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Healthy hair requires a lot of things, but topping that list has to be avoiding heat. For this reason, using a thermal protector—one that nourishes the hair shaft and creates a barrier between your hair and any hot tools, even the sun—is an essential part of any haircare regimen. For women with natural hair, avoiding heat is especially important. Even blow-drying on the lowest setting can wreak havoc on strands, stripping moisture from the inside of each shaft.
One proactive measure you can take to protect hair from heat damage is using specially formulated heat protectants for natural hair. Thermal products free of harsh chemicals and sulfates that can further strip hair of its natural oils are game-changers for your hair health and a must-have in your styling routine. The following heat protectants are infused with natural ingredients like shea butter, Jamaican black castor oil, algae extract, and mongongo oil to smooth and protect strands against any kind of heat.
Keep scrolling to discover our picks of the best heat protectants for natural hair.
Best Overall: Ouidad Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment
Specially formulated for curly hair, this fast-absorbing formula provides powerful hydration and seals in moisture to keep locks healthy. The multitasker is infused with coconut, American palm seed oil, broccoli seed oil, and mongongo nut oil—considered a "hair food" in Zambia, according to the brand, because it's rich in omega-6, vitamin E, and linoleic acid.
Best Budget: Cantu Shea Butter Thermal Shield Heat Protectant
Nourish every strand with welcome moisture and promote stronger, healthier hair with natural shine using this thermal shield heat protectant formulated with pure shea butter. Its hydrating properties ensure smoother, frizz-free results however you're wearing your hair.
Best Classic: Chi 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray
This classic heat protectant uses positively charged silk molecules to boost hair's strength and resilience as well as moisture and shine.
See more reviews of our favorite hair products for natural hair.
Best for Frizz: Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Creme
A soothing blend of rosehip, argan, and coconut oils works to protect hair from UV and free radical damage while also conditioning strands and sealing in moisture. Minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins from algae extract nourish and strengthen the hair to boost resilience and overall health.
Take a look at our picks of the best anti-frizz products on the market.
Best Sulfate-Free: Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Thermal Protectant
Made with natural and certified organic ingredients, this nourishing formula boasts organic shea butter to deeply moisturize hair and condition the scalp, Jamaican black castor oil for reparative omegas that promote healthy hair growth, and peppermint to invigorate the scalp.
Best for Relaxed Hair: Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant
Argan oil provides hair with vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants to strengthen strands and leave hair looking healthier while protecting against thermal damage.
Read more reviews of the best hair products for curly hair.
Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our guide to the best heat protectants available today.