Heat protectant is essential when exposing your hair to high heat, like straightening, especially if done regularly. However, first-timers often wonder if they should let the heat protectant dry before diving into straightening their hair.
No worries, hair care isn’t rocket science, and once you’ve got the right knowledge, you’re good to go.
So, if you’re seeking clarity on whether to let heat protectant dry before straightening, you’re in the right place. We’re here to provide all the information you need to ensure you can safely style your hair.
Should I Let Heat Protectant Dry Before Straightening Hair?
Yes, you should definitely let the heat protectant dry before you straighten your hair. If you apply heat to damp hair without giving the heat protectant enough time to dry, the protectant won’t work and you’ll end up damaging the hair.
When heat is applied, the moisture turns into steam and weakens the hair strands. So, make sure you wait until the heat protectant dries completely before straightening the hair. You’ll achieve the best result while minimizing potential harm.
Since the whole objective of heat protectant is to protect your hair from heat, many people think it’s okay to expose it to their flat irons immediately, but that’s simply not true.
The reality is that there are a few problems that come with that.
If your hair is wet when styled with heat, it will become damaged and frizzy. As a result, when it dries, it’ll begin to curl up, and your styling efforts will have all been for naught.
And if that’s not bad enough, adding hair spray and other products to the fray will only cause further damage to your hair.
Additionally, the residual moisture will begin to sizzle on your flat iron and potentially smoke if there’s too much protectant.
While this undesirable effect will cause a “burning hair” smell, it also poses a safety hazard. For best results, ensure that your hair is fully dry before doing high-heat maintenance, such as flat ironing.
Does Straightening Hair With Wet Heat Protectant Damage Your Hair?
Since wet hair is more subject to heat damage than dry hair, you’re more likely to harm it if it’s damp with a heat protectant. Keep in mind it’s not exactly the ingredients in the product that are causing the damage; instead, it’s actually the moisture within it.
Water temporarily breaks the hydrogen bonds in your hair when it gets wet. As it dries, it reforms and creates new ones.
Such is why your hair takes on a different shape when it’s damp and vice versa. Of course, during this time, it’s much weaker and more susceptible to damage.
If you try flat ironing your hair during its weaker state when the hydrogen bonds are reforming, you’re prone to destroying the disulfide bonds in your hair, which are broken by heat.
Unlike hydrogen bonds, disulfide bonds that are broken do not reform and can cause permanent damage to your scalp.
The most common effects are frizzy, curled up, and dry hair, though you’re setting yourself up for even more problems down the line if you continue these ill practices over the course of your life.
Given that this is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s probably best that you stick to waiting a few minutes before you straighten.
How Long Should You Wait to Allow Heat Protectant To Dry Before Straightening?
You should generally wait at least 4-5 minutes for the heat protectant to dry before straightening, though it may vary depending on the product you are using.
This is because it’s best to allow heat protectant to seep into your hair follicles and give it time to work its magic. As it sits, it creates a barrier that protects your hair from heat and holds its shape for longer.
Since most protectants last at least 4 hours, you shouldn’t worry about the effects wearing off before you have a chance to style.
As a side note, you should also avoid using a blow dryer to expedite the drying process, as it’s unnecessary and can cause further damage as you expose your hair to even more heat.
So, Do You Let Heat Protectant Dry Before Straightening Hair?
Since heat protectant is supposedly heat resistant, many people think it’s okay to flat iron right away, but the truth is quite the opposite.
In summation, you should always wait a little while for your heat protectant to dry before you straighten your hair.
If you don’t, the moisture will weaken the hydrogen bonds in your follicles, and the heat from your flat iron will cause permanent damage. Always give the solution at least 5 minutes to settle and dry before you start using the flat iron.