Hair Care

Hair Serums – Why Are They Important , How To Use Them & Which Is The Best For Your Hair

Hair serum is a hair care product usually containing ceramides, amino acids and a silicone based emollient. It is primarily used for frizzy or curly hair before any kind of hair styling. It protects the hair from the heat generated by various hair styling techniques like curling, flat ironing etc. Hair follicles are also smoothened by serums. (1) Thick hair tend to become more manageable post application of a serum. Moreover, dry and damaged hair can also be rejuvenated and made smoother by using hair serums. Serum’s hair follicle smoothening and heat protection properties makes it beneficial for straight hair and can be applied on both straight and wavy hair to give a better finish. Available as a gel or liquid, hair serums can also add shine to your hair. A small quantity of hair serum is good enough even for long hair. Some serums are applied prior to hair styling, whereas the one which are thin liquid are meant for spraying on hair post styling. This leaves the hair shiny. (2)

Why Is Hair Serum Important?

A hair serum is important as it offers the following benefits (3):

1. Damage Protection:

A hair serum forms a protective layer against damage caused by environmental pollutants, dust, high humidity and tools and techniques used for hair styling. Application of a hair serum, by adding moisture, can avert the hair from being dry, weak and dull.

2. Offers Sun Protection:

Overexposure to the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun induces damage to our hair. By forming a protective layer over your hair, hair serums tend to reduce UV ray induced hair damage.

3. Hair Conditioning:

By smoothening and removing frizz from hair, serums serve as good hair conditioners. Unlike hair oils they condition the hair without making the scalp greasy.

4. Enhances Hair Shine And Luster:

Presence of silicon makes hair serum add shine and luster to your hair.

Which Is The Best Hair Serum?

There are certain factors that you need to keep in mind while selecting the best hair serum for yourself. These include (4):

1. For Thick And Wavy Hair:

This type of hair can be very dry and difficult to manage. So, you need a serum that should not be very light i.e. it should have emollients that have good hydrating potentials. Hair serums having amla, camellia or argan oils are said to be good for adding shine and softness to wavy and thick hair.

2. Hair That Is Thin Or Fine:

For this type of hair, serums that have ingredients with extra moisturizing potential should be avoided. You should go for lighter ingredients like Indian amla oil. It works gently on the hair by smoothening it and enhancing hair strength.

3. Hair That Has Been Colored:

You need to go for a conditioning hair serum that helps to maintain your hair color along with adding a natural shine to it. This will hydrate your hair well.

4. For Hair That Is Curly And Rough:

Coconut oil or gardenia oil based serum are said to be ideal for curly or rough hair. This kind of serum would add adequate moisture to your rough hair, make them appear shiny and also help you with your curls. You need to apply a serum on curly hair after two to three days of your hair wash. Usually, by this time the curls become frizzy and dry.

How Do You Use Hair Serum?

You can use your serum in the following ways (5):

1. Apply Before Washing Your Hair:

Application of hair serum before using a shampoo may help you protect your hair against dryness and wavy hair caused by harmful chemicals present in shampoos. You need to take three to four squirts of your hair serum in your palms, rub it and apply from the middle to the end of your hair. Rinse well after some time.

2. Applying After Washing:

You can apply your hair serum after you have washed your hair and it is still wet. A moisturizing shampoo for dry hair or an anti frizz shampoo for frizzy or curly hair can be used.

3. Quantity To Be Used:

If your hair is medium length then 1 or 2 drops of the serum is good enough to be applied on wet hair. You do not need to towel dry your hair before application of your hair serum. Just take the required amount, rub it in your palms and apply it evenly. Extra quantity of serum can make your hair look greasy, so you need to avoid it.

4. Method To Apply A Hair Serum:

Serum application should start from the midsection of your hair and go down to the tip. Never start from the top or front of your head as you may end up spoiling your hair style. So, start from the back and then move forward to the front. This covers up any greasiness that may occur due to application of excessive serum. If your hair still looks dry and frizzy you can apply a drop or two on the front and sides of your hair.

What Is Hair Serum Made Up Of?

The following ingredients are usually present in a hair serum (6):

1. Silicones:

These are synthetic polymers that coat the hair and offer protection from UV rays, dust and other environmental pollutants. It works by forming a protective covering around the cuticles of our hair. Silicones in hair serum make the hair look smoother, healthier and shinier by not letting the moisture leave hair strands. Excessive use of silicone based products however is not good as it may accumulate on your hair.

2. Proteins:

Anti-frizz serums have vegetable, soy and proteins that serve as building blocks for our damaged hair. Protein based serums work by adding strength to our hair thereby protecting it from breaking easily. They also tend to rejuvenate already damaged hair.

3. Sealants:

These enhance the moisture locking capacity of serums. By sealing the moisture in the cuticles of our hair, sealants like shea butter and mango butter enhance hydration and offer protection to the hair.

4. Essential Oils And Fats:

These also moisturize and hydrate dry and frizzy hair. Due to dehydration, our hair cuticle open up which results in moisture absorption from the air. This leads to frizziness and swelling of hair strands. Essential oils like almond, coconut and avocado oil hydrate the hair and make them healthy.

Some Do It Yourself Hair Serums

The following are the serum recipes:

1. Camellia Oil Based Hair Serum:

In a bowl, you need to take eight tablespoons of camellia oil. Now add 1 tablespoon of castor oil and avocado oil that is unrefined. To this mix, you can add 15 drops of a fragrant essential oil like peppermint or lavender. Stir the ingredients well and use a dark glass bottle to store it. Shake the bottle well before use. Apply on wet hair in small quantity and leave it on. (7)

2. Coffee And Honey Hair Serum:

In a bowl, you need to combine one tablespoon of organic honey with four tablespoons of coffee powder. After mixing them add half a cup of hot water and make a paste. This can be applied to both dry and wet hair. You need to wash it off using an organic shampoo after fifteen to twenty minutes. (7)

3. Serum For Adding Shine To Hair:

In a pan take two tablespoons of Shea nilotica, one tablespoon of castor oil and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt the butter and oils in low flame and mix it. Remove from fire. If you want, you can add twenty drops of sweet orange essential oil. Once cool store it in a bottle and apply it on dry or wet hair. Coconut oil serves as hair softener and hydrator, Shea nilotica enhances shine and sheen along with smoothening the hair whereas, castor oil keeps the hair non greasy and enhances luster. The serum not only makes your hair shiny, but also softens the ends of your hair, reduces frizz and makes curls look better. (8)

4. Natural Oil Based Serum For Frizzy Hair:

This serum is a combination of oils rich in fatty acids and vitamins that is good for natural softening of hair. It can also promote hair growth. It settles your frizzy hair and unlike silicone based serums, it does not dehydrate your hair over prolonged use. You need to combine one tablespoon each of castor oil and avocado oil and 1 oz of flaxseed oil with five drops of any essential oil. You need to store it in a refrigerator and apply it to your dry hair once daily. (9)

5. Herbal Serum For Soft And Silky Hair:

The ingredients required are a tablespoon of argan oil, three tablespoons of jojoba oil, pinch of dried petals of rose, around ten to fifteen drops of rosemary essential oil, twenty five drops of vitamin E oil and half or one tablespoon each of dried calendula and gotu kola. Take a glass jar that is heatproof add dried calendula and gotu kola and submerge it with jojoba oil. Close the jar and keep it on top of a kitchen towel placed in a crockpot. Pour water in the crockpot till it is halfway of the jar. Keep the crockpot on low setting overnight for six to ten hours so that the herbs infuse in the oil. The temperature should be maintained at 140 degrees.

Once the jar cools to room temperature strain the herbs and replace the oil in the glass bottle. To this, add rosemary essential oil, Vitamin E oil and dried rose petals. While using,  take out 5 to 10 drops and apply it on dry or damp hair. Jojoba oil that serves as the base oil in this hair serum works as a hydrator, stops breakage and damage restoration agent. Argan oil moisturizes the hair whereas vitamin E oil adds shine and softness by restoring the protective fat layer that lies outside the hair cuticle. Rosemary oil is good for hair growth, inducing a calming effect and promoting hair strength and averts its breakage. Gotu Kola works as a circulatory stimulant, thereby averting stress induced hair loss. The soothing and regenerative properties of calendula add shine and softness to hair. (10)

6. Natural Hair Serum For Averting Hair Loss And Promoting Regrowth:

In a glass bottle you need to combine essential oils (peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and geranium). You just need 10 drops of the combination to which you have to add 1 oz of magnesium gel. Close the bottle and shake it well. After washing your hair, take a small amount of the serum and massage it on your scalp. The antifungal property of tea tree oil, blood flow stimulating effect of peppermint essential oil and the smoothing and shine inducing effects of geranium and rosemary essential oil along with magnesium gel makes a great serum to fight hair loss.  (11)

7. Serum To Moisturize Dry Hair During Winters:

A combination of glycerin, aloe vera, argan oil, fresh water and an essential oil like lavender oil can work as a wonderful serum for your dry hair. You can preserve it for a week and is especially suitable for those who work in offices with a heater. (12)

8. Essential Oil Hair Serum For Dry And Oily Hair:

You need twenty two drops of Ylang ylang essential oil, twenty drops of lavender essential oil, around two ounces of fractionated coconut oil and thirteen drops of rosemary essential oil. Take a 2 ounce glass spray bottle and fill it three forth with the coconut oil. If you have oily hair use water instead. Add all the other essential oils, close the bottle and shake it well. You need to spray 2-4 sprays, after having a bath, when your hair is wet. Massage it well on scalp and hair. All these ingredients work together to detangle the hair, promote growth of hair and promote shine. (13)

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