What Can I Use Instead Of Heat Protectant

Many people today are moving towards natural ingredients and staying away from harmful chemicals. Oils being one of their natural choices. You may be asking, can I protect my hair from heat damage using natural products?

There are many articles suggesting that certain oils can be used as a heat protectant but before we go rummaging through our pantry, thinking we can use any oil, let's consider a few things first.

READ: Do Heat Protectants Actually Work?

Can you use oil as heat protectant?

When I think of oil, I think of frying food. Frying eggs or vegetables or meat. So the thought of oil being able to protect something, especially something as precious as my hair, creates a bit of chaos in my mind.

The short answer, after much research, is yes.

But only certain natural oils will do due to the smoke point of the oil. Also known as the burning point of an oil, this is the temperature at which it begins to produce a continuous bluish smoke that becomes visible to the eye. Basically, it's the heating point where the oil begins to produce harmful free radicals and toxic fumes.

It's like forgetting a pan with oil on the stove for a tad too long and being reminded by the oily smell that it's reached its smoke point. And that the oil is too hot.

It is important to know the smoke point of the oil you want to use as a protectant because most flat irons and wands have temperatures that can reach up to 410°F (210°C).

In that case, you have to choose an oil with a smoke point of 420°F (215°C) or more.

Check Out: 7 DIY Natural Homemade Heat Protectants For Hair

Which oils are the best for heat protectant?

Grapeseed oil is one of them. The smoking point of grapeseed oil is 420°F (216°C), therefore, if you use a product containing grapeseed oil as a protectant, your hair will be protected and left shiny and soft to the touch due to its vitamin E content.

Extra virgin argan oil can also be used as a protectant due to its high smoking point of 338°F (170°C). Add to this that it's rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6's and has the highest vitamin E content of all vegetable oils, having this oil in your hair toolbox is a no brainer.

Refined avocado oil's smoking point is a staggering 520°F (271°C). Not only will it protect your hair against styling tools but also against those pesky UVA and UVB rays from the sun. It will aid to nourish your hair because it is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, biotin, and Vitamins A and E.


Can you use jojoba oil as heat protectant?

The smoke point for jojoba oil is 383°F (195°C), so if you use this as a heat protectant, use your curling iron or wand or straightener on a lower temperature setting.

Further benefits of jojoba oil include the following: it moisturizes hair, eliminates dandruff, prevents hair loss, and prevents frizzy hair.

Can you use olive oil as heat protectant?

Olive oil with olives

The palmitic and oleic acid in olive oil are emollients which gives it its softening properties. The vitamin E in olive oil fights the damage caused by sunlight and pollution. Add to that that the smoking point of extra virgin olive oil is 320°F (160°C) which makes it a fair heat protectant as well. Again, use your styling tool on a lower temperature setting than the oil's smoke point.

Can you use coconut oil as heat protectant?

Coconut oil is so versatile it can be eaten, bathed in and used on our hair. The oils' smoking point is 350°F (177°C) which means it will protect hair when using your styling tools on a lower heat. It's also famous for its anti-microbial and moisturizing properties which will aid your scalp and soften your hair.

Is shea butter a good heat protectant?

If you are on a mission to eliminate silicone from your hair regime, you should take a long hard look at shea butter. It has natural thermal conductivity and coats the hair strands like silicone does.

It is also known to repair damaged hair by restoring moisture and protecting hair from the sun, it prevents hair loss, soothes a dry itchy scalp, and is effective as a natural conditioner.

Is aloe vera a heat protectant?

There is a difference of opinion on this one. Some feel you can, as can be seen in The Indian Spot, while others view it as an absolute no. My suggestion would be it can be used as a heat protectant if mixed with other ingredients.

Other hair benefits of aloe vera are it helps with hair growth, stops hair from falling out, and provides protection against scalp infection and irritations.

Can serum be used as heat protectant?

Yes, there are serums on the market that can be used as heat protectants. Not only do they protect your hair against heat damage but they also specialize in certain challenges that you might face with your hair. For example controlling frizz (by repelling humidity using seaweed extracts), preventing split ends, breakage, and enhancing shine.

Can you use conditioner as heat protectant?

Yes, and No.

There are conditioners that are specifically designed to protect your hair from heat damage but that does not mean all conditioners can be used for this purpose. If your conditioner does not explicitly state that it is a heat protectant, then it's not and you will need to add a heat protectant to your hair care routine.

Check Out: How To Use A Heat Protection Spray

I noticed that they may be called styler leave-in treatment, leave-in mist, leave-in conditioner, or leave-in product, instead of conditioner. These products are sprayed onto the hair after a wash but it is not like normal conditioners that you wash out. As the name says, you leave it in and style your hair as normal with the reassurance that your hair is protected from heat.


We all have been blessed with different types of hair. There is the fine and straight like Gwyneth Paltrow. The thick and curly like Tina Turner. The luscious and sexy mane of Penelope Cruz. And each type needs different handling and products. It might take a little bit of trial and error but you will find that natural heat protectant that makes your hair remain in a state that gives you a good hair day, every day.

NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, the smoking point of each of the following oils stated above are all referenced from Jon Barron, Baseline of Health Foundation.

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Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Last Updated: January 19, 2020

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