If you were blessed with obedient strands that do whatever they’re told, you can stop reading now. If, however, your relationship with your hair is a bit more tumultuous, you’ll want to pay attention. Here’s the thing: There’s a secret reason why your hair isn’t behaving, and it’s a very unlikely culprit. We got the scoop from Matrix Celebrity Colorist George Papanikolas (he counts everyone from Kim Kardashian to Salma Hayek as clients). Curious? Keep scrolling to see what it is!
Commonly touted as a must-use product before heat styling, heat protectant does so much more than just protect—but it could also be to blame for your lifeless locks. “Heat protectants are like a primer for your hair,” Papanikolas tells us. “They reduce friction, and create a screen to protect the hair up to 450 degrees.” Sounds great, which is why so many people load up on heat protectant before they blow-dry, straighten, and curl. Unfortunately, over-applying and incorrectly applying can lead to heavy, sticky strands. Ever wonder why your hair never gets the amount of volume you want, no matter how much mousse or texturizing spray you use? You’re probably using too much heat protectant.
So how much heat protectant are you really supposed to use? “It depends on the hair length and thickness,” Papanikolas says. “For shoulder-length hair, a quarter-size amount is sufficient.” And now comes the application technique. Papanikolas says you must emulsify the product in your hands first before applying so it can spread evenly through your hair. “You can apply to the mid-lengths and ends of damp hair,” he recommends. “Then, you will want to brush it through your hair so it spreads evenly down the hair shaft. The mid-lengths and ends are the most prone to damage and require the most protection.” And remember—not all heat protectants are created equal. When you’re shopping for heat protectants, skip straight to the ingredients list. Papanikolas says you should look for the ingredients xylose and hydra-sugars. “Xylose sugar protects and coats hair to disperse heat evenly and hydra-sugar binds to hair fiber to trap in moisture,” he explains. Keep scrolling for the two heat protectants Papanikolas recommends!