Amazing Benefits Of Heat Protectants For Hair & How To Use Them

Protect your tresses from heat and manage your frizz with this essential product!

Medically reviewed by Vincent Marin, MD, FACS
Written by Arshiya Syeda
Edited by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach
Fact-checked by Medha Deb  • 

Hair cannot withstand the excessive heat generated by heat styling products and, in the process, may get damaged. Heat protectants can go a long way in protecting your hair from the damage of blow-dryers, straighteners, and curling irons. They add a layer of protection to your mane, which reduces the negative effects of heat products and boosts hair health. In addition, these protectants keep excessive heat away from your hair.

In this article, we look into the benefits of heat protectants, how to use them to get maximum benefits, and all other related information. Keep scrolling to know more.

What Is A Heat Protectant?

Heat protectant spray bottle with a sleek wig
Image: Shutterstock

A heat protectant adds moisture to your hair and forms a protective barrier. It reduces moisture loss caused by heat applied to your hair shafts. It prevents hair breakage and damage (1). It also minimizes heat damage due to blow-dryers and hair straighteners.

Heat protectants are leave-in products used before styling your hair. They are available in cream, spray, or oil formulas. They can condition your hair, tame frizz, and boost hair shine.

How Does A Heat Protectant Work?

The ingredients in a heat protectant form a thin film on the hair. This film distributes heat evenly and slows down heat conduction.

Heat protectants can benefit your hair in more ways than one. We have briefly discussed them below.

Benefits Of Heat Protectants

Woman holding a heat protectant spray and a hair straightener
Image: Shutterstock
  • Heat protectants smoothen the cuticles of your hair shaft. They make your hair less porous and less prone to frizz in humid weather (1).
  • They restore hair moisture. Using one before styling can keep your hair conditioned (2).
  • They prevent moisture loss from factors like dehydration, high heat, or a dry environment. They work by adding a protective layer to your hair shaft.
  • They aid hair loss prevention by lubricating your hair and making it more manageable. Your hair will be easy to detangle.

What Happens If You Skip A Heat Protectant?

Heat from styling tools can dry your hair strands, cause breakage, and make your hair look dull. Your hair comes in direct contact with heat while styling. Skipping a heat protectant means you are allowing the heat from styling tools to strip the color pigments of your hair. The heat can also break down the keratin bonds that otherwise boost hair strength and elasticity. Weak keratin bonds can open your hair cuticles and cause your hair to go dry and frizzy.

Now you know why using a heat protectant is a no-brainer. Its benefits extend beyond protecting your hair from the heat. But here is the thing – using a heat protectant the right way will give you the best results. We have discussed the same below.

How To Use It?

Woman applying heat protectant before styling
Image: Shutterstock

Apply a heat protectant to damp hair before you style. Damp/conditioned hair promotes better absorption of the product. Begin styling once your hair is dry. Use the right tools with ceramic or tourmaline plates that minimize hair damage. If you have dry hair, apply the heat protectant while your hair is wet and top it off with a good conditioning serum before you start styling. Never style your hair while it is wet. Hair is brittle when wet and can break when styled.

Note: You can use heat protectants every time you style your hair. However, minimize using styling tools to reduce hair damage.

Heat protectants salvage your hair from the harsh styling tools. However, not all are made alike. The best heat protectants have certain parameters in place. You must look for the same before making a purchase.

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Choose your heat protectant based on the temperature at which you wish to heat-style your hair. Not all heat protectants offer the same level of protection.

What Should You Look For In A Heat Protectant?

Woman comparing different heat protectant products in a mart aisle
Image: Shutterstock

Following is the list of ingredients you can check for in your heat protectant.

Silicones: Heat protectants are generally made with a combination of two silicones – Cyclomethicone and dimethicone. While Cyclomethicone moisturizes your hair, dimethicone coats it and prevents moisture loss(3). Dimethicone forms a layer on your hair and makes your cuticles lie flat. This keeps your hair from turning frizzy. You can find this ingredient in your everyday conditioner too. However, those with oily hair must go for a product with minimum silicone (as it can build-up in hair and make hair greasier).

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You can leave in conditioning oils like coconut, grapeseed, sunflower, almond, or avocado oils as heat protectants once in a while.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: Hydrolyzed wheat protein conditions hair (4). It also takes the place of the natural hair proteins in the hair, which otherwise can get broken due to heat.

PVP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer: This copolymer, like silicones, helps protect hair and detangles it. Some research shows this copolymer may protect hair from thermal damage (5).

Quaternary 70: This is found in high-end products that may protect hair from heat damage (5). It keeps hair frizz-free after heat styling. It also keeps your hair smooth until the next wash.

Note: Always consider sulfate- and paraben-free formulas. Go for a color-safe hair protectant if you have color-treated hair. You can also look for propylene glycol and keratin that retain hair moisture and strengthen your hair.

Infographic: Top Advantages Of Using A Heat Protectant

Heat protectants provide several key benefits when it comes to protecting and maintaining the health of your hair. They help maintain the overall strength and integrity of your hair. Incorporating heat protectants into your styling routine is a simple and effective way to keep your hair looking healthy and beautiful. Take a look at the infographic to learn about their top benefits.

top advantages of using a heat protectant! (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

A heat protectant shields your hair from heat damage caused by styling tools. It prevents moisture loss, color fading and hair breakage that are commonly caused due to heat. They coat hair with moisture, forming a protective barrier. Some heat protectants have additional benefits such as curbing frizz, or conditioning hair. It can also prevent the overall damage that styling tools cause such as dryness and decreased hair shine. They smoothen hair, making it more manageable and easier to detangle.You can find heat protectant sprays, gels, and serums easily in salons or beauty stores. Choose the one that suits your hair type and gives good results too. To find a good heat protectant, look for the ingredients mentioned above such as silicones. Now that you know exactly how beneficial heat protectants are, the next time you style your hair, don’t forget to use them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a heat protectant every day?

Using heat protectant every time you heat-style your hair will prevent hair damage. However, styling your hair with heat daily can make your hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. So, it is best to avoid heat styling every day. In addition, it will limit your usage of heat protectant, which ultimately contains chemicals.

Is heat protectant spray or cream better?

Both heat protectant spray and cream have their pros and cons. While the spray is easy to use, applying the cream can be a hassle. However, heat protectant cream is known to provide better protection than the spray.

What should you avoid in a heat protectant?

Heat protectants should be devoid of high alcohol content, synthetic fragrances, and phthalates as they may dry out the hair and cause damage. It should also be free from mineral oil as it may make hair greasy.

Do you put heat protectant before or after the leave-in conditioner?

It is recommended to apply a heat protectant before a leave-in conditioner as it ensures adequate heat protection before styling the hair. After 15 minutes, the conditioner can be applied to impart a shiny look to the hair.

What are some common myths about heat protectants, and how can they be debunked?

There are a few common myths associated with heat protectants. They can be debunked easily with a little research and an understanding of one’s hair type. However, we have covered a few common heat-protectant myths.
Myth: There is no need to apply heat protectant for every hair styling
Truth: Heat protectants should be applied every time while styling the hair with straighteners or blow dryers.
Myth: Heat styling hair can be done regularly if a heat protectant is used.
Truth: Although heat protectants protect hair from heat damage, heat styling of the hair shouldn’t be done regularly as it may negatively affect hair growth and texture.
Myth: All heat protectants are the same
Truth: Every heat protectant has a unique formulation and can vary greatly depending on the hair type

Key Takeaways

  • The hair damage and breakage is the bare minimum with hair styling tools if you use heat protectants.
  • Applying a heat protectant on damp hair is always recommended for effective absorption.
  • You should look for silicones, hydrolyzed wheat protein, PVP/DMAPA acrylates copolymer, and quaternary 70 in a good heat protectant.

Say goodbye to harsh chemicals and hello to a DIY heat protectant spray! Learn how to make your own natural heat protectant spray in this easy-to-follow video. Watch it today to protect your hair!


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
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