Can I use a leave-in conditioner as a heat protectant?

woman applies conditioner before straightening

  • You can use a leave-in conditioner as a heat protectant if it specifies that it has heat protection properties.
  • Otherwise, using a leave-in conditioner would be the same as using no protection at all.
  • Although most leave-in conditioners contain heat protectants, I’ll tell you later which brands protect your hair before blow-drying, curling, or flat-ironing.


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A leave-in conditioner is an excellent product for moisturizing hair. That’s mostly its main objective.

Therefore,  if you want to use a leave-in conditioner as a heat protectant when flat ironing or curling your hair, you should look for more information on the product label. 

What information should you look for?


 You should read the description of the components of the product carefully to check if it contains heat protection. 

Suppose the leave-in conditioner doesn’t specify that it contains heat protection. What would happen if you applied it and flat ironed your hair?


Your hair won’t be protected against high heat. And in that case, your hair would lose its natural moisture and end up damaged, fragile, and brittle.

Is that what you’re looking for?


I guess not.

Styling tools like  curling iron, flat-iron and blowdryer, damage and dry the hair deeply. 

That’s why my advice is to always use a heat protectant.


protect hair from the heat of the flat iron

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Most leave-in conditioners contain heat protectants, such as:


Therefore, and for the sake of clarity, I repeat.

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If the leave-in conditioner doesn’t contain heat protection properties, heat tools will damage your hair

And the reason is simple.

High temperatures will strip your hair of its natural moisture.

That natural moisture is formed by the water molecules trapped inside the hair. They make your mane look shiny, soft, smooth, and bouncy.


When you use any styling tool, the heat evaporates the molecules leaving your hair dry and brittle.

So, the question is:

Do you use a flat iron, curling iron, or blow dryer very often?

  • If you use either of these tools once a month, your hair will suffer very slight damage.
  • If you use any of these tools twice a week or more, your hair will start to break, lose shine, frizz will appear, and it’ll be hard to detangle.


That’s why  you need to use a heat protectant. Its components retain the water molecules contained in your hair. 

Then, the heat protectant will evaporate instead of the hydration in your hair.


If you want to use a leave-in conditioner as protection against the high temperatures of styling tools, it must have heat protection properties.

And this brings us to the next question.


Which leave-in conditioner should you choose to use as a heat protectant?

conditioner as a heat protectant

If you want to get the extra moisturizing benefits of leave-in conditioners and protect your hair from heat to style it, you need to choose the right product.


There are endless choices of hair beauty products on the market but as my hairdressing school teacher used to say, “every hair is different and has its own ecosystem.”

Maybe the leave-in conditioner that works for your friend who has enviable curls leaves your hair dull or greasy.


What should you consider when choosing a leave-in conditioner to apply as a heat protectant?

  • If your mane is chemically treated, you should look for conditioners specifically designed for that purpose.
  • If your hair is dry, you should look for conditioners with coconut, castor, or olive oil.
  • If your hair is very fine, you should look for a conditioner with thickener properties to add weight to your hair.
  • If you use a flat iron frequently, you should look for a conditioner for heat-treated hair.


Leave-in conditioners that meet these characteristics contain heat protectants.

 In addition, the consistency of the leave-in conditioner also influences the results. 

What does this mean?


  • If your hair is straight, liquid leave-in conditioners will be ideal to keep your mane looking shiny and bouncy.
  • If your hair is wavy, both liquid and cream leave-in conditioners will work perfectly.
  • If your hair is curly, cream or oil leave-in conditioner will leave your curls fully hydrated.



Leave-in conditioners are a suitable tool for adding moisture to your hair.

But if you want to use them as heat protectants, they should contain protective properties against the high temperatures of styling tools.

Always look for that information on the product label.

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