While our trusty hairstyling tools undoubtedly transform our hair, they can also do so in less than stellar ways. Heat styling can be seriously damaging, which is where heat protection sprays are your best allies.
But here's the thing: you wouldn't go out and sunbathe without lathering yourself in sun cream, would you? We'd certainly like to think you wouldn't. Well, that same protection is needed for your hair when it's exposed to heat (as well as UV rays). Unsurprisingly, using burning-hot heat on your hair can in fact increase the risk of split ends, long-term breakage and colour fade. And no one wants that.
While things like investing in the best silk pillow cases, hair masks, hair oils and hair wraps is always a good idea, you should really use preventative methods of protecting your hair too so that your need for all those boujee extras isn't so extreme. Heat protection sprays are your answer to silky smooth and healthy hair for the long run.
Do heat protection sprays actually work?
Heat protection sprays are clever formulas that basically create a shield between your precious tresses and your super hot styling tools.
While things like leave-in conditioners are great for replenishing your hair with nourishment, heat protection sprays reduce the amount of damage caused by heat styling.
“Heat protection spray is a protectant that forms a barrier between your hair and heat [from things like thermal styling] stopping damaging and burning the hair,” explains celebrity hairstylist and colourist Lewis Pallett, who also recommends think of it as sunscreen stopping your skin from burning.
Keep in mind, however, that they don't offer 100% protection - using a high temperature will still cause some damage, even with a heat spray - and they don't offer broad protection from other threats either (like air pollutants).
Having said that, a lot of brands nowadays have created formulas which also condition, nourish, tame strands, protect colour and help to detangle your hair as well as shelter it from scorching temps. How clever? Sounds a worthwhile purchase to us.
Do I have to use it every time I style my hair?
Yes! You should be using protectant spray every time you’re styling your hair. “Everybody should use it, it doesn't matter what hair type you are,” says Lewis. This even includes re-styling your hair quickly on day two or three. Trust us, a few spritzes is worth it to keep your hair from unnecessary damage.
How much heat protector spray do I need?
Believe it or not, more isn’t always more when it comes to hair product; though, we’ll still need more convincing on that when it comes to conditioner. “The amount someone would use would depend on your hair and hair type so if you had thin fine hair then you could use less than someone with thick hair,” says Lewis.
Lewis says that application technique matters, too. “A quick spritz over the top isn’t going to cut it!” Heat goes all over your hair so you need to make sure as many of your stands are coated as possible.
“The quickest way to apply it would be holding the spray in one hand and grabbing your hair with the other and basically lifting and dropping the hair while you spray, then swap hands to cover all of your hair,” he says. “I’d love you all to do it section by section but we both know that will never happen so try this it’s much easier!” We love an understanding hairstylist.
Which is the best heat protection spray?
The answer to this question depends on a few things, the first being what type of hair you have and the second being how much money you want to spend. Have you got curly hair, dry hair, straight hair...?
Say your hair is prone to dryness. The Shea Butter Thermal Shield Heat Protect by Cantu is well worth picking up. Made with pure shea butter to replace vital moisture and reveal stronger, healthier hair with a natural shine, this formula is a pre-treatment for all hairstyles to prevent damage and create smooth results.
A pricier option that's a good heat protecting spray for straightening hair is the trending Balmain Hair's Thermal Spray. Ticking all the right boxes with its ultra-fine spray that defends against all styling tools, it's infused with silk protein and pro-vitamin B5 to create an invisible shield all while protecting the hair from breakage and heat damage up to 220°C.
For more from GLAMOUR UK's Associate Commerce Writer Georgia Trodd, follow her on Instagram @georgiatrodd.