The Heat Is On
Blow-drying, straightening and curling can wreak havoc on your hair if you don't make heat protection part of your regular styling routine
Consider hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons the triad of hair heat damage. Overused, your hair can turn into a crispy, frizzy mess, plagued by dryness and breakage. And if your hair is highlighted, the damage is often worse due to the weakening effect of hair dye.
So what's a girl to do? Vince Smith, owner of the Vince Smith Hair Experience in New York City, assures us that there are plenty of heat-styling products available to help your hair stand up to your steamy styling methods. Plus there are a few changes you can make that will reduce the chance of damage, too.
Whether you prefer a spray, serum or gloss, heat protective products all basically work the same way. "They put a protective coating on the hair that acts as a barrier against the heat, and the best ones also have conditioning agents in them to moisturize at the same time," says Smith.
Before you blow-dry, you can apply a few drops of a serum, such as John Frieda Thermal Protection Serum, on wet or damp hair. Remember, a little goes a long way—a dime-size amount is plenty. It'll make your hair shinier, smoother and softer.
Or, if you prefer a conditioning spray, try Blow Hair Care Heat Is On Protective Styling Mist. Not only will it protect your hair against the heat, it'll also help detangle, strengthen and guard against breakage.
Before You Iron
Select a spray to use on dry hair to protect your strands from the heat of the flat iron. Try FX Wild Harvest Flat Iron Thermal Spray, which promises to protect your strands and leave them with a glossy shine.
Many heat protective sprays, like Redken Hot Sets 22 Thermal Setting Mist, can be used on either damp or dry hair to give you a line of defense against blow-dryers, curling irons and flat irons—all in one product.
Simmer Down Now
Beyond protecting your hair with products, Smith suggests a few easy changes in the way you style. First, when you blow out your hair, don't hold the dryer directly against your hair. Instead, hold it a couple of inches away from the hair. And if you blow from roots to ends with the airflow going in the same direction as the hair, you'll achieve smoother, less frizzy results.
Then, when you turn on your flat iron or curling iron, don't select the hottest setting. Smith promises you can get the same results by using the medium or low setting. In fact, if your hair is highlighted you should never use a styling tool hotter than 275 degrees. To ensure the lower heat setting smoothes and defrizzes your hair enough, Smith says to go slowly and smoothly one time through rather than rapidly running your straightener over the same section of hair repeatedly.