If you’re using heat styling tools on your hair, you’re legally obliged (or at least we think you should be) to use some form of heat protectant product like heat protection sprays, serums or oils to preserve your locks.
Often when we blow dry, straighten or curl our hair, the damage that heat inflicts is an afterthought, and by then, the damage is done. Any heat applied to the hair that’s above 200 degrees will do damage to your hair. Even the most healthy, fortified strands are susceptible to dryness, weakening, and heat damage, especially if you’re a frequent styler.
Fortunately for hot tool lovers, using a heat protectant can safeguard hair by acting as a barrier between intense heat and your fragile strands. If you want a double dose of protection, we recommend using a conditioning product (like an oil, serum or leave-in treatment). At the same time, hair is damp and then using a heat protectant spray or balm before settling in for a blowy or straightening sesh.
These days, most heat protection products can be used on either wet or dry hair since they come in various formulas. Some products even double up on the benefits and provide conditioning, detangling and de-frizzing results too.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best heat protection pre-styling treatments — think sprays, serums and balms — as well as post-treatments so your hair can live its healthiest life.
The Best Heat Protection Sprays
This 97% naturally derived heat protectant spray shields hair from heat up to 450 degrees during styling and instantly conditions and infuses hair with Aveda’s calming ‘Shampure’ aroma. It’s a unique bouquet of 25 pure flower and plant essences, including certified organic lavender, orange, petitgrain and ylang-ylang. Simply shake well and spray lightly onto dry hair from 6 – 8 inches away from the head, focusing on the mid-lengths to ends.
Oribe Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray contains conditioning and UV-absorbing molecules that hydrate the hair while offering UV sun protection. It’s a beautiful, lightweight hair spray enriched with the hair-loving ingredient Argan Oil, indigenous to south Morocco, that helps restore the strands’ natural lipid content—giving you shiner, well-conditioned hair.
TRESemmé Heat Defence Hair Styling Spray Care & Protect Thermal Protection was $799, now $4.45
A few spritzes’ of TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray will help to protect your locks from heat damage and friction. The formula contains anti-static properties and conditioning proteins and vitamins, meaning it’ll leave your locks silky smooth every time you use it. The light spray is ideal for getting the most out of your styling, whether you’re going for long, silky straight strands or bouncy curls and waves.
Kérastase Résistance Ciment Thermique is designed to protect and rebuild hair that’s been severely damaged by colouring, bleaching, or heat-styling. This pre-styling treatment provides thermo-protection of up to 180°C to help prevent further damage and breakage each time you style your hair. Weakened hair will benefit from the Vita-Ciment formula as it contains Pro-Keratin and Ceramide, working to rebuild and strengthen the hair fibre from the inside out. Apply a small amount to towel-dried hair to accelerate blow-dry time for beautiful results.
KEVIN.MURPHY Heated Defense, $42.95
KEVIN.MURPHY Heated Defense is a lightweight foam that offers protection up to 230 degrees Celsius while moisturising, softening and smoothing out your hair. It’s a real winner, particularly if you don’t want to sacrifice a light, voluminous feel in your blowout.
Take care of your dry, damaged hair while styling with Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Extreme Restoration Duo Serum. This lightweight serum combines two different chambers with formulas designed to complement and enhance each other and repair and protect damaged hair. Think of this little baby as a defibrillator, but for your locks.
The Best Aftercare Repair Treatments
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil was $49.99, now $39.99
Repair hair as you style with Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil. This highly concentrated styling oil works to repair the damage, strengthen and protect, and add shine, all while providing heat protection of up to 230°C. Enriched with the patented Olaplex active ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, damaged bonds within the hair are repaired and restored. It should be your go-to treatment for hair damage caused by chemical processing, bleaching and heat styling.
Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir is a luxurious hair oil designed for long-lasting smoothness. This advanced, scientifically formulated oil restores and hydrates hair that’s been damaged by colour, heat styling and chemical processing.
Give dry, weak or damaged hair a potent dose of hydration and renewed strength with Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask. This rich and creamy treatment infuses hair with goodness without weighing it down, leaving it soft, hydrated and lustrous. Formulated with first-of-its-kind Alpha-Keratin 60ku, this mask works overtime to improve hair health and strength post-damage.