We have come a long way from using chemicals to curl our hair. Now we use hot rollers and curling wands and even our straighteners to get those perfect bouncy curls. But when we use our heat styling tools on our hair, it is imperative that we use a heat protectant spray as they protect, nourish and allow the heat tools to be used in the way they were intended for.
As always, there are ways and means, ins and outs, that will improve the effectiveness of the product. Let's delve into the world of sprays, creams, conditioners, and serums that were all painstakingly developed to protect our hair.
My suggestion would be to carefully read the instructions on the product that you purchased. That being said, no one knows your hair the way you do because you've been graced with its presence since birth. Only you will know what your hairs threshold is before it becomes greasy and causes your hair to look flat like a cow licked it.
You might have to experiment with different amounts and even different products until you find that one that you fall in love with. View it as a private experiment that you have with your hair.
One suggestion I do have is if you use a protectant before you blow-dry your hair, you might have to spray your hair again for the straightening or curling phase. Rather be safe than sorry. If this causes too much product on your hair, you could choose to air dry your hair before straightening it as you will need less product.
Also, there are different products for your roots and for the rest of your hair. When styling our hair, the heat affects the roots just as much as the rest of hair, but the products for the length and ends of the hair may be too heavy to apply on the roots.
What I love to do in spring and summer (winter is just too cold) is wash my hair, spray it with my protectant and comb it through with a wide tooth comb to distribute the product from root to tip. After allowing it to air dry as this helps my hair to retain its natural oils, I either straighten it or I curl it with my wand. The less heat you use on your hair, the less damage will be incurred. Therefore, the best curling iron to prevent damage is one that doesn't get too hot that it'll fry your hair.
The products that are all-natural has an expiry date on the container but the other products generally don't. That being said, the rule of thumb is you can keep a product unopened for 3 years. But if it's opened, then 18 months is the cut off date, then you need to throw it in the recycling bin and get a new one.
But even in the event that it hasn't reached the 3-year mark and it doesn't smell or look the way it used to or the consistency is different, rather buy a new one.
Spray products expire slower than their counterparts (like bottles with screw-on and off tops) because they are sealed containers. If you can opt for bottles with a pump delivery system.
For your peace of mind, write the date you opened the product on the bottle or can so that you can keep track of its age.
Has it ever happened to you as you straighten your hair you hear that terrifying sizzling sound? This is usually when you gently put the straightener down and start praying there isn't a strand of your hair lying on the floor.
That sizzling sound can be caused by either the hair still being wet from the wash or it's because there is moisture left by the heat protector.
Hair should be completed dry from the wash and the heat protectant should be completely dry as well before the straightening begins. Completely one hundred percent dry. Otherwise, the following can happen.
If there is ANY moisture on the hair shaft from the protectant spray, cream or serum, or just because the hair is still wet, it turns into steam the moment the straightener touches the hair.
If we could see it through a microscope it would look like this: the cuticle or outer layer of the hair shaft becomes cracked which breaks down the keratin proteins and they are responsible for the elasticity in the hair. The pigment is broken down and the hair color becomes duller. The steam literally blasts through the structure of the hair and this happens at the medulla or inner layer part of the hair. So. Very. Bad.
If this doesn't scare you, this video from Tori Locklear will:
The answer is a resounding yes. There are specially formulated protectants for just this purpose. You can use it on your first, second or third post-wash day. This gives you the option to curl or straighten your hair whenever want to.
Even though you can use protectant spray on three-day-old unwashed hair, it is better to wash your hair and apply a good conditioner on it before using heat tools for styling. Reason being the conditioner will aid in the protection of your beautiful locks. Detangle your hair using a tooth comb.
After washing it, make sure your hair is dry. You can use a blow dryer or just air dry it. If you're going the blow-drying route, use a heat protectant just to be on the safe side.
Check Out: 7 DIY Homemade Heat Protectant Recipes
If you use a different heat protector for your roots, apply this before you apply the spray to the rest of your hair.
When your hair is completely dry, divide your hair into small sections. Smaller is better as you want every strand to be covered with the spray. Clip the other sections of hair out of the way so they won't fall in your face and irritate you.
Hold the spray about 6 inches (15cm) from your hair and spray the hair evenly from root to tip. Repeat the process until every section has been sprayed. Wait until the hair is completely dry before straightening or curling it.
I hope this article has inspired you to start using protectant spray if you weren't already in the habit of doing so. Protect it. Love it. Enjoy it.
Image Credits: Deposit Photos