. Omega and amino acid-rich prickly pear is the ultra-nourishing ingredient at the heart of this conditioning heat protectant formula, while Tucuma butter provides a rich source of fatty acids and carotenoids that help to intensely nourish hair and provide shine without adding weight to strands.
$76 at Sephora
Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir
Wella Professionals Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir Hair Oil is another multi-tasking hair oil that we can’t get enough of – itt protects against UV and heat damage without compromising on nourishment. Say hello to long-lasting smooth strands, high shine and protection against dehydrated hair with this pick in tow.
$19.50 at OZ Hair & Beauty
OUAI Heat Protection Spray
We’re completely unsurprised that the celeb-approved OUAI Heat Protection Spray maintains a ‘waitlist only’ status on Sephora for months at a time.The lightweight pick is safe to use on colour and keratin-treated hair and utilises innovative thermal polymers to ensure hair is left unaffected by regular heat styling.
$43 at Sephora (waitlist only)