The big difference. . .
While the first part of the name is similar, heat-activated and heat protectant products are two very different things. A product labelled "heat protectant" is intended to do just that, while a heat-activated product is designed to be used with heat in order for it to work more effectively. However, that does not necessarily mean the work they are doing is protecting your hair from heat. More often, it's a case of the heat making certain products more effective moisturizers, conditioners or smoothers.
How heat activation works
Heat-activated products contain ingredients that either need to be melted,or taken up to what is known as their glass transition temperature. When these ingredients hit that temperature something really cool happens: they go from a stiff, brittle state into a smoother, more liquidy form that flows.
The role of heat protectants
In contrast, heat protectants actually protect your hair. They don't need to be activated by heat to work: instead, quite often, particularly in the case of protectants that work on the outside of the hair, they are actually there to slow down the conduction of heat through your hair, protecting it from thermal damage.
There are many, many ingredients on the market that claim to provide heat protection: some of those whose effectiveness have been proven and published include dimethicone, hydrolysed wheat protein, cetrimonium bromide, and quaternium 70.
Dimethicone works from the outside, slowing down the rate at which heat is passed from the iron or dryer into your hair. Ingredients like cetrimonium bromide and hydrolysed wheat protein protect your hair from the inside out.
This is done in one of two ways. One, by slowing down water loss, since when water evaporates out of your hair too fast it can cause fissures on the hair shaft, and the thermal capacity of water helps keep the temperature of your hair lower while it is present on the inside. The second way is by crosslinking to your hair's natural proteins, making them more resistant to the stress of the heat.
So when it comes to your blowout. . .
If you're planning on a blowout or a press, always make sure you choose a product which can shield your hair from the heat. More importantly, make sure it has one or more of the ingredients listed above high up on the ingredients list. To get smoother results, you can opt for a heat-activated product; it can help create smoother end results. If you choose to, make sure you back it up with a heat protectant, absolutely essential to keep your strands from being scorched.
|Patrick Hoesly |EMSL|kittykatfish|
DHA Hair Care Experts