The Best Curly Girl Approved Heat Protectants: Sprays, Creams, and Foams

By Kassidy Ward
Updated

The Best Curly Girl Approved Heat Protectants: Sprays, Creams, and Foams

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The struggle with heat damage is all-too-familiar for us curly-haired girls. We may cut it out, but our hair is in danger every time we use a blow dryer or straightener. So, how can we prevent it and pamper our hair? This is where heat protectants work their magic!

We’ve hand-picked the 10 best Curly Girl Method-approved heat protectants, free of sulfates, parabens, and water-insoluble silicones.

Scroll on to see why we rate them as CG-friendly:

The 10 Best Curly Girl Method Approved Heat Protectants

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best drugstore heat protectant

1. Pantene Gold Series

  • Contains argan oil.
  • Smells good.
  • For wet or dry hair.
natural hair frizz and heat guard

2. Briogeo Farewell Frizz

  • No harsh chemicals
  • Contains Rosehip oil
  • Also a leave-in conditioner
importance of heat protectant for curly hair

3. SheaMoisture Styling Milk

  • Anti-breakage
  • Lightweight cream texture
  • Can be layered
best heat protection to use on-the-go

4. Waterless Heat Shield

  • Invisible heat shield
  • Great for traveling with
  • All hair types and textures
Enhances hair's natural structure after heat damage to help heal

5. Aveda Brilliant Damage control

  • Cruelty-free
  • Protects from UV rays
  • Can make hair a little oily
Shine enhancing and straightening serum for curls

6. Giovanni 2chic

  • Contains sunflower seed oil
  • Avocado-rich moisturizer
  • Vegan-friendly
flat-iron proofing foam for fine hair

7. Texture ID Thermal Styling Foam

  • Better curl elasticity and shine
  • For light hold styling
  • Excellent for blowouts and natural styles
curly hair heat defense spray

8. Desert Essence Heat Protector

  • Hair lusterizer
  • Detangles frizzy hair
  • Does not work for very thick hair
VitaPro fusion protects the hair shaft from buckling under intense heat

9. Giovanni VitaPro Fusion

  • With botanical extracts
  • Protective moisture
  • Creates soft, manageable hair
styling spray for heat to help speed up drying process

10. Kevin Murphy Heated Defense

  • Spreads easily into hair
  • Up to 450°F protection
  • Weightless invisible leave-in conditioner
Best Overall

Pantene Gold Series Thermal Heat Protector

Product Summary

  • Prevents dryness, breakage, and excessive frizz.
  • No residue.
  • Compact design for a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Can be used for blow drying.

The Pantene Gold Series thermal heat protectant spray doesn’t let your curly hair care routine go to waste. Argan oil protects against heat damage by conditioning and hydrating the hair. This way, you don’t have to deal with dryness, breakage, and excessive frizz.

Apply it to dry or damp hair to protect it from the risks of using a flat iron or other heat tools. And don’t worry; it doesn’t leave any sticky residue thanks to its weightless formula. Considered one of the best heat protectant sprays on the market for its high rating and reviews, it is a product you can highly rely upon to save your locks from high heat.

The Pantene heat protection spray also has a pleasant lingering smell that isn’t overpowering.

On another note, the 6.4 oz bottle has a compact design, reducing air and water and minimizing the carbon footprint of packaging and shipping.

Best for curly frizzy hair

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection

Product Summary

  • Protects hair from heat up to 450°F.
  • Prevents frizz, damage, and shedding.
  • Makes hair soft and shiny.
  • Cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan.

Briogeo Farewell Frizz blow dry perfection takes care of frizz as well as reducing damage and shedding. It protects the hair shaft and cuticle layer from heat of up to 450°F.

Whether you have wavy, curly, or coily hair, rest assured that this heat protectant works on all curl types, especially when frizzy.

It contains argan, rosehip, and coconut oil, which help condition and hydrate natural hair while reducing frizz, and protecting the hair from free-radical damage.

And we can’t forget the glorious shine and softness this product gives your curls. After all, the NOVA complex helps lock in moisture!

Best for Breakage Control

SheaMoisture Styling Milk Heat Protectant for Frizz

Product Summary

  • Shea butter treats your hair’s weak points and gives it a slip.
  • Makes your hair soft, thanks to the plantain.
  • Yucca promotes hair growth.
  • Gives your hair a gloss because of the baobab oil and cilantro extract.
  • No buildup.
  • Not always available.

If you’re looking for a shea butter thermal protectant, this styling milk for frizz is an excellent option. Designed for frizzy and fragile hair, its organic shea butter deeply moisturizes your hair’s dry ends and weak points. Pure shea butter also gives your natural hair slip, meaning you don’t have to struggle with detangling it.

The product’s plantain has high levels of vitamin E, which moisturizes and softens your hair strands. Moving on, its yucca is excellent for promoting hair growth and counteracting heat damage and breakage from heat styling tools. And the baobab oil and cilantro extracts boost your curl’s shine and refresh them, giving them a silky smooth texture.

Another feature we love about this heat protectant is its lightweight formula. This means you don’t have to worry about buildup when you leave it in.

The Shea Moisture brand is also very socially engaged. Their products are produced by the disadvantaged women of Bonthe, so your purchase contributes to a better future for them.

Best for on-the-go

Waterless Heat Shield Protect

Product Summary

  • No need for water
  • Protects your hair against heat up to 450°F
  • Provide intense hydration
  • Delicious smell
  • Hair may feel sticky if overused

The Waterless heat shield is excellent for no-wash days, after the gym, when you travel, or on-the-go.

Waterless was born in South Africa in response to the Day Zero water crisis.

As a dry hair heat protector, we love that it doesn’t soak your hair or make it greasy! And it’s fragrant, making your hair all fresh.

You can apply heat up to 450°F and enjoy healthy hair with impressive damage control. The secret lies in the product’s ingredients.

This heat protectant spray contains hydrogenated castor oil, which helps increase moisture, prevent hair damage, and protect hair from humidity. Another component is argan oil. Its vitamin E and fatty acids condition and hydrate your textured hair, reducing frizz and damage.

Best for Damaged Curly Hair

Aveda Brilliant Damage Control

Product Summary

  • Protects hair against heat, sun, and UV damage.
  • No breakage or frizz, thanks to the natural oils.
  • 80% post-consumer recycled content for a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Can make hair oily when overused

The Aveda Brilliant damage control is the pre-heat styling spray that can shield your hair from sun, UV, and heat damage so that your hair doesn’t suffer frizz or breakage from combing. It also does that for all hair types.

Let’s look at the 8.5 oz heat protectant spray and its ingredients to understand how it protects natural curls against heat styling damage. We’ve got organic chamomile, which helps with frizz control, nourishes your hair, and gives it luster.

Another is aloe vera, a natural heat protectant. And we can’t forget wheat proteins, which moisturize and strengthen hair, add shine, and prevent hair breaking. There’s also castor oil, which leaves your hair feeling hydrated and protects it from the effects of thermal styling.

Aveda Brilliant damage control’s ingredients render it the perfect heat protectant spray for curly hair, dry hair, damaged hair, and color-treated hair. You can also apply it on towel-dried hair or dry hair.

Let’s not forget how heavenly this heat protection spray smells, thanks to its rose, jasmine, certified organic clove, and other plant and pure flower essences.

For the environmentally conscious, the heat protectant is 80% post-consumer recycled content, which allows you to reduce your carbon impact. Finally, Aveda manufacturing is 100% wind & solar-powered.

Best for Moisturizing

Giovanni 2chic Heat Protective Leave-In Spray

Product Summary

  • No brittle hair, thanks to the nutrients’ protective layer.
  • Won’t dull your dye.
  • Budget-friendly heat protectant.
  • Vegan-friendly and Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free.

If you’ve got dry curly hair, the Giovanni 2Chic Ultra-Moist Dual Action is arguably the best heat protectant spray to boost moisture. Use it to strengthen and moisturize your curly hair, making it shiny and less likely to break.

The ultra moist leave-in conditioner protects hair, thanks to its avocado and olive oil. The buttery avocado and olive oil prevent your hair from getting brittle and dull. They also create supple control and enhance hair elasticity and resilience.

The spray supplies your hair with the needed moisture via a mix of vitamins, omega fatty acids, and some organic ingredients. You’ve got glycerin, a natural moisturizer that helps hair by restoring its protective barrier. This way, you can heat style your hair without worrying about split ends or hair damage.

If you decide to add Giovanni 2Chic Ultra-Moist Dual Action into your hair care routine, you can apply it to your damp hair, and its results will be easily noticeable. Your hair will look shiny and feel silky soft.

As for the fragrance, it smells like fresh avocado; the scent is quite strong, so it’ll last longer. This is one of the best heat protectant products for anyone on a budget.

Best for Curl Definition

Texture ID Thermal Multi-Styling Foam

Product Summary

  • Light consistency.
  • Enhances curl definition.
  • Doesn’t weigh hair down.
  • You can safely use heat up to 450°F.
  • Its humectants give you hydrated, strong, soft, and shiny hair
  • Limited stock.

Give your natural hair the hydration it deserves with Texture ID Multi-Styling Foam! If you prefer using pre-styling foams rather than sprays, this might be one of your best heat protectants. We love its lightweight formula!

This heat protectant allows your hair to endure heat up to 450°F, reducing the risk of blow drying and heat tools. This product is suitable for blowouts, but you can also use it with wrap styles and roller sets.

When you apply the foam, you give your hair strength, boost its luster, give it bounce, and define its curls. But how is that possible?

For one, its argan oil supplies textured hair with vitamin E and essential fatty acids. This way, you can keep your hair conditioned and hydrated, resisting heat damage.

The heat protectant also contains honey, a natural humectant for scalp and hair hydration. As for aloe vera, it’s another natural heat protectant that gives you soft and shiny hair by locking in moisture.

Then, there are hydrolyzed wheat proteins and silk amino acids, which protect hair from heat styling damage and strengthen it.

And we can’t forget the natural oils, which improve hair texture and makes it shinier. We’re talking about coconut, jojoba, argan, safflower, and sweet almond oil.

Best for Smoothness and Shine

Desert Essence Hair Defrizzer & Heat Protector

Product Summary

  • Makes hair smooth and shiny.
  • Ensures less frizz and easy styling.
  • Provides your hair with plenty of moisture for damage control.
  • Vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.
  • Contains natural oils of jojoba and coconut.
  • Poor scent.
  • Can make hair greasy.

Whether you use a curling wand or flat iron, the Desert Essence Coconut Hair Defrizzer & Heat Protector works to ward off heat styling damage.

You can also use this product to help detangle your hair or control its fizziness, allowing you to style it better. Not to mention, it makes your hair smooth and soft. With 8.5 oz, you have enough product to last for a month.

The heat protectant works its magic because it’s excellent at nourishing curly and damaged hair. Of course, we have the natural oils to thank for that.

Jojoba oil conditions your hair and gives it a shine. Coconut oil protects your hair from heat and UV damage by locking in moisture and preventing breakage. Cactus and agave extract provide hair with plenty of moisture, giving it a glow. And provitamin B5 or panthenol penetrates your hair surface to seal it from damage.

Other components include glycerin, and we’ve previously talked about how it acts as a natural protectant. If you’re wondering about its scent, the heat protectant and detangler has a subtle coconut smell that you’ll probably love.

Best for Colored Hair

Giovanni Vitapro Fusion Anti Frizz Heat Protection Hair Treatment

Product Summary

  • Uses ripe, organic oils.
  • Has a deep moisturizing effect, thanks to its Eco Chic Technology.
  • Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.
  • Expensive.

Giovanni VitaPro Fusion is excellent for color-treated hair. It’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and ripe-harvested organic oils from renewable plants.

The ingredients repair your dry hair and protect it from the effects of damage and pollution, leaving your hair soft and manageable. This product is designed for use on clean hair and damp hair. You can use it to calm your hair’s frizz, reduce flyaways, and make it more manageable.

Let’s talk about the how. This heat protectant uses Eco Chic Technology, synergizing nature and science. As for the ingredients: aloe vera, chamomile extract, rosemary extract, and sunflower seed oil are all included.

The result is that this spray penetrates your hair, provides it with protein-rich botanicals, moisturizes its tresses, gives your hair softness and a sheen, and helps prevent damage and split ends. Also, the serum’s fragrance is subtle, pleasant, and long-lasting.

It’s worth noting that the pre-heat styling product works on all hair types. Also, if you have a dye in, it won’t dull the color.

Kevin Murphy Heated Defense Heat Protection Foam

Product Summary

  • Easy to use.
  • With conditioning agents.
  • Protective shield against heat up to 450°F
  • Cruelty-free.
  • Always out of stock.

The Kevin Murphy heated defense heat protection foam has a light formula that won’t weigh your hair down. It also makes for easy and even distribution and works on all hair types.

You don’t have to stop using your flat iron or blow-drying your natural hair for it to be healthy. The foam will give you silky smooth hair and facilitate detangling. In addition, with strengthening and conditioning agents, your hair will have an invisible protective shield, enabling it to endure heat up to 450°F.

It contains castor and jojoba oils to boost essential moisturizing agents, which improve its defenses against future damage.

Then, hydrolyzed quinoa creates a barrier so that your natural hair can retain its moisture and become stronger. Polyquaternium adds the final touch by forming a layer of conditioning and making your hair smooth.

How We Picked These Curly Girl Method Approved Heat Protectants

We’ve used the Curlscan database to verify and validate that our picks for the best heat protectants accommodate your curly hair needs.

Curlscan is “a community-built database of Curly Girl Method-approved products.” It refers to the heat protectants’ ingredients to decide if it’s suitable for styling curly hair or not.

The database mainly depends on Lorraine Massey’s guidelines in her book Curly Girl: The Handbook. Still, the database has made its own modifications to these guidelines over the years based on the first-hand experience of curly communities’ members.

The CGM-approved heat protectants we listed above don’t contain:

  • Sulfates
  • Water-insoluble silicones (PEG/PG/PPG)
  • Water-insoluble waxes (PEG/PG/PPG)
  • Drying alcohol, which is usually found in heat protectant products
  • Potassium hydroxide, lye, and other soap ingredients
  • Witch hazel (except for the alcohol-free kind)

Final Thoughts

If your hair loves lightweight styling products, opt for heat protectant foam like KEVIN MURPHY’s or Texture ID’s, you can’t go wrong with them. However, if your hair is thirsty for moisture, go for a cream like Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection. In any case, always apply a heat protectant before using any hot tools to keep your curls frizz-free and healthy.