Hair Serums – What Are They & Why To Use Them? June 9, 2016

We’ve seen numerous ads featuring products that instantly transform dull, dry hair into beautifully smooth, silky and stunning hair. With our hectic schedules and fast-paced lifestyles, anything that helps to get an instant result for the hair is a big relief.

First and foremost.

[ Read: Best Serum for Dry Hair ]

What Is Hair Serum?

A hair serum is a silicone-based product that coats the surface of your hair, unlike hair oil that penetrates the hair cuticles and causes changes to the hair structure. There are many types and brands of hair serum available nowadays that you can try and figure out which one works best for your hair type.

Designed as a hair care solution that prevents your hair from getting tangled while giving it that softness and shine, a good hair serum should effectively protect your hair against exposure to the sun and pollutants like dust and grime, every time you step outdoors. Once you have found the perfect hair serum, it is important to know on applying serum to hair, to help maximize the benefits.


Image: Shutterstock

How To Use Hair Serum

One of the main use of hair serum is that it makes the hair shinier, healthier and causes less tangles. As the serum reflects light, it ends up making the hair look shinier and healthier, and also keeps it protected from dust and humidity. Not only that, it also forms a protective layer on your hair against the harmful exposure to the sun, and also against harmful chemicals.

Most people use hair serum as a preventive measure against dry and damaged hair. Some start using it once their hair turns exceptionally dull or tangled, while others might use it to put in some measure of protection against too much heat and chemical reactions caused while using hair styling products and gadgets.

1. Find The Perfect Product

The first step is to find the perfect hair serum. Just like any other grooming product, every brand uses different components that may benefit certain hair types and do very little for others. It’s imperative that you find the perfect product best suited for your hair and keep a tab on the components used. Often this means that you may need to try two or more products before you find what’s right for you.

2. Wash Hair Thoroughly Before Application

Hair serum is only applied on shampooed hair, and the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Unlike hair mousse or hair sprays, a hair serum is primarily a source of nourishment for your hair, even though it does help to style or disentangle as well. The primary purpose of hair serum is protecting your hair against dust and grime, so, applying it on unwashed hair will defeat the purpose. Often popular brands manufacture a complete range of hair grooming products that include a shampoo, conditioner and hair serum that are made to complement each other. If you’re trying out hair serum for the first time, it’s a good idea to use the hair serum that comes with a compatible shampoo and conditioner in the same hair-care range. Shampoo your hair thoroughly, follow it up with a conditioner and finally apply the hair serum.

[ Read: Hair Serum For Oily Hair ]

3. How To Apply Serum On Hair

Depending upon the length and density of your hair, take two to six drops of the hair serum in your palm and rub it properly on both palms to mix well. Hair serum is best applied on just washed hair, so make sure your hair is towel-dried or slightly damp. Flip your hair forwards and start applying hair serum on hair that falls over your face, going upwards from the tips of your hair. Massage the tips, as hair serum works well on split ends. Flip the hair back again, take two to four more drops of hair serum and massage it well into your scalp. Once done, it is best to take a few more drops and apply the serum all over your hair for efficient application.

4. Post Application Hair Care

Once you’ve applied the serum effectively over your hair, brush it downwards. This will help you to easily disentangle hair. After applying hair serum, make sure you blow dry your hair till it is completely dry, as damp hair could cause dust or grime to stick to your hair and scalp. If you use a hair straightener often, it is best to first apply the hair serum and then go for the straightener, as the serum will also protect your hair from any damage caused due to overheating and resultant breakage.

Here are a few things you need to remember while using a hair serum, especially if you haven’t used it earlier and are trying it out for the first time:

  • Always go for a good brand even though it may cost more than some other brands available in the market. Trying to cut down on the cost may not be a good idea when you want the desired results for your hair.

[ Read: Hair Smoothing Products ]

  • While applying hair serum, make sure you don’t rub it in your scalp; comb it lightly through your hair, preferably with your fingertips or using a comb.
  • If you feel that after using the hair serum your hair is drying out unusually fast, try switching your brand. It could be possible that the brand of hair serum you’re using isn’t suiting your hair type. Switching to another brand may solve the drying problem.

[ Read: Best Hair Serum For Oily Hair ]

  • While you’re using the hair serum, try to match your other hair products, like shampoo and conditioner, to understand what combination works best for your hair.
  • Using too much of anything is bad, and that holds true for hair serum as well. It’s good to use the serum in moderate quantities, try not using it every day, or in case you need it each day, use it in little quantity.
  • Apply hair serum when your hair is damp or towel dried, not dripping wet.
  • Pour a few drops of the serum on your palms and rub it through the fingers, then run along your hair.

[ Read: Matrix Hair Care Products ]

  • Give attention to the roots of your hair and once done, comb or brush through.
  • Don’t over-use hair serum consistently without washing hair, as this will lead to greasy hair and dandruff. Make sure your hair is washed and clean before using a hair serum.

How Does A Hair Serum Help?

  • Hair serums are meant for treating and preparing hair before using heat on your hair
  • They help prevent your hair from breakage.
  • Usually, hair serums contain silicon, which tends to coat your hair like plastic. This may give a smooth and shiny effect instantly.

Silicon content in the hair serums can eventually damage your hair which leads to hair fall and breakage. In addition to the branded hair serums that you get in the markets, there are many simple homemade hair serum recipes that you can easily prepare. These will help your hair by nourishing and protecting it.

Hair Serum Recipes

Here are two simple and effective hair serum recipes that are good for dry and oily hair types. As these contain natural and essential oils, they will help nourish your hair.

For Oily Hair

Oily hairs should go for light oil as a base for making your hair serum. Oils like coconut oil and jojoba oil are lighter than other oils and hence they are perfect for oily hair and scalp. The excess oiliness in hair is caused due to the sebum produced by the sebaceous gland, which makes hair look greasy all the time. Therefore, you should choose an essential oil which controls the gland and makes it back to normal. Lemon, peppermint, and geranium essential oils are light and suit oily hair the best.

  • To make the serum, mix few drops of any essential oil mentioned above with 100 ml of coconut or jojoba oil.
  • Shake well and store this serum in a dark and tight screw type bottle.
  • This oil can be applied to dry or damp hair to retain its moisture and also to prevent excess oiliness.

For those of you who do not want to apply this during the day, as it may make your hair look oily, you can always use it at night. Massage this serum over hair and scalp every night before going to bed.

For Dry Hair

Dry hair types are usually prone to split ends and breakage. Thick concentrated and moisturizing oils like castor oil should be selected as the serum base. For dry scalps, essential oils like rosewood and lavender suit well.

  • Mix a few drops of any of these essential oils with 100ml of pure castor oil
  • Shake well and store in an airtight bottle.
  • If you feel that the consistency of the castor oil is very thick, you can add 20ml of coconut oil to lighten the consistency.

A daily massage on dry scalp with this hair serum results in beautiful, lustrous and nourished hair without any split ends or dryness. Leaving the serum overnight gives double benefits to dry hair.

Tips To Remember

  • Avoid using hair straighteners, curlers and other heat producing hair equipment often as they may damage your hair. This leads to lifeless and dull hair.
  • These hair serums can be used twice or thrice a week to nourish and protect hair as they are made naturally without any silicon or other harmful preservatives.

Hope you liked the article. Please leave your feedback below.

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Debolina Raja Gupta


  • Devika

    I was looking for this thanks for the share

    • Debolina Raja Gupta

      Devika…good to knw….thnx dear :-)

  • Meena

    Very useful article debolina good work

    • Debolina Raja Gupta

      Meena…oho..thnx dear :-) glad u found it helpful

  • Laasya

    Nice info debo very useful

    • Debolina Raja Gupta

      Laasya..thnx babes :-)

  • Manya

    It is very helpful for beginner who want to start using hair serums

    • Debolina Raja Gupta

      Manya..thnx a ton ! Hair serums can really work well, so choose wisely

  • Divyasri

    useful content debo its very helpful

    • Debolina Raja Gupta

      Divyasri..thnx a ton dear :-)

  • Carol

    Use coconut oil…

    • Richa

      Truly Carol, Using coconut oil is a wonderful natural way to make your hair soft, radiant, and healthy.

  • Samya

    Actually, serums only advertise healthier ‘looking’ hair for a reason. Silicones are TERRIBLE for the health of your hair, they actually damage it really badly, and will ruin your hair in the long run. This posting is just to make you buy serums, it’s not actually telling you any of the chemical properties of silicones which you do not want in your hair. Oiling your hair is the beneficial thing you can do for it and it works to actually improve your hair and MAKE it healthier, not just make it LOOK healthier. Think of it this way, oiling your hair is like having great skincare. Make-up foundation is made to make your skin LOOK more even, but it doesn’t actually do anything for your skin. In fact, in the long run, wearing foundation is actually bad for your skin. Wouldn’t you rather invest in having nice and healthy skin in the first place than something to just mask how bad it looks? Don’t buy into these products, they just give illusions of having healthy looking hair. Instead, invest of HAVING healthy hair that will not only LOOK healthy but BE healthy. Oil regularly, massage your scalp, minimize using heat, and use sulfate free shampoos and conditioners that are free of silicones.

    • Richa

      Very well shared Samya! That’s the main objective and thank you for highlighting that. :) Hope it will help others too. We have moved on from natural remedies to chemical treatments looking for instant results. However, it is not the right solution for healthy hair. It is time to bring back the age old solutions.

  • Rahul

    Hi Debo,

    Very Nice Article.

    I have query regarding serum, Is there any particular Serum for dry and rough hair? From last few months my hair also started getting white.

    I also want to know does serum are just for styling or it also cover nutrition requirement of hair?

    I know this is not right place to ask question please forgive me. But I found your article very helpful.

    And I will be very thankful to you if you suggest any serum for me keeping in mind with my hair condition.

    Frustated Guy!!
    (28 Male)

    • StyleCraze

      Hi Rahul…some of the best hair srums for dry and rough hairs are John Freida Frizz-ease Hair Serum, Grapeseed Glossing Serum, Kerastase Noctogenist Serum Nuit, Schwarzkopf Schwarzkopf osis+magic Gloss Anti-frizz Serum, Organix Vanilla Silk Serum, Joica k- pak Protect and Shine Serum, Kerastase Nutritive Oleo Relax Serum and Global Keratin Hair Taming System Serum.

  • carol

    thanks for the tips!