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Heat Protectant Is A Must — Here’s How To Use It The Right Way

Everything you need to know about this styling must-have.
November 24, 2020

When you’re pressed for time in the morning, you may cut corners while styling your hair and skip out on heat protectant — no judgement, we’ve all been there. However, bypassing this heat styling essential could wreak havoc on your strands and lead to hair breakage, brittle ends, and other concerns. 

Whether you’re blow drying or flat ironing your mane, it’s a smart idea to apply a few quick spritzes of heat protectant for hair before styling — after all, it only takes a few seconds. So, we’re giving you the full breakdown on why heat protection is a must, along with the best heat protectant products from L’Oréal Paris to help in your hairstyling ventures.

What Is Heat Protectant?

In case you’re new to this we’ll explain: A heat protectant works to shield your strands from damage when used before applying heat. Think of it as armor for your hair. Typically you can find a heat protectant available in spray, cream, oil, or serum formulas. Depending on the option you use, it can also help to tame frizz, condition your tresses, add shine, and block out humidity.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Heat Protectant

When you expose your hair to heat every time you style your hair without protection, it can lead to hair damage. Heat can dry out your strands, cause split ends and breakage, and make your hair look dull, among other issues. But we get it — heat-styling isn’t always avoidable. Thankfully, by applying a heat protectant for hair and being smart about how you use your hot tools, you can help prevent damage while still creating a scroll-stopping style. It only takes a couple of extra seconds to apply heat protectant to help prevent long-term damage. 

The only concern you may need to have with heat protectant is that over time, it can cause buildup. This simply means you don’t want to apply a hair primer for days on end without washing. You need to give your hair a thorough clarifying session every week or two (amidst your regular washing schedule) to get rid of product buildup. This goes for any hairstyling product really, not just heat protectant.

Do Heat Protectant Sprays Actually Work?

Despite what some may think, heat protectant sprays do work — assuming you follow the instructions listed on the product. They’re often formulated to protect hair from temperatures as high as 450 degrees. Make sure your heat tools aren’t exceeding the temperature that your product can defend against to ensure its effectiveness.

Our Best Heat Protectants For Hair

Now that you’re all in on using heat protectant whenever you pick up your hot tools, it’s time to find your heat-safe match. Have your pick from our best heat protectants for hair below.

L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray

This high-performance heat protectant spray offers 450-degree heat protection for a sleek look. Specifically formulated to work with any heat-styling tool, the unique formula goes beyond heat protection to calm frizzy hair, seal in shine, block humidity, and condition strands. Best of all, it’s versatile! Spray onto damp or dry hair section by section before styling.

L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dryer Primer

This heat protectant cream offers 450-degree heat protection, 48-hour frizz control and high-shine without product weigh-down. Made with rose extract, the sulfate- and paraben-free vegan formula keeps hair looking nourished. Squeeze it into your hands and run through partially, towel-dried hair before blow drying.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Pre-Iron Spray Leave-In

This leave-in spray is part of the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths family, formulated to nurture your tresses through your hair growth journey. It’s specially made to work with a flat iron to protect against heat up to 450-degrees while strengthening your hair. Spray it on evenly, holding the bottle six to eight inches away from clean, damp strands before heat-styling.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave In Conditioner

Split ends are one of the most common signs of heat damage. To stay ahead of the game, this heat protectant for hair can protect against brittle and frayed ends. This cream is formulated with a blend of castor oil and vitamin B3 and B5. It strengthens long hair and helps to seal in split ends. Not to mention, it also offers up to 450-degree heat protection. Apply on damp hair, leave in, and style as usual.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Leave-In Conditioner Treatment

In addition to being formulated to protect against heat up to 450-degrees, this hair cream helps increase hair strength and flexibility and protect against everyday damage. Apply a small amount of product onto clean, wet hair, working through from the roots to the ends. Leave in and style as usual.

Other Ways To Prevent Heat Damage

Now that you have the resources to pick the best heat protectant for you, that shouldn’t be your only line of defense. Besides stocking up on heat protectant, there are other strategies you should employ to help beat heat damage. Consider these four additional tips below to play it safe.

Tip 1. Allow Hair To Partially Air Dry Before Using Your Blow Dryer

Blow-drying your hair when it’s soaking wet is only going to extend the process. And the more time your hair is exposed to high heat, the more damage that can occur. Let your hair air dry at least halfway before reaching for your blow dryer. 

Tip 2. Limit Your Use If Hot Tools

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), decreasing the number of times you blow dry every week helps limit damage. In addition to partially air-drying your hair, you can also consider allowing your hair to air dry completely at times. 

Beyond taking a break from your blow dryer, it’s also a smart idea to cut back on the frequency with which you curl and straighten your hair. The AAD shares that flat irons should be used no more than every other day. If your use exceeds that, take a little hiatus and put your strands into a pretty braid or bun instead.

Tip 3. Adjust Your Heat Settings

Always use the lowest heat setting possible on your hair, because those super-high heat settings likely aren’t necessary to get the job done. In reality, the highest settings are typically meant for in-salon treatments with a pro — not at-home use.

Tip 4. Don’t Pass Through The Same Section Of Hair Too Many Times

Repeatedly applying heat to the same section of hair will increase the chances of damaging your strands. The AAD recommends that when working with a curling iron or wand, you only leave your heat tool in place for a second or two. As for using a flat iron, straighten your hair in small sections, so you’ll only need to pass through each section once to get it straight.

Next: How To Curl Your Hair with a Flat Iron

Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

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