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Learn what hair serums are, why you should use one, and the best hair serums to use to achieve soft, manageable hair.
It may seem that there is an endless number of hair products out on the market, and admittedly, some of these products promise questionable results. So when you encounter a hair serum, you may not understand what that actually means.
However, reserve your skepticism; hair serums may seem gratuitous, but they’re actually an essential hair care product that can provide a variety of benefits to your locks.
Keep reading to learn what hair serums are, the benefits of hair serums, why you should use one, and suggestions on the best hair serums that you should consider using to style your hair.
What Is a Hair Serum?
In short, hair serum is a product that is used to reduce frizz and add shine to hair. Hair serums coat the surface of your hair, and the best hair serums will help protect your hair from various environmental conditions, such as sun, humidity or wind, while also providing protection from heat styling tools.
Hair serums coat your hair with a protective layer to tame it and help make it more manageable. They often contain silicone, as that is what is effective in taming frizz and protecting the hair.
Silicone may sound scary, but don’t worry; the worst that silicone can do is leave buildup on your hair if you use too much or use it too often. Otherwise, silicone hair products are safe to use.
Hair serums come in different forms. They are sometimes classified under the umbrella term of “leave-ins” because they aren’t meant to be washed out of your hair, but unlike leave-in conditioners, hair serums don’t always have “moisturizing” as one of their main properties.
Most hair serums are meant especially to coat the hair strands, but others are meant to be added to your scalp to promote scalp health or hair growth.
Why Use a Hair Serum?
Depending on the hair serum you choose, they may provide a number of benefits to your hair.
Some of those benefits include:
- Control frizz: Hair serums will help control flyaways and tame frizz.
- Boost shine: When your hair has less frizz, it will appear smoother and shinier. The silicone used in some hair serums might also reflect light and enhance the glossy effect.
- Enhances your natural hair type: If you have curly hair, a hair serum may enhance your curls. If you have straight hair, hair serum will help it stay sleek and emphasize how straight it is.
- Protect from heat: Most hair serums create a protective layer on your strands to help protect your hair from environmental factors and harmful chemicals. Furthermore, some hair serums are actually marketed as heat protectants and are to be applied before using styling tools.
Beware, not every hair serum is adequate enough to be used as a heat protectant against tools such as straighteners.
How to Apply Hair Serum
- Wash and condition your hair as usual.
- Pat your hair dry with a towel. It should be damp, but not dripping.
- Depending on your hair length, thickness, and curl pattern, add 1-3 drops of the hair serum to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to warm it up.
- Working from the ends up, apply to your hair evenly. Avoid pulling your hair, applying to roots,** or applying too much product.
- Use a brush or comb to distribute the serum throughout your hair.
Tip: If you’re using a hair serum that is meant primarily for your scalp, you should apply it directly to your scalp. Follow the instructions on the bottle, and still, avoid adding too much product.
Best Hair Serums
The best hair serums will diminish frizz, add shine, and protect against environmental factors.
You’ll want to do your research to understand what would be the best hair serum for you based on your hair type. Below, you’ll find a list of the best hair serums based on what your hair needs may be.
1. Kerastase Nutritive Oléo-Relax Serum: Best Overall
- Nutri-huile complex provides optimal nourishment for dry hair
- Shorea seed butter and essential palm oils provide nutrition, hydration, and softness
- Offers the perfect finishing touch for hair styling, providing a long-lasting effect
Kerastase’s Nutritive Oleo-Relax Serum will effortlessly have your hair feeling soft while looking sleek and shiny. The light formula absorbs well into your hair without leaving residue, making it ideal for all hair types.
If you regularly use heat styling tools on your hair, this hair serum will help make sure your hair comes out sleek every time. It is on the pricier side, but for smooth and manageable hair, it’s worth it!
- Protects against heat
- Great smell
2. Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum: Best Professional Hair Serum
- Spend more time living and less time styling
- The product is paraben Free , gluten Free , vegan and Color safe
- This product is firm Hold and natural finish
Paul Mitchell products provide salon quality at home. The Super Skinny Serum is described as a humidity-resistant blowout primer that not only smooths and conditions your hair strands but speeds up drying as well.
After using this Paul Mitchell hair serum, your hair will be left silky, shiny, and frizz-free.
- Award-winning formula
- Great smell
- Helps protect hair from thermal styling
- It may not be as effective on thick hair
3. Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti-Frizz Serum: Most Affordable
- Garnier Anti Frizz Serum: With the frizz taming power of Moroccan argan oil, this Anti Frizz serum penetrates into frizzy,...
- Fight Frizz with Sleek and Shine: Tame your frizz with styling sprays, creams, and mists that give your look a lasting sleek...
- Nourish and Style with Garnier Fructis: From Mega Full to Anti Frizz hair products Garnier has shampoos, leave in...
If you’re not completely ready to invest in a hair serum, and you just want to start with an affordable one, Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti-Frizz serum is the best place for you to begin your discovery.
This hair serum is inexpensive, but as the name suggests, it’s still effective in controlling frizz and dry hair, giving your hair a sleek look while also adding shine.
- Great for frizzy, dry hair
- Not as effective on textured hair
4. John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum: Best for Frizz
- ANTI FRIZZ HAIR SERUM - This unique serum for frizzy, curly hair nourishes unmanageable hair and leaves locks with a silky,...
- HEAT AND HUMIDITY PROTECTANT - Extra strength hair serum helps to protect from heat damage and repel humidity for optimal...
- HAIR SMOOTHING AND REPAIR - Carefully formulated featuring bamboo extract, this weightless, anti-frizz hair serum repairs...
Although one of the main functions of hair serums is to tame frizz, some serums work better than others in successfully controlling your frizzy hair.
If frizz is your biggest concern when it comes to your hair, you’ll want to try John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum.
This serum is specially made for curly hair that is more prone to frizz. It repels humidity, helping to ensure that your hair remains sleek throughout the day.
- Suitable for curly hair
- Prevents damage from heat styling
- Not suitable to be applied to roots
5. Global Keratin GK Hair Smoothing Serum: Best Argan Oil Serum
- NOURISHING ARGAN OIL HAIR SERUM: Feel the power of Keratin and Argan Oil as they invigorate your hair, stimulating thicker...
- DESIGNED JUST FOR YOU: This nourishing formula will instantly revitalize straight, wavy, curly, coiled, and tightly coiled...
- HAIR RESTORATION: A blend of Argan oil, Keratin anti-aging protein), Natural Extracts and many other key ingredients will...
Argan oil is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants which benefit both the scalp and hair. Therefore, a serum that contains argan oil may provide your hair with additional nutrients. The GK Hair Smoothing serum does just that.
This hair serum revitalizes hair follicles, and with the vitamins and nutrients from the argan oil, penetrates the hair shaft and controls frizz and flyaways. Not only will your hair look and feel good, but it will be as healthy as can be!
- Argan oil provides additional nutrients
- Suitable for all hair types
- Can be applied to the scalp
- Strong perfume-like fragrance
6. SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum Hair Treatment: Best for Natural Hair
- SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Hair Serum is a hair treatment blended with Fair Trade...
- This anti-frizz serum by SheaMoisture is the best hair treatment for damaged hair, made with Shea Butter with Black Castor...
- SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Hair Serum gives hair frizz control. This is the best hair...
For afro-textured hair, a one-size-fits-all hair product isn’t always the best choice. SheaMoisture products are specially formulated for textured hair, and this Strengthen and Restore Hair Serum provides curly and textured hair with everything it needs.
Using Jamaican Black Castor Oil, this serum is meant to be applied primarily to the scalp to provide moisture and promote hair growth. It can also be distributed throughout the hair to control frizz and give it some shine.
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil to provide hair and scalp with extra nutrients
- Great smell
- Can also be used for hot oil treatment
- This is a thicker and more oily serum, so it may be too heavy to use on thin or fine hair.
7. Davines This is a Texturizing Serum: Best Fine Hair
- Hair type: Wavy
- Item Package Weight: 0.176kg
- Ingredients: AQUA / WATER / EAU, VP/VA COPOLYMER, PROPANEDIOL, POLYQUATERNIUM-37, VINYL CAPROLACTAM/VP/DIMETHYLAMINOETHYL...
Heavy hair products can be problematic for fine hair as it weighs it down, building up residue and leaving it looking lifeless.
Davines This is a Texturizing Serum that will not only reduce frizz but it is meant to provide a light texture to the hair and help keep its hold. Use on straight or wavy hair to add shine and softness.
- Does not leave residue
- Not suitable for tightly curled or textured hair
8. EDEN BodyWorks Papaya Castor Nourishing Scalp Massaging Serum: Best for Scalp
- NOURISH: Papaya is packed with vitamins A, C + E, which provide nutrients that are incredibly beneficial to maintaining...
- SOOTHE: Cools and calms the scalp from itch and irritation
- MOISTURIZE: Made with Castor Oil, this Jam has deep moisturization properties that will add shine + protect strands from...
If you’re looking for the best hair serum to nourish your scalp, EDEN BodyWorks’ Nourishing Scalp Massaging Serum will have you falling in love.
This hair serum uses papaya, a fruit that is packed with vitamins that are beneficial in maintaining a healthy scalp and hair. It also uses castor oil to add moisture and shine as well as protect your strands from drying out.
- Great for a dry scalp
- Great for curly or textured hair
- Smells yummy
- Adds shine, but is not as effective in controlling frizz
9. OGX Smoothing + Liquid Pearl Luminescent Serum: Best for Shine
- SHINE-ENHANCING SERUM: Luxuriate in this nourishing, shine-boosting serum that helps smooth hair to reflect light & luster....
- MERMAID HAIR GOALS: Infused with pearl extract & sea kelp, our Smoothing + Liquid Pearl Luminescent line will have your...
- BEAUTY PURE & SIMPLE: OGX products are inspired by nature. We don’t try to make hair look “perfect” because we’d...
Shine bright like a diamond when you use OGX Smoothing + Liquid Pearl Luminescent Serum. This is the best hair serum to add the most amount of shine to your locks.
The serum helps reflect the light from your hair, bringing it to a new level of shimmer and glossiness. It’s infused with pearl extract and sea kelp to help your hair feel nourished and to give it a sleek look.
- Suitable for all hair types
- Safe for color-treated hair
- Has a strong scent. Might have a slight “kelp” smell
10. CHI Silk Infusion: Best Heat Protection
- Rich leave-in treatment enriched with silk, wheat and soy proteins that will penetrate and help strengthen the hair
- Provides incredible softness, manageability and shine without build up
- Protects the hair against thermal styling and environment
If you regularly use heat to style your hair, a heat protectant serum is a must. The best serum that provides heat protection comes from CHI, of course. CHI Silk Fusion has been a favorite of stylists and people who straighten their hair for years.
It is enriched with silk, wheat, and soy proteins that penetrate and help strengthen the hair while providing protection from thermal styling. If you already have a CHI styling tool, you should always keep a bottle of silk fusion available.
- Ideal for heat styling
- Suitable for all hair types
- Only really worth it if you regularly use heat to style your hair
11. Camille Rose Cocoa Nibs Growth Serum: Best for Hair Growth
- A healing hair oil blend crafted to combat thinning and hair breakage
- Crafted to restore hair strands, opening blocked hair follicles for improved circulation and optimal hair strength
- Virgin Amla Oil strengthens hair follicles to condition and improves overall hair health
In particular, the virgin amla oil strengthens the hair follicles, while the herb Brahmi helps nourish the scalp and stimulate hair growth, all while adding shine.
- Prevents thinning and promotes hair growth
- Uses an assortment of hair oils to provide nutrients to the hair
- Can also be used on eyebrows
- Primarily made of oils, so it’s a little thick — may weigh down thin, fine hair
12. Pantene Nutrient Blends Fortifying Damage Repair Overnight Serum: Best Overnight Hair Serum
- You will receive two 32 fluid ounce bottles of Serum
- Restorative hair repair serum designed to help strengthen, protect and repair damaged, overworked hair
- Overnight treatment to help repair and restore damaged hair so it looks smooth and healthy in the morning
If you’re looking for a serum that works to repair your hair, Pantene’s Damage Repair Overnight Serum has you covered. It is designed to strengthen, protect and repair damaged hair.
It’s formulated with castor oil to provide your hair with straightening nutrients, and works overnight so that you can wake up to great feeling hair. Just apply before you go to bed and then wash as you normally would when you wake up.
- Treatment meant to improve your hair long-term
- Doesn’t leave hair oily
- Meant to be washed out, so it may not be as effective in controlling frizz
- Not meant to be used on the roots
Hair serums may not be on everyone’s list of go-to hair products, but they should be. Not only do they control frizz and add shine, but depending on the hair serum, they can provide additional benefits to the health of your hair.
Test out different ones to determine the best hair serum for you. Once you find the perfect one, you’ll be unable to imagine your life without it.