[2023 Updated] The Best Heat Protectants For Gray Hair

Gray hair is much more vulnerable to frizz and dehydration, as hair strands can no longer rely on the scalp to provide gloss and nourishment. Below, we list the 10 best heat protectant sprays for gray hair, as well as sharing a few tips on how to keep your silver locks looking their best.

The Best Heat Protectants For Gray Hair

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What Is A Heat Protectant Spray?

A heat protectant will create a barrier between your hair and the object exposing your hair to heat styling.

In order to create this barrier, many heat protectant sprays have two emollients in them: Cyclomethicone and dimethicone.

These are silicones with hydrophobic qualities, meaning that they create a seal around your hair cuticle.

This locks moisture into the hair as well as preventing humidity from causing frizz. The result is soft, smooth locks that won’t easily tangle.

There are also some heat protectant sprays that don’t contain silicone. If your hair is particularly thin and prone to being a bit limp, it’s probably best to avoid silicone, as it can cause build-up which weighs hair down.

Also Read: 15 Best Professional Hair Colors for Gray Hair

Why Should You Use Heat Protectant On Gray Hair?

Gray Hair Has Less Oils

Caring for gray hair requires time and patience, and it’s important to use the right products according to the changes your body is undergoing.

As we age, our hair and skin become drier because of a natural decline in oil production.

Gray hair also has fewer melanocytes in it than non-gray hair, a change in pigmentation that can also cause the hair to become brittle.

If you regularly use heat styling tools – such as straighteners, curling wands, or hair dryers – you need to be sure that you’re helping your hair to protect itself and lock in moisture.

As we’ve hinted, gray hair is more vulnerable to the damage caused by these heat styling tools.

Gray hair is both very porous, but also prone to dehydration and frizz. Heat styling can exacerbate both of these latter qualities in gray hair, leading to exceptionally dry, easily breakable locks.

Gray Hair Can Turn Yellow From Heat Styling

The lack of color pigmentation in gray hair also makes it more vulnerable to dryness.

Surprisingly, heat tools also can cause gray hair to discolor, a side effect that no one wants. Regular use of heat tools on gray hair – if no heat protectant is used – can cause hair to turn either green or yellow.

The color your hair will turn is dependent on the type of water in which you’re washing it. If there’s lots of calcium in your water, using heat styling on gray hair can cause it to go green.

If your hair turns yellow, you might be burning it, or the heat from the tool may be reacting badly with another hair product.

To avoid this discoloration and damage, it’s really important to use the highest quality heat styling tools and the best heat protectant there is.

If you do experience green hair, however, use a shampoo that’s specifically designed for hard water in order to get rid of the tinge and restore gray hair to its natural glory.

Also Read: Blue Or Purple Shampoo For Gray Hair? Which Is Best?

10 Best Heat Protectant Sprays For Gray Hair

Sun Bum Heat Protector Spray

1. Sun Bum Heat Protector Spray

This brand is climate-conscious: all of its products are vegan-friendly, reef safe and free of parabens and sulphates. This heat protectant spray works against both heat and humidity, preventing both heat tools and the sun from wreaking damage, as it also deflects UV rays. Vitamin C-rich noni fruit minimizes the damage of free radicals, and sea kelp nourishes and replenishes moisture for maximum shine.

Why We Love It: This heat protectant smells divine – like a tropical beach.

2. ArtNaturals Argan Oil Thermal Shield

Sulfate and paraben free, ethically sourced, cruelty free – this heat protectant is one for the ecologically conscious. Safe for all hair types, this natural moisturizer will restore and repair dry, brittle strands thanks to the argan oil, which is deeply nourishing. It also speeds up drying time – always a bonus.

Why We Love It: Best heat protectant to double up as a leave-in conditioner.

Davines OI All In One Milk

3. Davines OI All In One Milk

A multi-function heat protectant, this will soften and detangle hair as well as helping with frizz and volume. Alcohol and paraben free, this has beta carotene-rich roucou oil in to nourish and replenish your hair strands by minimizing the damage of free radicals, protecting against UV damage, and stimulating the synthesis of melanin.

Why We Love It: It’s a cult classic.

OGX Heat Protect Spray

4. OGX Heat Protect Spray

Offering up to 446 degrees of heat protection, this spritz will help hair stay as healthy as possible whilst enhancing shine thanks to the argan oil. Seal in goodness and help your hair to stay as primed and protected as possible. Suitable for all hair types, this spray also contains no sulfates.

Why We Love It: Very affordable and smells delicious.

GHD Heat Protect Spray

5. GHD Heat Protect Spray

One of the best loved brands around, GHD is endorsed by stylists around the world. This product prevents hair cuticles from lifting, thereby improving hair’s smoothness and helping you manage frizz. It’s lightweight, so won’t cause hair to go limp, isn’t sticky, and smells great.

Why We Love It: A small amount goes a long way.

Moroccanoil Perfect Defence

6. Moroccanoil Perfect Defence

This has won so many awards it hardly needs introducing. A weightless spray that protects against heat damage, you can use it on both dry and damp hair (unlike most heat protectants). Argan oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, boosting your hair’s moisture and restoring vibrancy and volume.

Why We Love It: Like all Moroccanoil products, it smells great.

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Heat Protectant Créme

7. Briogeo Farewell Frizz Heat Protectant Créme

A super-smoothing formula will give you luscious hair with minimal breakages and frizz. Antioxidant-rich rosehip, argan oil and coconut oil all smooth and condition the cuticle, thereby reducing the risk of static or frizz and nourishing your locks with restorative nutrients. Great for all hair types.

Why We Love It: Best heat protectant for frizzy hair.

VO5 Heat Protect Styling Spray

8. VO5 Heat Protect Styling Spray

If you’re after a product that won’t break the bank but will still defend your strands from the impact of heat tools, this is the one. Hair will feel soft and look glossy. The formula purports to be heat-activated, but will cover up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit of heat.

Why We Love It: Budget-friendly.

Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press Thermal Protection Spray

9. Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press Thermal Protection Spray

Great for those of us who suffer from humidity and frizzy hair, this heat protectant will protect fragile strands and speed up styling and hair drying time. Rice hull extract and what proteins nourish hair from root to ends, smoothing and strengthening strands.

Why We Love It: It’s unisex.

Living Proof Heat Styling Spray

10. Living Proof Heat Styling Spray

A lightweight heat protectant, you’ll experience the softest hair ever for up to 48 hours. Suitable for all hair types, this cationic blend conditions and reduces static thanks to its lightweight emollient blend. Paraben and silicone-free, it’s also cruelty-free and color safe.

Why We Love It: Long-lasting silkiness.

Types Of Heat Protectant

There are different kinds of heat protectants. A spray is the most common, but there are also serums, oils, lotions, and creams. The best heat protectant for your gray hair will depend on your hair’s texture.

If you have thin and fine hair, using a spray is best, as you aren’t weighing hair down with extra oil and thereby causing a greasy scalp.  If you have coarser, thick hair, you can use heavier products like serums or oils, but sprays will still work well for you.

Also Read: The Best Developer for Gray Hair [Revealed!]

Ingredients To Watch Out For

You’ll typically find the following ingredients in a good heat protectant:

  • Humectants. These locks in moisture, ensuring that gray hair is kept luscious and elastic.
  • Amino acids. Usually keratin or collagen, these work to restore and support the protein of hair.
  • Natural oils and extracts. The purer the oil, the better the heat protectant.

You want to avoid a heat protectant with sulfates and alcohol in. Gray hair is already prone to coarseness, dryness, and brittleness – these ingredients will only dry hair further, leading to moisture loss and frizz.

Some heat protectants also have silicone in, as described above. Whether or not you want to use a heat protectant with silicone in is entirely up to you.

There’s disagreement about whether or not to use products with silicone in them, but it’s generally agreed that silicone has a number of benefits for hair. These include:

  • Reduces the porosity of hair, leading to smoother, sleeker hair
  • Traps moisture into the hair, and therefore has a conditioning effect
  • Lubricates the hair strands, thereby acting as a great detangler and helping to tame frizz and flyaways.

As already mentioned, if you have thin hair that’s prone to lacking volume and looking a bit limp, it’s probably best to avoid a heat protectant with silicone.

That said, silicones are the most effective way to create a barrier between your hair and the heat styling tool.

If you do opt for a heat protectant with silicone in, be sure to use a clarifying shampoo once every week in order to remove build-up. This is a good way of ensuring balance so that your gray hair gets the heat protection it needs but won’t become weighed down by the residue or oiliness of silicone.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Alice Carlill

Alice is an experienced writer and researcher with a background in the Creative Arts. She is a published poet and is currently completing her Ph.D., having worked in a variety of industries, including as a theatre dramaturg. Alice is passionate about the environment, so is always on the lookout for the best zero-waste products that are vegan and cruelty-free.