6 Heat Protectants for Natural and Transitioning Hair that Won't Break the Bank


So far, I'm really enjoying this #AllAboutHair Q&A that I've been doing on Instagram and Facebook. I'm trying to tackle all the questions -- ya'll have some good ones! It will probably take me at least two weeks to get through the ones I've already gotten -- I'm going to aim to answer at least 2 per day. So today's installment is all about heat protectants!

One lovely Instagrammer @meandmrjacobs3and_princess posed this question:
What is a good heat protectant for flat ironing that is inexpensive?

Rather than rattle off a random list of products and leave you to figure it all out, I'll go ahead and break down my 6 picks for blowing out and flat ironing natural and transitioning hair -- that don't hurt the pockets. All the products in the picture below are broken down in this post. Read on :)


Before you blow dry or flat iron...
Make sure you DEEP CONDITION! Having a good deep conditioning session is the first step to preventing heat damage. A deep conditioner that nourishes, hydrates, smooths, tames frizz, and strengthens is vital. Aside from too-high temperatures, one of the main causes of heat damage is dehydrated hair. Hair that lacks internal moisture is more susceptible to breakage and heat damage. So what deep conditioner fits the bill? For me, the best all-around deep conditioner to use before straightening is Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask ($15, Ulta Beauty). Not only is it enriched with keravis protein, jojoba, and fatty alcohols to nourish, hydrate, and strengthen, it also contains cetrimonium chloride, which when met with direct heat (via blow dryer and flat iron), actually increases the tensile strength of hair. All of this leaves you with properly moisturized and strengthened hair, ready to withstand the tugging and pulling associated with blowouts and flat ironing.

For blow drying natural and transitioning hair:

Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake & Go, $15 www.lawrencerayconcepts.com
Shake & Go is an amazing creation from the mind of Los Angeles-based high profile stylist, Lawrence Ray Parker. It is a water-based leave-in conditioning formula that banishes frizz and makes tangles history (I'm not exaggerating). It contains a mix of fatty alcohols, jojoba oil, keratin amino acids, aloe, and Pro-Vitamin B5 that will penetrate, smooth, and strengthen the hair. It also contains cones, which are vital to the straightening process as well. In this particular case, silicones help slow the dehydration of the hair. Hydrated hair is crucial to preventing heat damage from blow dryers, because blow dryers in particular work by zapping moisture from within the hair. Silicones help prevent the hair from fully dehydrating and thus, help preserve vital moisture that will prevent heat damage and breakage.

Blow Dry Addict, $5 (currently on sale or clearance) at Sally Beauty Supply
Although this product will never take home an award for "most natural cream or conditioner", it performs well as a blow drying aid. It is essentially a leave-in conditioner that in the same vein as Shake & Go, helps retain internal hydration against the drying heat of the blow dryer. If you decide to use Blow Dry Addict, grab it now while it's on sale. I bought mine months ago at full price.

ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray, $8 at Sally Beauty Supply
This lightweight, bodifying spray is not only great for added heat protection, it is a must-have in my natural hair arsenal. Thanks to keratin, amino acids, and cetrimonium chloride, the hair is strengthened from the inside out and primed for blow dry styling. Added bonus: it provides UV protection and revitalizes follicles! Before you buy, check out my review here!

For flat ironing natural and transitioning hair:

Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray, $4 at Target
Tresemme Heat Tame Spray can be used during the blow dry process, or right before flat-ironing (just make sure it dries on your hair first before ironing). It contains a mix of silicones, polymers, and goodies like cetrimonium chloride that penetrate, delay transfer of heat, and guard the hair from dehydration during flat ironing. It is supposed to protect hair at up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, although I would never push my iron up that high.

Garnier Fructis Serums (really, any of them ), $5 Target
I say any Garnier serum because truthfully they're all the same. They are all silicone based formulas with a few drops of argan or jojoba or something. You really can't go wrong. Last year I was using the Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Argan Oil Treatment, now I'm using the Frizz Defy Marvelous Oil. The reason I use these cheapie serums is for their silicone content. As we discussed earlier, silicones when straightening are GREAT. Not only do they block frizz and humidity, but they're real champs when it comes to the flat iron. As I mentioned earlier, silicones help delay the evaporation of moisture from the hair. But they're also great at delaying the transfer of heat, which helps lessen the likelihood of damage from the flat iron. Lastly, silicones make the hair shaft smooth, which allows the iron to glide down your hair and not cause overheating in any particular area (which also prevents heat damage).

That's all, folks! Another Instagrammer has requested an updated blowout and flat ironing routine, and I will definitely do those soon! But in the meantime:

If you want to know how to use a cellophane (yes, a throwback to your beauty shop days) as a heat protectant, let me know and I'll do an article on it!

If you're interested in my 2013 guide to straightening hair, check this out!

If you want to pick out your own products, or have some at home and wonder if they'll do the trick, check out these ingredients to look for when straightening natural and transitioning hair.

For my transitioning ladies, if you're interested in my 3 month flat ironing check-ins, here ya go:
3 Month Check-In
6 Month Check-In
9 Month Check-In
1 Year Check-In
19 Month Check-In

More tips for transitioners and preventing heat damage, click here!

And lastly, if you've recently straightened and you're looking to rehab your hair and bounce back, check this article out!

More questions? Keep them coming! You guys are giving me tons of inspiration to be a better blogger, and look for new and creative ways to share information!


  1. I personally think the Karmin Spray Heat Protector is the best

  2. My preference is the GKhair ThermalStyleHer heat protectant. Best against heat prior to styling. It seals moisture into the hair making each hair strand strong enough before blow drying. Truly an amazing product. I'd highly recommend it. :) <3

  3. The Spray Heat Protector by karmin is my favorite, makes my hair look so healthy. =)

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  5. I have been using the karmin Spray Heat Protector and works really well for my hair. =D =D

  6. This is a great article! Thank you for sharing! This site also has a lot of good stuff about good heat protectants for natural hair. It is a great blog with a lot of great information.