Are Serums Good for Your Hair? Here’s Why You Need at Least One

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Hair serums are hair care products that give your hair a boost of moisture. The active ingredients in these products coat your strands and protect your hair against frizz and breakage. If you have a serum in your hair care regimen, way to go!

Long, silky hair with volume is on the list of every woman’s beauty goals. Hair serums help you to achieve this. It’s no news that these wonder products have received a lot of commendation from hairstylists and beauty enthusiasts.

I believe you have questions for which you need answers to validate the popular claims of these products. Read on to see why and how you should use a hair serum.

What are Hair Serums?

Hair serums are just like your face serums, except that they are applied to your hair instead. Like face serums, they deliver active ingredients to your hair strands.

The major ingredients in hair serums are silicones, proteins, and essential fatty acids and oils. Silicones give the serums a rubber-like appearance and they coat your hair strands with a protective layer.

Hair serum protects your hair against harsh weather conditions that can damage your cuticles and strands. As a bonus, the essential oils add shine to your hair and soften it.

Can Serums Be Applied on Wet Hair?

Hair serums are best applied to wet hair (damp hair actually). You should not apply serum to unwashed hair.

The moisture in your hair aids easy absorption of the serum into your scalp. Consequently, it stimulates your follicles to begin the hair growth cycle.

Additionally, applying serum to wet hair helps to seal in the ingredients and makes it easier to gather straying strands together. Hair serums that contain hyaluronic acid help your strands to retain moisture, especially when applied to wet hair.

Hyaluronic acid binds to the water molecules and keeps them trapped. This gives you moisturized hair, which is a great way to prevent dry, brittle hair which can cause hair loss.

Can Serum Be Applied on Dry Hair?

Yes, you can. although hair serum absorbs better on wet hair, you can use it on dry hair. However, your scalp and hair must be clean. And you should apply the serum before you style your hair with other products.

If you would rather apply serum to dry hair, you should use a formula that will absorb quickly and not weigh down your strands. Such serums do not have silicone as a major active ingredient in hair serums.

Furthermore, for a midday touch-up, it is okay to apply serum to dry hair especially if you have naturally dry hair or during harsh weather conditions. The serum acts as a protective shield against environmental aggressors that can cause frizzy hair and damage your strands.

Can Serums Damage Your Hair?

The wrong application of any beauty care product can sabotage the original intentions of the product. And the same applies to hair serums. If you wrongly apply serum to your hair, it will expose your hair to damage like breakage.

Most hair serums are meant to be applied to the length of hair. Therefore, applying such serums to your scalp will leave you with oily hair. Moreover, the chemicals will weaken the roots of your hair and lead to breakage.

Overusing scalp serums can lead to an itchy, irritated, inflamed scalp. Also, it can cause your hair to shed and reduce the overall volume of your hair.  

Can Serums Help Your Hair Grow?

Yes, serums can help hair growth. Hair growth serums contain potent ingredients like vitamins like biotin (B7) which can stimulate your follicles to grow out hairs.

These ingredients increase blood circulation around areas of sparse hair growth to cause the regrowth of lost hair.

Gretchen Friese, a trichologist says, “hair serums can increase blood and nutrients circulation, remove toxins and debris from hair follicles to create a better environment for healthy hair growth, and reactivate dormant follicles to trigger regrowth”.

More so, these serums extend the growing phase of your hair, preventing hair loss. Hair serums are good moisturizing agents; they moisturize your scalp. This moisture boost helps to produce healthier, shiny hairs.  

Can Serum Be Used on Hair Daily?

Hair serums are not permanent hair treatments. While you are targeting improving the overall appearance of your hair, using hair serum every day can be counterproductive.

Apply hair serum every other day like on your wash days. The only condition for daily use is if you’re battling dry, brittle, frizzy hair or hair loss.

Therefore, for such hair issues, you can apply serum two times every day. Otherwise, you’ll be exposing your hair to breakage and dryness.

Can Hair Serum Be Used As a Heat Protectant?

Hair experts recommend that you apply hair serum before heat styling. Silicone-based hair serums provide optimum protection for your strands.

The molecules form a coat over your strands; it creates a barrier between your hair cuticles and the heat tool.

Naturally, heat tools like flat irons and blow dryers damage your strands and expose your hair to breakage. Applying serum to your hair before drying or straightening can increase your strands’ resistance to heat and its potential damage.

Can Hair Serums Be Applied on the Scalp?

Not all serums can be applied to the scalp. Some serums target treating scalp conditions or that are best suited for scalp application.

The wrong application of serum to your scalp will cause product buildup. This buildup can weigh down your strands and result in hair breakage. Applying serum to your scalp blocks the follicles on your scalp and increases greasiness.  

Moreover, hair experts advise that you avoid the roots of your hair when applying hair serum and apply it to the length instead. To treat scalp conditions, get a scalp serum.

Can Hair Serum Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, it can. Hair serums can lead to hair loss if you use them wrongly. Overusing hair serum and leaving it on your hair for too long can lead to hair loss.

Although they contain natural ingredients, some additives are chemicals that can make your hair frail and thin under conditions of prolonged use.

However, you can avoid this if you use your hair serum as instructed and according to the needs of your hair. This includes a reduced frequency and the right application method.

Can Serum Cause White Hair?

Serums cannot make your hair gray; instead, they help to prevent premature graying of your hair. The vitamins, essential fatty acids, and oils present in hair serums improve the overall health of your hair. They strengthen your hair shaft and make it smoother and silky.

Hair serums can revitalize already dying hair follicles to produce the pigment responsible for hair color. Consequently, it stimulates the growth of healthy, shiny hair.

Does Serum Make Your Hair Oily?

The wrong application of hair serum can lead to an overproduction of sebum. Using too much serum or applying serum directly to the roots of your hair can make your hair greasy.

As a result, your strands are weighed down with product buildup and this can trigger a lack of moisture and hair loss.

Does Serum Help Straighten Hair?

Hair straightening serums can aid hair straightening and protect your hair from the heat of straighteners. These serums help to tame straying strands and gather them together into an orderly bun or ponytail.

Therefore, before you apply the heat tool, apply a hair straightening serum to the length of your hair. Ingredients like silicone, fatty acids, and vitamins fortify your strands to take on heat and still thrive. As a plus, it adds a natural glow to your hair.

How to Apply Hair Serum

How you apply serum to your hair determines the effectiveness of the ingredients. The ingredients deliver nutrients faster and better when applied to damp hair. Although, you can apply serum to dry hair too.

Follow this detailed guide to apply serum to your hair:

  • Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
  • Afterward, remove excess water with a clean towel that will not shed lint. Make sure you retain a considerable amount of moisture in your hair
  • Pump out the serum and release about 4-6 drops on your palm (depending on the thickness and length of your hair)
  • Then, in an inverted position, so your hair flips over to the front, apply the serum to the length of your hair and rub it in gently (avoid the roots of your hair)
  • If you need more serum, you can apply two more drops. Do not overdo it; with serums, the less you apply, the more you get from it
  • Afterward, use a wide tooth comb that will not tug at or pull your hair to comb through. This will help to evenly distribute the serum
  • Thereafter, you can go ahead to style your hair as you desire


Are serums bad for your hair?

Serums are not completely bad for your hair if you use the right formula and apply it correctly. Correct application of hair serums encompasses your usage frequency and how much you apply at a time.

In addition, using too much serum too frequently can be counterproductive for your hair. It weighs your strands with the product, causes oiliness, and sometimes, hair loss.

Should you wash your hair after applying serum?

Ideally, serums should be applied to pre-washed hair. But you may apply hair serum before you wash your hair.

It protects your hair from the harsh chemicals your shampoo and conditioner may contain. Also, pre-treating your hair with serum can protect against frizz and excessive drying.

Do serums come before or after straightening?

You should apply a hair straightening serum before you straighten your hair. The serum will protect your hair strands from heat and increase their ability to resist the damages that heat tools cause.

You should however note that not all hair serums are hair straightening serums. Find a formula that works for hair straightening and pre-treat your hair before applying heat tools.


Are serums good for your hair? This is your question if you’re looking to incorporate a serum in your hair care routine. Hair serums make your hair goals achievable and give you admirable hair.

However, to reap the benefits of using serums, you must use the right formula for your hair or scalp. Also, you should apply just enough as your hair needs at a time.

Serums contain active ingredients and chemicals that can put your hair in a vicious cycle of growth and loss if you do not use the products correctly. Other than that, you need a serum in your regimen. And if you have one or two already, your hair will be better for it.

Thanks for reading.

Serum101 provides you with relevant hair care guides to help you achieve your hair goals.