If you use any type of heat styling tool on your hair—whether it’s a hair dryer, curling iron, or straightener—a heat protectant is a must-have.
Exposing your hair to any type of heat without applying a protectant first is like laying out in the sun without any sunscreen. Without a properly applied protectant, the heat will dry out your hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage.
To find the heat protectant that’s best suited to your hair type, there are a few things you should consider. The most important factor is your hair type and texture.
If you have fine or frizz-prone hair, you’ll want a protectant that will smooth flyaways without weighing down your strands. If you have hair that is already prone to damage, look for a protectant that provides maximum protection of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have thick hair, a protectant that can be applied to wet hair is ideal so it can soak up all the product.
Knowing how you want to style your hair can also help you decide which heat protectant will best serve you. Heat protection should be applied at the very beginning of your styling routine while hair is damp.
If you just plan on blow drying your hair, a conditioning protection mist may be all you need. If you plan on using a hair straightener, using a protectant that will help smooth your hair and create shine will make styling easier. For wavy or curly styles, a protectant that provides texture, volume, and hold can help you achieve curls that won’t go limp after a couple of hours.
Here are our picks for the top 5 best heat protectant sprays that cost less than $25:
Best overall: TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray
If you’re looking for an effective and affordable heat protectant that will leave your hair looking healthy, the TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray won’t disappoint.
Best for straightening hair: HSI Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector
The HSI Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector will protect your hair from temperatures up to 450 degrees, thanks to nourishing argan oil.
Best for curling hair: Matrix BIOLAGE Thermal Active Setting Spray
The Matrix BIOLAGE Thermal Active Setting Spray provides heat protection as well as light hold for long-lasting curls and waves that won’t feel stiff or crunchy.
Best for fine hair: Kenra Professional Thermal Styling Spray 19
The Kenra Thermal Styling Spray 19 provides thermal protection up to 428 degrees, helps tamp down frizz and flyaways, and has a truly weightless formula ideal for fine hair.
Best for thick hair: Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Spray
The Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Spray will cut down on your styling time, provide heat protection, and leave you with a smooth mane of hair.