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Best heat protection spray 2022: Self-care for all types of hair, from £6

Marianna Ricciardi
5 Mar 2021

Our roundup of the best heat protection sprays for maintaining strong and healthy hair

Heat protection sprays are a must-have if you regularly style your hair. Straight, wavy or curly, it doesn’t really matter – we all want our hair to look healthy. That’s easier said than done, however. While styling allows us to experiment with our look, the daily use of heat straighteners and curling irons can inevitably lead to a degree of damage.

Combining thermal shielding and repairing properties, heat protection sprays help to lessen the damage meaning you can have fun with your hair while still taking care of it. There are a range of sprays available, but are the pricier products more efficient than the high-street ones?

We tried a wide range of the best heat protection sprays currently available to buy. Below, we cover the basics of what to consider when you’re buying a heat protection spray, followed by our list of the very best on the market.

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How to choose the best heat protection spray for you

How do heat protection sprays work?

Heat protection sprays help to protect the hair from the damage that can be caused by everyday styling tools. They create a thin film around the hair in order to spread the heat made by these tools more evenly. In this way, the hair will gradually warm up instead of being “shocked” by the sudden high temperature. As a result, you will face less damage due to the cuticles not being directly exposed to the heat source.

High-quality protectants also contain specific ingredients like humectants, natural oils and amino acids that will help the cuticles to stay moist thanks to their hydrating properties.

Normally, you’ll use the spray on damp or dry hair before using any hot tool, from curling irons to straighteners. Make sure to read the instructions, though, as some products benefit from being used on wetter hair.

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How do I find the best heat protection spray for me?

The key to the perfect heat protection spray is to identify your hair type and what its needs are. If your hair type is oily, then you don’t need an extremely rich product, but if you need extra nourishment then a high-quality spray rich in natural extracts is the way to go.

What results can I expect from a heat protection spray?

Everything comes back to the state of your hair. If you’re using hot styling tools regularly, then using heat protection spray won’t completely prevent heat damage but with some tender loving care, the right products and proper techniques, you can help your hair to become less dull and stressed out. Avoiding direct exposure to high temperature in this way will go a long way to preventing split ends and dryness.

The best heat protection sprays to buy

1 . Joico Ironclad Thermal Protectant Spray: Best overall heat protection spray

Price: £14 | Buy now from Lookfantastic

If you have problems with frizz and static, then there is nothing like Joico. We tried to use it first thing in the morning, while getting ready for the day and after several early-morning laptop hours, a grocery shopping trip and a walk in the park, when our hair was still soft and quite disciplined.

The product claims to be effective up to 230°C thanks to two brand-name complexes of ingredients called “Deep-sea antioxidant AquaLastik” and “Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex”. We put it to the test on thick wavy hair at a high temperature and, after using a curling iron, we didn’t have any feeling of dryness or stickiness, nor did the hair feel excessively hot.

We found that overall this is the best product for a few different hair types, leaving hair incredibly soft and smooth without spending too much money.

Buy now from Lookfantastic

2. Tresemme Care & Protect Heat Defence Spray: Best budget heat protection spray

Price: £5.50 | Buy now from Boots

Finding a high-quality hair product that doesn’t break the bank is not always easy, but Tresemme has an immaculate track record of delivering top-performance formulas for a very reasonable price.

The product claims to be enriched with a UV filter and to help reduce breakage by 82%.

The first thing I noticed after using this product a few times was that my hair looked firmer at the end of the styling process. After brushing I definitely noticed less in the way of nods and hair-falling in the brush dents.

Our Pro Tip: As the spray nozzle is quite narrow, make sure you hold the bottle at least 20cm away from your hair and comb before proceeding with your hot tool.

Buy now from Boots

3. GHD Bodyguard Heat Protect Spray: Best for hair straightening

Price: £18 | Buy now from GHD Hair

GHD Heat protection spray has had a revamp. The manufacturer’s new Bodyguard protection spray just launched and we have to say that it’s worth the hype.

The product is quite light in texture and the nozzle creates a good diffusion. The brand claims that its spray improves smoothness, and I could definitely see after using it that my hair was very hydrated – with no dry patches on the sections that needed more styling. We saw the best results using the Bodyguard protection spray before a hair straightener rather than a curling iron, so it’s definitely one for those who regularly straighten their hair.

Buy now from GHD Hair

4. Ouai Heat Protection Spray: Best heat protection spray for frizzy hair

Price: £25 | Buy now from Lookfantastic

We were excited to try this product and it didn’t disappoint. This spray is particularly efficient against brittle and frizzy hair: we tried it on dry and textured hair and saw the result was quite impressive, even after using a curling iron at the highest setting.

My hair kept smooth and shiny, but if you have very long and thick hair – and lightness is a deal-breaker for you – this might not be your number-one choice, as the product is quite thick and can weigh down the hair.

We particularly love the floral fragrance and the fact that Ouai has made this product free from chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), parabens, phthalates, gluten and silicones, which can cause irritation in some users.

Buy now from Lookfantastic

5 . Aveda Heat Relief Thermal Protector And Conditioning Mist: Best heat protection spray for soft and shiny hair

Price: £26 | Buy now from Lookfantastic

Made from 97% naturally derived ingredients, this conditioning protector has a very airy texture and creates a shiny film that makes your hair smooth, glossy and soft.

We loved the classic shampoo fragrance – typical of Aveda’s range, with 25 pure flower and plant essences. We also loved that this product is not only vegan and cruelty-free but it also comes with eco-friendly and recyclable packaging. Thumbs-up to Aveda for caring and taking action.

 Buy now from Lookfantastic

6 . Philip Kingsley Perfecting Primer Heat Protection Spray: Best heat protection spray for nourished hair

Price: £22 | Buy now from Philip Kingsley

Of all the products I tried, this spray is definitely the most nourishing. That makes it absolutely perfect if you have dry hair as it conditions the scalp at the same time as giving some volume and shine.

The elaborate formula contains three key ingredients that will help to improve the look of your hair but also to treat it and help regain moisture: Polyamide-1 is a synthetic polymer that helps to volumise the roots, quaternized lipids help to restore the fibres, and elastin is a protein that helps to give structure and firmness to the hair shaft while providing hydration and nourishment.

One thing to notice (particularly if you are sensitive to aromas and smells) is that this product is infused with the strong scent of cherry blossom.

Buy now from Philip Kingsley

7 . Sachajuan Thermal Protection Spray: Best heat protection spray for colour protection

Price: £24 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

This heat protection spray is advertised as pretty high-end, with a formula that presents a patented technology called ‘“Ocean Silk”; a mix of proteins and sea algae mineral extract that claims to not only protect hair from damage but also add shine and protect colour.

I tried it straight after doing a bleach bath (a mix of bleach, developer and shampoo) and dying my hair hot pink. I opted for a half-and-half test: I coloured my hair and applied the product on only one half of my head before styling with hair straighteners. The half with the Sachajuan protection spray was definitely softer and shinier, and the colour looked slightly more vibrant, almost as if it had been better absorbed by the hair shaft.

Buy now from Cult Beauty

8. Aussie SOS Heat Protector Saviour Leave-In Spray: Best heat protection spray for fine hair

Price: £7 | Buy now from Superdrug

Affordable and efficient, this heat protection spray was a very pleasant surprise. Its lightweight formula is enriched with Tasmanian pepper leaves, helping protect against damage from heating tools without being sticky. It worked particularly well on curls.

I also loved its very delicate and subtle fragrance, which provides an enjoyable sensation of freshness.

Buy now from Superdrug

9 . Davines Melu Shield Heat Protection Spray: Best heat protection spray for damaged hair

Price: £27 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

If you have long, fragile and damaged hair, this is a must-have. The formula contains rosemary, antioxidants and anti-static agents that prevent your hair from going wild because of humidity.

I tried this product after a busy week of using styling tools pretty much every morning and was impressed with the results. The nourishment and shine lasted all day, and the product was absorbed quickly without leaving any kind of greasy trace.

One thing to look out for, though, is that if your hair is very curly, coarse or dry, you’ll need to use quite a lot of product to ensure your entire head is covered. The bottle is quite small, so in these cases it may not last very long.

Our Pro Tip: We found it works better if used on completely dry hair. If used straight after washing, make sure to towel-dry thoroughly and wait for a few minutes before using your hair dryer.

Buy now from Cult Beauty 

10 . Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray: Best heat protection spray for luxury

Price: £40 | Buy now from SpaceNK

The most expensive product on our list, Oribe's Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a fantastic protective shield for hair. It was one of the best heat protection sprays we tested, leaving the hair incredibly smooth, light and shiny.

The formula is extremely lightweight, containing vitamin B and plant-based collagen, and enriched with edelweiss, lychee and watermelon flower extracts. Oribe claims it has a UV filter to help reduce the effect of pollution on your hair, so we tested it a few times on busy days outside. What we noticed is that, even after a whole day out and about, the hair didn’t appear dull or weighted down, and the results are equally satisfying after using either a straightener or a curling iron.

Buy now from SpaceNK

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