The 10 Best Heat Protectants to Save Hair From Serious Damage

The 10 Best Heat Protectants to Save Hair From Serious Damage

Heat Protectants Tested and Reviewed on different people and hair types

Byrdie / Karla Ayala / Lauren Levinson / Saleam Singleton

In This Article

Our Top Picks What to Look For FAQ Why Trust Byrdie


The Bumble and Bumble Bb. Heat Shield Thermal Protection Hair Mist and Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector were two of our favorite heat protectants; both left hair feeling and looking noticeably smoother, shinier, and healthier. Plus, they each work well on all hair types.

Hair dryers, curling irons, and flat irons are all key for helping achieve an elevated hair look. The only problem? Heat is one of the most damaging elements for your hair, contributing to everything from frizz to dullness to breakage. Happily, there’s an incredibly simple fix—applying a heat protectant. “Heat protectants act as a protective barrier between your hair and a hot tool, protecting it from burning, drying out, and becoming dull,” explains celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown. “It will also help smooth the cuticle and leave hair looking shiny and healthy.”

There are numerous formulas and formats out there (sprays, oils, and more) though so how do you determine which one is right for you? Our Byrdir collective (who have a variety of hair types) tested dozens over one month, using them at least twice a week before heat styling. They weighed in all of the most important criteria: ease of application and distribution, absorption, and, of course, just how well it protected hair from heat. From sprays to creams and with options for everything from fine hair to tight curls, these are the heat protectants out there today. 

Our Top Picks

  • Best Overall: Bumble and bumble Bb. Heat Shield Hair Mist
  • Best Overall, Runner-Up: Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector
  • Best for Fine Hair: Dae Agave Dry Heat Protection & Hold Styling Mist
  • Best for Damaged Hair: Kérastase Genesis Heat Protecting Leave-In
  • Best for Dry Hair: Mielle Mango & Tulsi Protectant Spray
  • Best for Shine: Moroccanoil Protect & Prevent Spray
  • Best for Frizz-Reduction: Briogeo Farewell Frizz Heat Protectant 
  • Best Cream: Shu Uemura Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream
  • Best for Curly Hair: Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique
  • Best Multitasker: Oribe Balm D’or Heat Styling Shield

Best Overall

Bumble and bumble Bb. Heat Shield Thermal Protection Hair Mist

Bumble and bumble Bb. Heat Shield Thermal Protection Hair Mist PHOTO:


View on Amazon View on Sephora View on Ulta What We Like

  • A little goes a long way, even for thick hair

  • Easy to distribute evenly

  • Improves shine and combats frizz

What to Consider

  • Using too much can leave hair feeling a bit sticky

Hair Type: All | Key Ingredients: Honey protective complex | Size: 4.2 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

This one from iconic hair brand Bumble and Bumble checked all of our boxes—and then some. Application was a breeze; just a few spritzes were all it took to evenly coat hair. It was also easy to distribute the product and absorbed quickly without feeling greasy or heavy.  Our tester’s hair looked and felt healthier and generally better, especially the longer she used it. It was smoother and shinier after styling, and, after about two weeks, she noticed her waves were more defined and less frizzy. Yes, please. Just an FYI to not get too heavy-handed; over-spraying can leave hair feeling a little sticky.

Karla, tester with wavy hair: “I have noticed a difference in the health of my hair. It feels less dry, looks shinier, and feels smoother. My waves look more defined.”

Best Overall, Runner-Up

Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum

Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum PHOTO:


$30 at Amazon $30 at Sephora $30 at Ulta What We Like

  • Fast-absorbing

  • Enhances shine

  • Doesn’t leave behind residue

What to Consider

  • Some Reviews say it can be drying

Hair Type: All | Highlighted Ingredients: Red algae extract | Size: 3 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

One of the best signs that a heat protectant is working? A visible difference in your hair after heat styling. Case in point: We used this before flat ironing and couldn’t get over how shiny, healthy, and soft our hair looked, a far cry from the damaged appearance it typically took on. The serum-like texture is easy to work throughout your hair and is surprisingly lightweight. 

Not only does the formula offer heat protection, it also guards against environmental stressors such as pollution, and helps strengthen hair overall. While we didn’t experience this during testing, some online reviewers noted it can be drying on drier hair.

Best for Fine Hair

Dae Agave Dry Heat & Hold Styling Mist

Dae Agave Dry Heat & Hold Styling Mist PHOTO:


View on Amazon $30 at Sephora View on What We Like

  • Spray delivers a fine mist that doesn’t weigh down hair

  • Adds shine

  • Pleasant scent

What to Consider

  • Can leave hair a bit greasy, especially if sprayed too close to roots

  • Didn’t help with frizz

Hair Type: All | Key Ingredients: Agave, prickly pear seed oil, moringa seed oil | Size: 5 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

One of our favorite things about this winner was the fine and even mist it dispels. It made for a super lightweight distribution that helped ensure the product didn’t weigh down our tester’s fine, straight hair. The formula also added tons of shine and softness and even minimized breakage. We also couldn’t get enough of the scent—a fresh, citrus-y fragrance. It didn’t help combat frizz, and, in our experience, it can start to feel a bit greasy when applied too close to the roots. That being said, as long as it’s sprayed more on mid-lengths and ends that wasn’t an issue. 

Ashley, tester with straight, fine hair: “I [My hair is] really soft and I’ve noticed less breakage. It has a sweet citrusy smell that I could soak up all day. The scent isn’t overpowering and doesn’t linger (but I wish it did because I love it so much).” 

Best for Damaged Hair

Kérastase Genesis Heat Protecting Leave-In Treatment for Weakened Hair

Kérastase Genesis Heat Protecting Leave-In Treatment for Weakened Hair PHOTO:


View on Amazon View on Sephora View on What We Like

  • Helps smooth frizz

  • Never feels greasy

  • Adds volume without residue

What to Consider

  • Some say it has a chemical scent

Hair Type: All | Key Ingredients: Edelweiss native cells, ginger root | Size: 5.1 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Heat protectants are a good option for warding off hair damage, but this one is also greasy if your strands already need a little extra TLC, since it helps strengthen hair, too. Indeed, we noticed that it improved the overall health of strands, all while being a top-notch frizz-fighter. We especially liked to use it before blow-drying, as it helped leave hair smooth and sleek but still with plenty of volume and no greasy residue. While we didn’t notice this, some reviewers said they thought the scent was a bit chemically.

Lauren, tester with wavy, curly hair: “My blowout was light, airy, and frizz-free. It helps with heat protection, frizz, and overall hair health. It’s worth the price tag!”

Best for Dry Hair

Mielle Mango & Tulsi Nourishing Thermal Protectant Spray

Mielle Mango & Tulsi Nourishing Thermal Protectant Spray PHOTO:


View on Amazon View on Ulta View on What We Like

  • Keeps hair feeling hydrated

  • Great for mitigating frizz

  • Absorbs quickly

What to Consider

  • Nothing

Hair Type: Wavy and coily | Key Ingredients: Mango butter, argan oil, grapeseed oil | Size: 6 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

With an ingredient list that’s not unlike what you’d find in a body lotion—mango butter, argan oil, grapeseed oil—it’s no surprise this one works wonders on dry hair. Our tester with tightly coiled hair raved that it left her hair feeling nourished and hydrated, especially after blow-drying. (To that point, we think this pick is best for wavy and coily hair types.) Despite how moisturizing it is, it still absorbs quickly. It’s also choice for addressing frizz, even in super humid climates. 

Saleam, tester with coily hair: “I’ve noticed that my hair isn’t as dry or brittle after blow-drying.”

Best for Shine

Morrocanoil Protect & Prevent Spray

Morrocanoil Protect & Prevent Spray PHOTO:


View on Amazon View on Sephora View on Dermstore What We Like

  • Adds lots of shine

  • Doesn’t weigh down hair

  • Leaves hair softer and less frizzy

What to Consider

  • Spray applicator doesn’t distribute the product evenly through hair

Hair Type: All | Key Ingredients: Glycerin, argan oil | Size: 5.4 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Heat protectants don’t always add shine, but this one 100% does. It helped improve smoothness and reduced frizz, too. Also nice: You can use it from root to tip; it won’t weigh down strands or leave any unwanted greasy residue or sticky feeling behind. That being said, the spray nozzle tends to deliver a more targeted stream, making it a bit more challenging to score an even distribution throughout all the hair.

Toral, tester with straight hair: “My hair was noticeably glossier when I used this heat protectant, and after two weeks of consistent use, it started feeling healthier.”

Best for Frizz-Reduction

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème PHOTO:


$22 at Amazon $26 at Sephora $26 at Ulta What We Like

  • Very effective for tamping down frizz

  • Lightweight

  • Softens hair

What to Consider

  • Can be a bit tricky to figure out how much to use

Hair Type: All | Highlighted Ingredients: Rosehip, coconut, argan oils | Size: 4 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

For those craving a super smooth, flyaway-free style this pick can’t be beat. It works beautifully on all hair types, and while it is a little bit thicker, it still absorbs very quickly. It left our tester’s hair beautifully sleek after blow-drying and protected it even when they cranked up their flat iron to the highest setting. (To that point, it guards against temps up to 450 degrees.) 

One helpful tip: Your hair should be pretty damp, not towel-dried, for the best and most even distribution of this product. And it does take a bit to figure out exactly how much you need for your particular texture and length; generally speaking, we found a dime-size amount was a good starting point.

Best Cream

Shu Uemura Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream

Shu Uemura Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream PHOTO:


View on Amazon $46 at Sephora View on What We Like

  • Lightweight, silky texture

  • Increases shine

  • Very enjoyable scent

What to Consider

  • Could be more effective on frizz

Hair Type: All | Highlighted Ingredients: n/a | Size: 5 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Creams—of any kind—often come with the connotation of being heavy or greasy. But that’s not the case here; this winner is surprisingly weightless, boasting a nearly silky texture that works for a wide range of hair types. We loved how smooth it left hair and the impressive level of shine it delivered, not to mention that it sped up blow-dry time and had an addicting, floral scent to boot. FYI, it takes a good minute to fully absorb, but once it does, there’s no leftover residue at all.

Best for Curly Hair

Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Heat Protecting Cream

Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer PHOTO:


$46 at Amazon $46 at Sephora View on What We Like

  • Maintains curl patterns

  • Comes in two sizes

  • Absorbs quickly

What to Consider

  • Can feel sticky on hands

Hair Type: All | Highlighted Ingredients: Pro-keratine complex, ceramides | Size: 1.7, 5.1 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

While technically this formula is a good pick for all hair types, we found it especially great at imparting plenty of moisture while also protecting against heat damage and helping maintain curl patterns. It left curly hair feeling silkier and we never noticed any steam or a burning smell when we used this before a hot tool. We just didn’t love that it can feel sticky on your hands.

A hand squeezes Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer onto fingers

Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

Best Multitasker

Oribe Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield

Oribe Balm D'Or Heat Styling Shield PHOTO:


$48 at Amazon $48 at Dermstore $48 at Nordstrom What We Like

  • Smooths and softens hair

  • Adds bounce and movement

  • Protects against heat and pollution

What to Consider

  • Has a tendency to transfer onto hands

Hair Type: All | Highlighted Ingredients: Oribe signature complex, plant collagen, cassis and sandalwood oils | Size: 3.4 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

We love a good multi-tasking product and this one from Oribe is exactly that. Per the heat protectant side of things, it left hair feeling softer, smoother, and healthier, even when we used hot tools at their highest temps. But it also delivers protective antioxidants and moisturizes; we noticed that it added movement and bounce to our style as well. We love the lightweight feel, although it does bear mentioning that it can transfer onto hands a bit after application.

What to Look for When Buying a Heat Protectant

  • Formula and Application Method: Many heat protectants are sprays, which, when applied correctly, won’t weigh down normal or fine hair. They’re also great for anyone who prefers spritzing on a product rather than applying it with their hands. That being said, if you have thick or curly hair or prefer more moisturizing formulas, you may want to opt for a cream. 
  • Humectants: While they’re more often thought of as a skincare ingredient, humectants—hydrating ingredients that attract moisture—can be super beneficial in hair care and are especially good in a heat protectant, says Brown. After all, more moisturized hair equals healthier hair. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are two good ones to look for. 
  • Strengthening Ingredients: According to Brown, it’s a good idea to have strengthening ingredients in a heat protectant—they’re an added layer of defense against heat-induced damage. Things such as amino acids, keratin, and wheat protein are all good options. If your hair is already a bit beat up, these powerhouse ingredients may help reverse the damage.


  • How should you use a heat protectant?

    John Pulitano, hairstylist and creative director of Headcase Hair, recommends using heat protectants as the first step of your styling routine after washing. “Spray liberally onto damp hair before using any other styling products, such as volumizer or smoothing lotions, and then continue with your styling routine,” he says. To use a heat protectant on dry hair, “Be sure to apply it thoroughly. I like to hold the product about 30 centimeters [about a foot] away, so I can get a nice even coating but no stickiness.” You’ll want to check the instructions on the particular product you’re using first though; some can be used on wet or dry hair, while others only work on wet or damp.

  • How important is using a heat protectant?

    If you’ll be doing any sort of heat styling, whether blow drying or using hot tools, Pulitano considers heat protectants an essential step in your routine. This holds especially for colored and damaged hair types, he says, although he’s quick to add that really everyone should be using one. Given the many great choices out there and options for all hair types and textures, there’s no excuse to not make one a regular part of your haircare protocol. 

Why Trust Byrdie

Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and a product tester specializing in cosmetics. She has fine, breakage-prone hair which she uses hot tools on frequently, so she’s extremely experienced in using heat protectants. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied marketing and product development in the cosmetics industry as well as fashion business marketing. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022 and covers all things beauty. 

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She has fine, color-treated hair that she blow-dries regularly—which is why she’s diligent about always using a heat protectant. She’s tried many of the ones on this list and is an especially big fan of the Bumble and Bumble and Olaplex products featured.

Two professional stylists also contributed their expertise to this article. Alex Brown is a celebrity hairstylist and Chicago-based salon owner, whose clients include Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid, and Olivia Culpo. John Pulitano also contributed. Pulitano is a hairstylist and the co-owner and creative director of Headcase Hair, a salon in Sydney, Australia. 

Edited by Ally Hirschlag


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