Hair Serums: What Are They And How To Use Them? + Benefits

by Anjali Sayee

We have seen numerous ads featuring hair serums that instantly transform dull, dry hair into tresses that are beautifully smooth, silky, and stunning.
With our hectic schedules and fast-paced lifestyles, anything that helps us with instant results is a big relief. In this article, we will further explore these hair serums. We will also discuss the right ways to use them to achieve the best results.

What Is A Hair Serum?

A hair serum is a silicone-based product that coats the surface of your hair. Unlike hair oil, it does not penetrate the hair cuticles or cause changes to the hair structure. Instead, it enhances the curliness and smoothness of hair (1).

Silicone helps strengthen hair and brightens it. It also helps reduce hair loss (2). Silicone-based serums contain a lower pH level that minimizes hair damage (1). Dimenthicone and polysiloxane, used in most hair care products like serums, are known to protect the hair shaft and glue cuticle filers together to stop heat damage (1), (3).

There are many types and brands of hair serums available on the market. But before you pick one, it is important to understand the mechanism of a hair serum.

What Does A Hair Serum Do?

A good hair serum prevents your hair from getting tangled and makes it softer, frizz-free, and shinier (1). The serum should also effectively protect your hair against sun exposure and from pollutants like dust and grime.

Once you have found the perfect hair serum, you need to know the right way to apply it to maximize the benefits.

Benefits Of Using Hair Serums

  1.  A hair serum makes hair shinier and healthier and reduces tangles.
  2. As the serum reflects light, it makes hair look lustrous and healthier. It also protects hair from dust and humidity.
  3. The low acidity prevents swelling and holds the hair fibers together, preventing damage (1).
  4. A hair serum also protects your hair from the damaging effects of the sun, pollutants, and other harmful chemicals.
  5. A hair serum helps moisturize hair that has been damaged from color.

Most people use a hair serum to prevent dry and damaged hair. Some start using it once their hair turns dull or tangled, while others might use it to protect it from too much heat caused while using hair styling products and gadgets.

The following steps should help you pick and use the right hair serum.

How To Use A Hair Serum

1. Find The Perfect Product

  • Like any other grooming product, every brand uses different ingredients that may benefit certain hair types and do very little for others.
  • It is important you find the perfect product best suited for your hair. You must also be aware of the ingredients used. This could often mean experimenting with a few products before finding the right one.

2. Wash Hair Thoroughly Before Application

  • One must remember that hair serum is only applied to shampooed hair. 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 a hair serum is protecting your hair against dust and grime. Hence, 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 are trying out a hair serum for the first time, use one 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.

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 the serum on hair that falls over your face, going upwards from the tips of your hair. Massage the tips, as the hair serum works well on split ends. Flip the hair back again, take two to four more drops of the serum, and massage it well into your scalp.
  • Once done, you can take a few more drops and apply the serum all over your hair for efficient application.

4. Post-Application Hair Care

  • Once you have applied the serum effectively to your hair, brush it downwards. This will help you easily disentangle hair.
  • After applying the serum, make sure you blow dry your hair until it is completely dry. This is important because damp hair can 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 serum and then go for the straightener. The serum will also protect your hair from any damage caused due to overheating and the resultant breakage.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while using a hair serum (especially if you haven’t used it earlier and are trying the product for the first time):

  1. Always go for a good brand even though it may cost a little more. Trying to cut down on the cost may not be a good idea when you want the desired results for your hair.
  2. While applying the hair serum, make sure you don’t rub it into your scalp. Instead, comb it lightly through your hair, preferably with your fingertips or using a comb.
  3. If you feel your hair is drying out unusually fast after using the serum, try switching your brand. It could be possible that the brand you have been using is not suiting your hair type. Switching to another brand may resolve the issue.
  4. While you are using the hair serum, try to match your other hair products, like the shampoo and conditioner, to understand what combination works best for your hair.
  5. Using too much of anything is bad, and that holds true for a hair serum as well. It is good to use the serum in moderate quantities. Try not to use it every day. In case you need to use it every day, do so in small quantities.
  6. Apply the hair serum when your hair is damp or towel-dried and not when it is dripping wet.
  7. Pour a few drops of the serum on your palms and rub it through the fingers, and then run them along your hair.
  8. Give attention to the roots of your hair, and once done, comb or brush through.
  9. Don’t overuse the hair serum repeatedly without washing hair. This may 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 silicone, which tends to coat your hair like plastic. This may instantly give your hair a smooth and shiny effect.
  • The silicone in hair serums can eventually damage your hair, leading to hair fall and breakage. This is where homemade hair serums could help. You can prepare them easily at home, and you will have more control over the ingredients. They can also help promote hair health by nourishing and protecting it.

Hair Serum For Different Hair Types: 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

Those with oily hair should go for light oil as a base for making their hair serum. Oils like coconut oil and jojoba oil are lighter than other oils. Hence, they can be perfect for oily hair and scalp. The excess oiliness in hair is caused due to the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands, which makes hair look greasy all the time. Therefore, you should choose an essential oil that could control the gland. 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 place, in a tight screw type bottle.
  • Apply this oil to dry or damp hair to retain moisture and prevent excess oiliness.
  • If you do not want to use it during the day (as it may make your hair look oily), you can always use the oil during the night. Massage this serum over hair and scalp every night before going to bed.

For Dry Hair

Those with dry hair 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 work well.

  • Mix a few drops of any of these essential oils with 100 mL 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 20 mL of the coconut oil to lighten the consistency.
  • A daily massage with this serum on a dry scalp can result in beautiful, lustrous, and nourished hair without any split ends or dryness.

Check out these top hair serums from L’Oreal and these reviews on hair serums to pick the best one for you.

Tips To Remember

  • Avoid using hair straighteners, curlers, and other heat producing hair equipment often as they may damage your hair. This eventually can lead 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.

Now that you know the 411 on hair serums, give your hair some TLC! Use a hair serum to increase hair strength, reduce hair loss, and prevent heat damage.

3 sources

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Anjali Sayee

Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.