An interesting question was asked recently by a commentor on the brazilian hair straightening post..........what is the deal on hair protectants?
Q1. What are heat protectants?
Many times this is summarised as silicones but in reality, some of the most effective protectants employ alot of ingredients which are mixed and tested to create the best working formula (this process is known as formulation).
The ingredients include hydrolysed proteins , amino silicones and even polyquats. If these names sound like gobbledegook to you, click on the links and learn more about them.
Q2. Do they work?
I cannot speak for any brand directly but science has shown that the principle of heat protection works. This is what they have been shown to do
1. Prevent breakdown of part of the proteins in hair (J. Cosmet Sci, pg 245-256, 1998)
2. Prevent water loss from the hair strand (J. Cosmet Sci, pg 13-27, 2004)
3. Prevent the outer hair shaft (cuticles) from cracking and allow the hair to maintain strength after heat treatment.
Q3. It is too much work, can I just skip out the protectant?
Low heat applied for a short period is not particularly damaging to hair - low meaning around 100 degrees C. However we all know that water boils at this temperature and therefore while short term lab studies don't show it as damaging, I'm not convinced that if this is repeated frequently enough that it wouldn't be harmful. In short, one quick spray or slather is really not that much effort
So now it is over to you, do you have any heat related questions to ask? Ask away!!