natural heat protectants for hair

y’all have been askin like crazy for this post, so i’ve really tried to cover all aspects here.

FINALLY…. natural heat protectants for hair!

i’m gonna warn y’all now… this topic is really tricky. you REALLY have to pay attention to what you’re doing. please & thank you.
(and of course, i do NOT advise using heat on your hair at all (just my two cents!). BUT i know many of my no-‘poo-ers/low-‘poo-ers would like some way to protect their hair when they choose to use heat.

so let’s go over what exactly heat on hair and heat protectants do…

using heat on your hair will always result in damage. it doesn’t matter if it’s a curling iron, straightener, or hot shower water. heat is heat to hair, and heat degrades its amino acids.  using a heat protectant on your hair will help minimize the damage (the degradation of tryptophan, an amino acid).  but how? the heat protectant will help prevent full heat transfer to the cortex of hair, thereby reducing the heat induced degradation of the protein. that’s science, folks!

so what are we looking for in a natural heat protectant?

  • no icky, toxic chemicals. we already know this 🙂
  • help minimize heat damage to hair. you don’t want any breakage/splitting/drying out/etc.
  • nourishes/moisturizes hair
  • has a high smoke point. you don’t want your hair to “fry”… that sizzle/pop sound is NOT okay! (the jury is still somewhat out on oils having a high smoke point. while it’s desirable in a heat protectant, oils with high smoke points don’t automatically count as great heat protectants. they could still transfer heat to the hair’s core.

that leaves us with these lovely oils (which you most likely already have if you’re a crunchy! SCORE!)

(i’ll slap pictures in here when i get back to my laptop. i just really wanna get this post out to y’all!)

  • shea butter – this is the heaviest duty natural protectant, and the one most similar to the silicones used in commercial heat protectant products.
  • refined coconut oil (note: NOT unrefined like i always push for)
  • grapeseed oil
  • argan oil
  • refined avocado oil (note: not unrefined)

generally speaking, silicones are the best heat protectants. i know that’s not what you wanted to hear…. so let’s talk about it.

i don’t recommend using hair products with silicones (ingredients that end in -zane, -xane, -cone, or -conol). they coat your hair and don’t allow for moisture to get in.  there ARE natural heat protectant oils, as we’ve gone over. all this being said, if you’re using some hardcore heat on your hair, you NEED silicones. if you’re doing light to medium heat, use a natural heat protectant oil. the more coarse/curly your hair is, the more oil and the heavier oil you can use and will need. those with straight/fine/thin hair need to be cautious of using too much.

but wait… what do you do after you’ve used silicones and you’re no-‘poo or low-‘poo? or if you’ve used too much oil? never fear, crunchies, never fear! dilute a low-‘poo into 5 parts water to help get the oils/silicones back out of your hair. be sure to keep it away from your scalp, as to not throw your scalp out of whack again!

and last but not least, what else can you do to help minimize heat damage?

  • only use heat on hair when it’s dry. if your hair is wet, you’re essentially boiling your hair.
  • use a low heat setting. you’d be surprised what’ll get the job done.
  • only use in heat for those special, rare occasions.
  • condition your hair after. it’ll need the extra lovins 🙂

egh, aren’t you glad i finally got this posted?! i know i am!

hippie stamp Sig

30 thoughts on “natural heat protectants for hair

  1. Hi, I am new on this and I have never use the argan oil. I wonder where I can buy it? And wich one is a good one?

  2. I try oil too, just because I love these natural things, I make my own cosmetics line, I make my own stuff like scrubs, butters, face creams, and now I want some more,,I am testing sunscreens, facewash,,,etc,,now I want heat protectant but it does make my hair oily, so I am still thinking how could I make a no poo poo natural heat protectant for heavy users without making their hair oily.

  3. if using a pressing oil, do you need a heat protectant? I’d think it does the same thing since its for heat?..

  4. Love you blog btw! Are any of these choices no-poo friendly? if so, which one would you recommend and would I have to wash it out the day after?

    1. I cant do coconut either, I use argan if I need heat protection and as a leave in. I apply a small amount to my hair when it is damp. If I want to do a moisture mask I use apricot kernel or jojoba which she mentions in the coconut oil mask post.

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