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Heat protection explained: how to choose the right products to suit your hair and lifestyle

Hair

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Using heat to style hair is a long and well trodden path. Hairdryers, irons, and wands all have the potential to damage hair, but with a little caution and a judicial use of protective products and the correct tools it can be the perfect way to achieve the style that reveals a new dimension to your image.

Tools

Be prepared to invest in the best. When picking a hairdryer, a set of irons or a wand, look online for independent reviews and consider how often you’ll be using these appliances. Hairdryers generally come with attachments, but if the dryer is to be used for styles that need volume from the roots make sure there is a nozzle attachment. If natural curly hair is the desired finish a diffuser is essential. When exploring your options look for a fair amount of wattage, and if it has the ability to deliver a cooling blast, as this can be a great way to set a style in place without causing excess damage. Irons should have ceramic plates and the temperature should be controllable, as it is always wise to use the lowest temperature that is effective.

Products

When buying products to be used when styling with heat, the most important information on the packaging is the temperature to which the product will protect hair. If you’re using the highest setting on your dryer or are applying curling or straightening tools to the hair, the product should guarantee to protect the hair up to 200 degrees. If you have thicker hair, choose a more dense product, such as protecting creams or gels. With finer hair, sprays should be considered as they won’t weigh the hair down and give a heavy lank look. Kérastase make great heat protecting, styling products in their “Discipline range”. The Keratin Thermique Creme is a perfect for hair that is luxuriously thick, whereas the Fluidissime spray is an ideal choice for finer hair that needs a helping hand with volume and texture.

Redken also have a fantastic product that creates a barrier that holds its integrity up to 232 degrees, and will screen the hair from the hottest of styling tools. Their bestselling product Pillow Proof also reduces drying time and will hold a style in place for longer than most other products. It also provides a great finish that adds smoothness, softness and shine.

The Big Blowdry

For a big bouncy blow-dry that has structure and the Hollywood glamour look, use your favourite protective styling product and a round ceramic barrel brush. Fit the nozzle to the dryer and get the brush close to the root, and tease the hair at right angles from the scalp for volume and height. When the hair is dry and in place you might want to add a finishing product: serum for shine, or a dry texture spray for body and texture. Hairspray should be chosen wisely, for a soft look a minimum to medium hold should be sprayed at an arm's length from the hair. For a non-moving big blow-dry a firm hold should be used at the roots to strengthen the structure and add extra hold. Remember, a good quality hairspray should be able to be brushed out without leaving a residue.

Sexy Beach Hair

Sometimes, less is more with the sexy beach curl. The heated wand is the perfect tool to create these loose waves. Hot Sets by Redken is a perfect heat protector, for winding the hair around a curling wand. On long hair, leaving the last 2 inches uncurled will give these seemingly untamed curls: a beautiful natural and textured look.

Playing It Straight

The secret with irons is to treat the hair with respect. Always use at the lowest temperature that works and make sure that your heat protector product is applied right down to the roots. Divide small section of hair with a comb and use section clips to hold the hair not being treated away from the irons. When straightening a section, never, ever go over and over the hair with the irons more than twice. When using finishing products be creative and experiment with different combinations, from root boosting powders to fly away taming serums.

Experiment

There are so many achievable looks when heat is used to style hair, and there are a great deal of reliable and quality products to enhance body, texture, shine and hold. Layering different products can be a great way of making subtle or dramatic changes to your finished look, so experiment with different combinations. It’s also important to use a high quality shampoo and conditioner that is suited to your hair type. Protecting your hair is an ongoing process that does not just stop at one product, but with a little care and attention you can ensure that your locks stay healthy. For more information on protecting your hair, or inspiration for your next cut or colour, visit our blog.

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