We’ll keep things simple. If you’re using any type of hot tool, yes, you need to be using a heat protectant spray. There really are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, especially if you’re looking to keep your hair as healthy and strong as possible. “Heat protectants are essential for protecting your hair from damaging heat while using a blow dryer, curling iron, or flat iron,” says LA-based celebrity hair stylist Bradley Leake. There’s really no excuse not to, since all you have to do is spray it onto hair pre-styling. It’s that easy. Ahead, 7 of the best heat protectant sprays out there.
Best Overall: Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray
You can’t go wrong with this spritz, a favorite of Leake’s: “I like the versatility of this spray, as it’s great for both wet or dry hair.” But let’s not forget to mention that it does oh-so-much more than just shield strands from heat. It also detangles and acts as a leave-in conditioner, giving you even more bang for your buck.
Best for Second-Day Hair: Color Wow Style on Steroids Texturizing Spray
Before you take a hot tool to second (or third, or fourth) day hair to refresh your style, Leake says to definitely reach for this spray first. Along with acting as a heat protectant, it also adds volume and some flexible hold too, he says. And yes, it’s meant to go on dry hair, so there’s no need to rewet before styling.
Best Bargain: Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic
Don’t be thrown off by the name. While this does indeed detangle like a dream, it also hydrates, strengthens, and protects hair from both heat and environmental factors. Not to mention that the wallet-friendly price tag can’t be beat, the packaging is super chic, and the formula is clean, cruelty-free, and vegan.
Best For Added Shine: Color Wow Dream Coat
You’ve heard of glass skin, but glass hair is also a thing—that super shiny, super straight style that reflects light like no other. Well, in order to get that look, hot tools are definitely in order…as is this heat protectant. “It humidity proofs the hair, leaving it soft and silky with immense shine. Think of it as a mini keratin treatment,” says Leake, who is a fan. FYI, the active ingredients in it are actually heat activated, so you do need to use a blow-dryer with this.
Best for Thick Hair: Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer
Yes, this is an oil, but it comes out in a lightweight mist that keeps it from ever being too thick or heavy. Still, it is rich enough to help hydrate and protect even super coarse, super thick hair textures, all while fighting frizz and guarding against UV rays, too. (It’s why we love bringing it with us on beach days.)
Best for Blowouts: Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer Cream
If a blow-dryer is your preferred hot tool of choice, this is a must. It shields strands from temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but also has the added benefit of reducing blow-dry time. And that’s a major plus, since the less time you can subject your hair to heat, the better. It hydrates and fights frizz, too.
Best for Colored Hair: Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray
There are plenty of things that can strip your color, heat being just one of many. Enter this formula, another one of Leake’s go-tos. It’s filled with ingredients that yes, protect from heat, but also preserve your hair color, detangle, moisturize, smooth strands, and even prep your locks for styling.