It’s easy to forget heat protectants as part of a styling regimen. To smooth down your bedhead before you run out for the day, that’s the step you’re missing out on. Once or twice forgotten, it’s not that big of a deal but if this goes on for too long, your hair won’t be able to handle it. All hair types definitely need some kind of protection from heat before using styling tools, but with curlier types like 4A, 4B, and 4C, it is a sin to miss it. If you’ve been upset with dry, brittle, and breaking hair due to multiple flat ironing sessions, you’ve landed at the right place. We have a carefully-curated list of the 13 best hair protectants for 4C hair that will restore your mane’s shape, shine, and life.
Spraying or applying a heat protectant before styling should be as important as using sunscreen on your face – these are the non-negotiables of the beauty world! Even if you’re addicted to your curling iron or only use it once a week, a heat protectant for 4C hair is a must-have. You can even use them on wigs and extensions for extra protection. With a host of strengthening and moisturizing ingredients like keratin and oil blends, you can reduce heat damage and keep your locks healthy.
Keep Your Locks Healthy With The 13 Best Heat Protectants For 4C Hair
CHI 44’s Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray is like your hair’s personal bodyguard, as it keeps your hair shiny and silky prior to blow drying. This heat protectant for 4C hair has a lightweight formula. By sealing the cuticles with the product, your hair stays damage-free as the protective formula works its magic from within. To add the needed moisture and nourishment to your hair, this formulation is enriched with vitamins and proteins. And if you’re looking to create a sleek and smooth style, the thermal protection spray comes with an easy brush glide formula for you! With no parabens or gluten, all hair types can use this heat protection spray for hair before straightening.
- Prevents thermal damage to hair
- No build-up
- Lightweight formula
- Can be used to create sleek styles
- Might leave a film on hair
Not only is Kenra’s formula lightweight, it also softens, smooths, and detangles strands to save hair from heat exposure. It’s a good heat protectant for 4C hair, as you will find your blow-dry time reduced in half and there’s no more unwanted frizz either! Kenra’s Platinum Blow-Dry Spray provides intense thermal protection that keeps hair safe even in temperatures as high as 428°F. For healthy-looking hair that can withstand humid weather, give this heat protectant spray for 4C hair a shot.
- Softens and detangles hair
- Eliminates frizz
- Makes hair resistant to humidity
- Can withstand temperatures up to 428°F
- Time-saving due to easy drying process
- Might make hair slightly oily
John Frieda’s heat-activated flat iron spray keeps your hair sleek until the next shampoo. The Frizz Ease flat iron heat protectant for hair contains an advanced formula of polymers with keratin, the protein our hair is made of. This ingredient makes hair shinier, frizz-free, and better protected from the sun and environmental damage. Spritz it on wet hair before styling and the lightweight formula will tame your wide curls and pave the way for a sleeker mane.
- Anti-frizz formula
- Contains keratin to strengthen hair
- Smooths hair
- Gives a glossy finish
- Some may find it to have a slightly sticky formula
When you’re in a hurry during busy mornings, don’t forget to spritz this heat protectant for 4C natural hair before styling! Withstanding temperatures up to 450°F, this versatile and lightweight mist also doubles as a leave-in conditioner. Enriched with the goodness of Moroccan argan oil which moisturizes, restores lifeless hair, and helps in healthy hair growth, you’ll also notice that it repairs dry and brittle hair that has been exposed to heat. With an additional blend of hair proteins, natural herbal extracts, and vitamin E, your hair is going to stay healthy amidst all the heat. For a salon-like finish, use ArtNaturals’ natural heat protectant for 4C hair to reduce drying time and for a boost on the shine.
- Can be used as a leave-in conditioner
- Argan hair oil treatment
- Contains nourishing ingredients
- Free of parabens and sulfates
- Uses non-toxic ingredients
- Cruelty-free and vegan
- Might make hair greasy
One of the superior oils for healthy hair, argan oil is known to deeply moisturize hair and aid in its growth. Arvazailla’s thermal heat protectant for 4C hair makes use of its unique Advanced Lightweight Two Layer Protection Technology that goes deep into your hair to repair existing and future damage. Say goodbye to your fears of uneven hair texture, breakage, split ends, and even frizz with this black hair heat protectant, as it uses detangling agents for smooth and manageable hair. Use it on natural hair, wigs, or even extensions without any hassle.
- Contains argan oil for hair nourishment
- Prevents hair breakage and split ends
- Eliminates frizz
- Smooths hair
- Can be used on extensions and wigs
- Gives a glossy finish
- Some may find the smell to be slightly off-putting
Design Essentials’ weightless serum deeply penetrates your hair to seal hair cuticles and lock in much-needed moisture for dry 4C hair. When you apply heat, your curl elongates and the hair fails to retain its original shape. The Silk Essentials Thermal Strengthening Serum prevents this and also adds a boost of lustre to hair. With the power of 17 amino acids, this serum strengthens damaged hair and makes frizzy hair more manageable by making it softer. Even if your hair is color-treated, don’t hesitate to use this heat protectant for blow drying 4C hair.
- 17 amino acids have hair-strengthening properties
- Prevents curl elongation
- Eliminates static
- Gives a glossy finish
- Some may find the smell to be quite strong
SheaMoisture’s conditioning spray contains an enriching blend of organic shea butter that intensely moisturizes with nourishing oils like sweet almond that smoothens and castor that prevents hair fall. This nutrient-rich formula contains natural ingredients that protect fragile hair from too much heat and revitalizes it. If you’ve got a mane that struggles with split ends, sprtizing this anti-breakage spray before heat styling will help reduce them. Both natural and color-treated hair can benefit from this heat protectant for hair straightening to give you healthy tresses that won’t fail to impress.
- Detangles and protects natural hair
- Contains a blend of oils to hydrate hair
- Reduces split ends
- Works on natural and color-treated hair
- Reduces hair breakage by 70%
- Contains alcohol which might dry hair
Curly hair might have a lot of volume but it also needs a lot of protection when you’re styling it. Shea butter present in this serum deeply penetrates your hair to moisturize it and as it is made with anti-breakage ceramide technology, your hair remains safe during heat exposure. MIZANI’s heat protectant for 4C natural hair adds body to your hair, and its cream-gel formula applies easily and ensures better absorption of the product. For smoother combing and blow drying, you need to give the Thermastrength Heat Protecting Serum a chance.
- Contains shea butter for moisture
- Anti-frizz and anti-breakage technology
- Cream-gel formula for easy application
- Smoothens hair
- Allows better absorption of product
- Might have a strong fragrance
Head Kandy’s amino-keratin unique formula contains a cocktail of vitamins and minerals that nourish it from the root to the tip for healthy tresses. Apart from hair-friendly nutrients that repair damaged hair, Head Kandy serves your locks by preventing split ends, frizz, and static on heat damaged 4C hair. Enjoy a lustrous shine on both natural and colored hair with this lightweight spray that works on all hair types.
- Reduces split ends, frizz, and static
- Contains a rich blend of vitamins and nutrients
- Might leave a greasy residue
Beyond The Zone’s spray-in treatment does wonders to keep your hair smooth and protected from heat damage. While it is resistant to humidity, it also adds a heat defense barrier to save your hair from the consequences of using flat irons and hair dryers. It seals cuticles for silky hair and creates slip, so you can style as your heart desires. For protected hair that shines bright, invest in Turn Up The Heat and get hair that looks like it’s done by professionals.
- Keeps hair smooth and silky
- Eliminates frizz
- Slightly expensive
If you thought reversing your parched hair after eons of heat styling was impossible, think again. Formulated with a vitamin complex that locks in moisture, the Thermal Creations leave-in spray is heat-activated to give your locks maximum safety from heat due to flat irons and curling wands. This product enhances your hair’s flexibility so it’s better able to hold its shape, and you, your identity.
- Moisturizes hair
- Long-lasting hold
- Can be used everyday
- Can be used on color-treated hair
- Suitable for all hair types
- The scent might be a bit too strong for some
Dubbed as the ‘best heat protectant for 4C natural hair’ by loyal users, Silk Elements’ Hair Protection Creme smoothes down hair that becomes wild and frizzy. With coconut oil, your hair gets amply hydrated, so consider this Creme a big chug of drink for your mane. It also contains silk, which reduces friction that might otherwise cause frizzy, knotted hair and split ends. Not only does a single spray make your hair incredibly soft to the touch, it also adds an unbeatable shine so you can truly sparkle for your next date. The lightweight consistency is ideal for hair as it doesn’t weigh the strands down, or make them greasy.
- Softens and smooths hair
- Suitable for both relaxed and natural hair
- Adds a glossy finish
- Contains hair-protecting ingredients
- Has a pleasant scent
- Some may find the coconut scent intense
Enriched with an innovative keratin complex, African Pride’s black hair heat protectant spray strengthens hair with a protective barrier that guards against heat and environmental damage. The weightless formula locks in both moisture and shine and saves curly and kinky hair from humidity by keeping it straight until you want it to be. With black castor oil as the key ingredient, your natural hair feels loved with the hydrating properties that lead to healthy and nourished tresses. For a true salon-style treatment, the watery spray some on your hair and style away!
- Seals in shine and moisture
- Contains keratin complex that reduces frizz
- Black castor oil moisturizes scalp and hair
- You may need to use a lot of product
Now that we’ve gone over some of the best heat protectants out there, let’s take a look at how you can choose the right one for yourself.
How To Choose The Right Heat Protectant For 4C Hair Types
- Temperature tolerance
As 4C hair is the curliest of the lot, it takes high temperatures of up to 450°F to change the shape of the curl. This high range of temperature can be damaging to hair health, so it’s necessary to choose a heat protectant that can withstand extreme heat. Make sure your protectant has a high range of heat tolerance as heat styling tools like flat irons and curling wands can get quite hot and leave the hair weak.
Check for silicones on the label, as they save your hair from heat damage by forming a protective coating. Cyclomethicone covers hair with a moisturizing film and dimeticone locks in moisture to keep hair smooth. Along with these, also ensure that one of the main ingredients is keratin because that’s the protein our hair is made of. Hydrolyzed keratin makes hair strong by encouraging moisture retention, which in turn minimizes breakage. A blend of oils like argan, castor, or coconut can also help boost hair health and shine while also protecting it from heat.
Heat protectants come in the form of sprays and serums and whichever you opt for comes down to your personal preference. As long as they can withstand high temperatures and contain protective ingredients, you can choose either one according to your liking. Sprays allow for ease of use as you just have to spritz them on and wait for them to dry before styling. They also have a watery consistency, making them light, so they don’t weigh your strands down. Serums, on the other hand, might be a little thicker and need to be massaged into the hair, which might be time consuming if you’re a busy person. Due to their thicker consistency, they might have a greasy feel or feel heavy on your locks.
Fragrance is a crucial part of hair products because the scent lingers and follows you wherever you go. Some heat protectants have a faint yet pleasant scent, which can be masked with your daily perfume or it can be left as is. However, if you’re intolerant to fragrance, some heat protectants that have a strong smell can be off-putting. These can also clash with your perfume and result in an unpleasant scent.
How Do I Protect My 4C Hair From Heat Damage?
- Minimize heat styling tools in your regimen as much as you can. As you’ve probably heard of the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’, it’s best to avoid applying heat, or cut down on it to maintain hair health.
- Use products that are heat-activated or thermo-protective for maximum safety from higher temperatures. Lowering the temperatures on your styling tools will also go a long way.
- Even the sun’s rays can be damaging to 4C hair, so make sure to use nourishing oils like almond, olive, coconut, argan, and castor as a deep conditioning treatment a couple of times a week. In hot weather conditions, you can also cover your hair with a cap, scarf, or hat if possible to avoid UV damage.
- Using hot water to wash your hair can also cause a degree of hair damage by destroying the protein. Try cool or lukewarm temperatures as they won’t make your hair dull and dry.
- Use keratin-based conditioners to not only restore the protein lost from the strands, but also to prevent future heat damage. You can apply regular conditioners after shampooing or leave-in conditioners 1-2 times a week also work great.
- If only a small part of the hair is damaged, you can trim it to help the hair maintain its body. This would also ensure getting rid of split ends.
- Look for hair care products specifically suited to your hair type that protect from heat damage, eliminate frizz, and encourage the production of keratin.
They say ‘beauty is pain’ but with the right tools and products, it doesn’t have to be. 4C hair is the curliest type of hair on the block, and we’re sure you’re tempted to treat yourself with a sleeker style once in a while. Even though the heat from your flat irons and curling wands can have damaging effects, investing in a high-quality heat protectant for 4C hair can prevent it from becoming lifeless. Before heat damage gets the best of you (and your hair), take the necessary steps to protect it because your hair is as good as your crown!
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Why are heat protectants important for 4C hair?
4C hair is the curliest type of hair and lacks moisture. Due to this, a high temperature is needed to straighten or loose it up, which can lead to further drying, breakage, or split ends. A heat protectant keeps the hair strong and smooth, so it can withstand heat when being styled.
Does heat protectant work on 4C hair?
Yes, there are heat protectants formulated especially for curlier hair types and they do a good job in protecting 4C hair from heat. Some protectants marketed as being suitable for all hair types will also work on 4C hair.
Do you put heat protectant before or after?
Heat protectants come in the form of sprays, serums, and creams. They are applied on the hair prior to exposure to heat.
Should I let heat protectants dry?
Yes, heat protectants are applied on slightly damp hair and you must make sure your hair is dry before you attempt to style it with a straightener or a curling wand.
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