The 14 Best Heat Protectants That Keep Styling Tools From Frying Your Hair

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer works overtime to make sure your hair stays silky.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Heat Protectants

Sephora / Odele / Ulta

You may think the secret to getting healthy, Rapunzel-esque hair is regularly applying hydrating masks and sleeping on satin pillowcases — but that's not entirely the case. While both can help, there’s one unsuspecting hair product that makes attaining long, silky hair all the more possible: Heat protectants. 

Heat protectant products (as the name implies) keep strands shielded from hot styling tools like flat irons, blow dryers, and curling irons. Since too much heat exposure can cause hair to be dry, frizzy, and brittle, a few spritzes of thermal spray can go a long way.

As with most beauty products, there are an overwhelming amount of heat protectants to choose from. Luckily, we did the dirty work for you to find the best ones on the market. Hairstylists Tamara Holden, Davian Weiberlen, and Ghanima Abdullah also added their expertise, revealing their go-to products to keep their hair — as well as their clients’ — safe from unwanted damage. 

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer takes our best overall spot thanks to its low price point, effectiveness, and ability to make hair shine from the inside out. 

From affordable drugstore brands to Sephora favorites, keep reading for the 14 best heat protectants of 2022.

Best Overall: Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer

4.8
Bumble and Bumble

 Ulta

What We Love: Just like sunscreen for your mane, this lightweight primer protects hair from harmful UV rays.

What We Don’t Love: This hydrating formula can weigh down hair when paired with other products.

This milky primer checks off all the boxes: It moisturizes, detangles, cuts down frizz, and provides sufficient heat protection. Despite being packed with rich, nourishing oils — including coconut, argan, sweet almond, and safflower seed — it doesn't weigh hair down with greasy residue. (Although, be sure to use it sparingly if you plan on adding other products to your routine like leave-in conditioner or shine spray.)

One of the main benefits of this product is that it works overtime, doubling as a leave-in conditioner to hydrate brittle strands and offer ample hydration to parched hair. The formula also includes UV protection, which protects hair from being dried out by the sun. And, thanks to the slew of moisturizing oils, it can even fight frizz in extreme humidity. There’s not much this catch-all product can’t do. 

For best results, spritz this primer into damp hair before blow drying. It makes your mane easier to manage and quickly conquers tangles. Pro tip: After blow-drying, add two to three more light spritzes to hair before using a hot tool — this will ensure a high shine as well as give hair an added layer of protection.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and curly | Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, Argan oil, Macadamia oil | Size: 8.5 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $32

Best Value: Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic

Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic

Odele

What We Love: This multitasking spray is formulated with amino acids and plant proteins that nurture future hair health. 

What We Don’t Love: The hydrating formula can weigh down some hair types.

With a milky yet lightweight texture, this detangler absorbs into hair on the spot. It gets three jobs done at once: Conquering rowdy knots, hydrating dry strands, and protecting hair against damaging thermal tools. Thanks to its versatility, this heat protectant is great to keep on hand when you want to detangle and prime hair at the same time without using multiple products. It also gives hair a supple shine that in turn makes color more vibrant. As for the cherry on top, this tonic is vegan, clean, and was created with all hair types in mind. 

To get the most out of this spray, use it right after getting out of the shower when hair is wet and not yet towel dried. “Leave Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic in for a few minutes and then comb straight through,” Abdullah recommends. If your hair is really tangled, add a couple more spritzes and gently brush with a wide tooth comb.

Hair Type: Wavy, curly, and coily | Key Ingredients: Rice protein, Quinoa | Size: 8 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $11

Best Splurge: Kenra Professional Platinum Blow-Dry Spray

Kenra Professional Blow Dry Spray

Ulta

What We Love: This lightweight mist has a fresh scent that includes notes of mango and water lily.

What We Don’t Love: If you're prone to having oily hair, this product might make it greasy.

With many heat protectants, it’s best to spray it on when your hair has either had time to air dry or is fully dry, but you can apply this one from Kenra right after you hop out of the shower. It works instantly to detangle knots and banish frizz, all while priming hair for the blow dryer. In terms of the actual blow-drying process, this product promises to reduce blow-drying times by 50 percent, which makes a big difference when you don’t have much time to get ready. 

We especially love that this product is safe on both keratin-treated hair and extensions. It also has a light, fruity scent that features hints of tropical mango and refreshing water lily, meaning hair is bound to smell fresh for hours. Although it’s best used on wet hair, it also works on dry hair prior to using a hot styling tool. Plus, you can layer this mist with other hair products like mousse, hair spray, and oil, without worrying about your hair getting weighed down. This may not be the best pick if you have oily hair, though, as it can make sometimes make hair look greasy rather than shiny. 

Hair Type: Straight and wavy | Key Ingredients: Argan oil, Jojoba seed oil | Size: 6.8 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $42

Best Drugstore: Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray

Tresemme Smooth Heat Protectant Spray

Ulta

What We Love: This TRESemme staple tames flyaways and adds high shine.

What We Don’t Love: This product is not recommended for natural Black hair.

What if we told you the secret to the sleekest, silkiest hair of your life is less than $10? Now that we have your attention, we’ll give you a full rundown on why this item is worthy of a spot in your bathroom. First, this product guards hair against heat up to 450 degrees, so you don’t have to worry about your flat iron frying precious strands. Secondly, it’s infused with keratin and marula oil, both of which make hair extra soft. And third, it fights defiant frizz, detangles tough knots, and tames pesky flyaways. Check, check, and check.

To get the most out of this spray, apply it to damp, towel-dried hair before blow-drying or air-drying hair. Once hair is dry, you can get to work with your curling iron, straightener, or hot brush. Thanks to the infusion of lightweight oils, you’ll notice strands are shinier and silkier than before. We will note that one Ulta customer flagged that this product does not work well on natural Black hair, so be sure to keep that in mind. 

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and curly | Key Ingredients: Keratin, Marula oil | Size: 8 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $9

Best for Color-Treated Hair: Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Conditioner

Pureology Color Fanatic Leave In Conditioner

Sephora

What We Love: A little bit goes a long way.

What We Don’t Love: Since it’s a leave-in conditioner, it can weigh down fine hair.

Color-treated hair is already at a disadvantage even before you take a curling or flat iron to it. The reason: When colored, hair gets damaged during chemical processing, which means using hot tools can make things even worse. Luckily, Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Conditioner is the cure for dry, brittle hair. Made with omega-3-rich camelina oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, this heat protectant spray hydrates color-treated hair by sealing in moisture, which keeps the hue from fading. It also helps to prevent split ends and breakage; plus, it balances hair’s pH.

Apply to clean, damp hair and comb through to prime hair for styling. For those with fine hair, we suggest using this in the shower to detangle, then wash it out. If you really want to keep hair safeguarded, mist strands with the multi-tasking spray before swimming or spending excessive time in the sun for extra color protection.

Hair Type: Straight, Wavy, and Curly | Key Ingredients: Camelina, Coconut, and Olive Oils | Size: 6.7 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $30

Best for Blowouts: Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum

amika blockade heat defense serum

What We Love: This cruelty-free serum is made with omega-7 fatty acids, which promote elasticity.

What We Don’t Love: This product comes in a thin glass bottle, which can break easily — especially if hands are slick and wet after applying the serum to hair.

Pair this hydrating serum with wet hair, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. Made with sea buckthorn, this heat protectant replenishes hair from the inside out, thanks to fatty acids that lock in moisture. When used before blow drying, it will drastically reduce frizz and give hair a gorgeous, glowing shine. 

Even with such a lightweight formula, this serum is ultra-hydrating and nourishing. It makes hair feel smoother, look healthier, and even smell better. Not to mention, this product is free of sulfates, parabens, and petrolatum, and is safe for color-treated hair. It can also protect strands from temperatures of up to 450 degrees, meaning you won’t ever experience that burnt hair smell when using a hot blow dryer. Instead, you’ll be left with bouncy, shiny hair.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and curly | Key Ingredient: Sea buckthorn | Size: 1.7 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $26

Best for Fine Hair: Alterna My Hair. My Canvas. Soaring High Volumizing Blowout Mist

Alterna My Hair. My Canvas. Soaring High Volumizing Blowout Mist

Dermstore

What We Love: This mist purifies and balances the scalp by absorbing excess hair oils.

What We Don’t Love: Since this volumizing product provides hair with 72 hours of lift, it can sometimes make strands feel stiff.

Looking to cut down the number of products in your styling routine? Alterna's featherweight mist doubles as both a heat protectant and volumizing spray. It pairs well with hot tools to minimize the effects of thermal damage to hair while simultaneously adding lift and texture to fine strands. After using this product, you’ll notice hair is bouncy and volumized without being weighed down.

On top of that, this blowout mist also shields hair from the effects of humidity for up to 12 hours, which keeps hair frizz free. It can ward off heat up to 450 degrees, giving hair the adequate protection it needs against the damaging effects of curlers, flat irons, and blow dryers. Bonus: The multitasking spray is infused with white charcoal to absorb excess oil and grease from hair, helping to balance the scalp’s pH. Thanks to that, hair will feel cleaner and blowouts will last longer.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and curly | Key Ingredients: Bamboo extract, Prickly pear oil, White charcoal | Size: 5 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $28

Best for Thick Hair: Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant

Moroccanoil

Sephora 

What We Love: Made with lightweight argan oil, this spray is ideal for layering with other products.

What We Don’t Love: It has a dry aerosol application (similar to hairspray), which makes it easy to apply too much product.

Double down on heat protection with this two-in-one spray that shields hair from damage and provides high shine. Infused with argan oil, this lightweight product deeply nourishes, giving hair a luminous shine. What makes this heat protectant different from the rest is its dry aerosol application, which can be applied on both damp and dry hair: This ensures every strand is fully protected against all kinds of heat. Just be mindful that it comes out of the can quickly, so it’s easy to overdo it.

“Because of the hydration [and] hold, I like using this product on medium to thick hair types for a result that’s shiny with a little bounce,” Holden says of this Moroccanoil favorite. Since it was developed with coarse hair in mind, the spray has the ability to tame unruly frizz for hours on end. 

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, curly, and coily | Key Ingredients: ​​Argan oil, Vitamin E | Size: 6 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $30

Best for Dry Hair: Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème

Briogeo Farwell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Crème

Sephora

What We Love: This silicone-free heat-protectant cream is formulated with three powerhouse oils — rosehip, argan, and coconut.

What We Don’t Love: The formula recently changed and some customers don’t like the new scent.

Struggling with dry, frizzy hair? That’ll be a thing of the past after you try this Briogeo favorite. Made with rosehip, argan, and coconut oils — three hairstylist favorite ingredients that seal in moisture, deeply condition, and strengthen — this multifaceted product has rave reviews for a reason. The main one: It can reduce frizz for up to 48 hours, which comes in handy on hot, sticky days. Oh, and did we mention it also shields hair from UV and free radical damage, too?

After continual use of this heat protectant, you’ll notice that hair is much more hydrated and easier to manage. The non-greasy formula is a game changer, stopping frizz in its tracks while also providing compliment-worthy shine. Ultimately, this product puts in the work to deeply penetrate strands with moisture while also protecting hair from both thermal damage and sun exposure. On top of that, even though this product is a nourishing cream, it doesn’t make hair oily.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, curly, and coily | Key Ingredients: Algae extract, Rosehip oil, Argan oil, Coconut oils | Size: 4 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $26

Best for Curly Hair: Rucker Roots Leave In Heat Protectant

Rucker Roots Leave In Heat Protectant

What We Love: Made with natural ingredients — like ginger, carrot, and turnip root — this heat protectant will nourish hair from the inside out.

What We Don’t Love: The formula is really light, so you might need to apply additional spritzes if you have thick hair.

If you want a product that’s made with natural ingredients, boy, do we have just the thing for you. This Rucker Roots leave-in spray contains some good-for-hair staples like shea butter, argan oil, and biotin, but it also includes some surprising ingredients like ginger root, turnip root, and carrot root oil — all of which work together to stimulate healthy hair growth, soothe the scalp, provide shine, and protect strands against breakage.

The family-run brand created their line of hair products specially for those with curly hair using ingredients grown on their farm in Virginia. So purchasing this isn’t just good for the environment, you can feel good spending your money on a woman- and Black-owned business. Use this spray on wet hair before applying heat and you’ll be able to confidently use hot tools without the fear of ruining curly hair. One of the major upsides of this product is that it doesn’t create build up or leave a film on hot tools — this means you can apply a generous amount from root to tip and style as desired.

Hair Type: Curly and coily | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, Avocado oil, Castor oil | Size: 4 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best for Knots: Ceremonia Guava Rescue Hair Heat Protectant Spray

Ceremonia Heat Protectant

Sephora

What We Love: With notes of brown sugar, peach, and lemon zest, this weightless spray just might rival your go-to perfume.

What We Don’t Love: You have to give the bottle a good shake in order to mix the ingredients together before spritzing.

If you want a product that will nourish hair, detangle knots, and smell like a tropical vacation, we have just the thing you’re looking for: The Rescue Hair Heat Protectant Spray from Ceremonia is suitable for all hair types, and protects against hot styling tools and UV rays. It’s powered by guava extract and blue agave, which together work to smooth hair and shield it from sun damage. It’s also packed with avocado oil, meaning it has the power to keep split ends at bay. 

One of the most alluring things about this product — besides its ability to nourish dry hair and defend it against heat — is its tropical scent. With notes of guava, peach, jasmine petals, lemon zest, and brown sugar, this fragrance will make your hair smell fresh, clean, and heavenly. Not to mention, the spray is also free from silicones, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial colorants, and it comes in recyclable packaging. It provides hair with a big punch of hydration and strengthens strands to prevent future breakage. Need we say more?

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, curly, and coily | Key Ingredients: Guava fruit extract, Blue agave, Avocado oil | Size: 6.7 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $22

Best for Frizz: Amika The Shield Anti-Humidity Spray

Amika The Shield Anti-Humidity Spray and Heat Protectant

What We Love: Muggy weather doesn’t stand a chance against this heat-activated spray.

What We Don’t Love: Since it can last for up to 24 hours, it might make thin hair oily.

Say goodbye to bad hair days once and for all with this anti-humidity spray. Known as ‘The Shield,’ this cruelty-free product is strong enough to ward off frizz, even on the hottest of days. Made with sea buckthorn (which protects hair from breakage) and polyquaternium-59 (which is a cationic polymer that smooths hair cuticles and protects strands from UV rays), this spray will add shine, moisture, and a gorgeous, glossy finish.

“Not only does it provide heat protection, but it protects the hair from humidity for up to 24 hours,” Holden said. “My favorite way to use this product is [by] spraying it evenly on the hair in sections as my first layer before applying stronger hold styling products and hot tools. At the end, I spray over the finished style for one last defense against humidity. It can even be sprayed several times throughout your day to create longevity in your style. It's my universal go-to and always in my kit.”

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and curly | Key Ingredients: Sea buckthorn, Polyquaternium-59 | Size: 5.3 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $26

Best for UV Protection: Sun Bum Heat Protector

Sun Bum Heat Protectant

Ulta

What We Love: This hydrating protectant is made with sea kelp extract, which boosts hair’s natural moisture and overall glossiness. 

What We Don’t Love: This product is formulated with coconut oil, which can make some hair textures look oily.

We already know Sun Bum makes good sunscreen, which is why we wholeheartedly trust it for protecting our hair, too. Sun Bum Heat Protector blocks UV rays from fading and drying out strands, while also adding a lustrous shine. Since this is made for anyone who spends a ton of time in the sun, it also has anti-frizz and humidity capabilities, which come in handy during the summer months. Indoors, it's formulated to speed up blow-drying time so there's less risk of breakage. 

To use this product, start by towel drying wet hair. Shake up the formula to mix the clear and turquoise parts together, then spray it directly onto hair. Once hair is dry, you’ll notice a sleek, smooth finish thanks to the inclusion of noni — a fruit rich in vitamin C that hydrates and nourishes hair. This heat protectant is also formulated with giant sea kelp extract to give hair that glossy, high shine.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and curly | Key Ingredients: Giant sea kelp extract, Noni | Size: 6 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $17

Best Oil: Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil

5

What We Love: This hydrating oil makes hair silky and manageable.

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t pair well with hair spray.

With a variety of award-winning products and celeb-loved formulas, Olaplex knows a thing or two about hair care. Though it’s hard to pick a favorite, their No.7 Bonding Oil is really magic in a bottle: It significantly increases hair’s glossiness, vibrancy, and overall softness. The highly-concentrated, weightless oil also battles frizz, tames flyaways, and repairs damaged strands, all while providing UV and heat protection of up to 450 degrees. Since it’s ultra-lightweight, it won’t weigh down hair and it can be used as a shine oil after styling. 

Like most Olaplex products, this oil is made with bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which is basically a big word for the brand’s patented bond-building technology. This ingredient does an overhaul on damaged hair, repairing it and making it stronger. We will note that a little goes a long way, so be sure to only use a few drops. For a glossy shine and a protected mane, we suggest keeping this oil on hand at all times.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, curly, and coily | Key Ingredients: Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, Grape seed oil | Size: 1 fl oz.

Price at time of publish: $30

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients

The ingredients found in heat protectants can vary vastly from one product to the next. For starters, different formulas are made to target different hair concerns (like frizziness, dryness, etc.), hair textures, and hair types. Additionally, products can also be formulated to bring out desired effects like glossiness (Amika The Shield Anti-Humidity Spray is great for this), hydration (try Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant), and UV protection (like our best overall pick Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer). With these factors in mind, the ingredient lists are bound to change along with each product. 

That being said, there are a few common ingredients that can be found in most heat protectants – most notably cyclomethicone and dimethicone. Cyclomethicone works to moisturize hair, while dimethicone forms a barrier to defend strands from moisture loss. These water-soluble ingredients are safe for all hair types and work overtime to create a barrier to inhibit the loss of natural moisture due to evaporation and hot tools.

Hair Type

Keep your hair type in mind when picking out a heat protectant. Just as you wouldn’t wear a shoe that’s too big for your foot, you shouldn’t get a heat protectant that doesn’t adequately cater to your hair. For example, people with fine hair should stay away from heavy, oily products — Alterna My Hair. My Canvas. Soaring High Volumizing Blowout Mist is a great pick for these people because it helps to volumize without weighing hair down. On the flip side, people with thick hair should opt for products that will deliver optimal hydration that can penetrate coarse follicles. The creamy formula of Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Créme is ideal for those with thick hair. 

Using a product that isn’t suited for your hair type can cause a slew of unwanted outcomes. If you have straight hair but are using a protectant for coily hair, your hair could be weighed down since some products for coily hair are made with moisture-rich ingredients. Not to mention, using a product for straight hair when you have curly hair could make curls less bouncy. (This same idea applies to hair textures, too).

Your Questions, Answered

How do heat protectants work?

If you’ve ever wondered how heat protectants really work, we’ve got you covered. “Heat protectants coat the hair with a substance like silicone that has a high smoke point to act as a shield between the heat tool and your hair,” Abdullah explains. The product clings to hair cuticles and acts as a shield, warding off high heat. “It also helps to reduce heat damage, protecting and smoothing the hair cuticle to make it look smooth and soft,” Weiberlen adds.

How do you use heat protectant spray?

Many hairstylists agree that heat protectant is the most important product to have in your hair care line up. Because of its importance, it’s essential to apply the product correctly so you can get the best results and utmost protection. “You can use a heat protectant spray on dry or damp hair,” Weiberlen explains. “Spray it on and comb the hair after the application, making sure the product spreads evenly across the hair for an intact styled result.” (Use a comb or your fingers to best distribute the product.) 

If you are planning to blow dry hair, you can apply the product and blow dry immediately after. If you are using a hot tool, make sure the product fully absorbs, and hair is dry before using a curling iron or flat iron. Additionally, if you are going out into the sun, you can add a few spritzes of a UV protectant spray to dry, styled hair for another layer of protection.

Can you use a heat protectant on dry hair?

Yes, heat protectant can be used on dry hair. “It can be applied on dry or damp hair and even before or after styling the hair,” Weiberlen says. Just ensure the product has fully absorbed and hair is dry before styling with a hot tool. 

Why Trust InStyle

Lauren Harano has been a contributing writer for InStyle since August 2022 covering all things beauty — from the best lip glosses to hair care essentials. Her work has also appeared in both digital and print publications including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, POPSUGAR, and Esquire. For this article, she did her due diligence researching and testing products to find best heat protectants on the market. The heat protectants in this story went above and beyond, doing much more for hair than simply shielding it from thermal damage. They work to hydrate and nourish strands, add shine, seal split ends, and so much more. Additionally, the haircare experts interviewed for this piece have extensive knowledge of effective heat protectants as well as hair products in general.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles