Oprah Daily January 23, 2023

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


The Best Heat Protectants to Protect Your Hair Against Thermal Damage


No breakage or dullness over here.

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 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."


Perfect Defense Heat Protectant

Pros: Lightweight

Cons: Some buyers say the fragrance is strong

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 either wet or dry hair. As an added bonus, the formula has a slightly tropical—but not at all overpowering—fragrance.


Garnier Fructis
Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist

Pros: Affordable

Cons: Contains fragrance

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

Complete Blowout Styling Milk

Pros: Increases shine

Cons: Styling milks may be heavy for thin/fine hair

Want a shiny and smooth blowout? This styling milk checks all the boxes—it reduces frizz, protects against heat, increases shine, and fights humidity.

Function of Beauty
Thermal Protection #HairGoal Booster Shots

Pros: Affordable

Cons: Only available in individual packs

Create your own heat protectant with these individual booster shots that you can add to your shampoo and conditioner for, well, an extra boost. There are a variety to choose from, but this one is specifically for protecting hair against thermal damage.


L'Oreal Paris
EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer

Pros: Affordable

Cons: Some buyers say the floral scent is overwhelming

Drugstore heat protectants work just as well as their more expensive salon counterparts, says stylist Kevin 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.


Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray

Pros: Preserves hair color

Cons: Some buyers say it's heavy on fine hair

Protect against heat damage, knots, and dryness with this leave-in conditioner that simultaneously preserves hair color.


Protecting + Silk Blowout Quick Drying Thermal Spray

Pros: Highly rated

Cons: Some buyers say it's drying

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.


Sun Bum
Heat Protector Spray

Pros: Lightweight

Cons: Some buyers don't like that you need to shake the two-phase formula

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.


Hair Food
Coconut & Argan Oil Heat Protectant Spray

Pros: Sulfate-free

Cons: If you don't like the smell of coconut, you won't like this scent

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.


Theramal Active Spray

Pros: Adds volume

Cons: Some buyers say the formula is sticky

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.


Kenra Professional
Platinum Heat Block Spray 22

Pros: Offers a high hold to keep hairstyles in place

Cons: Some buyers find the formula sticky

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

Pros: Moisturizing

Cons: Contains fragrance

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.

It's A 10
Miracle Blow Dry Styling Balm

Pros: Lightweight

Cons: Some buyers find the scent strong

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

Pros: Doesn't cause buildup

Cons: Some buyers find the formula a bit drying

This weightless spray won't create any scalp-irritating buildup but provides an ample heat barrier to keep hair healthier and shinier.

Not Your Mother's
All Eyes On Me 10-in-1 Hair Perfector

Pros: Increases shine

Cons: If you don't like sweet scents, you may not like the berry vanilla fragrance.

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.