I still remember, years after passing out from school, the most time-consuming activity while getting ready for school early in the morning, each day would be doing up my hair. It was a task taming them and putting each strand in place. Of course, my mother would do it for me in primary classes, but then I was all by myself. I still categorically remember; I was in class V and we had a close relative’s marriage in the family. As all mothers love to deck up their daughters as fancy as possible, a night before the wedding, my mom sectioned my hair and tied them into a lot of braids, just so that I get some nice hard curls and a crimped effect in my hair the next day. Little did she realize, that her daughter has naturally frizzy and thick hair and the next morning when I woke up, my hair were larger and far bouncier than they originally were. Just for a visual reference, they exactly resembled Monica Geller’s full-blown hair from the series F.R.I.E.N.D.S. when she goes on a vacation with her friends to a beach. My mom just hurriedly tied them into a bun and sent me to the school and the first question my teacher asks me in front of the entire class is, “GIRL, who did your hair today?” To date, I wonder, if the question was a sign of admiration for my hair, a simple harmless enquiry borne out of curiosity, or a public mockery of my hair and its waywardness.
Nevertheless, cutting things short, my hair have generally demanded a lot of care, love, attention and pampering all my life. They are thick, dry and breakage-prone. But yes, if well taken care of, they do look beautiful and alleviate my entire look too.
One thing I have been really particular about over the years is using good hair products. And trust me, it has paid off well. An addition to my hair care routine apart from hair oil, shampoo and conditioner has been a hair serum. Though, of late I really started wondering, if the chemicals in the product are doing more harm to my hair than good and if it is just a marketing fad by the beauty companies to keep creating a demand for their products, even if they aren’t needed. Hence, I did a lot of reading on the subject and would love to share the conclusion that I managed to reach after all the understanding.
What is a Hair Serum?
Hair serums are basically liquid–based hair treatments that are formulated using silicones, which make a protective layer over the hair fibers, easing out the frizz of the hair as well. This layer then makes the light that falls on the hair reflect properly, which makes the hair look shinier and healthier, and adds a lot of lustre to the tresses. Apart from silicon, hair serums also contain amino acids and ceramides. If you shall ask me whether serums contain chemicals, then yes, they do, they contain water-based oils, artificial fragrances, and chemicals as well but those chemicals are more restorative chemicals that do good to your hair and help in the replenishment of the hair cuticles. But do ensure to read through the ingredient list before making a purchase, because your serum must contain more natural, healthy and organic parts rather than too many harsh chemicals.
The primary purpose of hair serum is to make your locks look shinier, less knotted and healthier. This happens as the serum absorbs and reflects light, it makes your hair look glossier, while also making a protective coat on the hair thus protecting your hair from dust, pollutants and ultraviolet rays. Most people use hair serum to revive damaged and brittle hair. Serum restores shine in dull and dry hair and prevents hair from getting tangled up. Though there are a lot of variants available in the market to cater to various needs like serums for dry and brittle hair, colored hair, curly hair, oily hair and even for hair growth, the concerns that the serums still best cure are frizz, breakage, dryness and as a protective layer before using heating and styling tools.
Who Should Use a Hair Serum?
It is almost non-negotiable to use a good shampoo and conditioner from a reputed brand for your hair. Taking the hair care ritual, a step further, it is equally important these days to invest in a good hair serum. One, it keeps your hair frizz-free, and tamed and gives the much-needed shine. Additionally, by forming a protective layer, it also saves your hair from a lot of damage from pollution, dust, direct sunlight and harsh winter winds. So, anyone who cares enough for their hair should invest in a good serum and must use it regularly on damp towel-dried hair every time after the wash.
How to Use a Serum Most Effectively?
To draw maximum benefits out of your serum, and make it most effective, try to keep the following points in mind while using one.
1. Always use a serum on clean, freshly washed hair. Never on dirty hair and scalp as the serum would then stick with the dirt and do more damage to your hair than good.
2. Do not apply too much serum as an excess of anything is bad. Too much of it can make your hair look limp and lifeless. Just a coin size should be enough for mid-length hair.
3. Hair serum can only make your hair easier to manage and look more presentable and frizz-free. Yes, it does hydrate your hair a bit, but the actual health of the hair is restored and the damage is repaired only with the use of good hair oil, followed by a hair cleanser and a hydrating and nourishing hair conditioner. So do not skip or compromise the quality of these three products.
4. Do not apply the hair serum on the scalp. It is only supposed to be applied at the hair length.
5. Post hair wash, towel dry your hair and take a little serum in the palms of your hands. Rub the palms together and now gently move your fingers and your palms through the hair length slowly to transfer the serum to your hair. Take a little while to do this. Do not hurriedly rub against your hair as this would cause more damage and break the hair.
6. It is enough to apply the serum once after the wash. You don’t need to use it daily.
7. You can also add a few drops of your serum to the hair conditioner/ mask and keep it on for a while. This further enhances the restorative and hydrating benefits of your conditioner and will give you a salon-spa kind of result at home. (I do this quite often to my hair)
8. Always, always apply heat-protective hair serum before using any heating or styling tool on your hair. Those tongs and straighteners and curlers le lot of damage to your hair and applying the hair serum does restrict the damage to some extent.
9. Everyone should use a hair serum, even somebody with thin or oily hair, just for the simple reason that a serum forms a layer on your hair and actually protects your hair from a lot of damage. And no, they don’t make your hair look sticky or thinner. Just choose the right serum that suits your hair type.
10. Try and use all your hair care products, like shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and hair serum from the same brand or address related concerns, as this would help to gain maximum benefit since all the products would be working consolidated on the same concerns
How is a Hair Serum Different from a Hair Oil?
Hair oil and serum may have similar textures but are not the same. The former is designed to penetrate past the hair cuticles into the cortex of the fibre itself to restore the hair after damage such as post-colouring or after over-styling. The serum on the other hand is used as a styling tool to protect hair, increase shine and reduce frizz by providing a glossy and smoothing layer over the hair fibre.
What Are The Best Hair Serums Available in the Market?
Now that is the trickiest part of all this. Honestly, there is a plethora of hair serums available in the market and each of them claims to be better than the rest. However, don’t be maneuvered by their marketing strategies. One of the surest ways around discovering the best fit for your hair is to go about reading and understanding the ingredients. The more organic and natural it is, the better. Also, when it comes to hair and skin care, I always go in for expensive and reputed brands. After all the costs are for some reason. Not that the ones that are cheaper or reasonably priced are not good, but you really have to do some hard work in studying the ingredients and the process of formulation. Also, try and refrain from too cheaply priced or drugstore serums because most often than not they won’t do any good to your hair as there are a lot of harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances that are used in such products.
I have been using serums for quite a few years now. Though the Moroccan oil treatment is a constant on my shelf and I can literally swear by the results, I have also experimented with a few other brands and found a couple of them at par. Sharing with you some of my favourite finds, which irrespective of the pricing, are all equally good and do great service to your hair. You can just go ahead and pick up any of them and don’t forget to share in the comments how well you like them. I have mentioned Eight “Top Hair Serums” here in the sequence of my liking and recommendation of them. However, these are the best ones available in the market right now and you may go about choosing any one of them suiting your hair type and budget.
1. Moroccon Oil Treatment Hair Serum – Ideal for all hair types
Price – 3150 INR
2. Kerastase Elixir Ultime L’Huile Originale – For dull, lifeless hair
Price – INR 2762
3. Kerastase Elixir Ultime L’Huile Rose – Best for color treated hair
Price – INR 2762
4. Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax Serum 4.2 oz – Hair repair for extremely damaged hair
Price – INR 2193
5. Wella Professionals SP LuxeOil Reconstructive Elixir – For hair that have been straightened, smoothened or gone through any other chemical treatment
Price – INR 2499
6. Schwarzkopf Professional Bonacure Scalp Genesis Treatment Root Activating Serum – Best for thinning hair
Price – INR 2550
7. Innisfree Camellia Essential Hair Oil Serum – Camellia oil works to replenish the damaged hair
Price – INR 860
8. The Body Shop Grapeseed Glossing Serum – adds shine and body to dull, lifesless hair
Price – INR 995
Some days I feel my hair are alive emotional being. They need so much love, care and attention all the time. A product like HAIR SERUM is definitely a boon for someone like me, whose hair are even more rebellious, and moody than her own self (remember the braided hair story). Having said that, one can’t rely solely on a hair serum to take care of your hair’s health. Don’t skip on your hair care regime and tasks like oiling your hair regularly, staying away from exposing them to heating tools as much as possible and using too many chemicals on your hair. Use a good shampoo and conditioner. And if your mane is really healthy and happy, hair serums would definitely add further life and volume to them and make them look, healthier, bouncier and shinier.
May God grant us all a good hair day, each day, every day.