Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is your heat protectant damaging your hair?

After running out of my Kerastase Fibre Architecte, I was put in a position where I had to decide if I was going to repurchase (for the 3rd time) or grab something else.

When I stumbled upon this article about the role of water in heat styling, it made me think twice about which protectant is best for my hair. I rarely use direct heat. For this reason, it's even more critical that I don't experience damage from something that I only take part in occasionally.  That would be tragic.

For the experiment, they measured heat damage from styling using light microscopy and tensile strength tests.  Some of the hair samples were treated with water based (wet) heat protectants, others with a "dry" product.

Under light microscopy they observed greater structural damage to hair treated with the wet spray.  Tensile strength (elasticity) test also demonstrated that more damage occurred to the wet-protectant treated hair.  In the end, they determined that there was "considerably more structural damage" which caused "significant changes to the physical properties to the hair."  The reason, they speculate, could be related to the "rapid evaporation of water from the hair."  Because of this, they recommend drier heat protectants without water (preferably in an aerosol spray form).

Armed with level of information, my mind started racing back to the time when I learned that water particles can actually boil in our hair causing super destructive damage to the strand. Immediately, I searched the ingredient list of many of the popular heat protectants on the market.  Nearly everyone of them had water as the first ingredient.  Heck, even my beloved Fibre Architecte fell under that category.  I stumbled upon only one spray protectant by Oscar Blandi.  It also has water but further down the list of ingredients.  Plus, I imagine that the amount of water released isn't enough to saturate the hair since it's an aerosol spray. Many of the reviews were favorable as people shared how much light and weightless it made their hair feel. Which would be great to create hair with movement.

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for other options like Redken Smooth Down Heat Glide which contains no water and has macadamia oil. Next time I flat iron, I will make sure to use a non-water based protectant on my ends.

 Do me a favor, head over to your hair product stash and check out the ingredient list of your heat protectant.  Is water the first ingredient?  If so, you may want to consider trying something different to further protect your hair.

  1. Interesting, hadn't really thought about the heat protectant being damaging. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I've heard that Grapeseed oil is a terrific heat protectant. I've yet to use it, since I dont flat iron a a regular, but I'm willing to try it.

  3. I'd venture to say this only applies if you don't allow the protectant to dry before using heat. Like hearing a sizzling sound.

  4. I don't use heat on my hair that often, so this is something I have never really thought about. Will have to hunt down that Oscar B. just to be on the safe side. Did you decide against the Kerastase Fibre Architect? I'm considering buying it because of your reviews.

  5. lol, I just checked out the ingredients of the Oscar B. heat spray. I don't think I will purchase it, I always think I will set myself on fire when I see butane and propane so high on the ingredient list!

  6. I definitely think serums are better for heat usage. Awesome post Nadege.

    EnExit Of PowerToThePJ

  7. This makes a lot of sense. I once used a very wet heat protectant and I felt that it left me with "bubble hair" which was damaged even at the root!
    Mixed Hair