I dread summer. Capital-D Dread. Not only do I sweat like a wrung-out sponge for months on end, but it’s also near impossible to have a decent hair day. I can’t trust that whatever styling I do in the morning will survive past lunch. By evening, I look like Toadstool after getting eighth place in the Star Cup.
This summer, however, the tides started to turn. We’ve had a few heatwaves, and while my sweating has been worse than usual, my hair days have been remarkably better. And I owe that to one type of product in particular: heat-shielding, humidity-resistant hair sprays. They are, without embellishment, lifesavers.
Here’s how they work: Tiny silicone molecules wrap themselves around your hair shafts, which shield the hair from moisture loss and fraying (a side effect of blow dryers or the hot sun). Secondly, any heat protectant that is doubly designated as an anti-humidity agent will also prevent the hair from curling, frizzing or poofing, by preventing additional hydrogen in the air from bonding with the atoms in your hair. So, simply put, these sprays ensure that you get the style you intended and that no force of nature (or technology) will stand in your way.
Guys with short hair probably won’t get much benefit from these products; they’re going to help people with longer hair, the type that is grown-out enough to be affected by the weather. (Inch-long hair isn’t going to curl or frizz.) These sprays work well in all textures of hair, too. And it should be noted that not all heat protectants are sprays. Some are lotions, and some are oils — the later of which is essential if you’re using a hair-straightening wand. They all work the same way, while some of the hand-applied ones double as hybrid stylers, too.
These sprays are less of a styler and more of a style preserver. You can apply them prior to your standard hair product, or even as the last step in your styling routine. But it’s imperative to apply them prior to blow-drying your hair — if that’s a part of your routine — to best protect your hair. I usually apply mine first if my hair is already clean and dry, in that it’s already an ideal canvas for styling. This gives it a coat of armor but allows the styling product itself to do most of the directional work. Otherwise, I apply the spray at the end of my regimen if I am applying my styling product to wet hair. This gives it some texture, grit and a little shine — kind of like a hair spray.
Now that you’re well-acquainted with heat-protectants, here are three of my favorites — the ones that have made this heat-blasted summer a lot less insufferable.
Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray by Oribe $42
No-Frizz Humidity Shield by Living Proof $23
Discipline Anti Frizz Smoothing Spray by Kérastase $37
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