I do not own the Dyson AirWrap.

That means, by default, I’m a curling iron girl. It’s a modern tragedy. Since I don’t have the genius of the vacuum brand imbued into my hair tools, a good heat protectant is an absolute must.

However, doling out $40 on a spray that will last me no more than a few months simply breaks my soul just a little. I found 11 of the highest-rated heat protectants under $20. Take your pick.

A little spooky and a lot of smoothing: Verb Ghost Prep Heat Protectant, $18

If you’ve got fine hair that’s easily weighed down, this is for you. It’s so lightweight, it’s invisible. Almost like a … ghost?

  • Consistency: cream/gel
  • How: Apply to damp hair before heat styling
  • More good things: paraben-free, gluten-free, sulfate-free, vegan, not tested on animals

For the multitaskers: Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer, $12

I personally fear the three-in-one. This isn’t that. Think of this as the three-in-one’s hot older sister. Who doesn’t love a product that does it all?

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Apply to damp hair before detangling or heat styling
  • More good things: certified cruelty-free, certified vegan, GMO-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, packaging made from 100% recycled aluminum

Bathroom counter approved: Kristin Ess Style Assist Blow Dry Mist, $14

Since she launched in Target, I’ve been a fan of Kristin Ess products. This is no exception. It’s incredibly lightweight, so it's extra good for all of the thin and fine-haired folx out there.

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Apply to damp hair before blowdrying or dry hair before thermal styling
  • More good things: cruelty-free, color and keratin safe, sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalates-free

*Heads up to the sensitive-nosed, it has a strong floral scent, but (based on the reviews) the results seem to be worth it!

“Nothing else compares!”: HSI Professional Argan Oil Thermal Protector, $15

Curly-haired people need to heat protect too. Look no further. Lots of natural-haired folx swear by this product, both for diffusing and for straightening out the curls.

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Spray onto dry or damp hair before thermal styling or blowdrying
  • More good things: sulfate-free, paraben-free, phosphate-free, not tested on animals

Beyond the bottle: Pacifica’s Vegan Silk Blow-Out Hair Primer and Protectant, $14

Pacifica makes products that work all while making conscious ethical choices. This primer-and-protectant combo will make your hair and your heart feel great. It also smells like vanilla.

  • Consistency: gel/serum
  • How: Apply to clean, wet hair before blowdrying or combing
  • More good things: silicon-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, cruelty-free, vegan, eco-friendly packaging

Summer in every season: Sun Bum Heat Protector Spray, $14

When I think of summer, I think of the scent of Sun Bum. This heat protectant gives me that sunny feeling even on the dullest winter days.

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Can be used on dry or damp hair before thermal styling or blowdrying. Just remember to shake the bottle first and let it dry down if you’re using it on dry hair.
  • More good things: vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free

Little goes a long way: Rusk Thermal Serum,  $16

Created with the main purpose of eliminating frizz, this serum is the perfect heat protectant to prep a sleek blowdry.

  • Consistency: serum
  • How: Apply 2-6 drops to damp or dry hair before heat-styling or use as a finishing serum on dry hair.
  • More good things: alcohol-free, silicone-free

Salon-level protection: Beyond The Zone’s Turn Up The Heat Protection Spray, $13

It may not seem anything particularly revolutionary, but it's a salon and stylist favorite. Reviews say the bottle lasts forever, which is a win in our book.

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Apply to damp hair before blowdrying or dry hair before thermal styling
  • More good things: sulfate-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free

For the softest strands: artnaturals Thermal Hair Protector Spray, $13

Formulated primarily from Argan oil, this heat protectant also doubles as a leave-in conditioner that will, “restore, enhance, and grow hair.”

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Spray on damp or dry hair before thermal styling or blowdrying
  • More good things: paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, ethically sourced

Oldie but a goodie: CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray, $9

This bottle worked miracles before elementary school dance competitions when my mom styled my fragile seven-year-old hair with a 20-year-old curling iron. It could only have gotten better.

  • Consistency: spray
  • How: Spray in sections onto dry hair before thermal styling
  • More good things: paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free

“Blowout in a bottle”: Cake Beauty GraceFull Blowout Hair Balm, $9

This balm formula is made to perfect the blowout by cutting dry times and increasing shine, all the while protecting from heat.

  • Consistency: whipped balm
  • How:  Apply to damp hair (from roots to ends) before blowdrying, or use on damp hair before air-drying to decrease frizz.
  • More good things: cruelty-free, vegan, paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free

If you still feel the need to splurge: Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, $28

As evidenced by the above, you don’t need to spend more money to get a good product. But, if you *want* to, this is the one.

  • Consistency: oil
  • How: Apply a few drops to damp or dry hair after a wash, reapply to dry hair before heat styling between washes.
  • More good things: vegan, alcohol-free, cruelty-free

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