My 5 Best Heat Protectants For Relaxed Hair

When you want a sleek smooth hairstyle or some bouncy curls or waves the easiest way to achieve that is to pull out a flat iron or curling iron,. While those heat styling tools make achieving those hairstyles quick and easy they also can cause hair damage. It’s so secret that using direct heat consistently on relaxed hair can cause dryness, frizziness, breakage, and overall damage.

There are two ways to prevent that damage. The first is to stop using heat-styling tools. The other is to use a heat protectant when using heat styling tools.

woman with relaxed hair flat ironing a section of hair using a blue flat iron.
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If you like using heat on your hair, a heat protectant should be a staple in your related hair regimen. I have a few different products in my hair regimen that have heat protection benefits.


What is a heat protectant?

A heat protectant is a specially formulated hair product designed to shield your hair from the intense heat generated by flat irons, curling wands, and blow dryers. The high temperatures these tools reach can damage the hair cuticle, leading to dryness, breakage, and split ends.

Why use a heat protectant?

Using heat on your hair without protection is like exposing your skin to the sun without sunscreen. Heat protectants act as a barrier between your hair and the styling tool, reducing the direct impact of heat and minimizing damage. They create a protective layer that helps retain moisture, smooth the cuticle, and helps prevent excessive dryness and frizziness.

What to look for when purchasing a heat protectant

Not all heat protectants are created equal, and choosing one that is compatible with your relaxed hair and the heat styling tools you’re using is important. Here are some key things to look for in a heat protectant.
  • It's enriched with nourishing ingredients like argan oil, keratin, or vitamins. These ingredients not only protect your hair but also provide additional benefits.
  • Appropriate level of protection as different heat protectants offer varying levels of protection. Think about the heat styling tools you use and choose a protectant with an appropriate protection level for those tools.

My top 5 heat protectants for relaxed hair

Now, let's explore five heat protectants that can provide optimal protection for your relaxed hair. Some of these are ones that I have or do use on my own relaxed hair.

Mielle Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray

This is my go-to favorite heat protectant. I’ve been using it for a while and always stock up during Mielle’s epic sales. I typically use it when I blow dry my hair or do a roller set. I have another heat protectant I prefer for flat ironing which I’ll share in a little bit.

My hair feels soft and smooth when I use the Mielle Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray before blow-drying my hair.

What it claims
This protective hair spray is the ultimate solution for eliminating frizz and adding shine. Protects the hair from the effects of high-heat styles from blow-drying and flat ironing.

Key ingredients
The Mielle Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray contains a special blend of almond, argan, sacha inchi, and mongongo oils.

Heat styling tools it can be used with
Blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons

Where to purchase

Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Heat Protection Spray

I used to use this heat protectant in the past and liked it. I started using it to flat iron my hair but I found I don’t care for using heat protectant sprays with flat irons so I switched to using it only when I used a dryer on my hair.

I eventually stopped using it when I stopped using a lot of heat on my hair and then I found the Mielle Heat Protectant Spray. While I no longer use the Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Heat Protection Spray I still recommend it because it’s a good one.

What it claims
This is an alcohol-free heat protectant that helps to protect hair from damage caused by heat styling. It reduces frizz to leave hair soft and silky all while providing incredible shine.

Key ingredients
Olive oil

Heat styling tools it can be used with
None are called out but I used this when I blow-dried my hair

Where to purchase

CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

This salon-quality heat protectant has been popular for years, though I do see it mentioned less and less each year most likely because of new heat protectant options becoming available. I’ve never used it myself but it tends to get good reviews. Even in the relaxed hair and textured hair communities.

What it claims
The CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray is a superior thermal protection spray that works from the inside out helping to protect hair from thermal damage and breakage. It has a weightless formula so it won’t add build up to your hair. This spray helps to seal the hair cuticle and works to prevent future damage.

Additionally, this heat protectant contains vitamins and proteins that add essential moisture to the hair and it can be used by all hair types.

Key ingredients
Outside of generally mentioning “vitamins and proteins add essential moisture” no specific ingredients are called out.

Heat styling tools it can be used with
Flat irons, curling irons, blow dryers

Where to purchase

Mielle Mongongo Oil Pomade-to-Oil Treatment

As I mentioned previously, I use the Mielle Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray when I use a dryer on my hair and then something different to flat iron. I use the Mielle Mongongo Oil Pomade-to-Oil Treatment when I flat iron my hair. I prefer using a cream or oil heat protectant when I flat iron because I don’t have to wait for the product to dry on my hair or hear that scary sizzle sound.

When I first tried this product I didn’t care for it but after using it a few more times it grew on me and became my favorite heat protectant for flat ironing. I like how smooth, and I mean smooth, soft, silky, and shiny it makes my hair look when after flat ironing.

What it claims
This Mongongo Oil Pomade-To-Oil Treatment is a reversion-resistant hair oil that repels humidity and combines enriched ingredients such as almond oil, safflower oil, and beeswax to fight frizz and create soft, sleek styles with impeccable shine.

Key ingredients
Almond oil, safflower oil, beeswax, sub-Saharan African mongongo oil, and linoleic acid.

Heat styling tools it can be used with
The product packaging only calls out straightening tools/flat irons

Where to purchase

Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum

I used this hair serum for a while and I did like it. I actually liked it better than some of the other Olaplex products I used. One thing I didn’t like is the price. Even though it lasted me a while $30 was a bit much for me.

What it claims

This is a weightless, antioxidant-rich, silicone-free hair serum that provides heat protection up to 450°F. It also protects from tangles, breakage, static, and future damage by nourishing hair, blocking pollutants, and neutralizing free radicals.

Top ingredients

Patented OLAPLEX Bond Building Technology and Antioxidant-rich Red Algae Extract

Heat styling tools it can be used with

No specific tools are mentioned but the instructions do say to style as you normally would which for some includes using a blow dryer and following up with a flat iron or curling iron.

Where to purchase

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream

I haven’t used any Briogeo hair products yet but there’s a hair mask that I’ve seen several relaxed hair influencers raving about. This got me looking at Briogeo’s heat protectant cream, especially because it’s highly rated.

What it claims
The Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream is a lightweight, silicone-free creme that minimizes frizz, smooths hair, enhances shine and protects hair from heat styling up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It also locks in moisture and protects against humidity.

Top ingredients
Rosehip Oil, Argan Oil, and Coconut Oil

Heat styling tools it can be used with
This seems to be formulated with blow dryers in mind but the description mentions protecting against heat styling which typically includes curling irons and flat irons.

Where to purchase

How to apply a heat protectant

Once you have selected and purchased a heat protectant for your hair, you’ll want to use it properly so it’s effective in protecting your hair. I’m going to outline how I apply my heat protectants but make sure to refer to the instructions specific to the heat protectant you’ll be using.

For example 95% of the time I only use heat on freshly washed hair. I will apply heat protectants to damp hair if I’m using heat to dry my hair. If I’m straightening or curling my hair with heat I’ll apply it to dry hair. The large majority of heat protectants are meant to be used on damp hair. Many can be used on dry hair as well. Just make sure to check the product's instructions first.

Start by sectioning my hair: I divide my hair into multiple sections as this ensures even application of the heat protectant on all of my hair strands.

Apply the heat protectant: I spray or apply with my hands the heat protectant to each section. I make sure to focus on my ends, as they tend to be more prone to damage.

Comb through: After applying to each section I use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the product evenly and make sure all tangles are removed from my hair.