Call me Mr. Miyagi, because I’m about to lay some serious hair self-defense lessons on you. It’s keratin-karate. Split-end sparring. Breakage boxing. Ok, don’t worry I’m done spinning hair/fighting wordplay.
But the truth is, in this glorious day and age we can achieve any and every hairstyle we want! You can go from naturally straight to voluminous curls in 15 minutes flat. From wavy to pin-straight, and sopping wet to desert-dry, too— all with the help of our friendly curling wands, straightening irons and blow dryers. Never have we had such hair freedom! But with that comes some consequences. Have you wondered why your hair looks parched lately? How about why your split ends have their own split ends? Or maybe why your hair just up and stopped growing altogether?
Heat styling has consequences, I said! Thermal damage, split ends, brittle hair, fried fringe. Turns out all those hot tools can be a little backstabbing. So to make sure we’re always on friendly terms with our hair tools, defend yourself with the right weapons. Our weapon of choice is a thermal heat protectant.
Just as if you wouldn’t grab a blistering-hot sheet of cookies out of the oven without a hot pad, you shouldn’t glide a 400 degree flat iron across your hair without similar protection. Ladies, shield your hair with a heat protectant spray! Always, always, always. I repeat, ALWAYS. Using heat on our hair without protection is a sure way to get mammoth split ends, tons of breakage and dry, frizzy hair. Daily heat-styling will cook hair to the point of major dehydration— heat protectant products will add moisture BACK into your hair. But they will also add a protective barrier over the cuticle to prevent heat damage. Think of heat protectant as the primer you put on before your makeup— it holds in the moisture and creates a beautiful, luminous canvas, which holds all day.
I usually start my heat defense when my hair is still wet, before I blow dry. I love to use Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer (this product was a BFB Hair Lab winner!) I spray from roots to ends, then wait until my hair is mostly air-dried before I finish it off with my blow dryer. Because even when protected, less heat it better. Remember this article?
If my hair is already dry and I want to sport some curls, I use a thermal protectant that will withstand high heat, while also offering “curl memory,” a sort of hair spray, which will keep my style longer. An added bonus of most heat protectants is that they shield your hair while also adding shine, and a flexible hold. One of those two-birds kind of products. I love using this spray for perfect (long lasting) curls.
If I want to wear my hair straight, I turn to my flat iron AND a heat protectant that will add keratin to my hair and also smooth out any frizz that could form. I love the TRESemme Keratin Smooth Flat Iron Smoothing Spray (also a BFB Hair Lab Winner) on my sleek, straight hairstyles. *This product is also totally affordable, available at the drugstore and straight up BOMB.
So lace up those boxing gloves, girls. We’re up against heat, and we can’t lose! When a good heat protectant is on your side, you’re on the winning team.
Article and images by Amy Hutchens.