It may seem obvious, but you’ll regret foregoing a trusty heat protectant in the long run. But how exactly does a heat protectant work? “Heat protectants create a barrier or film around the surface of the hair, known as the cuticle — they’re essentially a shield between your heat styling tool and the hair,” cosmetic chemist Esther Olu told The Cut.
Heat protectants come in many different formulas, such as sprays, creams, oils, and serums. As for how to use a heat protectant, Christopher Wenzel, aka The Blowout Professor, recommends spraying on both the top and bottom sections of the hair for full coverage, and then using a brush to even everything out (via YouTube).
However, it is important to note that while heat protectants certainly reduce damage, they won’t 100% protect your hair against it. That’s why it’s important to follow some other steps when using hot tools.