Never skip the heat protectants
When it comes to blow drying the hair, there are three major ways to prevent damage -- by retarding the departure of moisture from the hair, strengthening the hair, and delaying the transfer of heat to the hair.
The first step in retarding the departure of moisture from the hair is to use a heat protectant with humectants like glycerin or propylene glycol. To help strengthen the hair, a heat protectant with cetrimonium chloride is able to penetrate the hair shaft and upon meeting direct heat, crosslink with the keratin in the hair and strengthen it from the inside - making it more breakage resistant. Lastly, heat protecting serums with silicones are excellent at delaying the transfer of direct heat from blow dryers to the hair. Some of my favorite picks in these three areas are:
- Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray
- ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray
- Blow Dry Addict
- Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment
Once you've done all you can to protect your hair in, then it is time to blow. I did not make any mention of oils and butters because I am a big believer that oils and butters on their own are more inclined to cook the hair than protect it. There is a lot of misinformation out there about smoke points of oils (like Grapeseed) and the ability to protect the hair.
In truth, all a smoke point is, is literally, the temperature at which oil begins to smoke -- signaling the breakdown of nutritive properties and rancidity. This has no correlation to heat protection, all it means is that the oil itself can withstand heat to a certain temperature before smoking and breaking down.