When it comes to serum, we’re all so accustomed to using it on our face for all sorts of reasons – moisture, hydration and to create a smooth and even texture. But did you know the same can go for a hair serum? That’s exactly right.
Hair serums work as a styling tool to treat a number of hair concerns, including out-of-control frizz, adding shine to otherwise dull locks and protecting against environmental factors. It’s different from an oil which works mainly to condition on the inside, whereas serums can be used as a quick fix to treat hair at the surface.
If you’re new to the hair serum game, it might be a little daunting to pick the right one – especially because there are so many to choose from that target all different hair concerns.
First, what is a hair serum?
Just like the extra boost skincare serums can give to the face and décolletage, hair serums can penetrate deep into the hair, more so than traditional hair products alone, making them a must for your beauty bag.
A hair serum is a silicone-based styling product that can make your hair shiny, smooth out any frizz, and protect it against environmental aggressors like humidity. However, the disadvantage of hair serums lies in the application process, especially when it comes to how you use it. Even if it is an amazing product, the application can make or break the experience.
How do you apply a hair serum?
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your hair serum, you need to understand the proper way to use and apply it. Below, a list of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to using a hair serum.
- Use your hair serum as a protective styling product. Prior to using a blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron, it is best to apply an adequate amount of serum to protect the hair and preserve it
- Apply hair serum to wet hair. While working with wet hair means you need to be extra gentle, this is when your hair will be most receptive to styling products. Applying a hair serum to wet hair will also mean you’ll enjoy the styling effects for longer.
- Never apply a hair serum to the scalp area. It may seem foreign to avoid the scalp when using a hair styling product, but hair serum is not the same as shampoo, conditioner or oil. There are already natural oils responsible for caring for your scalp and roots. If you apply a hair serum directly to the scalp, it will create a greasy and oil base. The most beneficial way to apply a hair serum is by smoothing it directly onto the ears and ends. Follow by using a comb to run the product through the hair evenly. Always apply hair serum in small, even amounts. A little can go a long way when it comes to a good hair serum.
So whether you’re looking to add shine to dry hair, or protect color from fading, or even infuse some anti-aging properties into your hair, there’s a serum for you. Read on to find the best hair serum for your hair type.
#1 Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Infinite Colour Hold Dual-Use Serum, $50
Best for: Anti-aging.
This intensive hair serum is grease-free and lightweight, and is best for hair that is suffering from heat damage and colour fading. Hair strands will be protected against heated styling tools, while also receiving a boost of hydration and general refresh. This hair serum contains ingredients such as vitamin C to help maintain strand strength and caviar extract to help fortify hair fibre and protect against loss.
#2 IGK Crybaby Anti-Frizz Smoothing Serum, $42
Best for: Smoothing frizz.
Inspired by skincare serum technology, this hair serum-in-oil formula absorbs into the hair instead of sitting on top of it for a weightless, non-greasy feeling. The results are frizz-free, soft and shiny hair. This hair serum also contains coconut oil which acts to nourish, while antioxidant-rich prickly pair extract adds colour dimension and shine.
#3 Kenra Platinum Silkening Gloss, $16.06
Best for: Dull hair.
This hair serum is often praised for its ability to add shine and keep frizz at bay. The use of hydrolyzed Silk Protein A protein works to smooth hair out while also strengthening and protecting against breakage. The cyclomethicone /dimethicone Complex A specially engineered combination of silicone humectants for shine and compatibility. Octyl Methoxycinnamate, an ingredient used in sunscreen, provides ultimate UV protection.
#4 John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength 6 Effects Serum, $11.89
Best for: Coarse and thick hair.
One of the original and best-ever hair serums on the market, John Frieda’s Frizz Ease is highly regarded in the hair world. The cult classic serum helps smooth out, heat protect, hydrate and tame hair while also offering protection from humid weather. This hair serum contains a high-potency blend of silicone infused with Aloe and Vitamin E.
#5 Kerastase Resistance Sérum Extentioniste Scalp & Hair Serum, $75
Best for: Severely damaged hair.
Kerastase’s hair serum helps to rebuild hair that has been severely weakened by heat damage, environmental aggressors or chemical processing, and protect against future breakage. This is best for those looking to grow their hair out and help restore hair to its original condition.
#6 Dove Supreme Crème Serum, $23.23
Best for: Those on a budget.
This popular hair serum is formulated with glycerin, which pulls moisture from the air to hydrate curls, add shine and control frizz on even the driest of hair. It’s also infused with Buriti oil to soften strands, leaving curls immensely touchable and protected against breakage. The Dove hair serum also helps give natural curls four times more definition when used with shampoo and conditioner.
#7 ELEVEN Smooth & Shine Anti-Frizz, $24.95
Best for: Adding shine.
The ELEVEN hair serum is a treatment that tames frizz and adds shine. With ingredients like argan oil to control stubborn flyaways, this product is the ultimate frizz fighter. This serum is suitable for all hair types, but is great for those looking to amp up the shine on dull and lifeless hair.
#8 Abyssinian Hair Serum, $15
Best for: Hair fighting breakage.
Enriched with Abyssinian oil, a sustainable ancient Mediterranean crop extract with a unique fatty acid structure and exceptionally high concentrations in phytosterols, omega 3-6-9 and antioxidants, this serum provides benefits superior to other plants, with less breakage, more shine, softer and easier-to-manage frizz-free hair. It’s also budget friendly and easy to use.
#9 VO5 Heat Protect Serum, $43.55
Best for: People who regularly use heated styling tools.
This serum works to fight frizz and smooth flyaways, but its defining property is to protect against heat.
#10 It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-In Potion Plus Keratin, $21.99
Best for: Hair affected by humidity.
This serums one-of-a-kind combination of ingredients makes it work so well. The smoothing cream works to infuse hair with silky softness while eliminating frizz and the appearance of damage. It’s also a lightweight formula that is never greasy and glides onto hair smoothly. This leave-in serum adds moisture and conditions hair while separating curls, preserving straight styles, safeguarding against heat styling and resisting humidity.
#11 Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax Serum, $60
Best for: Hair with dry ends.
Kérastase Sérum Oléo-Relax is a serum best used to discipline dry and frizzy hair. Its softening formula will leave hair silky smooth and more manageable whilst adding incredible shine. Containing shorea and palm oil to provide intense nourishing care, cationic polymers to soften hair and facilitate detangling while also offering anti-frizz and anti-humidity action.
#12 OGX Anti-Breakage Serum Nourishing Coconut Milk, $19.99
Best for: Adding strength.
This hair serum contains silk amino acids which helps seal split ends and prevent future breakage in the hair follicles. Made with coconut oil and whipped egg white proteins, its ingredients work wonders for an effortless and easy shine. This anti-breakage serum carefully adds elasticity and strength to weak, brittle and damaged hair, promoting overall health that prevents damage.
#13 John Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum, $23.15
Best for: Creating straight hair.
A wonder serum for those waning hair silky, shiny and frizz-free – no matter the weather. Lightweight silicones smooth, condition and seal hair strands to add shine while the award-winning formula is perfect for speeding up hair drying time to give you silky-smooth results in less time, every time. This hair serum is also paraben and gluten free.
#14 Vernon François Pure~Fro Hold and Shine Serum, $37
Best for: Curly hair.
Vernon François Pure~Fro Hold and Shine Serum is blended with six natural oils, including apricot kernel oil, a great source of vitamins A, D, and E, and daikon seed extract. This serum is the finishing touch for flawless hair, especially kinky and curly hair. Its ingredients work to boost shine, add vitality and support natural, healthy hair growth.
#15 Living Proof Restore Smooth Blowout Concentrate, $44
Best for: A quick blow dry.
This innovative styling treatment with a special heat activated formula is designed to smooth hair and cut blow dry time in half. It also helps to prevent styling damage using thermal protectants which create a shield. It also contains the unique healthy hair molecule (OFPMA) which smooths and softens while increasing manageability and shine. Most ideal for thick and coarse hair, as well as colour treated hair.