The 12 Best Heat Protectants for Fine Hair in 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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I was never one for heat styling until recently, when I got my hands on a couple of now-beloved tools. (That’s the T3 Curl ID and the Dyson Airwrap, for the curious.) However...it took me a while to start using heat protectant. Because prior to the acquisition of said tools, I so rarely used heat on my hair that protecting it was an afterthought. While NYC-based hairstylist Fabio Scalia tells me that you could get away without heat protectant if you only style occasionally, it’s better practice to get in the habit. Fine hair is less resistant to heat, he explains, because it lacks density and medulla (the inner part of the hair shaft), resulting in fewer amino acids and pigments to provide thickness. So, I pulled together this list of the 12 best heat protectants for fine hair. The best overall is the Biolage Professional Bond Therapy Leave-In Cream ($28), with Shu Uemura Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream ($46) winning for longest hold and R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Stylist Mist ($36) for best dry styler. Read on for the full list, plus Scalia’s tips on how to pick the best product for your hair.

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The 10 Best Heat Protectants at a Glance]

Meet the Expert

How I Vetted the Best Heat Protectants for Fine Hair

Over the course of about two months, I, along with other PureWow editors and our testing team, tried 21 heat protectants. We evaluated each product based on quality, ease of application, finish and longevity. To select the candidates, I asked hairstylists, including Scalia, about the brands they recommended and scoured social media and trend reports to see what people were hyped about. When testing, we followed each brand’s directions exactly and didn’t use any additional products. (That meant no hairspray, leave-in conditioner, serums, etc.) I also applied each formula to a strip of receipt paper and ran the T3 Single Pass StyleMax Flat Iron over it. Here are the results.

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1. Biolage Professional Bond Therapy Leave-In Cream

Marissa Wu/Biolage Professional

Of all the heat protectants I tested, I thought Biolage’s bond therapy cream performed the best across the board. As shown on the paper test, it delivered near perfect results. The cream is incredibly rich and is easy to work through wet hair. A little goes a long way, and my hair felt velvety as I ran my hands through to dry it. Though, on the flip side, because of this, it also felt a bit heavier than usual. In my pre-heat protectant days, my hair would often feel coarse and look frizzy post blow dry. The frizz control was fairly effective aside from baby hairs (I have a ton), and my hair maintained its shine and silky feeling. As a bonus, the scent is fresh and I did get a little lift in the roots, though it’s not a promised result and my hair did fall flat later in the day. This is an ideal product for those with over-processed hair, as Biolage’s formula will condition and repair broken keratin bonds.

$28 at Ulta

$28 at Amazon 

2. Kérastase Genesis Défense Thermique

Marissa Wu/Kérastase Paris

“I recommend Défense Thermique,” Scalia tells me. “It is sulfate–free, multi–tasks as a detangler and reduces frizz. Kérastase’s heat protectant also passed the paper test beautifully. The initial volume after blowing out my hair was enormous. If I had added hairspray or texture spray to hold, it would have been insane. That being said, the longevity of the product was impressive. Style memory isn’t a promised feature, but my blowout lasted the whole day, and so did my curls when I tested it on a separate occasion. The only drawback was that there isn’t a continuous spray, but it’s easy to disperse with your fingers.

$46 at Kérastase

$45 at Amazon 

3. Shu Uemura Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream

Marissa Wu/shu uemura

My hair is notorious for falling flat in as little as 20 minutes. So, when the back of the bottle promised “repositionable looks with a natural feel that lasts days,” I was prepared to scoff. To test, I blow-dried and curled my hair. The Netsu Design cream rendered everything shiny and silky with a delicate scent I really enjoyed. Four hours passed, and the curls still looked fresh. The end of the day came, and they were loser but still defined. I decided to sleep in them as the ultimate test. After a night tossing and turning on my silk pillowcase, I awoke to soft curls/waves, depending on the part of my head you were looking at. I’m now hooked, and every time I curl my hair, this is in my prep routine.

$46 at Sephora

$43 at Amazon

4. SEEN Curly Creme

Chelsea Candelario/Seen

“I have curly hair that's currently color treated,” says PureWow Associate Editor Chelsea Candelario. “I'm prone to frizz and dry strands. I wash my hair once a week and wear it in its natural state.” Chelsea told me she had been wanting to try the SEEN Curly Creme for a while, so I knew she’d be the perfect tester.

“Once I applied [the cream] to each section, I was able to run my detangler brush through my hair with no problem. The texture was lightweight and the product is [easy to dispense],” she reports. “My curls looked amazing after using this. It really delivered on providing a soft hold and a boost of shine with minimal frizz. I also love how it kept my curl definition even after I diffused my hair.” Chelsea notes that her hair requires at least two products to style, so after a day or two with just the cream, it began to frizz and dull in shine. However, the cream allowed her hair to retain softness. She would combine this with a mousse or gel for optimal results.

From $12 at SEEN

$27 at Ulta

5. Leonor Greyl Au Lotus Mousse

Marissa Wu/Leonor Greyl

I already have a volume-boosting mousse that I love, but it doesn’t provide any hold. Without hairspray, my hair deflates in five seconds. Thus, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Leonor Greyl’s Au Lotus mousse when I ran it through my hair. Ingredients inclue the star lotus extract (anti-inflammatory, softening), jojoba oil, mongongo oil (sun protection, omega-3) and marshmallow extract (anti-pollution). After drying and styling, I noticed that my hair felt a little coarser than it did with some of the other products, but did deliver on great volume, hold and shine. It held my curls pretty much all day, with just a little loss of volume.

$48 at Nordstrom

$48 at Amazon

6. R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist

Marissa Wu/R+Co

If you prefer to heat style your hair from dry, the R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist delivers. It’s packed with the brand’s proprietary Repair Capsule Complex, vitamin E and keratin. I was skeptical at first, because I always blow out my hair (from wet) before styling because it has no volume and holds no shape. This claimed to be a hairspray/heat protectant in one...and it worked. The volume is major, rivaling some of the texture sprays I've tested. It can be a bit crunchy at first, but after you comb the product through it deflates a little and becomes smoother. Post-curl, my hair is still shiny and soft. The continuous spray was easy to use but I feel like it's easier to miss coverage if it's not a cream you can really work through your hair. Be generous when spraying.

$36 at R+Co

$36 at Blue Mercury

7. Matrix Miracle Creator Spray

Marissa Wu/Matrix

If you color your hair within an inch of its life, you probably a) need bond therapy and b) this heat protectant. It promises to boost shine, nourish the hair, smooth cuticles, hydrate, control frizz, condition, even out porosity...and that’s just getting started. Personally, I found the formula on the heavier side, but my hair isn’t color treated, so I could see how this would be intensely nourishing for someone with brittle strands. It gives great volume, even after a windy day in the city, and tamed all my flyaways. My hair didn’t feel as silky as with some of the other formulas but had a nice luster with texture and body.

$25 at Ulta

$25 at Amazon

8. IGK Good Behavior 4-in-1 Prep Spray

Ryann Logeais/IGK

“I usually blow dry my hair every three or four days and sometimes wear it naturally curly,” our tester, Ryann Logeais, tells me. “I have issues with frizz when I wear my hair naturally and some thinning along my hair line.” She tested the IGK Good Behavior 4-in-1 Prep Spray, along with its companion product, IGK’s Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray. The brand recommends using them in tandem for best results. The Prep Spray detangles, controls frizz and adds shine, while the Protein Spray mimics the results of a keratin treatment, providing extra shine, frizz control and smoothness.

“I thought the texture of both products was nice; the heat protectant is thicker than the protein spray,” she says. “The heat protectant was easy to use, [but I found] the protein spray more like a hair spray. [It’s] harder to have control of where you are spraying, but it smells good and combs through nicely. My hair feels thicker and has more body than when I use my other heat protectant. It seems to hold shape better and not fall as flat. It’s also less oily.” Ryann also reported that the hold had great longevity. “My hair generally gets frizzy after a couple days, but [that didn’t happen with this product]. My hair did gain a bit of curl back after a few days but held its volume and body.”

$32 at IGK

$32 at Ulta

9. Olaplex Volumizing Blow Dry Mist

Olivia Dubyak/Olaplex

PureWow Commerce Editor Olivia Dubyak loves Olaplex’s Volumizing Blow Dry Mist. “It doesn't just protect my hair from heat damage, it adds volume when I blow dry my hair. I like that it's lightweight and doesn't weigh down my fine hair and it has a pleasant, fresh scent,” she tells me. The mist contains the brand’s patented Bond Building Technology, which helps repair damaged hair while also giving it body and bounce. It also provides humidity resistance and speeds up the blow-drying process.

$30 at Ulta

$30 at Sephora

10. R+Co Chainmail

Delia Curtis/R+Co

PureWow Assistant Editor Delia Curtis’s hair is thick and voluminous, with a tendency to get oily and frizzy, especially in the heat. They liked that R+Co’s Chainmail spray both tamed the frizziness of their hair and gave them the ability to re-shape it, noting they are often indecisive when it comes to styling. “It had a lovely, airy finish and didn’t weigh my hair down.” Instructions direct you to apply on dry hair, and Delia found that the continuous spray made for easy application and didn’t significantly alter their hair texture. (Read: not crunchy.) The heat protectant did deliver on its promises: “My hair looked shiny and voluminous after the application and use of hot tools,” they report. “Definitely doesn't immediately frizz, which is lovely. And even after taking it out of a bun, my hair is still very put together.”

$36 at R+Co

$36 at Dermstore

11. IGK Style Memory Blowout Cream

Amazon/Marissa Wu

PureWow Mailroom Manager Samantha Melendez has fine, curly hair, so she prioritizes lightweight products to prevent her hair from going flat. She was impressed with IGK’s Style Memory Blowout Cream, noting that it felt like a leave-in conditioner. “When they advertised style memory they meant it,” she tells me. “It really holds that blow dry style so nicely and I find that when curling my hair, the curls lasted much longer.” Samantha notes that the heat styling lasted all day, and she was easily able to re-style it the following day. “I definitely recommended it to a friend already,” she says.

$29 at ulta

$29 at amazon

12. Redken Acidic Color Gloss Heat Protectant

Candace Davison/Redken

“I have very fine hair that I highlight about four times a year,” says PureWow Vice President of Editorial Candace Davison. “I tend to just let it air dry and rarely style it, since it's naturally straight.”

She reports that the Redken Acidic Color Gloss had “excellent” hold and “surprising amount of volume. It's a fine mist that's easy to spray on and use, though it added a slight crunchy feeling to my hair when dry.” The bottle is equipped with a spray nozzle that Candace said was easy to direct. However, it was hard to maneuver to spray the back of her head.

“While there was some crunchiness, I really liked the lift it gave my hair, making it appear fuller even with air-dried hair (pre-styling). It held a curl longer than expected, too. When I tested it with a curling iron, my waves loosened after two hours but held a general wave all day.”

$33 at Redken

$33 at Ulta

What to Consider When Buying Heat Protectant

Sure, the name seems self-explanatory, but a lot goes into the efficacy of a product. Heat protectant works by filling in and leveling out each strand of hair, coating it in a protective film, Scalia explains. If you don’t frequently use heat styling, you could get away without using heat protectant. However, it’s better practice to do so, especially if you style your hair frequently.

“Hot tools will overwork the hair, which then puts too much stress on it,” he says. “That can open the cuticle and dehydrate the hair. Because of its decreased level of density, lack of medulla (referring to the inner part of the hair shaft) and fewer amino acids and pigments that provide thickness, fine hair is less resistant to heat.”

When you’re shopping the first thing you should consider is obviously the maximum temperature. Scalia says the formula should withstand up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (Most of my recommendations here go up to 450.) I know there’s the raging debate of silicones or no silicones in hair products, but in this case, Scalia, says there are two that are key to a heat protectant’s efficacy: cyclomethicone and dimethicone. The latter creates a better barrier for fine hair, while the former is more moisturizing. However, Scalia recommends steering clear of cyclomethicone because it can weigh down your strands.

Other things to consider: look for hydrating ingredients (like jojoba and almond oils) and opt for a spray, which Scalia notes releases smaller molecules from the dispenser and disperses better. “If you have fine hair that is curly, look for other built-in features like frizz control and shine,” he adds. You can apply on wet or dry hair depending on the instructions, but if doing the latter, be sure to wait for the heat protectant to dry if before heat styling.

Because of the silicones, heat protectants do tend to build up in your hair, so Scalia recommends using a clarifying shampoo to ensure your hair is properly cleaned and nourished.

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