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“A hair serum is a styling product that can be used to reduce frizz and add shine and moisture to the hair,” she explains. A hair serum is particularly beneficial in humid environments (i.e. that hypothetical deserted island) and for those that have coarse, textured hair types, says Brown. “It also protects hair from sun, pollutants, and heat styling from tools,” adds Tiffani Patchett, a hairstylist at Baja Studio in New York City.
Choose your hair serum best on your hair type, density, and texture, suggests Patchett. “For fine to medium density, you will want something on the lighter side,” she says. “The heavier ones will weigh your hair down and can make it look oily.” For thick, coarse, and dry textures, Patchett recommends a more heavy-duty serum. “The heavier serums will have more oils in them that will assist in moisturizing and weighing down frizzy hair,” she says. Look for hair serums formulated with oils like argan, coconut, jojoba, and macadamia, as recommended by both Brown and Patchett.
Here, our favorite hair serums for every hair texture and type.
Best Overall: John Frieda Frizz Ease Original Hair Serum
This hair serum has stood the test of time, and for very good reason. With silk proteins and other hair-taming ingredients, it works hard to get rid of frizz, protect your hair from heat styling, block out humidity, nourish dry hair, and keep flyaways under control. The finished look: a smooth, polished mane with no frizzies in sight.
Best Budget: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum
Smooth, shiny hair is possible on a budget with this inexpensive, yet still totally effective, hair serum. It’s formulated with Moroccan argan oil (a gold-star hair care ingredient) to turn frizzy hair into sleek smoothness. Users rave about its ability to shield hair from frizz-causing humidity and hydrate dry strands.
Best for Heat Styling: Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Hair Serum
Applying a heat protector before you blow-dry, straighten, or curl your hair is an absolute must. This hair serum speeds up the drying process so you can get out the door faster. Plus, lightweight silicones in the formula transform hair from frizzy and unmanageable to shiny and smooth with no frizz in sight.
Best for Split Ends: Function of Beauty Custom Hair Serum
Customize your hair care routine with a serum that’s designed specifically for your hair concern. This lightweight serum pumps up the shine and calms frizz with argan, jojoba, and sunflower oils, along with a custom blend of oils depending on your hair goals. One of the concerns you can address with this hair serum: split ends. Simply take Function of Beauty’s quiz to have your unique formula created and marvel at your healthy, split end-free hair.
Best Drugstore: OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum
Say goodbye to rough, damaged hair and hello to strong, shiny hair with this drugstore serum. Organic coconut oil and silk keratin proteins help repair damaged hair and cuticles, seal split ends, and fight frizz so your hair looks and feels healthier. Bonus: This hair serum smells absolutely heavenly.
Best for Damaged Hair: Oribe Gel Serum
This hair serum has a unique gel texture to control hair, plus it’s flecked with gold, so your hair will truly look like a million bucks when you use it. The formula is ideal for dry, damaged hair: polymers condition, boost shine, and add body; creatine smooths hair and protects it from heat styling; corn, wheat, and soy microproteins moisturize, repair, and strengthen hair; and silk-derived glycoprotein imparts a protective coating.
Best for Curly Hair: Kerastase Discipline Oleo Relax Anti-Frizz Oil Serum
It can be tricky to care for curly hair, which is why it’s a good idea to look for products formulated especially for your hair type. This hair serum is made for wavy, curly, and coily hair of medium or thick texture. Shorea butter moisturizes, virgin coconut oil strengthens, and rosa muscata fruit oil protects. This hair serum might have a lightweight texture, but it does a great job at controlling frizz, softening hair, adding shine, and protecting against heat damage.
Best for Thin Hair: Phyto Phytodensia Plumping Serum
This hair serum plumps up hair for a younger look. It utilizes a variety of anti-aging ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, which deeply hydrates and plumps hair; veronia, which promotes hair density (the amount of hair growing from your scalp); and grape polyphenols, which provide antioxidant protection. Users say they notice their hair feels thicker and bouncier after regularly using this hair serum.
Best for Thick Hair: David Mallett Hair Serum
If you have thick hair, then you probably get lots of compliments on your luscious mane, but you know that caring for your hair isn’t all that easy. After all, you have a lot of it. Enter this hair serum, which has a super-lightweight texture while still imparting tons of silky shine and controlling frizz. The star ingredient, macadamia oil, pumps up the shine on dull hair and seals your hair’s cuticle for a healthier look.
Best for Frizzy Hair: Sachajuan Shine Serum
One of the most popular uses of hair serum is taming frizz, and this hair serum does that masterfully. It smooths frizz, leaving you with ultra-sleekness, thanks to dimethicone, which coats each strand to fill in any ridges. Meanwhile, vitamin B12 in the formula nourishes hair for a super-soft feel. See ya never, frizz.
Best for Dry Hair: Leonor Greyl Serum De Soie Sublimateur
Make dry hair a thing of the past with this silicone-free hair serum. A nourishing blend of oils (like jojoba, hazel seed, and wheat germ) not only tames frizz but also deeply moisturizes hair so it looks glossy, not parched. Expect stronger, shinier hair with regular use.
Best for Color-Treated Hair: Alterna Haircare Caviar Infinite Color Hold Serum
Color-treated hair looking a little dull? Think of this serum as your quick fix. Red raspberry leaf and sunflower seed oils work together to replenish your hair's natural lipid layer (which locks in color pigment and moisture) as well as shield against exposure to harmful UV rays. From there, caviar extract and vitamin C smooth and add shine to your strands. An added bonus: If you mix this product with any Alterna conditioner, you can create a color recharging mask for even more nourishment.
Best Lightweight: Kiehl's Silk Groom Serum
Nothing ruins a good hair day like feeling like your strands are greasy or too heavy. With this Kiehl's serum, you won't need to worry about either. Formulated with a blend of natural oils (sunflower, sesame, and soy), it smooths, tames frizz, and moisturizes dry ends—all without weighing your hair down. Yes, please.
Best for Straight Hair: Shu Uemura Nourishing Taming Overnight Serum
Soften and smooth straight hair overnight with this hair serum, which calls red camelia oil its star ingredient. The hair serum, which works on fine, medium, and thick hair textures, nourishes hair and tames frizz while you sleep so you wake up with the silky-straight hair you’ve been dreaming about. The hair serum has a lightweight texture that won’t weigh straight hair down.
Best for Scalp Care: Sisley Revitalizing Fortifying Serum
Your scalp deserves some TLC, and this hair serum provides just that. With plant-based extracts, proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamin E, this hair serum strengthens your scalp and hair for an overall healthier look. Users describe this hair serum as a “game changer,” stating that it works incredibly well to protect and strengthen scalp and hair.
Applying a hair serum couldn't be simpler. “I recommend adding 1-2 pumps of hair serum to your damp hair before blow-drying,” says Brown. “It’s also important to add half a pump after it’s dry, even on day two or three to keep the hair smooth and hydrated."