Heat Protectant Spray and Aging Hair

happy woman with wet hair spraying product

"Honey, time marches on, and eventually, you realize it's marchin' across your face." Truvy from the movie "Steel Magnolias" nailed the aging process for the modern woman with this line to perfection. Truvy, if given a chance, would eventually explain how time marches across your hair, too, since she is a hairdresser. Since hair is dead skin cells, the care of both skin and hair is essential to managing the effects of aging, and the needs of both parts of the body are very similar. Like your skin, hair requires extra attention to be protected from the elements and kept moisturized.

Hair is impacted by the natural elements around you, such as UV rays from the sun, humidity, and physical friction such as combing, clipping, and even rubbing against your pillowcase at night. If you use the rougher types of styling on your hair, such as coloring and heat styling, you'll need to take more care to keep it protected and moisturized. That is true of all ages, but as women age, their hair care needs will change because their hair will change. How can a heat protectant spray help keep your hair looking great as you age? A heat protectant will coat your hair so that when you heat style it, there is markedly reduced damage to the hair quality. To properly use heat protectant spray on aging hair, you need to know how your hair changes with age and how heat protectant spray works. Then you will learn how best to add one to your hair care routine.

Hair and Aging

Just like skin, hair is impacted by many environmental factors. Some of these are the effects of the UV rays in the sun, temperature, humidity, wind, chemicals in the products you put on your hair, and of course, heat styling. It would be best to understand the changes to your hair as you age to make informed decisions about how to style and protect your hair throughout life. To better understand the impacts on your hair from heat-styling, you need to know how your hair changes as you age to ensure you style with heat safely and don't cause further damage.

Hair's Color Changes

Your hair changing from its natural color to grey, silver, or even white is one of the first signs your hair is aging. This is a natural occurrence and happens to everyone. The change is not immediate, and you'll generally start noticing a fading of your natural color overall and then individual grey hairs. Over time, one area of your hair, generally around one or both temples, will turn entirely grey, and the rest will follow. You can either embrace the grey or color your hair to cover it up. But either way, you will need to adjust how you style your hair to keep it looking its best as it ages with you.

Hair's Loss of Shine

Even your hair that still holds natural color may start to become dull. This can cause your hair to appear less shiny. The light will reflect differently off of your hair's surface and could result in a washed-out appearance where your hair was once vibrant and lush.

Thinning Hair

A loss of density in the hair is another common impact of aging. This manifests in two ways, the first of which is you produce fewer hairs. The growth rate drops a bit, and other effects on the hair can cause it to shed faster, resulting in a thinner-looking mane. The other effect is that the hair you do grow is thinner and weaker than when you were younger.

Brittle Hair

The hair you do keep can become brittle. This happens when the hair lacks the moisture necessary to maintain elasticity. When hair loses elasticity, it breaks much more quickly. You'll notice a lot more hair coming out when you shampoo, comb your hair, put it up in a hairband or clip, or even the natural friction of your hair on pillows and chair backs.

Brittle hair can also result in a marked increase in frizz. Frizz happens to most people at some point and is highly influenced by the humidity in the air around you. If your hair lacks moisture and there is moisture in the air, the hair will try to reach that moisture by becoming frizzy. 

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Hair's Volume Loss

Due to the thinning effect and the tendency to become brittle. This causes breakage as well as your hair losing volume. This is a minute change for some, but it can be drastic for many. Your hair will also lose elasticity as you age. Therefore, this means it has less bounce and will lay flatter to your head.

Heat Protectant Spray

Now that you know what to expect as your hair ages, you can learn how to minimize these effects on your hair's appearance and texture through habits and products. Heat styling is one of the most common ways to style your hair. If you heat style, you must take extra steps to protect your hair to avoid as much moisture loss as possible, which aging hair is already lacking. If you don't want to stop heat styling your hair, then heat protectant spray is the best protection for your hair.

How Heat Protectant Spray Works

Are you wondering how heat protectant spray even works? Heat protectant spray applies a very thin protective coating to each piece of your hair to minimize the damage the heat styling can cause. It does this by reducing the amount of heat directly hitting the hair, but it also spreads the heat out when you apply your heat styling appliance to your hair.

Heat protectant spray contains several ingredients that are key to getting the right effect in your fight to maintain moisture and reduce damage. Humectants act by preserving the moisture already in your hair. Amino acids (such as keratin) strengthen the hair by providing nutrients. In contrast, essential oils and other plant extracts can smooth out the hair's cuticle, which helps with that sleek look you are aiming for when using a straightener or a curling iron on your hair.

Heat Protectant Spray and Silicone

An important note, some heat protectant spray contains silicone. Silicone use on hair is a hotly contested topic and one you should research and consider when choosing any hair care product, including heat protectant spray. Silicone will most likely give you a nice, sleek, frizz-free finish to your hair, but it does so at a cost. In short, silicone itself is not a toxic chemical, but the continued use will cause build-up on your hair. That sounds pretty good, considering silicone protects the hair from many environmental elements that can damage it, but it also begins to block out the good stuff. It will prevent your hair from absorbing nutrients, and over time it will weigh your hair down and start to make it dryer, which is counter-productive to heat protectant spray goals.

How to Use Heat Protectant Spray

How do you use heat protectant spray to reap these beautiful rewards? Here are a few steps to successfully use heat protectant spray to ensure you get the best possible results for your specific hair type and goals.

When to Use Heat Protectant Spray

Heat protectant spray will always be used just before you style with heat. Some heat protectant spray is used on damp hair, and others are applied to dry hair. Follow the instructions for the brand you purchase for the best results.

Heat Protectant Spray Application

Once you know whether your hair should be wet or dry when applied, the significant steps are to detangle your hair and separate it into sections gently. Then spray the heat protectant spray on each area from all sides, being careful not to spray it directly on your scalp. Gently comb the heat protectant spray through each section to ensure even coverage. Then, let your hair air dry or blow it dry if applied to wet hair. Finally, follow up with the straightener or curling iron if desired. This will provide full-coverage protection of your hair, and heat protectant spray can reduce the damage of each heat styling session by about 50%.

Heat Protectant Spray Benefits

You already know that heat protectant spray can reduce heat styling damage but about 50% with each use, and you learned before what types of harm could happen to hair. What are the other benefits, and how do these vary depending on which heat protectant spray you choose?

Heat Protectant Spray Improves Moisture

The sebaceous glands in your head create and secrete something called sebum. Sebum is a complex of oils that protect your skin and hair from friction and too much moisture. It also holds in the natural moisture of your skin and hair. That might seem counter-productive, but one way to look at it is that sebum maintains the proper moisture balance. Sebum can be stripped from your hair through many processes, including shampooing excessively and heat styling. Minimizing how often you wash your hair and reducing how often you style with heat are great ways to help with sebum stripping, but the next best thing is to apply heat protectant spray before you use any heat to your hair.

Have you ever used a straightener or curling iron a little too soon? Your hair is still damp, and when you roll it around the iron, you see a bit of steam and hear a sizzle? That's the moisture being pulled out of your hair. The loss of moisture when the hair isn't damp before heat is applied is less dramatic, but you get the idea.

Using heat protectant spray before styling with heat has a two-fold impact on your hair. It prevents that sizzle and steam-like effect; therefore, it reduces the loss of moisture in the hair. With some heat protectant sprays, it can also help restore already lost moisture. Heat protectant spray has conditioning ingredients such as shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil. You can protect from moisture loss and add additional moisture when your hair needs it with these oils. Aloe vera is also an excellent natural ingredient to look for.

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Heat Protectant Spray Controls Frizz

When your hair has enough moisture already, it won't frizz up and react to the natural humidity in the air around you. If the heat protectant spray contains keratin, frizz will be minimized from the smoothing effect of keratin as the cuticle will be made even and lay flatter. This smoothing effect of the heat protectant spray will also reduce the friction of your hair against itself and other things like your clothing, pillow, or hats and headrests.

Heat Protectant Spray Adds Shine

If you hope to make dull, drab hair look shinier after you style with heat, many heat protectant sprays can help you. Since a smoother cuticle will lie flatter, it should naturally form a smooth surface across all the hair, reflecting light more and giving it a shinier look. Moisture also affects how shiny your hair can look. Have you noticed that your hair appears very shiny when wet versus dry? Moisture and a smooth cuticle are critical to that shine, and heat protectant spray helps with both.

Heat Protectant Spray Improves Ease of Styling

Some hairstyles require your hair to be "roughed up" for grip and volume purposes. Heat protectant spray won't do much to help with that as the natural smoothing effect will be counter to that purpose. But if you want a sleek, smooth style to your hair, heat protectant spray can be helpful. Some heat protectant sprays, such as those applied as mousse versus a spray, claim to add volume, shine, and smoothness to your hair. Using one will be your best option if you intend to rough up your hair after blow-drying. However, heat protectant spray will generally add a smooth, shiny finish to an already sleek style, making it easier to create the smooth looks you want.

Finding the Right Heat Protectant Spray

To gain the good benefits, you need to understand your hair type and then choose the right heat protectant spray for that type and the desired results. Do you need volume? Is your hair too "poofy" for your preferences? Is your hair generally pretty smooth except for frizz on certain days? To some degree, all of these issues can be helped by heat protectant spray, provided you choose the right product.

Heat Protectant Spray Temperature Limits

Temperature limits are also necessary when finding the correct heat protectant spray. Each spray should have a maximum temperature listed on the bottle. Be sure not to exceed that temperature. Else you will not experience the results the heat protectant spray claims to provide. Heat styling appliances should indicate their temperatures in the manual and, if possible, use a heat styling appliance that allows for temperature control. Keeping the appliance between 300 – 395 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature for good styling but minimal damage. If your hair requires temperatures higher than that to obtain the look you want, then heat protectant spray can help reduce the resulting damage.

Heat Protectant Spray Ingredients

Ingredients are essential in choosing the right heat protectant spray. The ingredients will vary based on how high of a temperature the spray can handle and the other benefits such as increased shine or volume. Choose the best ingredients for your hairstyle needs that you are comfortable having on your body. Be mindful of the additional benefits a heat protectant spray can provide. If your spray can do double-duty or even triple-duty, you might be able to eliminate other products from your routine, saving you time and money while reducing the negative impact on your hair.

Heat Protectant Spray for Touch-ups

Some heat protectant sprays are specifically designed to handle non-wash day styling. If you only shampoo a few times per week, your hair might need a slight reshaping in the next few days to get you picture-perfect and ready to face the world with confidence. Heat protectant spray specifically for use on dry, already styled hair will be a must. You can apply it only to the parts your heat styling appliance will touch and reduce the overall damage to your hair. This is sometimes referred to as a restyling product.

Heat Protectant Spray That Is Right for You

Beauty products are plentiful, and through careful choices, you can craft a hair care and styling routine that is perfect for your hair and your lifestyle. Taking time to research which products are on the market, what they can do for you, what ingredients they contain, and determining which are best for you might seem time-consuming, but protecting and even improving the quality of your aging hair is a necessity.

It is also important to reassess your needs over time. Bodies change, especially as you age, and what worked for you five years ago might not be what works for you now. If you have a regular hairstylist, then they should be able to provide you guidance for your particular haircare goals. Doing your due diligence to understand what you can do to protect your hair as you get older is one of the best things you can do for your hair.

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