The Best Heat Protectant Products, According to Hairstylists
Question of the day: Do you apply a heat protectant before using hot tools? A shocking number of people don’t (guilty), but it’s actually a necessary step to ensure we don’t damage our hair beyond repair. See, electric heat from tools and UV rays from the sun are two of the biggest contributing factors to damage, wreaking havoc on color, texture and the overall hair health. And the best way to save your locks from the tools that destroy them is to apply a physical barrier between the two. That’s why we went to the experts to learn their can’t-live-without formulas. Here are eight of the best heat protectant products straight from real hairstylists.
1. Best for Adding Texture: Color Wow Style on Steroids Texture + Finishing Spray
The Kardashians are constantly switching up their hairstyles and subjecting their strands to a lot of hot tools. So, when their hairstylist Chris Appleton swears by a heat protectant, we buy it immediately. His favorite? Color Wow's Style on Steroids Texturizing Spray. He says, “Not only is it a texturizing spray with built in heat protection, but unlike other sprays, it never ends up making the hair feel sticky or glue-like when you use it with a hot tool to set the style. It's a texturizing spray with a lot of love in it!”
2. Best for Dry Hair: Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Mist
In a perfect world, we would have freshly washed and prepped hair every time we took a hot tool to it. But since we typically need to touch up our style in between washes, we need a heat protectant that doesn’t go on wet. Nikki Melillo, hairstylist and owner of Wave Hair Studio in Boston, Massachusetts, recommends Drybar’s Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Mist, an innovative lightweight spray that protects dry hair from heat styling up to 450ºF. She says, “You can apply it directly to dry hair, which is great for day two or three hair that needs a touch-up.” It evaporates instantly upon contact with strands so there’s no risk of wetting and ruining your style, plus it protects against UVA and UVB rays to keep sun damage at bay.
3. Best for Frizzy Hair: TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray
When we think of A-listers with enviable hair, Ashley Graham, Khloe Kardashian and Olivia Culpo come to mind. One thing they all have in common? Hairstylist Justine Marjan. She’s no stranger to experimentation and knows her way around glass hair like no one else, so we trust her opinion 1,000 percent. She preps all her clients’ hair with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray before heat styling, because “it’s lightweight and doesn’t make the hair feel like it has any product in it, while also increasing the efficiency of heat tools.” Oh, and did we mention it’s $4?
4. Best for Color-Treated Hair: Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil
At first glance, this product looks more like a finishing oil than a heat protectant, but it works both ways. Nikki Melillo of Wave Hair Studio also recommends Olaplex’s No. 7 Bonding Oil to strengthen, hydrate and protect color-treated hair from the damaging effects of heat up to 450ºF. It’s highly concentrated yet nearly weightless, so it won’t weigh strands down and helps tame flyaways and frizz like no one’s business. Nikki says, “Olaplex is liquid gold. It literally makes hair look so shiny, that it almost looks fake (in a good way, like you have extensions).”
5. Best for All Hair Types: Oribe Mystify Restyling Spray
Beth Weber, hairstylist and founder of Refuge Hair, clued us into this interesting stat: The average woman heat styles her hair three times a week. That’s 156 times per year. Now we see why a protection spray is so important. Weber is partial to Oribe’s Mystify Restyling Spray, saying, “This spray not only hydrates while offering up superior heat protection, but it can also be used on both wet or dry hair! I love to also follow up with Refuge Hair’s three-step treatment system that will further repair and protect your hair from past damage.”
6. Best for Extra Hold: TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray
Another TRESemmé favorite among celebrity hairstylists? The TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray. John D, stylist to stars like Maya Rudolph, Olivia Munn and Amy Adams, swears by this $3 drugstore staple. He gushes, “The TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray is an ideal product for creating shapes and memory in the hair with hot tools while also protecting the hair from excess damage. It’s easy to use! Just spritz on in sections before using heat to ensure hair is protected and left feeling soft and smooth with loads of shine.” Yep, the product not only protects strands from heat, but it also enhances hair's flexibility to help hold styles longer. If you’re someone whose hair doesn’t hold a curl, try prepping it with this spray next time for extra hold.
7. Best for High Heat: Chi 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray
Andrew Fitzsimons, another one of the Kardashian’s trusted hairstylists, told Allure magazine that he spritzes this product on strictly for heat protection before putting strands anywhere near an iron. “Maintaining the health and integrity of my client’s hair is the most important thing, so direct application of heat onto hair is not something to play around with. I really like the Chi 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray for this. It’s a totally weightless and gives that heat protection so I know my client’s hair is safe,” Fitzsimons says.
8. Best for Damaged Hair: Design.ME Fab.ME Multi-Benefit Lotion
Amy Stollmeyer, hairstylist and Co-Owner of Design.ME, is all about creating products that work for everyday life. So naturally, we had to hear about her very own heat protectant. She explains, “It’s so important to consider both electrical high heat (blow-drying, irons, hot rollers, etc.) as well as UV rays from the sun—these are the biggest contributors to overall hair damage and color fading. Design.ME’s Fab.ME is an easy go-to: It’s an 18-in-1 lightweight leave-in treatment that protects both wet and dry hair from heat damage up to 400ºF.” She also mentions that beyond heat protection, the product detangles, hydrates, reduces frizz and strengthens strands, helping it to grow longer and stronger over time.