Hair serums are the overachievers of the hair product world: They can tame unwanted frizz, protect your hair from hot styling tools, define your curls, enhance your shine, babysit your child, do your taxes … you get the idea. But the most impressive types of hair serums are the six best hair serums for damaged hair featured here. They’re infused with strengthening ingredients like keratin, hydrolyzed silk proteins, and antioxidants to repair existing damage and protect your hair from aggressors (like the sun, pollution, and those evil heat styling tools) that can damage your hair further.
Hair serums are true multitaskers, so all of these products can be used both pre- and post-styling. That said, you can still choose your serum based on your specific needs: For instance, the heat protectants provide an intense shield against blow dryers and flat irons; the oil serums work beautifully as finishing serums, or on split ends; and some are concentrated enough to double as nourishing treatments.
However you choose to use them, the six best hair serums on this list do two very important things: Repair and protect fragile hair. (But they’ll also do way more than that.) Scroll on to shop them now.
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1. The Overall Best
This Color Wow serum is maybe the most multitasking of all these multitaskers. It works in two ways: First, oils penetrate each strand to moisturize dry hair; then, the serum wraps each strand in a light coating that protects hair from UV rays and heat styling tools. It also helps make dull, damaged hair look shiny and glossy. Use it on wet or dry hair, before or after styling, to seal split ends, or to tame unwanted frizz and flyaways. In short: No wrong way to use it.
2. Best For Heat Styling
Almost all the serums on this list can be used as thermal protectants, but this serum from amika specializes in that task. In this formula, lightweight silicones work to protect hair (and your color) from heat tools up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, while sea buckthorn oil provides antioxidant protection and infuses hair with nourishing omega fatty acids. Reviewers rave about the soft, shiny, salon-worthy results they get with this, and how non-greasy and non-gloopy it feels, even on finer hair.
3. Best For Split Ends
Perhaps the most targeted of the serums on this list, Moroccanoil Mending Infusion is formulated specifically to seal and moisturize split ends. The main ingredients in here are argan oil and baobab extracts, which are both rich in antioxidants and amino acids that hydrate, strengthen, and “fuse” frayed ends — so your ends will look sharper immediately. (It also may be able to help curb breakage until your next trim.) This works best on dry hair, after air-drying or heat styling, so pick up another serum to use as a thermal protectant beforehand.
4. Best Oil Serum
Bonding Oil is the final step in Olaplex’s six-step reparative system. Think of it as a supercharged finishing serum: It leverages the brand’s patented bond-building technology to repair hair on a molecular level, while sunflower oil, green tea oil, and pomegranate seed oil help calm unwanted flyaways and frizz. Unusually for an oil, this also provides thermal protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Also unusually for an oil, Amazon reviewers confirm that this doesn’t feel greasy or heavy, even on oily and fine hair.
5. Best Budget Serum
With over 2,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this CHI Smoothing Treatment is one of the most popular hair serums on Amazon; and at a bit under $7, it’s also one of the cheapest. Win-win. This heat-activated formula is infused with tons of strengthening ingredients, like keratin amino acids, hydrolyzed silk proteins, panthenol, and argan oil, which helps protect hair from heat and makes it look fresh and shiny after styling it. One Amazon reviewer reported that this made their hair look and feel as smooth as their sister’s $150 keratin treatment — and obviously, this is a much more budget-friendly option.
6. Best Splurge
This Oribe Repair Booster is perhaps the final word in the highly specific realm of reparative hair serums, not only for that jewel-like, gold-capped bottle and $58 price tag. A blend of biotin, sea kelp extract, and the fatty acid linoleic acid works to promote hair growth, curb moisture loss, and cultivate a healthier scalp overall. Add a few drops to any other styling product, or apply it straight onto your hair. Since it’s so concentrated, this works overtime as a nourishing treatment.
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