The answer to this question seems obvious right? But after a quick office poll, we found that no, no it's not.
A LOT of us are confused about what these vitamin-infused, shine-enhancing agents actually do for the hair, before it's blasted with heat from a hair dryer, curling tong or straightening iron. Some people even believe the whole idea of "heat protection" is a marketing ploy. Gasp!
To set the record straight, here's a list of EXACTLY what these smooth operators achieve, minus mumbo-jumbo terms like "gloss fortification" and "lustre-boost".
Heat protection sprays work like physical sunscreens
You know how zinc acts like a barrier between your sun and skin? The silicones in heat protectors do the same thing for your hair. They form a protective barrier over the cuticle of the hair strand, which protects it from the heat of your hair tools. Friendly silicones (Aka, the water-soluble ones) to look out for on the back of the bottle include: dimethicone copolyol, stearoxy dimethicone and behenoxy dimethicone. Side note: Just like sunscreen, the barrier created by heat protectors fights off free radical damage caused by UV rays.
They moisturise. Like, really well.
Would you wear a skirt in Winter without smoothing out the reptilian scales sitch on your legs first? We're going to say no. Same logic can be applied when considering rocking a blow dry. You're not going to blast the heat and get a ~baben~ result when your hair is dry AF to begin with. Basically, heat protectors are like conditioner, but lighter. All the vitamins and fatty acids infused in the spray/lotion give the hair a tall glass of water. In turn, you get a bouncier, healthy blow dry.
They also trap moisture
When you apply a heat protectant, it immediately forms a layer over the hair shaft, which locks in hydration. Kind of like a sleeping bag locks in heat.
They feature oils and silicones to protect the hair
Despite popular belief, oils aren't the devil when it comes to heat prep. Yes, heavy, unrefined coconut oil and the like is too dense and can cause the hair to sizzle when put to hot tongs, but nowadays, hair oil formulas are so refined and light-weight, the benefits of the stuff far outweigh the disadvantages. Grape seed oil, avocado oil and argan oil are all goodies to look out for.
They work on any hair - dry or damp
Some people figure, if my hair's already dry, it's not going to absorb the moisture. Wrong! Yes, your hair is in the optimal condition to slurp up moisture when it's damp, but dry hair can still reap the benefits of a heat protectant. In fact, there are now fancy formulas made specifically with already-dry hair in mind.
They make you hair dry faster, which equals less time styling
We're still getting our heads around this phenomenon to be honest, but there's no denying it's true. The combo of hair-coating and restoring ingredients like wheat proteins,vitamin E and silicones locks in moisture, strengthens the hair, and leaves the surface dryer.This prod in particular dries hair in a flash. Good for when your leaving it natural or wanting to blow dry extra fast.
Still not convinced? There are other ways to protect your hair from thermal damage without using a heat protector.
If nothing else, plez, consider making these rich-girl-hair-supporting changes to your styling routine, to avoid frying your lengths with your styling tool of choice.
Choose 'ceramic' for your straightener
Anyone who has ever used an actual iron to straighten their hair (noughties teens, represent) knows how much of a difference ceramic plates make to the condition of the hair. Basically they’re the difference between this:
They ensure heat is distributed evenly, preventing the snapping caused by uneven hot spots.
And 'ionic' for your hair dryer
‘Ionic’ dryers have this crazy technology that creates millions of negative ions. The tech helps break down water. Look out for the word on the packaging of your dryer.
Go on a styling strike twice a week
Put. The. Tools. Down. Any hot tool makes hair crispier over time, heat protection spray or no heat protection spray. A few days sans styling gives your hair a chance to restore. Whack a hair mask on in the shower while you’re on the TLC train.