9 best heat protection hair sprays
Invest in a clever spritzer to protect your tresses from heat damage
It might seem like a bit of a faff to run a bit of hair protection spray through your hair before you blowdry or straighten it – but that extra two minutes is well worth the effort. Heat protection products are designed to form a barrier over the cuticle of your hair, shielding it from your styling tools.
The best ones will also provide protection from UV rays outside. They will add gloss and shine and sometimes even speed up your blowdry. The strands of our hair are made from keratin (a protein), as well as water and lipids (fats). Keratin can become damaged when exposed to temperatures of around 160 degrees celsius – and typically our hair straighteners get even hotter.
Heat protection products will often state the temperature at which they will protect your hair – so this is worth checking on the packaging. High quality heat protection products contain vitamins and fatty acids to help keep your hair bouncy and healthy – even when you are subjecting it to quite extreme heat.
Hair will absorb the most moisture when it’s damp, but dry hair will also benefit. It’s worth adding that while it’s fun to style your hair, the best heat protection is to give your hair a rest – by avoiding styling tools at least twice a week.
John Freida detox & repair care and protect spray: £3.99, Amazon
This is a very affordable spray which has all the luxurious feel of a high-end product. It uses avocado oil to nourish the hair and green tea for its antioxidant properties, which protects hair against environmental pollution. It is designed to strengthen and protect hair from breakage and split ends. Importantly, it shields hair from up to 220 degrees celsius.
Spray it on clean damp hair before blowdrying and styling. It has a clean, fresh scent which lingers long after you style your hair. It leaves your locks feeling soft and delicately pampered.
Aveda speed of light blowdry accelerator spray: £21, John Lewis & Partners
This is a gorgeous product to use if you’re willing to spend a little more. The spray is vegan and silicone-free and has the signature Aveda scent, with mandarin, star anise and ylang ylang. The formula uses lactic acid from sugar beets to lower the PH of hair, as hair with a higher PH apparently tends to swell and is more prone to frizz and tangling. It is specifically designed for blowdries, promising to cut blowdry time in half – although most high quality sprays will do the same. It leaves hair feeling smooth and light.
Davines melu hair shield: £25.50, Liberty
This is also on the expensive side, but worth it if you care about high quality natural ingredients – this spray contains lentil seed extract, which is said to be good for hair growth. We applied this to towel dried hair after shampooing and left it on for two to five minutes, as recommended. It can then be used to shield hair against blowdrying, straightening and environmental pollution. It has a sharp, fruity fragrance and it gave our hair a slightly darker, glossy sheen.
Lee Stafford original heat protection shine mist: £6.49, Amazon
This hard-working spray is designed for both blowdries and hair straightening. The brand recommends spraying this onto damp hair before blowdrying, and then spraying it again on dry hair before styling. This uses green tea extract as an antioxidant to protect hair against ultraviolet rays. We liked the fruity and unobtrusive scent. It left our hair looking shiny and healthy looking – we think this is a good value staple for your dresser.
Aussie pure locks leave-in conditioning spray: £9.99, Boots
This is a good choice if you are looking for a conditioning spray which keeps your hair soft without weighing it down or creating much residue. It is designed to nourish your hair, as well as protecting it from everyday stress and styling damage. You just spray it on damp locks and either leave it to dry naturally, or style as required. It’s worth saying that this spray is not specifically designed to protect hair from very high temperatures, so it is perhaps best just to use it to replenish hair, rather than relying on it to guard against hot straighteners.
Philip Kingsley daily damage defence: £14.45, Look Fantastic
This offering from Philip Kingsley is lightweight enough to be used every day. It has almond seed cake extract, which contains amino acids and proteins which are formulated to strengthen hair. It also contains elastin – a protein which is found in our bodies, allowing tissues to regain their shape after stretching. We found that this spray delicately conditions and detangles hair, while providing heat protection. It has a soft, flowery scent and left our hair looking smooth and strong.
Mark Hill styling heat protection spray: £5, Boots
This spray crucially states on its packaging that it can protect hair from heat up to 240 degrees celsius, which is reassuring. It also has a slightly clinical smell which fades very quickly, meaning that it won’t interfere with any perfume you might put on. It's designed to help style the hair, making it easier to smooth and bend into shape when curling or straightening. Our hair was left looking glossy and revitalised.
Label.m heat protection spray: £14.50, Look Fantastic
This is from Toni and Guy’s professional hair products range – so it’s good to know that it's being used on models who are constantly having their hair styled and processed, but who need to keep their hair in top condition.
The spray works by coating hair with a strong UV protective resin, which also helps to absorb heat from styling tools up to 225 degrees. The spray is suphate, paraben and sodium chloride-free and can be applied to wet or dry hair. We found it slightly less glamorous than the other sprays – it is mostly unscented and the packaging is plain – but all that matters is that it provides a strong protection for our hair.
Neäl & Wølf guard heat protection: £11.68, Neäl & Wølf
This has quite a strong, flowery and musky scent which lingered long after we styled our hair – which worth bearing in mind if you prefer a more neutral palate. The spray is specially formulated to protect hair cuticles from heat of up to 220 degrees celsius. It contains vitamin B5, silk protein and limnanthes alba seed to help preserve the hair’s natural moisture. We found that it left our hair with a vibrant, nutty shine.
The verdict: Heat protection hair sprays
We were impressed by the affordability of John Frieda’s detox & repair care and protect spray, with its high-end avocado oil and green tea ingredients. We also liked the scent and luxury feel of Aveda’s speed of light blowdry accelerator spray, with its natural ingredients.
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