Another Anon Asks…Hey, I just discovered this site and I consider it to be really interesting, so I just wanted to know, is it really true that heat activated/thermo protector products actually protect hair from heat? PS: I love this site keep up the good work!
The Right Brain Blushes:
Thanks for being a fan, Anon. Here’s your answer along with a little background on heat and hair:
Heat on Hair
Heat from styling appliances damages hair in a three ways. First, heat can weaken and destroy the proteins that hair is composed of. Second, heat can disrupt the natural oils in hair that help hold it together. Third, heat can dry out hair by boiling off internal moisture. After this kind of heat exposure hair can be damaged much more easily which leads to split and broken hairs.
Hair Heat Protection?
Can heat activated/heat protectant products really help? First, you have to understand that these terms don’t mean the same thing. Heat activated is more of a marketing term that doesn’t really mean much. It just means that the ingredients in the formula do “something” different when exposed to heat. Fragrance, for example, can be encapsulated so that it releases when exposed to heat. Styling products can be heat activated because certain polymers they contain melt and spread better when heat is applied. So, just because a product is heat activated doesn’t mean it offers heat protection.
Heat protection, on the other hand, is a “real claim” or at least as real as a hair care claim can be. Heat protection products work by coating the hair and lubricating it during heat styling. This conditioning effect reduces the amount of damage caused by blowdryers, curling irons and flat irons. The good news is that any product that conditions your hair during heat styling will help protect it. You don’t necessarily have to buy a special product.
The Brains’ Bottom Line:
If you’re exposing your hair to heat you need to use a product to protect it. Conditioning your hair before styling will help and so will using a spray or mousse in your hair during styling.
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So is the moral of this basically putting anything on your hair before heat styling helps prevent damage? Claims such as “heat protection up to 450 degrees!” is that bogus? I have noticed some products claim heat protection with essentially the same ingredients as another that doesn’t say it. Customer service pretty much just echos the marketing. Are there certain ingredients that have been proven to be a better heat protector than others, or is it like splitting hairs? (Pun intended)
Not everything works. Some materials create drag on hair which can increase the chance of heat damage. To be safe I’d use a product that’s marketed as a heat protectant (from a reputable company) because it’s more likely that it’s actually been tested for that purpose.
I personally use the karmin Spray Heat Protector 🙂