2.24.2016

Do Heat Protectants Actually Work?



So I've been keeping a little secret for the past year:

I quit using heat protectants on my hair.

I wanted to find out if those heat protectant sprays really work. And after one year of testing, I'm ready to report my results.

The Background:
  • I get my roots done every 6-8 weeks.
  • Once a year I'd get my hair highlighted.
  • Every other hair appointment, I get a trim.
  • I used heat once or twice a week on my hair.
  • I washed my hair once or twice a week (it is thick, frizzy, and coarse and doesn't get oily).
  • I use products that are high end and drugstore on my hair.
  • I used a frizz treatment and let hair dry naturally.
What I Noticed:
  • I had spilt ends.
This was my routine for years. 

What I Changed:
  • I decided to stop using heat protectant sprays unless in a blog tutorial. They made my hair frizzy and really dry. I have learned over the years my hair dislikes products where alcohol is one of the main ingredients.
  • I started doing blow outs at home every week instead of letting hair dry naturally, aka MORE heat.
What I Noticed:
  • I have no split ends. None.


So What Are Heat Protectants?
  • These are aerosol and non-aerosol sprays designed to guard against heat and friction from heat tools. You spray them on before using heat tools.
What Do The Experts Say?

Was this just coincidence that my split ends stopped with the lack of heat protectant? Especially since I was adding more heat to my hair? I talked to 5 hairstylists of various years of experience (including a celeb hairstylist) to find out.
  • None of them used a product specifically for heat protecting when styling hair. This is something I'd always noticed in salons.
  • They had the same response: unless you are dealing with high heat daily, like using a flat iron every day, you shouldn't need an additional heat protectant. They don't recommend using a flat iron everyday, if possible (bangs are an exception). And they also noted that people often times kept the temp of the heat tool too hot.
  • Based on the fact that other styling products, like oils and creams, are used in our hair, an additional heat protectant isn't needed. Many products now have that additional element added in them.
  • Bottom line: something needs to be on the hair to protect it from heat. Use what works best for you and your hair. If you like heat protectant sprays, then use them.
Do you use heat protectant sprays?

Extra Elle:
  • I'll be sharing pics of my hair through the years on Monday (slight cringe) so stay tuned! It has been a journey, y'all.
  • Thanks everyone for your comments on this post. I can't wait to continue with the series!
  • LAST CHANCE to enter to win $500 Shopping Spree!

60 comments:

  1. well that is just crazy that happened once you stopped using them! i have never used them because i barely do anything to my hair. ha. hashtag lazy :)

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  2. Interesting! I have no split ends luckily, and I don't use heat protectants either!

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  3. I only use a heat protector if I flat iron my hair... this is interesting that you stopped using them. I can't wait to see photos of your hair throughout the years!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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  4. I use a leave in conditioner that has a protectant in it. I feel it works better that way. Other heat protectants leave the hair crusty and dry. Maybe you could try that instead!

    -Emily
    http://simply-emily.net

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  5. I enjoyed reading this! I don't actually use many products on my hair as i find it dries my hair out. I only use a deep conditioner once a week and that helps massively.
    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

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  6. Not gonna lie...aside from bleaching my hair, I use the flat iron almost daily. Hence, I probably have the worst hair. I do use heat protectant though, but I honestly don't know if it makes a difference. Thanks for this info, Elle:) I do think you have to do what's best for you and what you do to your hair.

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  7. I only use heat protector if I'm gonna flat iron my hair. If I'm not flat ironing my hair I never use it. I'm convinced that it causes flakes in my hair. As soon as I stopped using it on my curly hair, the flakes went away.

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  8. I've always used the Tresemme one & have stuck with it for years. Works for me.

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  9. This was great to read.. I stopped using them because I felt they made my hair greasy a lot faster than when I didn't use them. Thanks for sharing your experience! Xo

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  10. Great post! I used spray heat protectants for years until my stylist told me an oil or cream product would give me better protection from damage. I LOVE the "It's a 10" line since that has so many benefits in addition to protecting your hair from heat styling :) it's pricey but sooo worth it.

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  11. I use flat iron everyday but I run it through my hair extremely quick just to tame the frizz and I run it on dry hair, never use heat protectant and never ever have split end.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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  12. I can't tell you how many times I have wondered this. I have to be very careful with products because they can weigh my hair down easily and make it feel like cotton candy, so I don't use one every time. Great Post!
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  13. I use a leave in conditioner, but nothing else. I'm also just lazy haha. But good to know that the extra step isn't really necessary. I just hate feeling any product in my hair.

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  14. I am so glad someone did a post on this! I have never used a heat protector in my hair and always wondered if they really worked? Thank you for answering my question and I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday sweet pea!

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  15. My hair is so dry ! only wash it once a week and I use styling cream, root booster and mousse and just blow out my hair. I don't use the flat iron anymore so I ditched the heat protection too and think my hair looks better too! Can't wait to see the post Monday!

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  16. How amazing that you no longer have split ends even after you stopped using what is supposed to protect our hair! I've been using a heat protectant spray the past few years, and honestly haven't noticed a difference in the healthiness of my hair. Sounds like it's time for me to quit them too <3
    Green Fashionista

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  17. I stopped using mine awhile ago, too! I can't say I have noticed much of a difference. Sounds like I need to start again, though, since I flat iron my hair everyday!

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  18. I stopped using heat protecting on my hair. I do use a blow dry straight when I wear my hair straight.

    http://www.amysfashionblog.com/blog-home/

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  19. I'm really glad to read this. I use a leave in conditioner in my hair to detangle it because my hair is very fine and getting longer. I find that heat protectants make my hair super greasy so I skip them all-together.

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  20. I've stopped using a heat protectant too. I do use heat on my hair everyday but ive turned the heat down on my tools. I didn't the protectant was doing much and I've been ingredient caution of hair care and body care products so that's why I stopped.

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  21. When I straightened my hair with a flat iron every day, I used a heat protectant. Now that I straighten it maybe 4 times a year, I don't. I don't know that I've noticed much difference except that my hair is actually healthier now that I don't abuse it every day.

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  22. This is interesting info. I def straighten my almost everyday but only blowdry it once a week. I wonder if they makes a huge difference.

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  23. Interesting! The only thing I put in my hair after washing is argan oil which really helps with frizz and softness. I might have to try making my blow out last a little more since you are seeing such results with no heat protectant and no splint ends!

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  24. I used to use the CHI spray religiously, but haven't used one in years. I do flat iron my hair most every day on high heat so I probably should invest in one. I let my hair air dry most of the time so I save some damage by doing that. With my new haircut, I think I'm going to have to start blow drying it though. This was a great, informative post!

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  25. I bought one of them once years ago, when they first appeared. But I think it really is just an advertising thing, something else to sell. Personally I didn't notice any difference with or without it. Five stars for your dedication to the subject - I mean, a whole year of trying and testing deserves a round of applause. x

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  26. I haven't used one for a long time. I've been using a hair oil and the It's a 10 leave-in conditioner. Every time I had a heat protectant (it was always drug store) it was always so thin. Like, it felt like I was spraying water on my hair...and I was like, how is that doing anything??? I like the oil and the It's a 10 because they actually feel like they might do something.

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  27. I stopped using a heat protectant about two months ago, haven't noticed a difference. I don't blow dry my hair, but I do flat iron it, lightly about 4 times a week. Great info, Elle!
    xo, Lily

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  28. I didn't even think about it, but it makes total sense that a lot of products already have some sort of heat protectant in the product. I try to not wash my hair everyday either, but sometimes I just can because my hair gets too gross from working out!

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  29. I never use a heat protector and feel like they don't do much at all for me. Good post.

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  30. Interesting! I don't use them often because when I do, my hair has a different texture. I always felt like I was mistreating my hair by not using one, though, so I try to make myself use one when I think of it. Reading this post makes me so happy. I'm more than happy to ditch the spray! :)

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  31. Very informative! Do you think you stopped getting split ends because of the lack of heat protectants or because of the lack of highlighting?

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  32. You know, I have always wondered if my heat spray was making a difference or not. Something to think about going forward if I want to purchase anymore after my current one is gone. I will have to see if my other products have it in them. Can't wait to see your hair through the years!

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  33. Love this experiment! I have noticed a really high alcohol content in a lot of heat protectant sprays, so I haven't been buying them either. The last time I got my hair done, my stylist used hairspray while she was flat ironing my hair. She had put a lot of other products in it too before then, but I found it interesting. Such great information Elle!

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  34. That's so interesting! I don't use a specific heat-protectant product, but I do use an anti-break cream that is supposed to protect from heat too. I try not to use a flat iron everyday, but it can be hard, especially with bangs!

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  35. Good to know! i use heat protector cream but really not sure if it's effective or not. Like you, i have thick hair that doesn't need to wash often. Win!

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  36. So good to know! I have used a heat-protectant product a couple of times.

    xo,
    Angela

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  37. I actually have never used heat protectant because they make my hair even more oily than it already is! I have been wanting to maybe try it just on my ends though because I do use a flat iron or curling iron daily and have split ends!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

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  38. I don't use them at all so this makes me feel much better!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  39. I don't use heat protectants on my hair, mostly because I let my hair air dry, but this is really interesting!

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  40. I used to use a heat protectant on my hair because I would straighten my hair daily. It would take around 2-3 hours to straighten my hair as well. Now I don't really use it. Unless I'm curling my hair or straightening.
    http://emilymaiko.blogspot.com/

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  41. I really need to start using them! Have split ends and hate them :D
    xoxo

    Novelstyle

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  42. Interesting. I use heat protectant when I straighten my hair which is once a year and they work very well for me. I've tried the ones by Garnier.

    Drea
    naturalledrea.blogspot.com

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  43. Wow that is pretty remarkable. I don't think I've ever really used heat protectants before, I know I'm not at present at least. I don't have too bad of a split end problem, though I do notice them more when I go lighter.

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  44. This is interesting! I've tried heat protectants but I never noticed a difference so I stopped using them.

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  45. I almost always rock a high ponytail, so I have never actually used heat on my hair before - though I do love the way curls look. I have been contemplating trying out a curling iron sometime soon, but am looking into it a bit more - I don't want to do anything to damage my follicles. I will definitely try a heat protectant spray my first time around though.

    xx

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  46. I haven't used a heat protectant, my hair can be so fickle at times, but I was looking into possibly using one in the future! Great post Elle!

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  47. I try to not use too many products on my hair and this includes using heat, but when I do I like the Toni & Guy heat protectant spray! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  48. i own heat protectants, but always forget to use them. oops. i do use a flat iron pretty much everyday. i probably have split ends. i don't actually know. but this was very interesting. i might chuck all of my heat protectants out. very interesting about the hair stylists not using it, now that you mentioned it, mine never has either. interesting!

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  49. This is so interesting, Elle! I to use a heat protectant and my split ends are out of control until I get a trim. I've been wanting to try the Hot Toddy because I've heard good things. Great post!

    Xo, Rachel
    A Blonde's Moment

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  50. So weird... I've never noticed a stylist using heat protectant spray either, but never thought about it until now!

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  51. Whatttt this is so interesting!! All these years using them and thinking they were necessary haha so much wasted money then! I do use one when I first curl/ straighten my hair but not for touchups but this really is very very interesting!

    xo Candace
    Lovely Little Rants

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  52. Thanks for sharing this Elle! I generally don't use a heat protectant on my hair and it's good to know that I'm not really missing out on anything crucial.

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  53. I used to use these, but never saw a difference which made me sad...but maybe I will have to give them another try!

    Shauna

    www.lipglossandlace.net

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  54. As a cosmetology student I cringe at the level of heat that I see people use on their hair in blog posts and videos.

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  55. I will be very honest, I have nice shampoos, but sometimes I just use any shampoo, regardless of the ingredients... OK, bad, so, if it has heat protectant I will wear, if not, I will use it too... this happens basically when I am on long trips. So, for the time being, I am not using anything fancy :)
    DenisesPlanet.com

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  56. My hair is fine and thin and curls fall out after an hour. So I do sweet F all to it. It dries fast and even bed head is not really an issue... Hair dryer? Umm, what's that? I had an ex buy me one one year, I was so underwhelmed. HAHA

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  57. I still haven't found a heat protectant that I like. They all seem to leave a horrible texture on my hair so most of the time I avoid them. Glad to hear it's not necessary unless we use heat styling tools every day, which I certainly don't. So will stick to my oils and nothing else. Great post! :) x

    Renata | Speaking Beauty UK

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  58. It is funny, I have never even thought about heat protectants. But I almost never use heat for my hair. I only wash mine about twice a week and usually once of those times I let it dry on its own, naturally (like yesterday). If I wear to curl my hair or use a hair iron daily, that is a different story. Anyhow, great to see your own experience on this.

    BTW, I have been super busy and had a busy hectic week but I am trying to catch up as much as I can. =)

    Happy Leap Day!

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  59. Yes indeed they do! I use my all time favorite GKhair ThermalStyleHer heat protectant for the past couple of years and it works best. Very effective against heat prior to styling. It seals moisture into the hair making each hair strand strong and healthy before blow drying that can fry your hair. Truly an amazing product. :) <3

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