Top Rated Products for Styling & Heat Protection When Using a Flat Iron

Unless you're willing to spend hundreds on a flat iron, your hair will take some abuse each time you straighten.

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Few inventions have changed the fashion world like the flat iron. You could say some women are addicted to straightening their naturally curly hair. But it's no secret that heat and hair aren't the best of friends. A little too much heat can give you a head of frizzy, unhealthy, hard-to-manage locks. Drugstore shelves are filled with products claiming to protect your hair from daily ironing. Knowing what's worth your time and money is challenging. Sadly, protecting your hair doesn't come cheap. You may have to dig deep into your change purse.

Flat Irons

Ironically, the best product to purchase when trying to protect your hair from flat iron damage, is the flat iron itself. The best flat iron on the market, according to "Glamour" contributor Andrea Arterbery, is the FHI Heat Runway. This flat iron has a tourmaline coating on the plates along with tourmaline in the heating element. You'll pay big bucks, however, as the product costs more than $400, at the time of publication. Arterbery also suggests cheaper alternatives such as the Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium which runs around $30 and Conair's You Style Multi-Functional Styling Iron for $40 (as of September 2011).

Spray

"Allure" magazine listed the Nexxus Pro-Mend Heat Protexx Heat Protection Styling Spray on its "2011 Best of Beauty: Hair." The spray protects hair from temperatures up to 450 F. TRESemme'sThermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray made the same list in 2009 and 2010. This spray contains a combination of ingredients to protect and moisturize your hair. Writers at "Allure" say the styling product has a pleasant scent and a clean and light mist. "Allure" even praises TRESemme's packaging, noting how the spray bottle covers a head of hair "quickly and evenly."

Shampoo and Conditioners

Look for Kerastese Bain Oleo for Curly/Coarse Hair shampoo and conditioner if your hair is already heat damaged or if you're a regular flat iron user. Stylist to the stars David Evangelista puts this duo on the top of his best product list almost annually. Evangelista has given the Kerastese products top honors in "InStyle" magazine five times. For the nearly $100 you spend for both items, you get a combination of palm oil and silicone that restores and protects damaged hair strands. In addition, John Frieda's line of shampoos and conditioners received kudos from the girls at "Glamour."

Oils and Straightening Balms

"Elle" magazine mentions Wella's leave-in cream, named Enrich, in the article, "Sleek Dreams: Best New Hair Smoothers." The product shines hair as it helps straighten, thus cutting your time with the flat iron short. Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy is also listed on "Elle's" list. Designed with the flat iron in mind, this treatment is full of all-natural ingredients such as avocado oil and cocoa butter. This product requires a time investment because it strengthens and straightens hair, with the help of a flat iron, over a period of days. A similar product, Phytodefrisant Relaxing Balm, also protects your hair by shortening the time spent with the flat iron. This product gets a thumbs up from stylist Michael Murphy in "InStyle."

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