Even the best heat protectants are often overlooked when it comes to our hair care. Although many of us enjoy the sleek end result achieved with a hair dryer or straightener, or the springy curls and waves crafted with the twist of a curling iron, the damage that heat inflicts on our hair is many times an afterthought. With average temperatures for hot tools reaching upwards of 300 degrees, even the most fortified strands are susceptible to dryness, weakening, and sometimes even longterm heat damage due to frequent styling.
Fortunately, using a heat protectant can provide a safeguard for hair by acting as a barrier between intense heat and fragile strands, and shielding hair from temperatures up to 450 degrees. “If you’re heat styling, using product is an absolute must—it creates a protective barrier between the hair and the iron,” celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein tells SELF. “I recommendusing a conditioning product while hair is damp, such as an oil, leave-in conditioner, or cream, then using a heat protectant before using your hot tool of choice.”
Depending on your preference and specific hair needs, you can use heat protectants on either wet or dry hair since they come in a variety of formulas—from mists to creams—that can coat the entire head from root to tip. Some products even provide conditioning and detangling benefits that make whipping through your hair routine a breeze while keeping hair at its healthiest. To hear more about the best heat protectants worth buying, we asked a few hairstylists about some of their favorites, from brands like Living Proof, Mizani, and Sun Bum.
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