Best Travel-Size Leave-in Heat Protectant and Hair Primer

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

To simplify our lives,  many product companies are, in reality, making it harder for people to determine the right product for them.

With so many options, what are the differences between them? When should I choose one over the other?​

When should I choose one over the other?​

Since some products multi-task,  we are considering three different yet similar hair products.

  1. What does a leave-in conditioner do for your hair?​
  2. Do you use it instead of a regular conditioner or Detangler?​
  3. Do I need a thermal heat protectant? ​
  4. What is a Hair Primer?​

Thermal Protectants

The Importance of Heat Protection

Although Thermal Protection is not just for use with direct heat tools. Don't ignore this crucial step. Your hair also needs protection from harmful UV rays. Think of it as sunscreen for your hair. 

What happens to your hair when you get too much sun?

Since the hair is only really living at the scalp, the hardened form of keratin is fragile and can be damaged easily beyond repair.  Like Leather, once a living skin has to be hydrated and nourished. Otherwise, it dries out, cracks and breaks, and split ends occur in the case of hair.

NOT something we want to happen. So the best remedy is prevention.

Protect your hair all the time.  

Another key reason to protect from the sun is that UV will lighten natural pigment and fade artificial color pigments. Watch out Color-treated hair!

One year a friend had spent quite a lot of time in the sun. As a result, his natural black hair turned Reddish (ginger).  It took a few haircuts to get rid of it all.

Heat Protectant Products in Travel-Size:

Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Mist Spray, 3.4-Ounce

No products found.

Kenra for use on wet hair. ultra-lightweight (fine to medium hair) Reduces blow-dry time up to 50%;  thermal protection up to 428°F (220°C) Detangles, smoothes, & soften

No products found.

Amika The Shield Style anti-humidity spray

No products found.

Amika (aerosol) anti-frizz for up to 24hrs. Heat protection up to 450°F. HEAT ACTIVATED can use on Damp or Dry Hair NEEDS HEAT to work

No products found.

CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray, 2 Fl Oz

No products found.

The heat protection without ‘ product’ feel. To use... Spritz from roots to tips (around 6-8 sprays for mid-to long hair) and comb through to distribute evenly before applying heat.

No products found.

amika The Shield Style anti-humidity spray

No products found.

L’ange formulated for use with their professional-grade tools. Paraben free. (4oz) not TSA carry-on luggage approved

No products found.

Some hair sprays can serve to protect the hair just before using a curling or flat iron. However, most heat protectant products are designed to apply before heated styling (and before hair spray or other styling products), they can protect your hair from extreme heat exposure.

Hair Primer

As the name implies, hair primer prepares your hair for heat styling, protection against the elements, dryness, and damage.

They create an even surface for other hair products and tools. They create a weightless, humidity-resistant shield allowing your style to last longer,  be frizz-free and prevent damage during styling.

There is a hair primer for everyone. Some give more shine while others may detangle.


So is hair primer and thermal protectant the same?

Yes, but some are hydrating and others strengthening.

I am inclined to consider Hair Primer as a hybrid between the leave-in conditioner and thermal protection spray. Because I haven’t found a hair primer product that didn’t have some sort of heat protection. 

According to Redken, the main difference is one can be used on wet hair before blow-drying and the other in spray form is applied to dry hair before using an iron or another direct heat tool.



No products found.

Is Hair Primer Similar to a Leave-in Conditioner or Moisturizer?

Hair Primer is intended to be used alone or under other styling products. It is applied after you shampooed and conditioned your hair, including your leave-in conditioner. 

Hair primer is a barrier product that works like a heat protectant, so it is different from a leave-in conditioner and moisturizer, as it has multiple functions. It is also great for usage before every styling session.

For optimal smoothness, primers (for some hair types) can be used with other products to combat frizz  or add shine Naturally Curly

Leave-in conditioner

  • A leave-in conditioner is applied after shampooing while the hair is damp. It helps detangle and adds more moisture for shine. Leave-in doesn’t need to be rinsed, meaning it’s lighter than normal conditioner.

Can I use a leave-in conditioner instead of a regular rinse-out conditioner? 

The simple answer is yes!

  • Most  leave-in conditioners are light lotions that are sprayed onto the hair, for easier absorption.
  • leave-ins smooth, detangle and more importantly moisturize.
  • One thing to remember is that textured hair soaks up every bit of extra TLC you can afford. And by incorporating a leave-in conditioner to your routine, you can add a loving boost. -bevelcode

What is the purpose of leave-in conditioner?

  • They provide moisture that was lost during the shampooing process. They also make detangling easier and help tame frizz. Leave-in conditioners moisturize dry hair and make it softer, smoother, and shinier.

Hair oil vs leave-in:

If you deep condition your hair regularly you can use a few drops  (not like when you do a pre-shampoo treatment) of argan oil or your preferred hair oil instead of leave-in conditioner. The oil seals in the moisture you already have in your hair. But won’t coat your hair like silicones.

Oil Adds shine and offers the benefit of some thermal protection (depending on the oil)

Are detangler and leave-in conditioner the same thing?

YES and NO
Yes if you are using a leave-in to detangle your hair and
No because a detangling rinse  is like fabric softener, it must be rinsed out like a regular conditioner. These products give nothing back to your hair but coat it a little so the hair won’t tangle.

Coily textured hair sometimes uses both a deep conditioner followed by a detangling rinse for smooth blow-outs.
For Fine/thin  hair that would be a big mistake since it would way down your hair too much.

You don’t have to use a leave-in every day
After shampooing and conditioning your hair,  you could also include a leave-in. I do this when I am going to wear my hair curly.

With second day hair, since leave-in is a wet spray, you can consider using it to refresh your curls instead of water.

if I want to rinse my hair  because I feel hot and sticky (not shampoo).  I prefer using a No-Poo or just a bit of rinse out conditioner to refresh my hair. That way I don’t overload my hair with products.

Like all Conditioners, leave-ins should also follow the rule:
SHAMPOO your scalp.
CONDITION your ends.

Travel Sizes Leave-in

milk_shake Whipped Cream Leave In Foam

No products found.

Milk_Shake  A Mousse (ultra-light) no-rinse leave-in conditioner/thermal protectant

No products found.

Naturally Curly Leave In Conditioner

No products found.

Naturally Curly (sulfate, paraben & silicone free) best for curls

No products found.

Revitalizing 3-in-1 Leave-in Hair Conditioner Spray

No products found.

Sun Bum  conditioning detangler UV but not a HEAT protectant

No products found.

In Review 

So if your shampoo, conditioner,  prep step (thermal spray, leave-in or primer), styling aid (gel mousse etc.) and finishing products (hair spray, shine drops , etc.)  all have some thermal protection. That’s a good thing!  You are layering on added protection so you’ll be  better equipped to resist the damage from hot tools and from the environment.

Is there is a brand of thermal protectant, primer or leave-in that you didn't see, check out Travel-Size Hair Care

WELCOME TO Prohairblog
Disclosure is reader supported. I independently recommend methods, ways, products etc. As amazon associates I receive commission for every qualified purchases. More Details>> 
crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram