The Best Heat Protectant Sprays, According to Customer Reviews

Protect your strands from styling tools and sun damage with these lightweight sprays.

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Photo: Yuri_Arcurs/Getty

If you're quick to hit your fresh-out-of-the-shower hair with a blow dryer or if you love to style your tresses with hot tools, such as curling wand, flat iron, or hair dryer brush, your hair-care routine should most definitely include a heat protectant spray to, well, protect your strands.

Heat protectant sprays work by forming a barrier over the hair cuticle (the outer surface of a hair strand)so you don't damage your locks. How exactly? "Basically, when you wash your hair, the cuticles of the hair are left open," says celebrity stylist Dimitris Giannetos, who tames the manes of A-listers like Camila Cabello and Meghan Trainor. Things like hot steam, wetting the hair, or using most shampoos will open the hair cuticle, while conditioning, deep conditioning, and using cold water will close it. But to ensure extra protection, heat protectant sprays can also help seal the cuticle. "Heat protectants help to close the cuticles so all the heat doesn't go inside the hair follicle — it basically creates a wall to the hair!" If you don't use a heat protectant prior to hot-tool styling, the cuticle can crack, fray, and lose its protective ability.

On top of creating a protective wall, these sprays also help lock in moisture, smooth frizz (since they block the cuticlefrom humidity), and protect your tresses from drying out, burning, breaking, or becoming dull, thanks to hot tools and free radical damage caused by UV raysand pollution. So if you spend a lot of time outdoors or live in a city with a lot of air pollution, it's smart to spritz your strands ahead of time. (

Also note that even though you're using a heat protectant, that doesn't give you the green light to use your hot tools at maximum heat. For fine hair, a lower temperature of 250-340°F is best, according to styling tool brand ISA Professional. For normal, medium-thickness hair types, you should keep the temperature anywhere between 300-350°F. Thicker and coarser hair types can withstand even higher heat, so you can start at 330-380°F but may need to bump up to 400-450°F for best results.

Giannetos recommends using a heat protectant spray from root to tip on towel-dried hair, sectioning it off before you spray to ensure you get the most coverage. That said, many of the formulas are just as effective on dry tresses. Ahead, shop the best heat protectants, according to customer reviews.

R+Co One Prep Spray

heat protectant spray rco
AMAZON

From aloe leaf and prickly pear fruit extracts to sweet almond protein, this spray has tons of good-for-your-mane ingredients that smooth, soften, hydrate, seal-in moisture, and repair damage. It also contains a styling polymer, which strengthens the cuticle while offering heat styling protection. On top of acting as a heat protectant, it triples as a detangler and light conditioner. (

One reviewer wrote: "I LOVE this primer spray!! It really works wonders for my hair. I have colored, long, thick hair, so I give my hair two sprays on top, one in between layers, and one underneath. It really does keep the flyaways and frizz away, and it makes my hair silky smooth after drying and heating with a straightener. I really like knowing it protects my hair from heat damage. It feels light and smells great, too. No greasy residue at all."

Buy It: R+Co One Prep Spray, $22, amazon.com

Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Mist

heat protectant spray drybar
SEPHORA

This versatile, lightweight spray can be used on fine, medium, and thick hair textures, as well as on straight, wavy, curly, and coily hair types. It's packed with marula oil, fire tulip extract, and heat-activated rice protein to strengthen strands and deliver heat protection — up to 450°F. Bonus: Thanks to the marula oil, it also leaves hair with a smooth, shiny finish.

"This mist worked wonders on my hair. I style my hair almost every day, and every hair protectant I used didn't get me the results I needed, but this one works amazing! It gives my hair a beautiful, healthy shine and movement," noted a shopper.

Buy It: Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protectant, from $14, sephora.com

Ouai Heat Protection Spray

heat protectant spray ouai
SEPHORA

Aside from smelling like actual heaven — thanks to notes of violet, gardenia, and white musk — this comes out in such a fine mist that it perfectly coats all of your strands without feeling greasy or heavy. It contains thermal polymers and prickly pear extract to condition, add shine, soften and smooth, and protect the hair up to 450°F. Oh, and reviewers love it — it has nearly 30,000 hearts on Sephora's site.

"I didn't dread hot, humid days this summer because of this product!" raved a customer. "I have fine, frizz-prone hair, so humidity is my kryptonite. This summer I prepped it before using a curling iron and for the first time in years, people actually complimented my hair... in summer! Life changing."

Buy It: Ouai Heat Protection Spray, $28, sephora.com

Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Hair Spray

heat protectant spray oribe
SEPHORA

Like all Oribe products, this one comes at a cost — but it's so worth it. The weightless mist adds moisture, zaps frizz, prevents color fading, and protects against heat styling, UV rays, and even pollution. Plus, it's formula is free of parabens, sulfates, formaldehydes, and mineral oils — which make hair dry and brittle, can irritate the scalp, fade color, and strip away hair's natural oils and is also vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. (

One fan wrote: I bought this after having it used on me at a salon — absolute game changer. Not only does it protect my hair from heat (I've noticed significantly less split ends forming since my last haircut compared to previously when I didn't use this product — with the same rate of heat use), but my hair is SO soft, tangle-free, smooth, and shiny. 10/10 recommend, only need a few sprays on wet hair combed through to get desired effect, and it smells great."

Buy It: Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Hair Spray, $44, sephora.com

Virtue Create Volumizing Primer

heat protectant spray virtue
AMAZON

Safe to use on all hair types, including color-treated and chemically-treated locks, this spray acts as a heat protectant while giving fine or flat hair a little boost, without stickiness or buildup like with other products. It contains keratin, which leaves hair lustrous and shiny, and is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic colors, and dyes. Spritz it on wet or dry strands before using hot tools for impressive protection and hold.

"I have very fine hair and have tried a zillion products to add volume... most disappoint. Virtue really works ...it adds volume, but here's the thing... the volume lasts longer than with other products. Right after blowing out my hair, it looks great... but it falls flat in no time. With Virtue, the volume lasted longer. My hair looked better all day!" reported a shopper.

Buy It: Virtue Create Volumizing Primer, $36, amazon.com

Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray

heat protectant spray living proof
AMAZON

This spray adds shine while protecting your hair from hot tools and sun damage. The brand also claims that this product will prevent up to 93 percent of new split ends from forming due to styling. Made without parabens, mineral oil, and phthalates(a chemical that's been linked to numerous harmful effects on humans, like disrupting hormone activity), it will leave your locks feeling healthy, smooth, and silky. (

"I really like this protection spray a lot," shared a customer. "It doesn't harden or tangle my hair at all. It smooths it and makes it easy to brush through. I haven't noticed any split ends since I've started using it, so that's a huge plus."

Buy It: Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray, $29, amazon.com

Eva NYC Mane Magic

heat protectant spray eva
AMAZON

This spray is the ultimate hero product, touting 10 benefits in one bottle: It detangles, reduces frizz, strengthens, softens, cuts drying time, adds shine, nourishes, smooths, and protects against thermal and UV damage. It's made with natural oils, including argan oil and sunflower seed oil, to deliver essential fatty acids and vitamins to strands, while hydrating and promoting shine and softness.

One five-star reviewer raved: "If I could choose one hair product for healthy hair, other than shampoo and conditioner (and dry shampoo for in between washes), this would be it. I have waist-length hair and this not only smells AMAZING, it works like a dream!! It detangles, hydrates, gives shine and heat protection, as well as a myriad of other things including helping hair air and blow dry faster. This doesn't weigh my hair down AT ALL. I never have frizzy hair, even during summer humidity, and my hair is strong and growing faster. If you're on the fence about this, just buy it. You absolutely will not regret it!!

Buy It: Eva NYC Mane Magic, $12, amazon.com

CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

heat protectant spray chi
CHI

With over 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this heat protection spray contains vitamins and proteins that add essential moisture, it protects against thermal damage, and is suitable for all hair types. Customers also love how it doesn't weight hair down or make it feel tacky, which is especially key for anyone with fine hair. (

"This is the BEST heat protector I have used... which has been a lot. I am the girl who often dyes her hair and has gone through three colors in two years. I need all the protection I can get and THIS gives it. I do not use irons or blow dryers daily any more, however this ensures my hair is soft when I do and still has some life to it," noted a shopper.

Buy It: CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray, $11, was $16, amazon.com

IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Anti-Frizz Smoothing Spray

heat protectant spray igk
AMAZON

This smoothing spray is basically a keratin treatment in a can. It contains spirulina protein and bonding polymers to strengthen and nourish your strands, while mimicking the frizz-free, shiny coating of a keratin treatment when activated by heat. It's particularly great for wavy, curly, and coily hair types, and gives frizz-free hold for 24 hours.

"Amazing and versatile product," wrote a customer. "I gave fine, thinning hair and I love this product. It smooths frizz, can be used on damp hair pre blowout, can be used on dry hair prior to ironing and hot tools, and somehow gives my hair volume?! So in love and the smell is heaven!"

Buy It: IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Anti-Frizz Smoothing Spray, $32, sephora.com

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