Heat protectant products that actually work, according to hairstylists

Shield your strands from the heat with these expert-approved sprays!
Young woman holding hair-dryer, drying hair
You don't have to give up your hot tools in order to protect your hair from heat damage!Seb Oliver / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

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There's nothing quite like the relaxing experience of sitting back in a salon chair and getting a bouncy blowout. But as much as we love styling our hair with blow-dryers, straighteners and curling irons, we know all that heat can wreak serious havoc on our delicate strands.

Luckily, giving up your hot tools isn't the only way to avoid damage. Spritzing a touch of heat protectant spray before styling can help shield your locks from extreme temperatures and potentially nourish your hair in a multitude of ways.

We asked celebrity hairstylists to recommend their favorite heat protectant products, and these are the 14 they reach for the most.

Best heat protectant sprays

1. Dove Smooth & Shine Heat-Protect Spray

This spray from Dove is formulated with a "nutri-style complex" that is meant to prevent frizz, flyaways and static.

“This spray is a must for when you straighten, curl or blow out your hair because of the nourishing ingredients and the fact that it doesn’t weigh down the hair,” celebrity hair artist Kendall Dorsey told TODAY.

2. Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray

Color Wow's popular multitasking spray can be applied to damp locks to help protect against humidity and the harsh effects of heat styling. The unique formula is designed to last for up to three shampoos, so you don't have to worry about applying it each time you style your hair. Plus, it's full of heat-activated polymers that work to tighten and seal hair strands.

Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Soho, swears by its strong ingredients. "This lightweight hair serum includes polysilicone-29 and chamomile to guard against humidity and protect your hair color. It protects against heat up to 450 degrees and offers UV protection," she told us.

Celebrity hairstylist and Color Wow artistic director Chris Appleton said he used it for Jennifer Lopez's hair during the Super Bowl halftime show!

3. Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Thermal Protection Hair Spray

If you ever get impatient while drying your hair and want to speed up the process, this spray might just be your new best friend. The weightless formula (with moisturizing ingredients like argan and jojoba oil) is designed to cut blow-dry time in half.

Hair expert Sheridan Ward discovered the product and loves it. "This is one of my new finds, and it leaves hair feeling healthy, hydrated and super glossy after heat styling. It works best on medium to coarse hair types," Ward told TODAY.

4. L'Oreal Professional Expert Serie Multipurpose Spray

This lightweight gel spray works to improve hair's texture and protect against split ends. Ingredients such as helianthus annuus seed extract and coconut oil also provide a touch of moisture.

"I have been using this product religiously for over five years! It's great because it has everything you need in one spray. It detangles, adds shine, prevents breakage, protects color and shields hair from heat up to 450 degrees!" celebrity hairstylist and colorist Ashley Wahler said.

5. IGK Sold Out Curl Priming Basecoat Spray

Calling all curly gals! If you're struggling to maintain the shape of your waves, this primer is designed to lock your style in place and help prevent damage. Its sweet almond oil is meant to lock in moisture, while sea kelp nourishes the scalp. It also smells amazing!

"Use this product for humidity-defying, defined curls. The spray can ensure even saturation and uniform curls, plus it's filled with plenty of nutrients to quench your curls' thirst," celebrity hairstylist Gabi Lopez told TODAY.

6. Sebastian Trilliant Spray

This thermal protectant is formulated with rock crystal extract that is meant to add body and dazzling shine.

"This is one of my all-time favorites. It has a 'sparkle complex' that makes the hair look super shiny and luxe. But it's also an incredible heat protector and works great on dry hair before heat styling," Ward said.

Ward also says it provides amazing results for textured hair, especially if you're looking for a sleek and glossy finish.

7. OGX Protecting + Silk Blowout Quick Drying Thermal Spray

Protecting your hair doesn't have to break your budget! When sprayed on locks from roots to ends, this bargain-friendly find can prevent heat damage and decrease the time it takes to dry your hair.

"It’s made with hydrolyzed silk and quinoa that help protect hair," Brown, whose celebrity clients include Kate McKinnon and Melissa Villaseñor, raved.

8. Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother

This unique leave-in cream is meant to nix frizz while shielding strands from hot tools, and the brand says it's ideal for all hair types.

Bianca Hillier, colorist at Andy Lecompte Salon in Los Angeles, loves Olaplex No. 6 for its sheer versatility. "It has a patented formula that strengthens the inside structure of the hair while also providing thermal protection. This product is great for all hair textures and densities, but be cautious because the tiniest bit goes a long way," she told us.

9. Pantene Pro-V Nutrient Boost Heat Primer Thermal Heat Protection Pre-Styling Spray

The micro polymers in this lightweight spray can help prevent damage and seal out heat, while the nutrient-infused formula gives your hair some much-deserved attention.

“It's cost-effective, excellent on the hair and full of nutrients to keep the hair looking beautiful all day and your strands heat protected,” Dorsey explained.

10. Ouai Memory Mist Heat Protectant

Ouai's lightweight heat protectant holds strands in place until you wash them again with the help of amphomer polymers. The paraben-free formula is also designed to tame frizz and add shine with a few superstar ingredients like prickly pear extract and panthenol.

"This priming spray has UV protection (to reduce color fade) and protects hair from heat. Plus, it’s lightweight so it won’t weigh hair down," Brown said.

11. IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray

Spirulina protein, the star ingredient of this smoothing spray, might just give heat-treated hair the strength and nourishment it so desperately needs. Even better, the heat-activated spray formula is designed to work well on all hair types, including coarse natural curls.

"This spirunlina protein spray acts like a temporary keratin treatment and protects hair up to 450 degrees, all while taming frizz for 24 hours. It also helps cut down on drying time," Brown said.

12. VOLOOM Very Airy Low Residue Thermal Protection Mist

This heat protectant is ripe with nourishing ingredients like burdock extract, birch extract and cyclomethicone (for shine and heat protection) that shield and strengthen strands.

“This low residue thermal protection mist keeps hair looking healthy and shiny and contains keratin and burdock extract, a heat-activated thermal protectant,” Dorsey said.

13. Living Proof Flex Hairspray

Living Proof's flexible web technology features a blend of polymers that work on damp or dry hair to help lock your strands in place.

"Living Proof’s Flex Hairspray is a great option for anyone who feels like products easily weigh down their hair. This super lightweight spray has medium hold and offers up to 410 degrees of heat protection, which makes it the perfect prep for setting, waving or straightening with an iron," celebrity hairstylist Nathan Juergensen explained.

14. R+ Co Centerpiece All-in-One Elixir

R+Co's Centerpiece spray can serve as a base for your hair when heat styling, and can also refresh second-day styles. It promises to offer touchable strands (thanks to hyaluronic acid), as well as shine and strength (with the help of lemon peel extract).

Wahler swears by the multitasking product. "It softens and smoothes hair, but it's also packed with vitamin C and sea buckthorn seed oil which give an impeccable level of shine and strength. This has become one of my favorite products that not only protects from heat but free radicals as well."

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