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When you’re rushing to get ready in the morning and styling your hair isn’t exactly your priority, you may find yourself skipping out on an important step: heat protectant for your hair. The thing is, bypassing heat protectant could have a not-so-great outcome for your strands, including resulting in damaged hair. In fact, if you’re blow-drying or flat ironing your hair, it’s a good idea to take a couple of extra seconds to apply a few quick spritzes of a heat protection spray or a dollop of a protective hair cream before styling. Want to know why? Here, we explain why using heat protection products like heat protective sprays and hair primers should be part of your regular hairstyling routine.
Real talk: When you expose your hair to heat every time you style your hair, this can lead to damage. But we get it—heat styling isn’t always avoidable! The good news is, by applying a heat protectant and being smart about how you use your hot tools, you can help prevent heat damage in the first place. It only takes a couple of extra seconds to apply, and the protection that a hair heat protectant offers is well worth the extra time it’ll tack onto your routine.
Ready to blow-dry, curl, or straighten your strands? Don’t pick up your hot tools until you’ve prepped your strands with a hair heat protectant! Here are our four best heat protectants for hair.
L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray: This high-performance, heat protectant spray for hair offers 450-degree heat protection for an ideal 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. The other great thing about this specific product is that it’s versatile: You can spritz it onto either damp hair before you blow-dry or dry strands before you reach for your straightening or curling iron.
How to use it: Spray onto damp or dry hair section by section before styling.
L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BLOW DRY IT Quick Dry Primer Spray: The lightweight primer formula helps cut down blow-dry time while also protecting hair from damage.
How to use it: With this heat protectant spray for hair, since it’s also a primer, you’ll want to apply it onto clean, damp hair. Spray it on evenly, holding the bottle about six to eight inches away from your hair. Then, separate your hair and clip it into three even sections, blow-drying from the top—this can also help cut down on styling time.
L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BLOW DRY IT Thermal Smoother Cream: This lightweight hair cream formula instantly smooths hair while protecting against heat damage. Not only will this hair cream help keep your strands safe from heat damage, but it will also help to tame frizz. Win-win!
How to use it: Squeeze a quarter-sized amount into your palm for medium-length hair (use a little less for short hair and a little more if you have long hair). Apply to damp hair before blow-drying with a round brush. Blow-dry your hair in a downward motion for a smoother, shinier finish.
L'Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Treatment: This hair cream, in addition to being formulated to protect against heat up to 450 degrees, helps increase hair strength and flexibility and protect against everyday damage.
How to use it: Simply apply a small amount of product onto clean, wet hair, working through from the roots to the ends. Leave in and style as usual.
After choosing the right hair heat protectant for you and beginning to use it religiously, it’s important to note that you still don’t have free reign to use heat tools without taking further precautions. Besides stocking up on heat protectant products, there are other strategies you should employ to help beat heat damage. Find four additional tips to prevent heat damage, below.
Think about it: If you start blow-drying your hair when it’s soaking wet, it’s going to take quite a long time to dry fully. And the more time that your hair is exposed to high heat, the more damage that will be done. So, curb your exposure to heat by letting your hair air-dry at least halfway before going anywhere near it with a blow-dryer.
Alternatively, you can consider allowing your hair to air-dry completely. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), decreasing the number of times you blow-dry every week helps limit damage. And don’t worry, you can still achieve a beautiful style without your blow dryer. Spritz your towel-dried strands with the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray to create beachy waves, no heat tools necessary.
Beyond taking a break from your blow-dryer, it’s also a good 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 instead.
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—not at-home use.
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 to make passing over your hair easier. You should only need to pass through each section once to straighten it.
We’ve covered how to protect your hair from the heat but what’s one to do if they already have heat damage? Besides starting to take preventative measures (it’s never too late), follow these tips for managing damaged hair.
There are hair treatments to help with everything, including heat damage. In addition to your regular shampoo and conditioner, adding a strengthening hair mask into your weekly routine (ideally two to three times per week) can help to repair damage and protect your strands in the long-term. When it comes to hair masks, there are a couple of different routes you can go, and both work very well. Firstly, you could use a traditional hair mask, like the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair Extreme Emergency Recovery Mask, which you’ll apply onto your strands manually, section by section, after shampooing, then rinse out as usual.
Want to give your strands some extra TLC but don’t have the time for a full-on hair mask? Reach for a fast-acting deep conditioner, such as the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Rapid Reviver Deep Conditioner or the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Rapid Reviver Deep Conditioner, instead. Both options work in just one minute to reinforce strands.
Heat damage often presents in the form of unsightly split ends. If your hair has been afflicted, it’s best to go ahead and trim your hair. That way, you can cut off the ends of your hair—where most of the damage is anyway—and get a new haircut out of it. Not such a bad deal, right?
When you’re trying to repair your hair, it's crucial to use a shampoo and conditioner system that will help strengthen and fortify your locks. Reach for the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo and the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Conditioner, which when used together, defend against damage, and deeply condition and strengthen fragile hair.
Next up: How to Curl Your Hair with a Flat Iron
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