I've already written about the importance of choosing the right hot tools for your particular hair type. It's pretty crucial if you want to avoid serious damage to your strands. There's something else you'll need to keep on hand when heat styling though, too. It doesn't just come down to using the right heat setting or a wide-plated flat iron, you'll also need the right hair straightening products. I know, it sounds like a lot, but adding a simple heat protectant to your heat styling routine can do wonders for your hair—I can personally attest to it. You'll experience less dryness and damage after using a blow-dryer or flat iron—something I'm sure we could all use.
I know what works for my own particular hair type (3C curls), but I asked a few experts for advice on choosing the right products for every hair type. Celebrity hairstylist Michael Dueñas and Mila Rose Hair Care founder Micaella Mosley hit me with all their expertise. Keep scrolling for what they had to share and the best hair straightening products money can buy.
How to Choose the Right Hair Straightening Products for You
Although there are plenty of different types of straightening products out there on the market that work for various hair types, Dueñas swears by one of them in particular. "I truly believe that creams work the absolute best on all hair types," he says. "Sprays typically require a lot more product to be applied to the hair and they have more water in them to make a product have a better spray pattern. This takes away from the smoothing anti-frizz effects of the product as well. The only time I recommend using a spray is on very fine hair or product overload can be an issue."
Those with curls should take extra precautions when straightening their hair. Curls are naturally drier so choosing the right straightening product is key. "Straightening curls can be detrimental to hair strands if you are not taking proper care of them when heat tools are applied," Mosley shares. "Curly hair requires an additional dose of love and hydration which is possible by using the correct technique and products. Apt care involves setting up curls with a nice nutrient-filled hydrating shampoo along with a nourishing conditioner because curls are vulnerable and susceptible to damage that can be avoided by preparing them beforehand."
How to Choose a Heat Protectant
Mosley also has a little advice for choosing the right heat protectant. "Hair sprays are ideal for thin to medium density hair. They provide a protective barrier and won't make your hair greasy. Hair creams are thick in texture and provide exemplary hydration and protection to chunky curls. Coily hair is also the most delicate of all curl types and for that reason, it requires the most care, hydration, and protection against hot tools. Creams work best for them as they contain protective oils and nutrients."
Take a peak at their hair straightening recs for all hair types below.
"This product smoothes and provides anti-frizz [protection] as it conditions the hair. It is a thick cream that comes out extremely lightweight on the hair." —Dueñas
"This is extremely lightweight. It feels just like a leave-in conditioner. It also provides heat protection, smooths the hair, and adds sheen." —Dueñas
"This is great for a productless look. It's completely invisible once it's on the hair and it's blown out." —Dueñas
This Revive Kit from Mila Rose contains a few hair straightening essentials that work great for curls.
"The 2-in-1 Silkening Leave-in Conditioner acts as a great heat protectant. Infused with keratin protein, pro-vitamin b5, and dimethicone that strengthens the hair, locks in the moisture, and protects the hair from heat damage by creating an outer barrier. The lightweight jasmine oil penetrates deep into the hair shaft and balances the hydration and elasticity of hair. And finally, the rose oil enhances hair health and provides a sleek and shiny appearance to your straightened hair."
"The Mila Rose Nourishing Shampoo made with the goodness of soy protein, neroli oil, and much more preps the hair perfectly for straightening curly hair. Its pro-vitamin B5 creates a fine layer circling hair strands that add elasticity and protection from heat. The Mila Rose Nourishing Conditioner is our go-to product for straightening curly hair. It is wholesome, having an entire package of hydration that your curls need before and after heat styling. The combined power of argon oil and aloe vera gel works as a great thermal damage protectant by forming a shield around the hair cuticles." —Mosley
This leave-in spray is a personal favorite of mine when using hot tools. Silk amino acids in the formula help restore natural moisture, green tea leaf extract shields from damage, and panthenol adds extra strength to the hair. It's even safe to use on color-treated hair.
I also love this organic option from Oway that protects against heat up to 450 degrees F. It was recommended to me by a stylist once and I've kept it handy since. It contains nourishing ingredients like organic black quinoa, marula oil, and amla extract to strengthen and protect the hair.
R+Co's Mood Swing Spray is a great option for wavy hair types. It says that it's made for curly hair types as well, but per our stylists' advice, I would opt for something more hydrating if you have curls, especially thick ones. This formula is designed to protect against humidity and create a silky smooth blowout with ingredients like amaranth seed extract, shikakai fruit extract, and sunflower seed oil.
This leave-in cream from Kérastase protects the hair from heat damage by utilizing ceramides to strengthen and a Morpho-Kératine complex that coats strands to smooth them and restore damage.
Briogeo offers this silicone-free heat protectant cream that minimizes frizz, smooths out the hair, and enhances shine. It's great for curls and coils as it contains a ton of nourishing and conditioning oils. Rosehip oil provides essential fatty acids to the hair while argan oil conditions, and coconut oil helps seal in moisture.
Olaplex is known for its incredible bond-repairing products, and the brand's nourishing hair serum also acts as a heat protectant. It's rich in antioxidants, helps protect against pollution, and contains the brand's patented bond repair technology that strengthens the hair.
Design Essentials is a celebrity stylist-loved brand for its high quality, affordable formulas. This is another great heat-protecting serum for curls as it contains highly moisturizing ingredients like mango butter, lavender extract, and agave extract.
Aveda's restorative treatment cream is packed with a blend of quinoa protein, macadamia oil, and soy that help detangle hair, protects it during heat styling, and provides visible repair to damaged locks.
Since this is a spray option, it's great for thinner, wavy hair types. It provides smooth results that last un to three days or until your next shampoo. It uses a proprietary blend of polymers and keratin protein to smooth frizz and provide those extra sleek results.
Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.
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