As a beauty junkie and cosmetic chemist, I’m constantly rotating the skincare and haircare products in my bathroom. I have few loyalties to products and you won’t see too many #productempties on my Instagram. However, Thermal Obsession from Save Me From has become a staple in my hair routine and an absolute must as I am a blow dryer addict. Many of us know a flat iron, hair curler, or blow dryer can really make the difference between a good hair day and a bad hair day and, by extension, a good day or bad day. However, all those good hair days can come at a cost if you do not treat your hair with a protective coating first.
What do Hot Tools do to your Hair?
Using a blow dryer, flat iron, or curling iron temporarily modifies the style and shape of your hair through the water-set process. These heating tools drive water from the hair allowing for more internal structuring from hydrogen bonds and salt-bridges. When you wash or re-wet your hair you lose the style as the hair reabsorbs the lost moisture and bounces back to its normal shape. Unfortunately, your hair can lose its style even without washing as it equilibrates with the environmental humidity slowly absorbing the moisture. This rehydration impacts those temporary ionic and hydrogen bonds and you lose your set or style slowly. You can extend your style or hair set by applying higher temperatures to the hair which drives the water out faster. The more heat applied the faster the water evaporation rate and the more internal structuring. All heating devices use temperatures above water’s boiling point to ensure a rapid water evaporation rate for that perfect set, reduced frizz, and enhanced shine. Unfortunately, the compounded hair damage from continued thermal assault may offset the temporary hair benefits we see from heat styling.
Thermal assault affects both the hair cuticle as well as the cortex impacting not only the aesthetics and feel of hair but the mechanical and structural properties. Using differential scanning calorimetry, chemists have quantified changes in the hair at various temperatures. At 230C (about 445F) they noted the thermal denaturation of hair protein’s alpha-helical structure to B-sheet structure. Ten degrees Celsius above that they saw decomposition of hair protein.1, Even if you heat style your hair at temperatures below the protein denaturation threshold you still experience hair damage. One study showed that all hair types are weakened within 5 minutes of heating at 115C.  Weakened defined as increased hair breakage or decreased tensile strength. Most devices use temperatures far above 115C. Fiber strength and elasticity decrease with increasing temperatures. Hair strength comes from the internal structure of the hair most attributed to the disulfide bonds in the hair cortex. As these bonds and internal structure become compromised the hair strength declines and the result is split ends or hair breakage.
What Does Blow Drying Do to Hair?
Regarding the cuticle, thermal stress can crack, lift, fuse, or remove the protective cuticles scales of hair. Blow drying the hair decreases shine over time by creating very small splits in the cuticle. When hair becomes wet it swells and when blow dried the hair loses the water quickly and shrinks rapidly. The cuticle is unable to keep up with the speed of swelling and shrinking causing it to eventually split. This rapid change in hair diameter from drying and rehydrating can cause the cuticle to eventually break off exposing the cortex, which provides the strength and color to hair. Heating can also cause bubbling within the hair fiber due to steam forming and escaping. This hair bubbling results in brittle and weak hair that easily breaks ,
Should I Stop Blow Drying My Hair?
This is especially true when flat ironing or curling damp hair so don’t try to cut time by skipping the blow dry or air-drying step first. Most of us have seen the alarming “smoke” that sometimes appears when we use heating devices on our hair and unfortunately it is not just water evaporation. The hair is primarily composed of protein, but the remainder is made up of lipids and associated components which volatize at lower temperatures.1 This means the hair lipids responsible for hair lubricity, hydrophobicity, luster, and health are negatively impacted by heating devices as well. Long term damage from thermal assault (frizz, reduced shine, breakage, dryness) offsets the temporary benefits we see when we immediately flat iron our hair (reduced frizz, shine, and softness). It is also worth noting that heat at those high temperatures can dry out and irritate the scalp.
How Do I Protect My Hair from Heat Damage?
Using clinically proven ingredients, advanced botanicals, and innovative technology, our Thermal Obsession hair reboot both prevents and repairs thermal damage. Our root to tip reboot works to reduce split ends, infuse hair hydration, eliminate frizz, and hydrate a dry scalp. We approach thermal protection in a multifaceted way, using ingredients that form a protective shield on the cuticle, condition to allow better compatibility and less breakage, increase moisture and color retention, and reduce the temperature of the hair when exposed to heat.
The Science Behind SAVE ME FROM Thermal Obsession
Clinicals: Helps hydrate hair up to 201.1%; reduce split ends by up to 91.3%; strengthen hair up to 84.1%; improve shine by up to 54.8%; and make hair 171.9% more flexible.
Ingredients in SAVE ME FROM Thermal Obsession
Multi Hyaluronic Acid
Optimized ratio of low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acids that create a moisture barrier smoothing, flattening, and tightening the cuticle. This high-tech blend increases hair hydration, shine, and suppleness while buffering against frizz and pollution.
Marine Brown Algae
Rich in sulfated polysaccharides, this marine brown algae provides resistance to high temperatures giving heat protection and long-lasting hydration while bringing life, shine, and strength back to damaged hair.
Silky Butter + Exotic Oils
Silky African, Amazon and Himalayan butters and oils combine for a melt-on-contact blend of vitamin and antioxidant-rich hydration that nourishes parched hair and scalp.
It's worth mentioning the hair reparative benefits of Fenugen. Inspired by Ayurvedic medicine, we've harnessed the fenugreek's rich phytonutrients including medium and long chain fatty acids, terpenoids, polyphenols, phospholipids and vitamins A, C and B variety vitamins and paired these with bio-boosters like ubiquinone (also known as Coenzyme Q10 for hair), organic karanja (also known as pongamia) and medicum chain triglycerides (MCT’s derived from coconut). Through a patented eco extraction process, we've magnified these phytonutrients into our clinically proven technology. Fenugen possesses the rich nutrients of fenugreek seeds in a complex 5x more potent in polyphenols. These nutrients include Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Vitamin C and more. With consistent, long-term use, hair bonds are rebuilt, hydration is restored helping to reduce frizz, the scalp is energized and nourished from within allowing hair that's more resistant to damage to emerge. Rooted in Ayurveda, our Fenugen is clinically proven to transform hair from tip to root, inside and out.
This technology improves the health of the scalp as well as every aspect of the hair, root to tip.
About the Author
Krissie Gerrard is a biochemist and cosmetic formulator with a background in both research and development and product development. She partnered with leading contract manufacturers to develop skin and hair care brands including Bliss Color and Orlando Pita Play, directing both formulation and clinical testing. She worked as the senior formulation chemist at a contract manufacturer developing formulas for prestige brands found at Sephora and Ulta. She studied hair biology through the University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy and writes newsletter articles for the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Save Me From pushed her knowledge and expertise to the limit to formulate products with unique textures, specific hair concerns, new technology, and great clinical results.
 L. Hu. Heat Damage to Hair. University of Cincinnati, College of Pharmacy, 1996.