Heat Protectants For Every Styling Routine

If you’ve ever gone full-blast on the blow-dryer, cranked up the temperature on your straightener or clamped down on that curling iron with gusto, listen up: Heat styling doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your hair, but instead can be a totally manageable process when handled with caution. Whatever your tool of choice, there’s a heat protectant out there to shield your locks from long-term damage—a major factor for an enviable ‘do. Here, we’ve rounded up protective essentials to prep, style and finish your way to glossy blowouts, sultry waves and everything in between.

Vanessa Jackman

The Heat Is On

The Tool: The Blow-Dryer

The Defensive Lineup

Prep: Never underestimate the power of a good primer—not only does it add an extra level of protection, it can also take a blowout from blah to bombshell. A good multitasking formula will protect, soften, de-frizz and detangle strands (translation: less breakage).

Style: A heat-protective styling crème with humidity-combating smoothing powers will tame frizz-prone, unruly hair. If your locks are easier to control and just need a boost of body, a heat styling spray does the trick, plus it protects against UV damage and coaxes split ends into recovery mode. Don't forget to blast hair with a cool shot to set the style.

Finish: Spritz on a light-hold, anti-humidity hair spray for hold and an extra layer of UV protection.

The Tool: The Flat Iron

The Defensive Lineup

Prep: Anyone who's ever picked up a flat iron knows its frying potential, which is why the prep step is a must, not a maybe. To speed up your straightening session, look for a protective primer that also helps tame and smooth hair—it'll create a no-nonsense humidity shield, defend hair against high temperatures and give your styling routine the ultimate sleek advantage.

Style: Lightweight, protective formulas are key, since you don't want to be running your iron through a thick layer of product buildup. Look for formulas with protein-rich soybean extract for a silky finish.

Finish: Run a dollop of a rich hair oil through strands to tame any remaining frizzies and seal split ends for an oh-so-smooth finish.

The Tool: The Curling Iron

The Defensive Lineup

Prep: Smooth, soft curls framing your face = romantic and alluring. A frizzed-out, puffy halo obstructing your vision = hair emergency. For flawless curls, a spritz of coconut oil-infused primer will do the trick.

Style: You want a formula that can stand the heat and hold a curl, which is why a heat-activated option is key for boosting hair's elasticity and maintaining the shape of curls.

Finish: To keep curls silky, finish with a dab of a lush, hydrating cream. Opt for an alcohol-free formula to avoid the dreaded crunch factor.

The Tool: The Diffuser

The Defensive Lineup

Prep: There's a fine line between effortlessly tousled and a straight-up messy 'do. To keep you on the right side, a shine-enhancing, frizz-fighting protective formula is perfect to prep.

Style: Since the secret to beachy waves is salt, salt and oh, yes, more salt, spritzing on a saltwater-infused formula and drying with a diffuser is your best bet for nailing the look.

Finish: While this is a laissez-faire look, you can still add a bit of polish by smoothing on a lightweight serum to keep ends supple and hydrated.

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