Fact: Natural hair gals have a love hate relationship with styling tools. See, applying heat too often or not using the right products to protect your locks beforehand can lead to dryness, frizz and damage. It’s why heat protectants are key in your routine. Whether you want to diffuse your curls or switch things up with a voluminous blowout, this staple product will protect your hair against temperatures up to 450 degrees, so you get the style you want without frying your strands in the process. We searched high and low to bring you the 15 best heat protectants for natural hair, according to reviewers.
The 15 Best Heat Protectants for Natural Hair, According to Reviewers
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1. Design Essentials Natural Agave & Lavender Thermal Protectant Serum
This lightweight serum protects your strands from heat damage while promoting healthy hair growth. It’s formulated to prevent breakage, improve hair density and nourish locks with ingredients like agave extract, lavender extract and mango butter. “It smells wonderful and works exceptionally well as a thermal protector. It makes my hair silky smooth and [leaves] a beautiful shine. It doesn't weigh my hair down and I have salon results when styling,” shares one user.
2. Cantu Shea Butter Thermal Shield Heat Protectant
A good heat protectant doesn’t have to cost much. Case in point: This $5 pick strengthens, nourishes and protects your hair before you even use the hot tool. The key ingredient (shea butter) ensures your style of choice looks healthy and frizz-free. As one reviewer expresses: “I loved this heat protectant! I’ve completed the entire bottle now! It’s worked well for my curls but also when I straighten my hair! The smell is gentle but amazing! Highly recommend for budget friendly gals.”
3. Mielle Organics Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray
This spray has curly and coily gals raving about its long-lasting protection. It’s infused with mongongo oil to lock in moisture, reduce frizz and improve shine. One commenter put the spray to the test and found it made a major difference, “This is the best of the best! My hair is thick and naturally curly but I love it straight because it’s easier to manage! I use this before I blow dry and it leaves my hair in such amazing condition! After the blow dry I only flat iron on a low level and I know that the heat protectant makes the difference, because I’ve tried with or without, my hair is healthy and can be straightened often without damaging it!”
4. Garnier Perfector Straightening Mist
Get a smooth finish and lasting heat protection for up to 48 hours when you spritz this on before styling. The argan oil tames frizz while boosting shine to keep your blowout in top shape. It’s also free of parabens and sulfates, so you can stop worrying about any potentially harmful ingredients going onto your hair and scalp. But what seals the deal for natural gals is the wonderful scent it leaves behind. One reviewer sums it up best, "It keeps my hair smelling great during the day or night. It feels refreshing on my head and I received many compliments from my boyfriend. [It] makes me smell good and gives me shine and volume all together. I will purchase again. It's a must have. I definitely recommend 10/10."
5. Chi 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray
One of the OGs of hair care brands, CHI is no stranger to providing high-performing protective products. This thermal protection spray includes vitamins and proteins that make it especially ideal for people with dry or color-treated hair. Another thing: The spray doesn’t weigh down strands so your strands stay sleek and hydrated but never greasy.
“Ever since [I started] using this before I diffuse my hair, I have noticed a huge difference in my length retention and softness. This heat protectant is just what I needed. The scent is the usual Chi scent, but it meshes well with all my fragranced hair products,” shares one user.
6. It’s A 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-in
Best for Color-Treated Hair
If you frequently expose your hair to heat tools and dye, it can get very dry. This leave-in is beloved for delivering instant results. Ingredients like aloe vera and silk amino acids restore moisture and add shine, while green tea leaf and sunflower seed extracts protect against environmental, chemical and heat damage. With over 2,000 5-star reviews, this heat protectant was a game changer for many users. As one reviewer shares, “This product is magic. I have dry, damaged hair from multiple coloring and bleaching [appointments]. It's [a] 10 keeps my hair moist and easy to style. It [also] makes my hair look and feel healthy.”
7. Artnaturals Luxe Argan Oil Thermal Shield
Though argan oil has been shown to improve shine and reduce frizz, it still tends to give some natural hair gals pause (for fear that it will leave behind a greasy or heavy finish). But as one skeptic found when using this oil, it was actually lightweight on her hair. “This is a really good product. I have used oil on my hair in the past and it usually turns it into a greasy mess. This oil however works great. I use it just before I straighten my hair. It makes my hair soft, manageable and helps control frizzles. I would highly recommend! It works!!” they exclaim.
8. Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème
Best for Frizz
If “farewell frizz” is in the name, we’re hoping for top notch results. The rosehip, argan and coconut oil blend protects and conditions natural hair, so your cumulative heat styling doesn’t cause too much damage over time. The brand follows a 6-free motto to keep silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, DEA, and artificial dyes out of all their products. “I've been waiting for a hot and humid day in GA to see what my hair really does with this product and...I couldn’t be happier [with the results]!” one reviewer expresses. “This product keeps the moisture out and keeps the frizz down. I'm in love!! I will continue to buy this product and recommend it to frizzy headed girls like me!”
9. Mizani 25 Miracle Milk
Whether you want to flat iron your hair or try another style (like braids or flat twists), this spray offers manageability and protection for any natural care routine. The miracle milk is a leave-in conditioner, detangler and heat protectant rolled into one. It controls frizz and hydrates, while also repairing any existing damage from heat and/or chemicals. “This product is the BEST for frizzy, thick hair. Say bye bye to flyaways and unmanageable tangles. I also noticed a huge improvement in my hair texture, it didn't seem as dry. The best part is that it's not only multi-benefit, it's multi-purpose. You can use it on dry hair to manage frizz, wet hair to detangle, and it's also safe for styling!” exclaims one commenter.
10. Hsi Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector
Best for Dry Hair
Thanks to the core ingredient, argan oil, this heat protector repairs and replenishes dry, damaged strands. The spray acts as both a leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant whenever you need it. Plus, the nozzle spray assures every last strand gets the love it deserves. “I was really impressed by this product. I wasn’t familiar with the brand but decided to give it a try based on the reviews. I use this product as a finishing spray and as a heat protectant. It doesn’t make your hair waxy/sticky or greasy looking. It's great for a quick touch up or to add moisture/ softness to your hair. Definitely recommend!” explains one reviewer.
11. Dark & Lovely Blowout Silky Slip Blow-dry Cream
When sprays and serums just don’t cut it, try a cream instead. This $7 find makes styling your natural hair much simpler and look smoother overall. Featuring shea butter and castor oil, it keeps frizz and dryness away. Plus, it leaves your blow out tangle-free and protected until your next wash day. For one reviewer, it cut her drying time by half. As she shares, “This blow dry cream cut down my drying time by at least 30 minutes. [This] entire line is geared toward detangling and protection and I am not disappointed in the slightest. My hair is still very soft even after blow drying.”
12. Ogx Protecting + Silky Blowout Quick Drying Thermal Spray
Best for Speedy Blowouts
Want to spend less time drying your hair and more time admiring your look? This thermal spray’s quick drying feature is all reviewers can talk about. A closer look at the ingredients list and you’ll find silk and quinoa are the stars. Aside from cutting down your dry time, it shields against heat damage and produces voluminous results. “I didn't expect this to make such a difference in drying time but it works so [well]! My hair [dried] so fast. Also, unlike [some] other reviews, I had no residue or stiffness in my hair afterwards. It's quite the opposite. My hair is super soft and it smells amazing,” says one user.
13. Bumble And Bumble Invisible Oil
Best for Daily Styling
The formula includes a six-oil blend (coconut, argan, grapeseed, sweet almond, macadamia and sunflower) that softens, detangles and defends natural hair against heat damage. And it’s lightweight enough to use as a daily refresher without weighing down your locks. “I have naturally curly hair but have been wearing it long and straight for years (subjecting it to years of abuse from blow drying and flat ironing). Recently I cut it all off super short with the hopes of simplifying my hair routine and giving my hair a much needed reset. But finding the right product that will allow my curls to shine without looking greasy and weighed down or crispy and dry, [was] always a mission until I found this,” shares one reviewer.
14. Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil
Best for Damaged Hair
As we explained above, not using heat protectant (especially when relying heavily on a heat tool in your styling routine) can leave your locks dry, brittle and damaged. The solution to restoring and strengthening your hair? This bonding oil that supports the overall structure of your hair with continued use. The 17,000+ 5-star reviews can attest to this. "I’ve been using this oil for a week and my hair has never been this silky, smooth and shiny. The container may be small, but you don’t have to use hardly any oil when putting it in your hair, and it’s well worth the money. It also smells fantastic!," shares one user.
15. Kenra Platinum Blow-dry Spray
Don’t let the price tag deter you, this spray is worth the spend. Reviewers claim it feels exceptionally lightweight on their curls and shortens their drying time by half. “I have 3c/4a hair and it is so important to protect it from heat damage. I never have to worry about that with this product. It doesn't weigh my hair down or make it greasy. A little goes a long way and the fragrance is wonderful. Highly recommend for textured curlies and coilies,” explains one tester. All you have to do is spray it evenly on damp hair and let it work its magic.