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I have trouble making decisions. Not big life choices (I have strong convictions about those) but rather fairly inconsequential matters, like what I want to eat for dinner or whether I want plain seltzer or black cherry-flavored seltzer. Perhaps most of all, I never know what I want to do with my hair: Do I want to let it be and air-dry into my natural wave? Do I want to spend 45 minutes blowing it out and curling it? Do I want to wash it, towel-dry it, put it up on my head, and forget about it? I struggle with this often.
The obvious problem with heat styling is that one should never, ever go about it without going hard on heat protection. But if you’re starting out with hair that’s been previously air-dried—like, say, you wash it at night without blow-drying and wake up in the morning with a loose wave on the mind—you probably didn’t have the foresight to use a heat-protecting product while it was damp. Tough stuff.
And this is where dry heat-styling sprays come in. They enable you to take your already-dry hair, whether it’s on its first day post-wash or its third, and lay the defense on thick without the need to re-wash and re-style completely. It’s kind of genius, and it’s a game-changer for someone (me) who only washes their hair every few days but wants to be able to curl or straighten at will. These six protective sprays make it possible to do just that. Now I never have to make a decision regarding my hair ever again.
Oribe Soft Lacquer Heat Styling Spray
If you want the S.H.O.A.T (Shiniest Hair of All Time—sorry, LL Cool J), the “patent sheen” this fine-misting styling spray imparts will make you the Michael Jordan of glossy hair. Not only does it protect against heat trauma, but mussing it up just right post-styling will also lend hair the perfect amount of texture.
Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray
This one doesn’t discriminate against damp or dry hair: You can use it right after towel-drying to defend your hair from blow-dryer heat, or you can use it on bone-dry strands before curling or flat-ironing. Because it’s super lightweight, you can also use it as a finishing spray on dry hair for 24-hour UV protection.
Bumble and bumble Does It All Hairspray
Some classics are classic for a reason, and this salon stalwart delivers on pretty much every count. Light hold, heat protection, better grip for styling—you can use it on dry or damp hair any time, and as the brand says, “It’s pretty impossible to use too much.” An even, light-handed mist right before you go in with the waving iron will help to protect hair and seal in your style.
ghd Style Heat Protection Spray
If anyone knows how to create a product that effectively shields damp or dry hair against heat, it’s a company that specializes in top-of-the-line hot tools. Lightweight, non-greasy, and tough enough to fend off humidity-induced frizz long after application, this formidable spray is a keeper—though if you’re sensitive to strong scents, you might want to skip.
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Perfect Iron Spray
Not entirely clear on how this formula actively protects hair against aging, but it definitely protects from heat—up to 450 degrees of heat, to be exact. Spritzed onto dry hair just before styling, it’ll help lock in moisture to prevent frizz and split ends. It’s also formulated with parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, and triclosan, so you don’t have to live in fear of accidentally breathing it in.
Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Heat Protect Spray
One of the first of its kind, this dry spray leaves hair soft and shiny (read: not product-y), and contains a dose of protein to help strengthen delicate strands and prevent breakage. It’s also great for restyling and refreshing hair, so if you happen to decide you hate your super straight style on day two, this should be your go-to.