I tested seven products and found Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Spray to be the best option for 4C hair.
I’ve put hours of research into understanding what makes effective heat protectants for natural hair. The product should be light, contain moisturizing ingredients, and be able to withstand high heat to protect 4C coils.
Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Spray is a good option thermal protection spray from a brand focused on high-quality natural hair products. The spray forms a protective barrier around the hair to reduce split ends, breakage, and dryness.
I’ve also listed various “bests” to help make it easier to pick the proper protectant for your tresses. By offering the best for those on a budget, for humidity, for color-treated hair, and so on, you will better understand the perfect product for your mane.
Keep reading to learn about the best heat protectants for 4C natural hair.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best Heat Protectants for 4C Hair
Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Spray – Lightweight formula that’s easy to distribute throughout the hair and prevents breakage.
Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Heat Protectant Spray – Packed full of natural ingredients that work together to provide moisture and hair that’s healthy and shiny.
Cantu Thermal Shield Heat Protectant – A great heat protectant for those who want an affordable protectant that leaves hair silky and smooth.
Design Essentials Agave and Lavender Thermal Protectant Serum – A thermal serum that smells amazing, is light on the hair, and produces noticeably stronger, denser hair with continued use.
African Pride Black Castor Miracle Heat Protectant Spray – Keep humidity at bay and make your styles last longer with this rich formula that protects hair without weighing it down.
Arvazallia Heat Protectant Plus With Argan Oil – Protect your hair from heat and reduce split ends with this patented formula rich in argan oil.
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil – Excellent for damaged hair, treat your locks to a lightweight oil that restores and strengthens broken hair bonds.
Best Heat Protectant for 4C Hair: Top 7 Picks
Here are the top 7 picks for the best heat protectant spray for 4C Hair, based on quality, ease of use, smell, and efficacy:
https://amzn.to/3UHiqFuDesigned with natural hair in mind, the Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Spray will minimize breakage and split ends in your hair by up to 70 percent before heat styling. The rich shea butter coats your hair strands and prevents the heat from damaging the hair while adding moisture, softness, and shine.
This formula also contains castor oil, which makes hair thicker and limits shedding. Thi spray is lightweight and effective for keeping your curls intact even after high heat up to 450° F.
It also helps to detangle natural hair
The formula has not undergone animal testing
The spray reduces split ends
Suitable for color-treated hair
It reduces hair breakage by nearly 70 percent
It feels slightly sticky
It contains alcohol, which is drying to the hair
Mielle Organics Heat Protectant is a natural hair favorite because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like sulfates. It eliminates frizziness and feels lightweight on the hair. Additionally, the ingredient list features mongongo, argan, and almond oil, which add hydration and nutrients to your hair.
This heat protectant spray also prevents breakage and split ends, smells incredible, allows you to use high heat to achieve straight hair, and is excellent for silk presses.
It contains natural ingredients like argan, almond, mongongo, and sacha inchi oils
It leaves your hair shiny and soft
It has a lovely fragrance
The formula is lightweight
There are no harmful chemicals like sulfates and parabens
It may make the hair feel rough if you have thick hair
The smell may be too strong
Cantu Heat Protectant is the option when you’re on a budget. It contains Shea butter, which is moisturizing, and a natural sealant, making your hair resilient against heat.
The Cantu spray doesn’t cause build-up and is perfect for applying heat through blow drying and flat ironing the hair. It leaves the hair smooth and silky without frizz. It also doesn’t weigh your hair down like some products, which helps your hairstyle last longer.
The formula is lightweight
It leaves hair smooth and reduces frizziness
It contains moisturizing shea butter
An excellent option for curly girls on a budget
Cantu is a popular brand in the natural hair community
It sells out quickly and is hard to get a hold of sometimes
Some customers say it makes their hair feel crunchy afterward
The Design Essentials Heat Protectant serum is specific for hair that’s fine to normal, and it feels light on the hair. It only takes a few drops to protect your hair from heat exposure as it hydrates and seals moisture directly into the hair’s cuticles.
The mango butter, along with the lavender and agave extract, will nourish, strengthen, and soften the hair, leaving it more robust than before.
There is no animal testing during the manufacturing of this product, and it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can damage your hair. On top of that, it smells incredible when you spray it on, and the scent lasts all day.
It boosts hair density and tensile strength
It provides a strong barrier of protection when using multiple heat tools in succession
It increases hair growth by preventing breakage and shedding
It has an all-natural ingredient list
It has a lovely fragrance
It can be pricey for the amount you get
It’s easy to use too much
The African Pride’s heat protectant spray strengthens hair thanks to the keratin complex that guards against environmental and heat damage. Lock in moisture, block humidity and soften the hair, keeping it straighter for a more extended period before your next wash day.
Black castor oil hydrates the hair and restores thickness and shine. You can use this heat protectant on your hair for temperatures up to 400° F.
It blocks humidity and combats frizzy hair
It makes hair stronger with an innovative keratin formula
Black castor oil boosts hair thickness
It’s lightweight and goes on easily
There are no mineral oils or sulfates in the product
You need to use a lot of product to coat hair when heat styling thoroughly
It may leave a film on the hair
Argan oil is an intensely moisturizing ingredient that increases hair growth and softness and reduces dry hair. Arvazailla’s thermal heat protectant lives up to the hype, as this lightweight formula offers dual layers of protection that not only prevent heat damage but it repairs existing damage.
This thermal protector makes your hair more manageable when styling; you can use it on your hair and human hair wigs and extensions, and it moisturizes and conditions your hair. The results? Smooth, silky hair without the damage from burning your hair.
It contains argan oil for shine, softness, and growth
It prevents split ends and damage
Repairs existing heat damage
You can use it on human hair extensions
It offers two layers of heat protection to penetrate hair strands
Some people don’t like the smell
The oil might be too heavy
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil is a restorative, weightless styling oil with high concentrations of silicones and emollients that protect that hair from heat while repairing damage from the inside out. It instantly boosts shine and makes color-treated hair more vibrant.
This bonding oil is effective because it locates single sulfur bonds in the hair and crosslinks them to recreate disulfide bonds that get broken when constantly brushing, combing, and styling the hair with heat
Restores damaged hair with broken hair bonds
Excellent for color-treated hair
Reduces rough hair and flyaways
A little product goes a long way
It offers optimal heat protection for any hair type
It can make the hair feel greasy
The Importance of Heat Protectants for 4C Hair
Keeping a head of 4C hair healthy and looking its best requires a great deal of work, and this is why it is so essential to use hair protectant.
It works to mitigate the effect of styling tools such as blow dryers and curling hours, all of which are capable of damaging your hair.
If used in excess, heat will inevitably cause a great deal of damage to your hair—sometimes irreparable. Consequently, your hair can frizz or possibly even break off.
Moreover, curly hair is susceptible to dryness and split ends if not properly cared for. Hence the importance of using a heat protectant.
When it comes to 4C hair, hair protectant is even more essential due to the tight and kinky coils, meaning that your natural oils have difficulty traveling down each hair strand.
Remember to keep all of your heat on your styling tools lower than 450° F. Choosing to go higher will result in damage regardless of how strong your heat protectant is.
Choosing the Right Heat Protectant for 4C Hair
Your heat protectant can come in any texture, from creams to oils to serums or sprays. Here are some qualities you should be looking for when deciding on a heat protectant for 4C hair type.
Resistant to High Heat
Always look for a heat protectant that protects your hair at the highest heat levels, 400º F or higher.
A thermal protector of this caliber will be able to protect your hair from the heat at a higher setting or if you’ve been using styling tools for a long time.
Draws in Moisture
4C hair is a dry hair type because of the difficulty the curls and coils present for the natural oils when attempting to travel down the strands. Consequently, you need to ensure that the product you choose locks in moisture and protects your hair.
Your protectant should have propylene glycol and glycerin. These ingredients will actively protect your hair from heat damage.
You want to find a heat protectant spray capable of sealing in the cuticles of your hair while simultaneously disallowing outside moisture to affect your hair.
This quality will ensure that your hair is frizz-free and full of moisture without compromising the style. This is important since 4C tends to shrink easily.
If you are using a heat protectant to straighten your hair, then look for a one that supplies your hair with a high gloss finish. You can achieve that by using other products in conjunction with your heat protectant. However, it always helps if your heat protectant already has this property.
How To Protect 4C Hair From Heat Damage
Here are the steps to follow if you’re going to use heat tools on your hair, but you want to minimize the damage:
Regular Deep Conditioning: This will prime your hair to be ready to withstand any heat by ensuring that it is healthy and moisturized.
Detangle: Begin by putting your damp wet hair into four sections. This helps you to remove snags and knots before you proceed with styling your hair. This step is necessary because it keeps you from using more heat on your hair than is required due to tangles.
Use a Heat Protectant: If you have natural or curly hair and you’re trying to apply heat to your hair, prepare your hair by using a heat protectant first. Your heat protectant should be able to protect your hair up to 450° F which is the case for most protectants.
Use Low Heat: When styling naturally curly hair, you have to use minimal heat. However, some areas of your hair will need more heat than others, which is fine. Just refrain from raising your heat above 350° F to maintain healthy hair.
Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about heat protectants:
Is shea butter a good heat protectant for 4C hair?
Yes. Shea butter is a popular ingredient in many heat protectants for 4C hair because it is very moisturizing and an awesome heat conductor.
Using a styling tool on too high of a temperature setting could result in the shea butter burning your hair.
You can decrease this by adding moisturizer or lightweight leave-in conditioner to your hair before applying the Shea butter.
Are products with coconut oil good heat protectants for natural hair?
It is very beneficial to use oil on natural hair.
Coconut oil is very moisturizing, which is why it is present in many hair care products. But, coconut oil can be too dense for some hair types leaving behind limp locks.
It is a better idea to mix coconut oil with grapeseed oil. Make sure that the oils you select have a high smoke point if you use them as heat protectants.
Can the leave-in conditioner be used as a heat protectant?
It depends – you have to ensure that your leave-in conditioner will protect your hair from heat. Below you’ll find common ingredients in leave-in conditioner capable of protecting your hair from heat:
Shea butter – Known for protecting natural hair from heat.
Almond oil – Possesses a smoke point of 430° F which is high.
Coconut oil – Capable of protecting your hair up to 450° F.
Avocado oil – The smoke point is very high at 520° F
Remember that specific smoothing agents and proteins can protect your hair. Just check the label for good ingredients, and if they are present, you should be able to use the leave-in conditioner to protect hair from heat.
What are the best heat protectants for a silk press?
You’ll want to choose an option that contains silk proteins, as they will make the hair softer and smoother in preparation for getting your hair flat-ironed.
The CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray is an excellent decision, as well as the Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil or the Cantu Thermal Heat Protectant Spray.
The last two don’t have silk proteins, but they are lightweight and make the hair smoother, which aids in getting a sleek finish from the silk press.
How We Researched & Tested
Research involves personal experience, scouring the internet for reviews from those who have 4C hair and can attest to their experiences, and understanding the ingredients in a heat protectant.
You always want to read the label with any product you select to understand whether you’re genuinely protecting your hair and adding moisture.
We tested the products against various tools such as a blow dryer, curling iron, flat iron, curling wand, and any other heat tool. We checked for any loss of elasticity, curl definition, and dryness after using the heat protectant.
These barometers are key signs that your hair has suffered damage, and as such, once you proceed to rewash your hair after heat styling, it’s apparent whether your hair is weak if your curls are limper, your hair seems dull, and the hallmark of 4C hair (shrinkage) is non-existent.
Remembering to distribute a quality heat protectant throughout 4C hair evenly is crucial to maintaining its vitality. A suitable product will protect your strands and moisturize them and keep them strong when exposed to high temperatures.
The Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Spray gives you everything you need to prevent heat damage. It coats the hair, decreases hair breakage by 70 percent, is lightweight, and contains natural ingredients that are intrinsically good for hair health.
While every choice on the list is an excellent addition to your hair care arsenal, I highly suggest grabbing the Anti-Breakage Spray if you want to get the best heat protectant for 4C hair.