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Are you dealing with heat damage?
You’re not the only one.
While many of us love our hair, whether it’s relaxed or natural, that doesn’t stop us from wanting to change our look blow dryer, straightener, or curling iron.
This is okay, but you also have to remember that heat can be very damaging to the hair.
You shouldn’t ever apply heat to your hair without a heat protectant, no matter how low the temperature.
If you’re ready to protect your hair, here are 17 of the best heat protectants for African American hair.
Best Value: Design Essentials Natural Agave & Lavender Weightless Thermal Protectant Serum
The first heat protectant on our list is the Agave & Lavender Weightless Thermal Protectant Serum from Design Essentials.
With its key ingredients of agave extract, lavender extract, and mango butter, it softens, conditioners, nourishes, and strengthens hair.
It also has great benefits which include providing a layer of protection for heat styling, increasing tensile strength and improving hair density, and promoting healthy hair.
This heat protectant serum is also free of sulfates and parabens.
Best Results: It’s A 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-In Product
While you might not hear it in the name, the It’s A 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-In Product works as a great heat protectant.
It has a series of great ingredients that make it ideal for heat styling.
One, it has panthenol, which is a highly effective strengthening agent.
It also contains sunflower seed extract.
Another ingredient that will come up later in this list, it’s a known natural heat protectant.
The It’s A 10 product also contains green tea leaf extract, silk amino acids, and vitamin C.
L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray
The L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray provides 450 degree heat protection.
Not only does their formula protect against heat damage, but it also calms frizz, seals in shine, blocks humidity, and helps condition the hair to help your style remain for three days.
While we’ll go into the most popular ingredients in heat protectants later in this post, this heatspray includes dimethicone, a popular silicone that coats the hair to lock in moisture and protect it from heat.
Cantu Shea Butter Thermal Shield Heat Protectant
If you’d like to try a natural, organic product, get the Cantu Shea Butter Thermal Shield Heat Protectant.
Designed for most hair types, not only will this protect your hair from heat, but it’ll also add a light hold to help you keep your hairstyle.
Infused with shea butter, this product also helps soften the hair, and Cantu recommends applying this product on semi-wet hair.
Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil
The Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil is actually a favorite amongst hairstylists.
Described as a highly-concentrated, weightless restorative styling oil, it helps increase shine, softness, and vibrancy.
This product can be used daily on either wet or dry hair, and especially before styling with heat.
It’s also recommended that this Olaplex Bonding Oil be used for those who use heat tools daily.
Paul Mitchell Hot Off the Press Thermal Protection Spray
Another great product to consider trying is the Paul Mitchell Hot Off the Press Thermal Protection Spray.
This product will protect the strands while also forming a lightweight barrier from heat styling tools.
Wheat proteins are a necessary ingredient in this formula which boosts hair strength.
Use this Paul Mitchell product if you want a flexible-hold, heat-resistant, anti-frizz formula.
TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray
The TRESemme Thermal Creation Heat Tamer Protective Spray is probably one of the most popular products on the market.
With a thermal reach of up to 450 degrees, you can protect your hair from high heat and possible heat damage.
This TRESemme heat protectant is moisture-locking and restorative, and protects the hair from high degrees of heat.
Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Creme
If you have dry, frizzy hair or heat-styled hair, you need to try the Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Creme.
Whether you have color treated, keratin treated, chemically-treated, or relaxed hair, this product will work for you.
This product includes ingredients like rosehip, argan oil, and coconut oil, the last of which is a known natural heat protectant.
Lastly, this Briogeo heat protectant was a 2019 Allure Readers’ Choice Award Winner, so you know the masses love it.
Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Heat Protection Spray
Next on our list we have the MegaSilk Olive Heat Protection Spray.
This product will help protect hair from damage caused from heat styling.
When using, this product can be applied to both damp hair or dry hair prior to heat application.
Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray
Mielle Organics has some great products, and their Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray is one of them.
Not only does it provide protection against heat, but through this, it will protect natural hair patterns and textures.
Made with all natural ingredients, you won’t find parabens or harmful chemicals or preservatives in this Mielle spray.
OGX Flat Iron Spray, Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy
Want beautiful looking hair?
There are tons of benefits to this product.
This OGX heat problem helps moisturize the hair while also making it smoother and shinier.
While it should be applied before heat styling, it can also be used after to help lock in the style.
Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer
The Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer works as a heat protectant, but it has even more benefits.
A multi-use product, it helps detangle, soften, add shine, de-frizz, and prevents breakage.
Ideal for those with medium to thick hair, it works for those with all textures and all hair types.
This Bumble & Bumble product can be applied daily, although it is recommended to be applied to damp hair the first day and dry hair the second.
Garnier Fructis Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist
Style and protect your hair with the Garnier Fructis Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist.
This product contains Moroccan argan oil that provides both heat protection but also helps tame frizz and seal in moisture.
While most heat protectants can be applied to both dry and damp hair, it is recommended that this Garnier Fructis product be applied to dry hair and immediately styled.
Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner
If you want to help bring your hair back to life while also protecting it from heat, try the Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner.
While a leave-in conditioner, this is also a great heat protectant with ingredients like fennel seed oil and coconut oil.
Not only does this product penetrate the follicle and moisturize the hair, but this Mizani conditioner also undoes damage and treats dryness.
HSI PROFESSIONAL Argan Oil Heat Protector
For a conditioning serum that is also optimal for styling, look into the HSI PROFESSIONAL Argan Oil Heat Protector.
With argan oil being its main ingredient, this product is a weightless mist that can hold against temperatures up to 450 degrees.
The ingredients of this HSI PROFESSIONAL product hydrates, detangles, and boosts shine.
CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray
While CHI has been known for their hot tools, they also have a great heat protectant.
The CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray protects against thermal damage, adds essential moisture to the hair through vitamins and proteins, and is suitable for all hair types.
This formula is also lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about build up if you’re constantly using your new CHI heat protection spray.
Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Spray
Another popular hair care brand, Kenra’s Platinum Blow-Dry spray is worth trying.
This product does a few things.
One, it provides heat protection up to 428 degrees.
Ideal for medium to coarse hair, it also reduces blow-dry time up to 50%.
Other added benefits of using this Kenra product are that it’s a lightweight formula that detangles, smooths, and softens while taming frizz and resisting heat and humidity.
What Are Heat Protectants?
While the name is pretty obvious, let’s talk about heat protectants.
Their name is self-explanatory.
They are made to help protect hair from heat.
Whether you’re using low heat or high heat, you’ll see that most can protect your hair against temperatures up to 450° Fahrenheit.
Heat protectants add moisture to the hair and during this process, it forms a protective barrier around the strands.
This is usually done with two ingredients.
Most heat protectants are a combination of two silicones, cyclomethicone and dimethicone.
While cyclomethicone is what moisturizes the hair, the dimethicone coats it.
By coating the strands, dimethicone makes its smoother and locks in the moisture.
There are also different ingredients that go into making heat protectants work, and they include hydrolyzed wheat protein, PVP acrylates copolymers, and quaternary 70.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein helps nourish the hair and makes it softer.
The copolymer, similar to silicone, coats the hair and even helps with detangling.
Quaternary 70, often found in higher-end products, helps the hair stay frizz-free after styling.
While these are synthetic ingredients, there are a ton of great natural ingredients to look for in your heat protectants as well.
Avocado oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil are known to be great natural heat protectants.
While avocado oil and coconut oil are great ingredients for keeping the hair nourished and moisturized, olive oil is known for softening the hair and nourishing it with vitamins.
Sunflower oil and grape seed oil, on the other hand, have high smoking points.
This means that these ingredients keep excessive heat from getting to your hair.
If you’re ever considering applying heat to your hair, whether it’s with a blow dryer, straightener, or curling iron, you should always apply heat protectant.
What Happens If You Don’t Use Heat Protectant?
While the answer might seem pretty obvious, this is something that we can’t stress enough.
Every time you expose your hair to heat, it can lead to more and more damage.
It might not be apparent the first time you do it, but overtime, you’ll notice a change in your strands.
Heat damage appears in a number of ways.
Heat, low or high, can dry out your hair.
Once your hair is dry, you’re opening it to another list of issues.
Dry hair often leads to split ends, breakage, and dullness.
Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, heat damage can completely change the look of your hair.
What you’ll often find is that you’ll have to cut off your ends or even another “big chop” to fix the problem.
If you want to save your hair, use a heat protectant.
Do Heat Protectant Sprays Really Work?
One hundred times, yes.
As I mentioned in the section above, heat protectants can severely damage your hair.
Trust me, when you’re natural, nothing feels worse than having to do another big chop when you were just starting to gain your inches.
Not only do heat protectants work to prevent that, but they also have tons of benefits for your hair.
The first one that we’ve been talking about is preventing heat damage.
While you might be convinced that your hair is healthy, applying heat without a heat protectant can cause damage in just one session.
A second benefit to using heat protectants is that they smooth hair cuticles.
In turn, this makes your hair less porous and therefore, less prone to frizzing up in humidity.
Heat protectants also help your hair restore moisture.
Why do you think conditioners are so important?
If you have hair that loses moisture quickly, applying heat to your hair will exacerbate it.
Heat protectants will help add moisture to your hair and help it stay that way when applying hot tools.
And slightly different from our second benefit, while heat protectants help restore moisture, they also help retain it.
Since heat protectants add a protective layer around the hair shaft, it helps lock in the moisture that your hair currently has.
This will help prevent your hair from losing its moisture, especially when met with heat or even a dry environment.
And while heat protectants are great, some often wonder if they can damage the hair.
Can You Protect From Heat Damage Naturally?
While heat protectants are a great way to protect your hair, there are a few things you can do to boost them.
First, while heat protectants often say they can protect against temperatures up to 450° Fahrenheit, you should never go that high.
When heat styling, you want to stay around 300° Fahrenheit, and try to remain under that.
Also, for those with fine hair, you definitely want to use low temperatures because the heat will penetrate it more quickly than those with thicker strands.
Another great way to protect your hair naturally is by investing in good tools.
Lastly, you should also be doing treatments on your hair.
Weekly hair masks help promote the general health of your hair which allows for further protection from heat.
Best Heat Protectants For African American Hair Conclusion
I can’t stress this enough.
Use a heat protectant!
It doesn’t matter if you’re blow drying your hair for five minutes or curling one strand of hair.
Heat damage isn’t something that’s always visible immediately.
You’ll think your hair is healthy until you see a picture from a few months ago and realize your hair texture isn’t the same.
And I know you’re not going to stop applying heat to your hair, so make sure you’re smart about it.
Plus, if you’re going through a process like straightening your hair, keep the look lasting longer with the best products to keep your hair straight after straightening it.
Why apply heat if your hair is just going to revert right back?
Protect your hair, ladies!