Oprah Daily August 16, 2022

Maxine Salon's Creative Director Amy Abramite featured in The Oprah Magazine August 2008Oprah Daily


The Best Drugstore Heat Protectants to Keep Your Hair Healthy


Now you can style without scorching.

Before you reach for your trusty curling iron, straightener, or even blow-dryer, there's one important step stylists say you should never skip: heat protectant.

These products "absolutely work," says celebrity stylist Michelle Cleveland. "Heat protectant is a must-have product for anyone who picks up a heat appliance," she says.

Why? Whether you have super thin, fine straight hair or thick and curly natural hair, heat protectants—also known as thermal sprays—coat the hair with a layer of ingredients like humectants, amino acids, and keratins to lock in moisture and create a shield-like layer of armor once the heat is applied, Cleveland explains. This helps keep any excessive damage—breakage and dry brittle ends, for example—from happening to the strands.

There are multiple types of heat protectants out there: fine mist sprays, creams, serums, and more. But Cleveland says it's not worth stressing over this particular attribute. "It's really all about preference," she says. "I personally love a good spray-on heat protectant. I feel it disperses more easily and evenly all over the hair."

More importantly, though, focus on the ingredients in the spray you're considering. Try to avoid formulas that contain silicone or sulfates—especially if you have color-treated or a sensitive scalp—since these ingredients strip color and leave behind potentially irritating buildup, says stylist Kevin Kelly.


Moroccanoil Perfect Defense

Infused with natural oils, this fine mist spray protects hair from heat up to 450 degrees without weighing it down. It's highly versatile, too, since you can use it on both wet or dry hair. As an added bonus, the formula has a slightly tropical—but not at all overpowering—fragrance.


Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist

If you often reach for your flat iron to smooth out strands after a workout or a long night, try this sweet-smelling spray, which can be applied to dry hair, says Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.


Heat Protector Spray

This heat protecting spray contains nourishing ingredients like noni and sea kelp extract to combat heat damage. Still, it's nice and lightweight, making it a great pick for anyone with fine hair. Also nice: It's vegan and gluten- and cruelty-free, says Cleveland.


Thermal Creations Keratin Smooth Leave-In Heat Protectant Spray

Prone to frizz and flyaways? Spritz this oil-infused heat protectant onto wet strands before blowdrying for a sleeker, shinier blowout, says Aguirre.


EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer

Drugstore heat protectants work just as well as their more expensive salon counterparts, says Kelly. But it's important to select options that are silicone- and sulfate-free—especially if you have color-treated hair or are prone to scalp issues caused by product buildup.


Platinum Heat Block Spray 22

This fine mist is great for all hair types and hair colors—especially blondes who need it the most, says Kelly. And as an added bonus, it speeds up your blow drying time and helps keep your style in place longer.


Thermal Hair Protector Spray

A combination of argan oil and shea butter infuses strands with a hefty dose of moisturizer, so your curls will look soft and bouncy, not dry and brittle.


Theramal Active Spray

This protective spray not only keeps your strands safe from heat, but it also adds body and volume, making it an ideal choice if your hair is more on the fine side. Pro stylist tip: When spraying the thermal protectant on dry hair, apply on an individual subsection before using the hot tool of your choice for even results.


Protecting + Silk Blowout Quick Drying Thermal Spray

Great for all hair types, this creamy spray makes curls look softer and bouncier and straight strands smoother and shinier—all while protecting from heat up to 450 degrees and adding a divine scent.


Coconut & Argan Oil Heat Protectant Spray

Specifically formulated for wavy, curly, and thick hair, this gentle but nourishing formula doesn't contain any of the bad stuff—sulfates, parabens, dyes, or mineral oils—that dry natural strands. Instead, it's infused with moisturizers like coconut and argan oils to protect and hydrate hair at the same time.

Miracle Blow Dry Balm

If you prefer a cream, try this weightlessly formula. It locks out humidity to eliminate frizz, plus protects from even direct heat from curling irons and straighteners.

44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

Made by one of the biggest names in hot tools, this heat protectant spray really delivers. It's weightless and won't create any scalp-irritating buildup, but provides an ample heat barrier to keep hair healthier and shinier.

All Eyes On Me 10-in-1 Hair Perfector

Prevent moisture loss and dry, damaged ends with this all-natural thermal spray. In addition to the protection you need against hot tools, the spray contains natural keratin to strengthen hair and boost shine at the same time.

Smooth and Sleek Heat Protecting Spray

It's no surprise this reliable drugstore brand has a spray you'll want to reach for again and again. Micro-polymers (aka tiny particles of protective ingredients) ensure full coverage to ensure all of your strands get the protection they need.

Aussie Prime & Proper Hair Primer Treatment, Heat Protectant Spray, Paraben & Dye Free, Infused with Australian Manuka Honey and Caviar Lime, RED, 3.4 Fl Oz

This leave-in treatment protects and conditions at the same time, thanks to ingredients like Australian Manuka honey and caviar lime. And because it's dye-, paraben-, and gluten-free, it's gentle enough for all hair types, including color-treated and damaged strands.