If you're looking to add a little bit of life to your hairstyle, consider incorporating a hair serum into your daily routine. Just one pump of serum can transform your locks from boring to beautiful in no time at all. But wait, before pulling out your wallet at the drugstore, you'll need to know that hair serums are not one size fits all. Luckily, we did the research and developed a comprehensive list of any and every type of hair serum you're likely to find on the market.
Whether you're looking to de-frizz your curls or add life to your naturally straight tresses, we've got it covered. Keep reading to learn about 11 types of hair serum and how to figure out which one will be right for you.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
1. Hair Growth Serum
This type of serum is a lifesaver for people who experience thinning and bald spots, but it's just as useful for folks who have slow-growing hair and want more length. Growth starts at the root, so hair growth serums perform best when applied directly to the scalp. Of course, this will vary depending on the brand, so always read package instructions before use.
2. Hydrating Serum
People with dry hair understand the daily struggle of battling with dehydrated locks. Hydrating serums that include oil blends are incredibly effective at penetrating deep into strands and keeping them fresh and moisturized all day long. Argan, castor, and sweet almond oils are some of our favorites for daily use!
Protip: hydrating serums will work for all dry hair types, straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. But since curly hair also tends to lean drier, we highly suggest our curly and kinky haired readers try this out.
3. Heat Protectant
Let's be honest, even though we know heat damages hair, many of us still don't want to give up our blowdryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons. If you're going to use hot tools, the least you can do is use a heat-protecting serum beforehand. This will keep your natural keratin intact and stop your hair from drying out and frizzing up. It's worth it in the long run, trust us.
4. Curl Defining Serum
If you have naturally curly hair, chances are you already have an arsenal of curl-enhancing products. Gels, creams, and mousses are all necessary for keeping your coils perfectly defined, but serums tend to get overlooked in this category. Lightweight creamy-textured serums are the key to maintaining curly hair without weighing it down.
When applying products to curly hair, it's best to use an upward scrunching motion to promote curl formation. Brushing downward will loosen your natural texture and leave your locks less defined after they dry.
5. Strengthening Serum
Hair that is damaged from bleaching, dying, and excessive heat will benefit immensely from a strengthening serum that is designed to repair damage and strengthen the hair follicle. Similar to hair growth serums, a strengthening serum will promote healthy growth while nourishing the hair you already have. It's the best of both worlds!
Try this type of serum if you have thin or fine hair, as you are more susceptible to damage.
6. Split End Treatment
Unlike strengthening serums that are focused on the root, split end serums are made to repair ends that have become damaged and frayed over time. While frequent trims are the best way to prevent split ends, we know that can be annoying when you're trying to grow your hair longer. Use a split end treatment in-between trips to the salon if you are prone to dryness and breakage on your ends.
7. Flyaway Hair Tamer
Flyaways can be caused by new hair growth, breakage at the crown of the head, excessive dryness, and pretty much everything in between. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of this phenomenon, but we know it tends to get worse in the wintertime when heaters are on full blast.
Flyaway hair serums can help weigh down these pesky hairs, so they stay in line with the rest of your tresses. The brand Samnyte makes an awesome flyaway tamer that applies with a small brush akin to a mascara wand. This allows you to target specific hairs that you need to stay in place.
8. Shine Enhancing Serum
A good shine-enhancing serum is the ultimate jack of all trades. Whether your hair is thick, thin, curly, or straight, a shine-enhancing serum will give you an added oomph on dull hair days. Add a little bit to your ends, or use it all over for maximum effectiveness. A bonus is that most shine-enhancing serums already include moisturizing properties. Hydrated hair equals happy, shiny hair!
9. Anti-Frizz Serum
Most people experience frizz on humid days because moisture in the air latches onto dry hair shafts, causing them to look puffy and unruly. An anti-frizz serum will solve this problem not only by providing moisture, so hair doesn't absorb it from the air, but by sealing strands so they aren't disturbed by external factors like the weather.
10. Texturizing Serum
The majority of hair care products out there are marketed to people who want to tame and smooth their hair, but what about folks who want to add a little bit of texture? If your hair is naturally flat, thin, or oily, you know that achieving any kind of voluminous style is nearly impossible. This is where texturizing serums come in.
It may sound strange, but adding a little bit of grit to your hair actually makes it much more workable and allows it to adhere to itself. If your hair always slips out of updos or refuses to hold curls, then try a texturizing serum before styling. It really does work.
11. Scalp Treatment Serum
Nothing is more annoying than a dry, itchy scalp. If you've tried all the specialty shampoos out there and none of them work for you, consider adding a scalp treatment serum to your regimen. Simply massage a small amount into your scalp before shampooing to add nourishment and moisture where you need it most. These serums are great for folks who struggle with dandruff, too!
How Do You Choose The Right Hair Serum?
Now that you know all the different types of hair serum available, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you? You'll need to consider two main things when choosing your new product: your hair type and your hair's special needs.
Finding Your Hair Type
Hair type, also known as curl pattern, refers to how straight or curly your individual strands of hair are. Hair curliness, waviness, or straightness is determined on a scale from 1: completely straight to 4c: tightly coiled. Check out the chart below to see where your hair falls on the scale.
This is important to know when choosing hair products because not every product is made for all hair types. Many serums are formulated specifically for type 3a hair or curlier, meaning that they will do nothing for someone with type 2a hair. On the other hand, serums intended for straight-haired people can leave curly hair looking drab and weighed down.
For this reason, make sure you find your hair type and check product labels to ensure you're using a serum that will work for you.
Understanding Your Hair's Special Needs
Ask yourself, "What's the reason I want to invest in a hair serum in the first place? Do I want more shine? Less frizz? Faster growth?" These questions are essential in figuring out what serum will work best in your routine.
From here, it's pretty simple. If you want smoother, silkier hair, don't use a texturizing serum. If you're worried about thinning and want to promote growth, opt for a strengthening or hair growth serum instead of a shine-enhancing one that isn't likely to address your specific needs. Get to know your hair well, and the rest will follow.
What Type Of Serum Is Best For Daily Use?
If you want one daily-use serum to add to your regimen, try looking for one that has multiple benefits. A well-rounded serum that moisturizes, nourishes, fights frizz, and adds shine will secure its spot with your favorite products faster than a serum that only has one use. Consolidating your hair care routine will save time as well as counter space in the long run. We think it's totally worth it.
Is Leave-In Conditioner Better Than Serum?
Leave-in conditioners are great for people who need intense moisture for their damaged, broken hair. The truth of the matter is that they serve a completely different function than hair serums. One is not necessarily better than the other – it depends entirely on your hair's specific needs.
Leave-in conditioner is a once-in-awhile treatment used on wet hair to give your locks some added life when they're looking extra dry. Serum, on the other hand, can be used daily on dry hair as a little boost for whatever your strands may need. For folks who want a double-dose of moisture, try using them together. Apply a leave-in conditioner on wet hair and a moisturizing serum when it's dry. The results will wow you!
Get Ready For A Hair Transformation
Now that you know 11 different types of hair serum and how to find the right one for you, your hair is going to look better than ever. Just remember: the key to finding your perfect hair serum is to assess your hair type and your hair's needs ahead of time. With that out of the way, you'll know exactly what to look for next time you browse the haircare aisle.
For more hair tips, check out these articles: