The 12 Best Heat Protectants for Hair in 2024, According to Experts and Editors

Healthy hair incoming.

woman who used heat protectant for shiny hair
(Image credit: Getty)

Use your blow dryers, flat irons, and curling wands—I’m not here to judge, I use ‘em too. But if we’re going to town with 300+ degrees, we need to do so with hair drenched in one of the best heat protectant sprays. “I like to think of heat protecting sprays like sunscreen for your hair cuticle,” says celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook. “They create a protective barrier between your strands and heat tools, while locking in moisture and slowing down the penetration of the heat.” In turn, you’ll have less breakage, fewer split ends, less frizz, and stronger, more resilient strands, explains TRESemmé Partner and Celebrity Stylist Lacy Redway

With healthy hair as the overarching M.O., I set out to find the most protective, cuticle-friendly, deliciously-smelling heat protectants in existence. I’ve tested my fair share, consulted the pros, and asked fellow Marie Claire editors to profess their love for their go-tos. To see which hair products made the cut, keep scrolling. And remember: Extreme heat damage is optional, as long as you have one of these heat protection products. 

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Do I Need a Heat Protectant?

I’ll be honest: There is a lot of debate among hair professionals about heat protectants. Some stylists swear by their protection powers, while others can take them or leave them. The truth about heat protectants falls somewhere in the middle. “Heat protecting sprays minimize damage from heat—they don’t eliminate damage,” explains Brook. Having a dedicated heat protecting product is a set in stone way to ensure your hair is being protected, but more often than not, other styling products in your regimen will have a built-in heat shield.

When Do I Use Heat Protectant?

Heat protectant isn’t one-and-done. Just because you use it on damp hair ahead of your weekly blowout, doesn’t mean the protection lasts through day two styling. You need to reapply the product before using a hot tool. “Ideally you limit your heat styling to only one to two times a week to keep your hair healthy,” says Brook. Follow the instructions on the bottle, but typically you want to give use a generous amount of product and put a focus on your ends. 

What to Look For in Heat Protectants

  • Type of Mist 

Most heat protection products will work for all hair types, but some nozzles are better suited for thick versus fine hair. “If you have thick, curly hair you want to use a spray bottle that covers more area when used,” says Brook. “If you have fine hair, you are going to want to use a product that has a fine mist spray so that you don’t over saturate your hair with the product.” 

  • Directions

Pay extra close attention to the instructions on your heat protectant. Some are designed to be used exclusively on damp hair, in which case they’re only suited for people who heat style their hair once per wash. Otherwise, you need to search for a product that can be used on dry hair. “The way you should apply your heat protectant depends on the formula of it, so I recommend following the instructions on the package,” emphasizes Redway. “If it calls to be used on damp hair before blow drying, do so! If it’s an aerosol and can be used on dry hair, apply it as you work on styling your hair.”

  • Additional Ingredients

“Heat protection is designed to work across all hair types, but some have built-in benefits that may be better for your hair type, like moisturizing properties,” says Redway. “If you have textured hair that reverts, it’s important to consider heat protection that will not counteract by reverting your hair.”

The Best Heat Protectants

Meet the Experts

Sunnie Brook

Known for her creativity and passion for serving others, Sunnie Brook has been at the forefront of the beauty industry for over 20 years. As an experienced Celebrity Hairdresser, previous Salon Owner, and Educator, she infuses her artistic knowledge into creating styles that are innovative and exude relaxed luxury. Sunnie has a client list that includes Elisabeth Moss, Amy Poehler, Hailey Bieber, Rita Ora, Nicole Scherzinger, Debby Ryan, Jared Leto,  Noah Centineo and Imagine Dragons. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Allure, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and L’official. She is also the brand ambassador for Biolage. Her successful beauty blog and YouTube channel led to her evolving into a content creator for beauty and lifestyle brands that she continues to work with today. Sunnie’s love for design and visual aesthetic goes far beyond her talents as a hairdresser. In 2017, she and her husband created MiroHaus, a multi-dimensional brand offering custom handmade furniture, an online home goods store, and a staycation experience. Sunnie Brook remains committed to her clients in Los Angeles and New York delivering timeless, relevant styles, and inspiring beauty that impacts her community.

Lacy Redway

Lacy Redway is a New York-based hairstylist. After studying at The Aveda Institute in Manhattan, her career quickly took off. A combination of Lacy’s proficiency with all hair textures as well as her magnetic personality have earned her an esteemed roster of clients including Tessa Thompson, Laura Harrier, Priyanka Chopra, Anne Hathaway, Karlie Kloss, Sarah Paulson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ruth Negga, Gabrielle Union, and Diane Kruger, among many others. Lacy has collaborated with respected photographers like Rankin, Gavin Bond, Alexander Neumann, Warwick Saint, Ben Hassett, Michael Schwartz, Alexei Hay, Micaela Rossato, and Erik Madigan Heck. Her work has appeared in Allure, ELLE, Glamour, Teen Vogue, V Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Vogue Italia. Lacy is currently a Celebrity Stylist for Nexxus.