3 things you need to know about hot hair

Shendel says: What makes a heat activated hair product well, heat activated? Do heat activated products really protect hair against heat? Specifically I`m wondering about the Ciment Thermique leave-in by Kerastase that claims it actually *treats* hair during heat styling. Is that possible?

The Left Brain Responds:

The quick answer is: sort of. The long answer is that you have to understand terms like “heat-activated” and “heat protection” do not have universally accepted scientific definitions as they relate to cometics. Essentially, every company comes up with it`s own definition. So to help you make sense of these confusing terms, here’s how The Beauty Brains define them:

Heat activated

This is the most vague of the heat related terms. When a product says it`s heat activated, all that really means is that the company has found a way to show that some aspect of the product changes when it`s exposed to higher temperatures. For example, it could mean that the product releases fragrance or some other encapsulated ingredient when it`s warmed up. It could also mean that the formula changes consistency when heated, or that it deposits more of an active ingredient. Remember, just because the product is heat activated doesn`t necessarily mean you`ll be able to notice anything different. It just means that the company has found some way to measure a property of the product that changes with temperature.

Heat protection

Heat protection means the product somehow reduces the negative effects of heat. The simplest way to accomplish this is by lubricating the hair during heat styling. Silcone based products are very effective in this way, they coat the hair shaft so flat irons and curling irons glide across the hair more easily. Therefore there`s less chance of damaging the hair.

Self Heating

Of all these heat terms, self heating is the most noticeable to the consumer. Simply put, it means the product has the capability to warm itself. Some products accomplish this through a chemical reaction, others use a self-contained heat source in the package. However, you have to realize that just because a product warms up doesn`t mean it WORKS any better. The sensory experience may be more pleasant, but rarely do self heating products function differently.

How do we classify the Ciment Thermique product? It`s certainly not self-warming. And there doesn`t seem to be anything in the formula that`s significantly activated by heat. But based on the combination of silicones and fatty conditioners in the product, we`d guess it would do a pretty good job of lubricating hair and therefore it should be a decent heat protection product. But you`ll have to try it and tell us if you like it or not.