Not a conditioner, not a spray, hair serum has always been a bit of a mystery. You’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly how to use it. But this styling aid is a must for sleek tresses. Read on to learn how to find the best one for you.
Typically, serums are gels or liquids that lightly coat the hair follicle to add moisture and shine. These multi-use styling aids fight frizz, protect hair from heat and UV damage, and give strands a glossy finish. We’re addicted to the way serums make our hair manageable and polished, even on days when we don’t blow dry.
Look for serums that are formulated for your hair. If you have oily or fine hair, steer clear of anything labeled ‘extra-moisturizing,’ as these can weigh strands down. For color treated hair, opt for a serum with UV-blocking ingredients like galanga root. Oscar Blandi’s Olio di Jasmine is our favorite all-around winner, with a silky texture that never feels greasy.
While serums are often applied to damp hair before styling to protect strands from the heat, they work just as well on dry hair. Put a few drops in the palm of your hand (a little bit goes a long way!) and rub your hands together before smoothing through your hair. Start near your ends, which are more likely to be dry, and work your way up to mid-strand. Next, use your fingertips to fix stubborn flyaways near your roots.
Fekkai stylist Lindsay Block tells clients to use their hands to apply serum as if they were a styling tool. For example, if you’re working with straight hair, use your hands as a flat iron and apply the serum with your hands flat, palm to palm. For curls and waves, perfect the shape by twisting the serum into your hair in sections, similar to the way you use a round brush or curling iron. To repair damaged hair, Oscar Blandi stylist Luca Blandi suggests using Olio di Jasmine Serum as an overnight treatment.
- By Mollie Chen
There's a serum out there for every hair type. Here are our favorites.
We're obsessed with Oscar Blandi's Olio di Jasmine Hair Serum, a lightweight, everyday serum with Vitamin E and Sweet Almond Oil.
Although Fekkai's Ironless Silky Straight Smooth Finish Serum is technically formulated for straight styles, it works well on curly hair too. Because it's weightless, it won't drag curls down.
For African American hair, stylists like Moroccan Oil, which absorbs right away and smoothes frizz.
Amika Obliphica Oil Serum resurrects coarse, dehydrated hair with nourishing Obliphica Oil and Moroccan Argan Oil.
Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil: Runway ready hair in a bottle — this hydrating hair oil has a light floral fragrance and works as a styling tool, pre-shampoo treatment, or leave-in conditioner.
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