I had my second big chop as a result of heat damage to my hair. I had made it a habit to straighten my hair without using any heat protectant, and ended up weakening and damaging the strands at the back of my head. After cutting off my hair (again!), I knew I had to look for the best heat protectant for 4c hair.
My hair had weakened so much that breakage occurred within the first ten months of going natural. This is one of the lessons I have learned the hard way in my natural hair journey.
It was a sad thing to have to start from scratch again but I am grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained from these kinds of mistakes.
So, did I ever use heat on my hair again? Yes, I did. I still do. It’s one of the many ways I deal with major hair shrinkage that I wrote about in detail a few weeks ago.
Here are my top three picks for the best protectant for 4c hair:
- Mizani Thermastrength Heat Protecting Serum
- Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Hairspray
- Moroccanoil Perfect Defense
Best Heat Protectant For 4c Hair – Comparison Table
|Mizani Thermastrength Heat Protecting Serum||.Lightweight
.Perfect for coily hair
.A little goes a long way
|Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Hairspray||. Color-safe
. Prevents the formation of new split ends
. Can be used on both damp and dry hair
|Moroccanoil Perfect Defense||. Protects hair against heat damage
. Hydrates the hair
. A little goes a long way
|Redken Heat Design 09 Thermal Shaping Blow Dry Gelee||.Suitable for all hair types
.Doesn't leave hair greasy
|Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Lotion||. Color-safe
. Seals split ends
. Protects hair from UVA/UVB exposure
|Silk Elements Coconut Heat Protection Spray||.Color-safe
.Perfect for both natural or relaxed hair
|Beyond The Zone Turn Up The Heat Protection Spray||.Humidity-resistant
.Creates slip for heat styling
|HSI Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector||. Great heat protection
. Hydrates hair
. Acts as a detangler
|ArtNaturals Thermal Hair Protector Spray||.Great for all hair types
.Makes hair styling easy
.Repairs damaged hair
|Tresemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray||.Used with all heat styling tools
.Protects hair from heat up to 450°F
Best Heat Protectant For 4c Hair
We have different types of hair. What works for you might not work for me. All the products listed here work for most hair types.
I have 4c type of hair that is quite dense and has low porosity.
I tried different brands of heat protectants after consulting a few hairdressers and fellow natural hair enthusiasts that are 4c as well.
All the brands I tried worked very well for my hair and I’ve included them in the following list of my top 11 best heat protectants for 4c hair.
Mizani Thermastrength Heat Protecting Serum
Mizani is a hair serum that provides heat protection for higher texture hair types.
It’s a lightweight product that contains shea butter and anti-breakage ceramide technology.
It’s important to note that this product should be applied to wet hair before straightening it.
Using this product makes combing easier when using hot tools such as flat irons or blow dryers.
It doesn’t weigh down hair due to its lightweight formula.
This is one of those products you’ll wish you had discovered earlier before testing dozens of heat protectants in the market.
- Leaves your hair feeling smooth and silky
- Keeps hair from drying out
- A little goes a long way
- Helps to minimize frizz
- It’s perfect for coily hair
- Some people find the scent a little strong
Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Hairspray
This Living Proof heat protectant comes in the form of a lightweight spray.
Not only does it protect your hair against heat, but it also protects it against UV damage and static.
The UV protection lasts all day, and the hair can withstand the heat of up to 450F when using heat styling appliances such as curling irons, hair dryers, or flat irons.
The formulation for this weightless spray features Living Proof’s patented Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA).
One of the things that makes this product unique compared to other products on this list is the fact that it doesn’t contain silicone.
It leaves your hair looking glossy, removing all traces of dullness.
Do not hesitate to use it together with other hair products because it’s possible to layer it without greasing your hair.
You have the option of using it on dry or damp hair.
For the best results, spray a generous amount of the product – making sure you cover every inch of hair – prior to heat styling.
This product hasn’t been tested on animals and is free from parabens and phthalates.
- It doesn’t weigh down the hair
- Can be used on both damp and dry hair
- Offers 24-hour protection against UV rays
- It’s color-safe
- Safe to use on chemically-treated hair
- Makes your hair easy to style
- It helps to prevent the formation of new split ends as a result of styling
- Can leave some hair types feeling sticky
Moroccanoil Perfect Defense
With Moroccanoil Perfect Defense, you don’t have to worry about heat damage ruining your tresses.
This award-winning product comes in the form of a weightless aerosol that offers the perfect protection for your Type 4 hair.
It contains argan oil and vital vitamins that nourish your hair through hydration.
The product also contains panthenol -a form of vitamin B5 that hydrates the hair strands and leaves it looking glossy.
This heat protectant can protect your mane against heat styling up to 450⁰F when using hot tools.
For the best results, use it before you apply any other product during your styling routine.
Ensure the hair is damp and hold the can six inches away when spraying in the protectant.
After that, comb the hair then style as you want using the heat styling appliance of your choice.
- Protects your hair against heat damage
- Doesn’t weigh down the hair
- Comes in an easy-to-use aerosol can
- Hydrates the hair
- Leaves hair looking shiny
- A little goes a long way
- Has a nice smell
- Can leave fine hair greasy if too much of it is used
Redken Heat Design 09 Thermal Shaping Blow Dry Gelee
This paraben-free heat protectant is suitable for all hair types and gives your hair maximum protection from heat styling tools.
It offers heat protection up to 450º F.
It gives your hair some volume after using it, making it a great choice for people with fine hair.
One of the reasons it’s quite popular is because it helps hair to hold its shape for extended periods of time.
- No residue is left on the hair after use
- Leaves your hair feeling soft
- Minimizes frizz
- Makes your hair shiny
- The hair cream can be a little sticky
Silk Elements Coconut Heat Protection Spray
When used the right way, this product can deliver great results.
For instance, you should avoid using it near the root area.
It’s advisable to spray this product on damp hair prior to drying or spray it on dry hair prior to using a heat styling tool.
Some users say another way you can use this product (apart from spraying it directly to your hair) is spraying a little product on your palms, rub them together and apply to hair evenly while hair is wet.
This will equally achieve great results.
- Leaves hair smooth and silky
- Works great in hard water areas
- Has a nice, light coconut scent
- Works well as a detangler
- Just a little of the product goes a long way
- Eliminates frizz
- Can leave your hair looking oily
Beyond The Zone Turn Up The Heat Protection Spray
It creates good slip and as a result, makes heat styling quite easy.
This product helps to seal the hair cuticle, resulting in smooth and silky hair.
If you have fine hair, it works better if you spray the product on damp hair, as opposed to dry hair.
Many ladies with natural hair will be glad to know that this spray is sulfate-free, paraben-free, as well as gluten-free.
The product generally gets positive reviews from ladies with type 4 hair.
- A little goes a long way
- Leaves your hair smooth, silky and shiny
- Works perfectly for color-treated hair
- Great for blowouts
- Has a nice scent
- Can weigh down fine hair
HSI Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector
This is a light spray that works to protect your hair from thermal damage.
There are properties in it that also work as a leave-in conditioner – adding more benefits to your hair.
This heat protectant is also great at eliminating frizz.
It leaves the hair shiny, smooth and moisturized after using it.
Using this product can protect your hair from heat exposure up to 450º F.
You can use this heat protectant as a detangler as well, and it’s safe for daily use.
Argan oil is one of the main ingredients and is rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants that benefit both the scalp and the hair.
This product hasn’t been tested on animals and is free from sulfates, parabens, and phosphates.
- Doesn’t leave any residue
- It’s not sticky
- Doubles as a leave-in conditioner
- Smoothens hair making it soft and shiny
- Rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants
- It’s color-safe
- Some people don’t find the scent appealing
ArtNaturals Thermal Hair Protector Spray
ArtNaturals is another great option when you want to protect your hair from heat.
This heat protectant provides protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The argan oil contained in this product will help repair, dry, brittle and damaged hair from blow drying, flat ironing and sun exposure.
This protection spray doubles as a leave-in conditioner.
The leave-in protects hair strands by creating a shield of moisture and protection for silky-smooth, vibrant and lustrous hair, even after extreme heat exposure.
This heat protectant works very well with black natural hair due to its soothing and calming ingredients that increase your hair’s moisture.
- Can be used on all hair types
- It makes hair styling quite easy
- Eliminates frizz, leaving your ends smooth
- Leaves your hair soft and shiny
- Smells great
- Some people don’t like the thickness of the product
Tresemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray
It contains Keratin and Marula oil from Africa which help to detangle knots, increase shine, eliminate frizz and make the hair soft.
This spray protects your hair from heat up to 450°F and can be used with all heat styling tools.
When blow-drying hair, ensure the nozzle is pointing downwards to aid the smoothness of your hair.
The water-based product is great for all types of hair, including color-treated hair.
For ladies with 4c hair, this product leaves your hair softer and gives it some bounce.
- Controls frizz
- Can be used on all hair types
- Leaves hair smooth and silky
- It doesn’t weigh down your hair
- It has a great scent
- The product is a little oily
Why Heat Protectants Are Important
Heat protectants come in the form of lotions and sprays. It’s important to use these products because they create a protective barrier between your hair and the styling tool.
This barrier helps to seal in moisture and get rid of frizz. This, in turn, will protect your hair strands from damage.
Hair doesn’t flourish when exposed to direct heat. Direct heat can cause your hair to dry, become weak and even break.
Type 4 hair is constantly yearning for some moisture.
A heat protectant restores moisture to our mane; therefore, using one will keep hair conditioned despite the heat from the styling tools.
This keeps your hair soft, smooth and free from any interlocking.
Do They Really Work?
A hair professional once said: “Heat protectants can be compared with sunscreen, but it is for the hair and not skin.”
Heat protectants work by protecting the hair from the excessive heat that could damage your hair.
It is, however, important to know the type of heat protectant to select or use.
Heat protectants with silicone are considered among the best due to their resistance to high temperatures.
The silicone contained in the heat protectant (cyclopentasiloxane and dimethiconol) coats the hair strands and creating a thin, heat-resistant coating.
Apart from silicone, alcohol is used as a base for the ingredients to stay dissolved in.
Once the heat protectant is sprayed, it evaporates.
Dmapa Acrylates Copolymer is also included in heat protectants to help in detangling, while hydrolyzed wheat protein is useful in softening your hair.
When used correctly, you can see the difference heat protectants can bring to your 4c hair.
Silicone-Free Heat Protectant For Hair?
While a lot of heat protectants contain silicone, there are silicone-free options for those who are opposed to the use of silicone.
Yes, they do actually exist.
I personally use sulfate-free and paraben-free hair products, but I haven’t looked keenly into silicone-free products such as silicone-free heat protectants.
Is There A DIY Heat Protectant For Black Hair?
After I suffered from heat damage, a few friends suggested some home remedy type of heat protectants that I should use going forward.
They advised me to use natural oils such as shea butter, grapeseed oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, and jojoba oil before using heat on my hair.
I did not know how to tell the good from the bad.
After doing a bit of research, I found out that the heat reaction would be different from each oil that I’d choose.
This means that each of the oils’ reactions to the various temperatures exposed to your hair would be different.
These natural oils are equipped with the needed oleic acid which controls water loss from your hair, effectively making your hair softer.
Some pundits argue that the problem is how can these natural oils – when used alone – behave under extreme heat.
Oil smokes when exposed to extreme heat. If you are styling your hair with very high temperatures, it’ll leave your hair exposed rather than protected.
Apart from smoke points, it’s important to note that the heavier oils can weigh down your hair.
Denser oils can slow down a steam straightener, for instance, as it passes through your mane.
The results would not be what was intended.
Shea Butter As A Heat Protectant?
The reason I chose to cover shea butter (as a heat protectant) separately is that some of the acquaintances I’ve met from the natural hair groups swear that is can be used when straightening hair with no side effect.
Some of the ladies claim to have gotten better blowouts by using shea butter compared to the conventional heat protectants.
Shea butter is regarded as a reliable heat protectant because of its great ability to conduct heat, just like the silicone that is contained in all the heat protectants listed below.
However, as is the case in all the natural oils discussed above, it can potentially end up burning your hair if you use temperature above its smoke point.
It’s important to use an appropriate heat protectant spray, serum or lotions when straightening your hair using heat.
As some experts advise, always apply a lightweight leave-in conditioner or moisturizer if you planning to use natural oils as heat protectants.
This is because pure oil alone will probably leave you with weak and dry hair.
I use heat occasionally, like twice or thrice in a year.
I also make sure to prep my hair by deep conditioning it before blow drying it.
Additionally, as much as my hair is thick and course, I make sure I set the blow dryer to medium heat and use low speed when I begin the straightening process.
Most importantly, I always use a heat protectant.
I usually blow dry my own hair, but when I’m feeling lazy, I book an appointment with my hairdresser.
She is well-versed on how to handle natural, kinky hair.
Your hair type will most definitely dictate the type of heat protectant you should use.
Trial and error might be inevitable for some people, but if you can get advice from other natural hair enthusiasts and hairstylists beforehand, that would be the best option.
The review above can help you to make an informed decision on the type of heat protectant that would best suit your type 4 hair, specifically 4c.