Top 10 Best Hair Serums for Women

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hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

The hard part about picking out a hair serum is that loads of the treatments labeled as serums on the market aren’t serums at all. That’s really annoying. It appears to be a murky term used for lots of hair treatments both in product labeling and across the industry. So when you’re looking at serums you have to rely on reading the tiny print of the ingredient list which is a huge pain and takes all the fun out of browsing through the pretty bottles. But I’ve done the legwork for you, read all the ingredient lists, and gathered together the best actual hair serums on the market.

What is a hair serum then? Hair serum is a styling product that is usually water-based and is meant to tame frizz, lock in natural curls, protect hair, and add shine. The active ingredient in serums is some type of silicone. You see silicone in a lot of hair conditioners and it gives them that slippery feeling. Silicone coats your hair strands, never penetrating into your hair’s cuticle, and smooths over the rough texture of damaged hair cuticles that can cause flyaways, snarls, and dull looking hair. This results in instantly shiny hair which is a magical thing. This slick coating also protects your hair from brushing by reducing friction, and if your hair has a serious tangle problem, check out my post on the best detangling brushes for kids and adults to prevent even more breakage. Silicone coats hair well enough to protect from heat damage, pollution damage, and even UV damage from being in the sun. It’s basically shining armor for your hair.

Hair serums and hair oils tend to be interchangeable terms, but they are two completely different things. Hair oil is a moisturizing treatment that is absorbed into your hair and affects it from the inside out while serums protect from the outside. It’s the equivalent of the difference between putting on sunblock to prevent a sunburn versus putting on a coat. Don’t get me wrong, hair oils are an important treatment particularly if you have damaged, dry, or coarse hair. Some hair may benefit from weekly or monthly deep conditioning treatments more than a daily oil. See my guide to the best deep conditioning products for hair. Some hair serums do contain oil to condition and keep hair healthy but the bottom line is serums and hair oils have different goals. Serums aid in styling and shine. Oils moisturize.

Isn’t silicone bad for your hair?

That depends on the silicone and your hair. Silicone is considered one of the most inert materials around. Medical-grade silicone is considered a material that has zero adverse effects and that practically no one is allergic to. It’s used in everything from sunblock to cooking utensils to menstrual cups, but it’s gotten a bad rap in our hair products with lots of shampoos and conditioners boasting that they are silicone-free. While I’m not saying the quest to remove unneeded chemicals is a bad one, I had never put a thought to why silicone was being removed–I just assumed that because it was being removed it was bad.

Certain silicones, like dimethicone, won’t damage your hair but they might weigh it down. Dimethicone is so effective at coating your hair strands that it’s difficult to wash off. This can lead to build up and sad hair in some hair types. Dimethicone is cheap to produce so you’ll find it as the only silicone ingredient in bargain serums. When mixed with other silicones, the heavy effect is reduced. Higher quality silicones like cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, or dimethicone copolyol don’t have that same sticking problem and either evaporate or are water-soluble making them easy to wash out. That way you get the shine and protection benefits without the nasty build up. It’s important to carefully check your ingredient list–or read an article by someone who has.

How to use a hair serum.

If you only remember one thing it should be this: less is more. Just like you can overdo it will your hair oil, you can definitely overdo it with your hair serum and there is way less leeway with serum. For most treatments you’ll only need one to two drops. Once you are out of the shower and your hair is towel-dry, apply one to two drops of serum to your hands and rub evenly over your palms. Apply the serum to the whole length of your hair, starting at your ends and avoiding your scalp then continue styling as usual. Serum bottles last you a long time so it’s worth not settling for a cheap drugstore brand.

Let’s go through the best serums–I read all the ingredient lists so you don’t have to.


1. Phyto Phytolisse Ultra-Glossing Finishing Serum

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(Phyto)

The Phytolisse Ultra-Glossing Finishing Serum by Phyto is a plant-derived serum with marshmallow root extract. This isn’t the same kind of marshmallow you roast (or blacken) over a fire, but the root that use to be used to make these tasty puffs before food science got involved. Marshmallow root is also good for things like sore throats because it’s soothing, moisturizing, and slick–making it great for tangled, distressed hair. This serum’s main ingredient is cyclomethicone, an evaporating silicone which coats your hair for that high shine without building up. Phyto Phytolisse is great for taming frizz and won’t ever leave your hair feeling greasy. I love that it comes in a pump which gives you much better control of how much product you use since you only need one to two drops to get the job done.

Price: $30

Buy the Phyto Phytolisse Ultra-Glossing Finishing Serum here.


Pros:

  • Cyclomethicone: one of the good evaporating silicones
  • Moisturizing marshmallow root
  • Never greasy
  • Easy to use pump

Cons:

  • Better for straight to wavy hair than for curls
  • Scent is nice but a little strong for those who are sensitive to fragrances

Find more Phyto Phytolisse Ultra-Glossing Finishing Serum information and reviews here.


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2. CHI Keratin Silk Infusion

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(CHI)

CHI is a trusted brand in hair for a reason. Their heat protection products are some of the best on the market. This serum by CHI is no different. The formula is great for eliminating frizz. The hydrolyzed silk and keratin are both proteins that help rebuild and repair damaged hair, restoring its strength and preventing breakage. If you use daily heat processes or have colored your hair one too many times (guilty) then this serum will return that healthy shine to your stressed out hair. For dry hair, this serum also contains argan oil and jojoba oil to hydrate your hair and restore elasticity giving it that healthy bounce. This makes this serum ideal for people with natural hair or for those who have chemically damaged, dry hair. If your hair tends toward the oily side, you probably want to find a serum that doesn’t contain any extra oils.

Price: $21.46

Buy the CHI Keratin Silk Infusion here.


Pros:

  • Cyclomethicone: one of the good evaporating silicones
  • Rated 4.6 out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Contains silk and keratin for strengthening
  • Great for natural hair and curls

Cons:

Find more CHI Keratin Silk Infusion information and reviews here.


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3. Amika Obliphica Heat Defense Serum Treatment

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(Amika)

Imagine if after you heat treated your hair it felt less like straw and more like silk–that’s what the Amika serum is for. The Amika Heat Defense Serum was developed for targeted protection of hair from heat treatments like curling wands, straighteners, and blow drying. If you use any of these often, the Amika serum can keep your hair safe from heat stress. It does contain dimethicone which is a heavier silicone so if you have found that your hair doesn’t play nice with silicones that tend to build up, then you should skip this one. The main silicone in this product is cyclopentasiloxane which is both a mouthful and a thin, evaporating silicone that helps to evenly distribute heavy silicones like dimethicone. This combination leads to soft, smooth, shiny hair. It all just depends on how your hair does with these treatments. To strengthen and combat dryness, Amika’s serum also contains sea buckthorn oil and argan oil. It’s light enough as an oil that you don’t need to avoid it if your hair is on the oily side, but keep it away from your roots all the same.

Price: $30

Buy the Amika Obliphica Heat Defense Serum Treatment here.



Pros:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane: one of the evaporating silicones
  • Contains sea buckthorn and argan oil
  • Great for heat treated hair
  • Nice, light scent

Cons:

  • Contains dimethicone
  • Make sure you store your bottle upright so it doesn’t leak

Find more Amika Obliphica Heat Defense Serum Treatment information and reviews here.


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4. Blowpro Weather Girl Anti-Frizz Serum

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(Amazon)

This is another oil-free serum so it works with all hair types. It is very pure to its purpose and contains four different types of silicone so get ready for serious shine and frizz relief. The Blowpro serum contains cyclomethicone, dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and phenyl trimethicone which is somewhere between the others in consistency and is great for heat protection. If you’re looking for hair armor against humidity, sun, pollution, and heat, Blowpro has your hair covered–literally. (Sorry, not sorry.) It also contains silk and soy protein to repair damaged or brittle hair, another result of frequent heat treatments. With this serum, a little goes a long way and you only need a tiny bit to kick frizz out of your day.

Price: $21.26

Buy the Blowpro Weather Girl Anti-Frizz Serum here.


Pros:

  • Contains four silicones for ultimate protection
  • Rated 4.7 out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Expert frizz tamer
  • Contains silk and soy protein for strengthening

Cons:

  • Contains dimethicone so avoid if you’re sensitive to build up

Find more Blowpro Weather Girl Anti-Frizz Serum information and reviews here.


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5. Obliphica Professional Seaberry Medium to Coarse Serum

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(Obliphica)

This Obliphica Seaberry serum is another heavy-hitter with three types of silicone in their formula: cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, phenyl trimethicone. The dimethicone isn’t ideal if your hair is sensitive to build up, but with the inclusion of the others to thin it out, it doesn’t pose such a problem as it would if it were the main ingredient. The combination of these silicones acts as a very intense smoother leaving hair silky, frizz-free, and soft. It contains sea buckthorn oil which is a very gentle moisturizer and is safe to massage into your scalp without the fear of looking greasy. If you have dry ends or flyaways, this one is for you. This purple formula is for medium to coarse hair, but Obliphica also makes a serum for fine to medium hair.

Price: $38

Buy the Obliphica Professional Seaberry Medium to Coarse Serum here.



Pros:

  • Three silicones for lots of protection
  • Rated 4.7 out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Can use on scalp without becoming oily
  • Amazing at taming frizz

Cons:

  • Not for those with hair sensitive to build up

Find more Obliphica Professional Seaberry Medium to Coarse Serum information and reviews here.


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6. HairMax Density Activator

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(HairMax)

This is a different type of serum that is meant to be directly applied to your scalp and then worked through the rest of your hair, so it’s breaking some normal serum rules but for a good reason. HairMax Density Activator is formulated to use on thin or thinning hair. It contains silicone quanternium-2 which sounds fancy but is simply a water-soluble silicone which is one of healthier options for your hair. This silicone will fluff up your hair making it look fuller as well as protect your hair from heat damage, sun, pollution, and lock in all the good stuff HairMax contains so your hair can get the most out of it. HairMax Density Activator helps promote healthy follicles and scalp with tea tree extract, algae extract, and saw palmetto extract. It also contains castor oil which has the kind of omega fatty acids that help promote hair growth.

Price: $37

Buy the HairMax Density Activator here.


Pros:

  • Silicone Quanterium: one of the good evaporating silicones
  • Rated five out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Contains healthy botanicals
  • Great for thinning hair

Cons:

  • Not formulated for thick or damaged hair

Find more HairMax Density Activator information and reviews here.


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7. Biosilk Silk Therapy Original Cure

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(Biosilk)

This Biosilk Silk Therapy serum has been around and loved for years. It works well with all hair types, delivering soft, frizz-free hair. The silk protein helps repair and strengthen brittle hair damaged by chemicals or heat and reduces breakage. The evaporating silicone helps detangle knots, prevent more snarls, and define your curls. It doesn’t contain any oils and relies solely on the silicone to lock in your hair’s natural moisture. It has a to die for scent and one bottle will last you a long time. This serum does contain denatured alcohol which can be drying for some people so if you generally avoid alcohol in your hair products, skip this one, but most people don’t tend to have that issue.

Price: $17.99

Buy the Biosilk Silk Therapy Original Cure here.



Pros:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane: One of the evaporating silicones
  • Rated 4.7 out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Works on all hair types
  • Contains silk protein for strengthening

Cons:

  • Contains denatured alcohol which can be drying

Find more Biosilk Silk Therapy Original Cure information and reviews here.


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8. It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(Amazon)

If you struggle to get your hair under control in summer humidity, the It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum may be exactly what you need. This serum is great for nearly all hair types and is amazing at calming frizz. If you have curly hair, this would be a great product to use before straightening as a heat protection, but if you use it on curly hair, it could loosen your curls a little depending on your hair type. It contains cyclopentasiloxane as its main silicone and dimethicone along with it. This serum has an immediate smoothing and detangling effect. It does contain argan oil, moriche palm oil, and castor oil for moisturizers, but won’t leave you greasy as long as you’re using the recommended amount of only a couple of drops.

Price: $15.08 (41 percent off MSRP)

Buy the It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum here.



Pros:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane: one of the evaporating silicones
  • Rated 4.6 out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Can tame even the worst frizz
  • Contains moisturizing oils

Cons:

  • Can weigh down curls
  • Contains dimethicone
  • If you use too much it can look greasy

Find more It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum information and reviews here.


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9. CHI Tea Tree Oil Serum

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(CHI)

I love tea tree everything. It has such great healing qualities and I think it smells fantastic. I know it says oil in big letters on the gorgeous glass bottle but the base of this tea tree serum is definitely silicone. It contains four different types of silicone including cyclopentasiloxane, and they’re all the type of silicone that won’t build up in your hair so you can count on this serum giving you intense shine and slip while protecting your hair against heat damage. If you have a dry, flaking scalp, tea tree oil is a miracle worker. This serum has tea tree leaf oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil to calm your hair and scalp and bring out your healthy bounce. Tea tree and peppermint can cause a tingling feeling on the scalp which most find really refreshing and soothing but might be unpleasant for those with sensitive scalps. Because it contains oils, you do want to be careful about applying too much so you don’t get that wet hair look and if your hair has a tendency to look greasy, you might want to opt for an oil free serum.

Price: $14.25

Buy the CHI Tea Tree Oil Serum here.


Pros:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane: one of the evaporating silicones
  • Rated 4.7 out of five stars by user on Amazon
  • Contains tea tree, peppermint, and lavender

Cons:

  • Can look greasy if you use too much
  • Not for oily hair

Find more CHI Tea Tree Oil Serum information and reviews here.


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10. RUSK Deepshine Protective Oil Treatment

hair serum, hair treatment, anti frizz, shiny hair

(RUSK)

This oil treatment has a base of two silicones and is finished with argan oil so if you have dry, damaged, or coarse hair this one is made for you. As this is one of the lower-priced serums on the list, the first ingredient is dimethicone which is a cheaper, heavier silicone. If you hair is sensitive to build up, this might not be the best choice. It also contains cyclopentasiloxane which is one of the good silicones so that should elevate some of that heaviness. This won’t be a problem for a lot of people, but it’s something to keep in mind especially if you have very fine hair. Since it contains argan oil, you want to apply this one when you hair is still wet to avoid that greasy look. This RUSK serum is perfect for calming frizzy or distressed hair and as a nice daily drink for dry, natural hair.

Price: $19.95

Buy the RUSK Deepshine Protective Oil Treatment here.


Pros:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane: one of the evaporating silicones
  • Rated 4.5 out of five stars by users on Amazon
  • Great for natural or coarse hair

Cons:

  • First ingredient is dimethicone which can cause build up
  • Can look greasy if too much is used

Find more RUSK Deepshine Protective Oil Treatment information and reviews here.


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