Fall is rolling in and winter is right behind it. This is the time when most naturals will straighten their hair because they won’t have to worry about their roots sweating out and their hair reverting.
Are you going to straighten your hair for the colder months? If so, what kind of heat protectants would you use?
There are a ton of products on the market now and this decision could get a bit overwhelming. But no fear, I am definitely here to help you make the right decision for your gorgeous tresses and give you my thoughts on some of the best heat protectants on the market!
Before we dive in – our list of best heat protectants is below:
How To Choose A Heat Protectant
I have been natural since 2009 and heat-free for 11 years and I have only put heat on my hair 3 times in those 11 years.
I normally just style my curly hair, but when I do decide to put heat on my hair, I definitely use a heat protectant.
Over the years I have researched everything there is about natural hair and I have made many mistakes that have hindered my hair retention, including suffering from heat damage because I did not use a heat protectant prior to heat styling my hair.
The Best Heat Protectants
Silicones are chemicals that are synthetically manufactured. They are used in many hair care products to provide shine, lubrication, and detangling benefits.
Silicones also provide a strong barrier between your hair cuticle and the extreme heat.
Hair burns at 451℉ so if you use a good heat protectant and any temperature lower than 451℉, then you should have a successful, heat damage-free blowout.
Are Silicone Heat Protectants Safe For Natural Hair?
Silicone heat protectants are absolutely safe. The reason some naturals steer clear from hair products containing silicones is that they can cause buildup. However, if you use a sulfate shampoo you could remove the silicone and buildup of other products.
Sulfate shampoos are known to dry out the hair and cause more breakage. However, some silicones can only be removed with a sulfate shampoo. I believe that sulfate shampoos have a bad rep because people do not know how to personally moisturize their hair.
Lots of naturals suffer from dry hair. I know this because I have asked many people about their hairs’ moisture level and they didn’t quite understand my questioning. They understand when their hair is dry, they just don’t know how to re-moisturize it.
If you use a sulfate shampoo and properly replenish the moisture that you were stripped of during the shampoo process, then what do you have to worry about?
Sulfates also completely strip your hair from other ingredients like heavy butters and oils that will cause buildup on your strands and scalp. Removing buildup will help your curly hair stay moisturized.
Remember, silicones are one of the best heat protectants. Making sure that you use a very moisturizing conditioner after you shampoo and using a good penetrating deep conditioner after that will definitely bring back that lost moisture from your sulfate shampoo.
How Can I Protect My Hair From Heat Damage Naturally?
The only way to protect your hair from heat damage naturally is to use a naturally derived oil on your wet hair or damp hair, prior to heat styling.
When using natural oil as a heat protectant you have to make sure that the amount of heat you use is less than the oil’s smoke point.
For instance, if you use grapeseed oil as your heat protectant, which has a smoke point of 420F, then you can’t use any of your preferred heat tools over 420F. If you do, you could have heat damage.
The Best Heat Protectants for Natural Hair
This product is one of my personal favorite heat protectants.
This is one of the best products to use as a heat protectant spray for natural hair. Not only is it easy to find (located at my favorite store, Target!) but it’s very affordable.
This lightweight heat protectant spray has amodimethicone as the 3rd ingredient. It also has birrea seed oil (marula oil), argan oil, and hydrolyzed keratin in it which is great for strengthening the hair strand.
The Tresemme Thermal Creations Keratin Smooth Leave-In Heat Protectant Spray (whew, that’s a mouthful) claims to have a 5 in 1 system.
In one bottle, it is supposed to protect from heat, give shine, tame flyaways, smooth frizz, and soften the strands. It also claims to protect the hair from heat up to 450℉.
The Tresemme Thermal Creations Keratin Smooth Leave-In Heat Protectant Spray can be great to apply to your hair before you blow-dry it and again, lightly, after you have blown it out.
However, you may not like the spray to put on your freshly blow-dried hair because it does have water as the first ingredient and we definitely don’t want those tresses reverting.
The John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum is also one of my favorite heat protectants.
The John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum is water-free and will create amazing results if you put it on after the blow-dry process.
It claims to have 6 advantages to provide to the hair shaft for the best results.
Protects against humidity
Provides heat protection + silk protein and added control
Although it is smaller packaging, you only need to use between 1-2 drops depending on hair length and density.
If you are trying to achieve a blown-out style and not flat iron your hair then a silicone-free product would be great to use because the heat from the blow dryer is indirect and it doesn’t get as hot as a flat iron.
The Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant & Cream is a great natural, silicone-free cream to use.
When your hair is clean it absorbs products better so using this right after you rinse out your deep conditioner would be perfect.
Since it’s a cream-based protectant, it will help moisturize dry hair.
It is marketed to work for dry, frizzy, and/or heat-styled hair and is made for straight, wavy, curly, and coily hair types.
It claims to protect the hair from thermal damage up to 450℉ with the use of rosehip, argan oil, and coconut oils.
It also claims to smooth the hair, enhance shine, and tame frizz. This sounds like a match made in heaven for a blowout style and will make blow-drying process worth it!
The Olaplex Bonding Oil is a concentrated, weightless reparative styling oil, which means you only need a couple of drops for your entire head for this gem to work its magic.
So even if you do not straighten your natural hair that often, you could still use this product as a reparative oil with your deep conditioner, and on wet hair or dry hair.
The repairing properties of this oil will help tremendously with preventing heat damage.
Olaplex is well known for its science behind hair cuticle bonding and now they’ve created an oil for the woman who wants the benefits of their innovation along with the shine and strength of an oil.
It claims to have UV/heat protection for up to 45℉, minimizes flyaways and frizz. It also claims to increase shine, softness, and color vibrancy, for those naturals who have added some tones to their tresses.
Other Useful Heat Protectants for Natural Hair
The KeraCare Silken Seal Liquid Sheen seals the hair cuticle while creating super shiny hair with body. This product contains silicones that help soften and protect the hair strands from heat.It claims to be non-oily and has sunscreen ingredients to help with UV protection.
Chi is a very high-end brand and has been around for decades. Although a lot of master cosmetologists use this brand for heat styling, it’s also available to purchase for everyday consumers! The Chi Silk Infusion is a silicone serum that is alcohol-free. This serum is enriched with pure natural silk extract, and wheat and soy proteins. These ingredients will help strengthen the follicles and help with breakage and heat damage during the straightening process.
A Guide to Selecting The Right Heat Protectant For Your Natural Hair
Selecting the perfect heat protectant for your precious strands will all depend on how you will be using heat. If you are blow-drying then you will be using more indirect heat and could opt out of a silicone-based heat protectant, especially if you practice the curly girl methods.
However, if you are going to be using a flat iron or a hot comb then the heat from the flat iron plates or the iron will be directly on your hair strand and you will want to protect it more.
Heat damage is a hard thing to recover from and if you don’t protect your hair properly, the damage could be irreversible and would require you to cut your strands.
Is Heat Protectant Spray or Oil Better?
A heat protectant oil would be a great product to use if you are using indirect heat like a hooded or blow dryer.
Normally, heat protectant oils do not have silicones in them so this is also a good alternative for curly girls who do not want to use silicones.
Oils also provide great strength and shine to the strands too. It is also a more lightweight formula than a serum so it can give the hair more body.
Heat protectant sprays usually have water as their first ingredient.
This means that, if used too much, it could revert your hair strands and make them wet again.
However, if you blow out your hair and then create a “blown out style”, this would be a great product to use right after you rinse out your deep conditioner.
These heat protectant sprays can also speed up the time it usually takes you to blow out your hair while providing protection from heat.
How Do I keep my Curly Hair From Getting Heat Damaged?
Most women will flat iron their hair on at least 400F. This is because our hair is so curly or tightly coiled that it takes a lot of heat to get our tresses straightened. Especially if you want the hairstyle to last.
Trust me, nobody wants to spend at least 5 hours on the entire wash day process and blow drying or washing their hair just for it to revert the next day.
Besides, putting less heat on our hair will ensure we don’t get heat damage, which could lead to breakage and hinder our growth retention.
The Best Decision For Your Natural Hair
Whether you use silicone or silicone-free heat protectants, they both have their pros and cons.
While you’re making a decision, think about the type of style you’re going to do. Think about the amount of time you want the style to last. Also, think about whether you want to use direct, or indirect heat because this could make a huge impact on your decision about using silicone or a no-silicone product.
Either way, just make sure you make the best decision for your hair to avoid heat damage. Happy styling!