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My Favorite Drugstore Heat Protectants for Hair

best drugstore heat protectants for hair

About 2 1/2 years ago, I made a big mistake. I curled my hair (with high heat) and skipped my heat protectant. I hadn’t really noticed it doing anything before, it was put away in the drawer, I was too lazy to pull it out.

Yeah, pretty much that. I fried my hair. Literally. It felt like a brillo pad and made ugly crunchy noises. I’ve written quite a lot about my fried hair and how I fixed it (and it is all gone now, my long bob chop about 18 months ago took away the last bits of it).

As a result of that whole experience, I know have tried pretty much every heat protectant and hair mask out there. And I keep buying them and using them obsessively. Oh, you will never catch me without at least 2 or 3 heat protecting products on my hair at any given time, even if I’m just air drying my hair!

Today I’m sharing my favorite drugstore heat protectants for hair. I’ll share my favorite salon brand heat protectants soon! I typically use a few of these products each time I wash my hair. A spray, a cream and a little bit of oil or serum on my hair when it is wet. I then reapply a bit of serum or oil usually after my hair is dry. I haven’t fried my hair since the big mistake!

best drugstore heat protectants for hair

L’Oreal Color Vibrancy Dual Protect Spray (at ULTA or Amazon): This is a great multi-use product! Shake well before use, it has 2 different consistencies in there. It adds some great shine and has UV filters to help protect hair color from the sun.

TresEmmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray (at ULTA): Very lightweight, I can’t tell this one is in my hair. It really helps control frizz and adds shine as well.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Heat Defeat Protective Spray (at ULTA and Drugstore.com): Even more frizz prevention (it does a better job at the frizz fighting than the TresEmmé).

Not Your Mother’s Beat the Heat Thermal Styling Spray (at ULTA, Drugstore.com and Amazon): This spray is lightweight and has UV Filters in addition to protecting your hair from heat.

L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Blow Dry It Quick Dry Primer Spray (from Target or ULTA): Yes, it really does dry your hair faster. It also protects from heat and is super lightweight. One of my new favorites, I love that it cuts about 2 minutes off of drying my hair.

Oil & Serum
Kardashian Beauty Black Seed Dry Oil (at ULTA or Sally Beauty): This is pretty heavy duty stuff so don’t go crazy with it! I apply sparingly just to the mid-shaft and below on my hair.

L’Oreal Paris EverStyle Alcohol-Free Smooth & Shine Serum (at Amazon and Drugstore.com): This serum tames frizz, adds shine and helps really finish your look if you apply it after styling. Add some into your prep to help protect hair from heat damage as well.

L’Oreal Advanced Hairstyle Blow Dry It Thermal Smoother Cream (at Drugstore.com and ULTA): A little of this cream really helps my hair become much more manageable, defrizzes and protects my hair from damage.

What is your favorite heat protectant from the drugstore? I’m always looking for a new one!

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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  1. 9.10.19
    Monica said:

    Hello. Congrats for your website.

    Could you recomend me a heat protector for pregnancy? . Every bottle I’ve seen has ethylexyl cynammate, retynol, salicilate, I’m tired searching :c. I saw here that hair products are not a problem during pregnancy, except for those staying longer on your scalp, so I think a heat protector stays longer on your hair.

    Thank you !!

    • 9.10.19
      15mins said:

      Heat protectants are only on the hair itself, which can’t absorb anything. Anything you apply directly to the skin of the scalp you need to worry about. So you don’t need to look at the ingredients of heat protectants and other styling products at all.

      • 9.10.19
        Monica said:

        Very appreciated.

  2. 10.28.19
    Heather said:


    I saw below that you don’t have to worry much about heat protectants during pregnancy…I’m assuming the same while breastfeeding? Trying to combat the postpartum hair loss! Yikes. Also wondering if you have a page dedicated to safe postpartum shampoo/conditioners ? I see a lot on amazon and other blogs with ingredients I am unfamiliar with but geared at helping the hair loss. Thank you in advance for your help!

    • 10.29.19
      15mins said:

      Yes, pregnancy is much more restrictive than nursing. Anything safe for pregnancy is ok for nursing. The only ingredients you need to worry about for a shampoo postpartum that I would worry about (no need to worry about conditioners, they don’t touch the scalp) is a retinoid.

      The thing about postpartum hair loss is that it is mediated very differently than regular hair loss and you can NOT stop it unless you get pregnant again. It is hormonally driven, you’re losing all of the hair that you stopped shedding while pregnant. On occasion (and this isn’t true of most women) you might have exaggerated hair loss due to a thyroid issue during this time, and if you truly feel like you have lost a larger than normal amount of hair I would talk to your doctor about that and/or anemia. None of the over the counter shampoos/conditioners and such have been shown to really help with regular hair loss and they won’t help with postpartum loss, unfortunately.

      The best recommendations I have are:
      1) don’t make any big hair changes. A lot of women do something like chop off 8 inches of hair. You won’t be happy with the end result, it’s too drastic of a change. I’d experiment with different ways of styling your hair, change your part, etc.

      2) There are supplements, but I wouldn’t recommend any of those if you’re nursing, you should just continue with your prenatal vitamin while nursing.

      3) Minimize breakage and damage as this can make the hair loss seem even worse. Decrease the temperature on all of your heat tools to under 400, always use at least one heat protectant product (I try to use at least 2 products that offer heat protection if I am curling my hair, I learned my lesson by frying my hair), and use treatment products like masks at least once a week.

      4) You’ll have baby hairs coming in within a few weeks. They can be hard to spot, but they’re there! If you color your hair, go darker not lighter. It will help those baby hairs show up, creating the illusion of thicker hair.

      I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for years! I should do that….

      • 11.6.19
        Monica said:

        Amazing reply :O
        Thanks for sharing

        • 6.25.24
          Kini Schollian said:

          Hi! My hair is fine and thinning, and heat protectants tend to make my hair feel dry. Do you have any recommendations for one that is moisturizing without weighing down my hair?

          • 6.25.24
            Christine said:

            I have 2 leave in conditioners that I like a lot that feel weightless and provide heat protection! This one is my slight preference (it is also is used by my daughters and it’s a great detangler, even on dry hair). This one is also a heat protector and does those things, but the price point is slightly higher and it isn’t as good at detangling.