Stylists are raving about the effectiveness of hair serums -- because not only do they help reverse the damage done from over-processing and styling, but they also act as a much-needed layer of protection for your hair throughout the day.

If you're unsure if you need a hair serum, take a look at the list below of common hair offenders -- a few might even surprise youPlus, we'll show you everything you need to know when it comes to choosing the right hair serum for you.

What causes hair to become dry and damaged?

  • Damaging heat and chemicals from our favorite styling tools and hair products can cause hair to become brassy and brittle. (1)
  • Harmful dirt and pollutants and other environmental factors such as cold, dry winter air can also suck the life out of once vibrant hair. (2)
  • And finally, age. As we get older our cells simply don’t regenerate as quickly as they used to and the result is hair that can become fragile and weak. (3)

protecting your hair with a hydrating serum

As you can see, nearly everyone could benefit from using a high-quality hair serum. Whether you're looking to maintain or even repair... there's a serum for everyone.

oil vs. silicone-based

To start, there are two basic types of hair serum: silicone and oil.

The silicone-based variety is more often used as a “quick fix” for frizzy, unruly hair. Oil-based serums, on the other hand, are used to effectively replenish and repair dull and damaged hair from root to tip. It works by infusing the follicle with vital oils and nutrients leaving behind touchably soft hair.

Both help provide a beneficial layer of protection to keep your hair strong and resilient against harmful heat, chemicals, and pollution, but only the oil-based will provide lasting results.

top 4 must-have hair serum ingredients

The most effective hair serums will include naturally fatty, high-quality oils. There are many options, but we have found these four are the best when it comes to replenishing dry, lifeless hair and when combined their power is unparalleled.

  • Argan Oil. This ancient oil is not only first on our list, but should be first in your serum's list of ingredients. That's because its naturally occurring antioxidants and fatty acids have been proven to slow down the aging process and have been giving women a radiant, youthful glow for thousands of years. (4)
  • Coconut Oil. Not only does coconut oil smell great, but it can help nourish your scalp and remove build-up.
  • Avocado Oil. Because of its high concentration of vitamin D, avocado oil can actually help hair grow longer and stronger.
  • Jojoba Oil. Derived from the jojoba plant, jojoba oil can help prevent dryness and promote hair cell regeneration.

Unfortunately, most women report regretting their first hair serum purchase and that's because they made some pretty critical mistakes. In order to help you avoid making the same ones, we've compiled a list of the most common as well as a few key indicators that you're choosing the best possible product.

avoid these common hair serum mistakes

  • Forgetting the research. Contrary to popular belief, not all hair serums are the same. Different brands use different formulas, so make sure to always check that they contain the ingredients listed above and have the right texture and consistency for your hair.
  • Relying on Amazon reviews. Up to 65% of Amazon reviews are written by paid individuals, and some of them might not have tried the product. Make sure to check reviews on multiple platforms and to always seek advice from other hair professionals.
  • Prioritizing price over quality. When it comes to a quality product, better ingredients are going to cost more. In our research, we have found that some brands fell short when it came to potency and effectiveness for the sake of a lower price. Focus on quality ingredients to avoid compromising your hair.

how to tell you're choosing the best hair serum

  • Transparent list of ingredients. Look for a brand that clearly lists active ingredients on both their product label and website.
  • Silky consistency. When choosing a serum, find one that naturally smooths into hair without leaving behind a gloppy mess.
  • Money-back guarantee. It’s better — and safer — to invest in a product that offers a 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee to show the company's faith in the potency of its product.


At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. This method is known as the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.


Based on our extensive research, the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we’ve compiled a list of what we found to be the top five hair serums, on the market today.