This clip shows just how much damage styling tools do to your hair, if you don’t use heat protectant

It’s advisable to have a heat protectant spray on hand before you blow-dry or style your hair – we all know that. So err, why is it the step that most of us tend to skip? 

Sure, there’s a lot to remember when it comes to caring for our hair. Whether you’re attempting to train your hair to clean itself (a real thing) or trying to grow out your bob, we seem to spend an awful lot of time thinking about our tresses. 

Once we’ve settled on a plan of action for our hair, the first products we think about buying are shampoos and conditioners. And then – if you’re anything like us – it’s straight to styling: from 3D curls to claw clip tutorials

Luckily, one hairstylist is here to remind us not to skip heat protectants. Becky Strong, a hairstylist at ReVamp, posted a reel on Instagram, showing the effectiveness of different hair protectants.

Becky sprays different heat protectants on strips of thermal paper (the kind used for receipts), to provide a visual of how they protect hair from damage. She then applies hair straighteners to the paper. Where there isn’t any heat protectant, the paper darkens dramatically, but where heat protectant is applied, it retains its white colour. Clever, right?

In the caption of the post, she recommends the following heat protectant products: Olaplex No 6, Redken Big Blowout, R+Co, and Oribe Soft Lacquer

While most people were impressed by the visual, some people were concerned that comparing hair to thermal paper isn’t exactly the way to go, as one person asked, “Are you sure the chemicals in the products aren’t just messing with the heat reactive ‘ink’ on the paper?”

With that in mind, GLAMOUR spoke to Stuart Marsh, Colour Director at Taylor Taylor London, to clarify how heat protectant products actually work, and why it’s important to use them. 

Heat protectant works by “forming a protective layer over the hair, which seals in moisture to the hair shaft and stops it from drying out,” explains Stuart. This in turn, “prevents frizziness and split ends and helps to smooth the cuticle, which stops your strands from becoming dull and instead keeps them looking shiny and healthy.”

Stuart recommends using a heat protectant when “using any direct heat on your hair, even when blow-drying, as it helps to keep your hair as healthy and hydrated as possible which keeps your style looking its best between salon visits.”

For curly or coily hair, Stuart explains that it’s “especially important to keep your strands hydrated and protected if you’re using heat, as these textures can be prone to dryness. Natural oils such as argan oil work well as natural heat protectants.”

As Stuart points out: “Using a heat protectant may feel like a step you can skip, but it is essential to ensure you don’t end up frazzling your locks through heat damage.”