Is Hair Serum Better Than Oil? Their Differences & the Best Choice to Make

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Hair serum and hair oil are two different products that perform different functions in your hair care routine. So, a comparison of which is better between serum and oil for hair may not be as effective as highlighting their unique features.

The product you use in your hair depends on what you’re looking to address. Hair serums are hair styling products while hair oils nourish your hair and can improve the health of your hair.

In essence, they aren’t so comparable. You can rather use one that meets the need of the moment or use both.

Continue reading to see the unique features of each product and their differences. Also, this article details how to use both products in your hair care routine.

What Is Hair Serum?

Hair serum is a hair styling product that deposits its molecules on the surface of your hair strands. It coats your hair and protects it from damage like UV ray exposure, heat tools, and the force of detangling hair.

It is a silicone-based formula that targets specific hair concerns like frizz, scalp, and hair dryness. Hair growth serums can influence the growth cycle of your hair. They are concentrated with vitamins and minerals that work to extend the growth phase of your hair.

Hair serums are however not supposed to be permanent hair treatments. You should only use them according to the demands of your hair. For instance, when battling frizz, limp hair, breakage, or when you need to heat style your hair.

What Is Hair Serum Good For?

Using hair serums loads your hair with numerous benefits. Some serums are formulated to address frizz, some work to nourish and hydrate your scalp while preventing flaking, and others stimulate hair growth.

Generally, hair serums are great hair styling products. When you apply serum to your hair before heat styling, the silicone compounds create a coating over your hair strands. This coat protects your hair from the potential damage the heat tools can cause.

Moreover, hair serum adds volume to your hair. This volume is conferred by the deposits of silicone molecules on your hair strands. This improves the appearance and weight of limp hair which is susceptible to breakage.

Therefore, they successfully protect your hair from breaking from environmental factors that cause hair breakage. Additionally, it adds shine to your hair, helps to gather stray hairs, smoothens split ends, and aids in detangling.

What Is Hair Oil?

Oils are naturally sourced and are very nourishing to the hair. Hair oil can influence the overall health of your hair. Oils penetrate the hair strands and nourish them with essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for hair growth and texture.

Hair oil helps to strengthen the roots of the hair, moisturize the scalp and hair strands and add shine to the hair.

They also help to protect your hair from frizz, breakage, and dryness. The fatty acids nourish your hair and increase resilience against environmental factors.

Examples of hair oils include argan oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Each of these oils is highly beneficial to the hair.

What Is Hair Oil Good For?

Hair oils improve blood circulation in the scalp. The nutrients penetrate your scalp and distribute around the roots of your hair. Some hair oils can help treat scalp dandruff and aid the growth of healthy hair.

Hair oil works for every hair type. It is highly nourishing and hydrating for both strands and the scalp. Applying hair oil to your hair strengthens the hair strands and prevents occurrences like hair breakage or limpness.

It’s undebatable that hair oils improve the luster and the appearance of your hair. In addition, they are a great anti-frizz treatment and help to prevent split ends which can cause breakage. Hair oils soften the hair and aid in detangling wet hair after washing.

Pre-treating your hair with oil before shampooing helps to protect your hair from the harsh chemicals in shampoo that can strip your hair of moisture. Oils also contain antioxidants that protect your hair strands from the damage of UV rays.

Hair Serum vs Hair Oil

In a comparison of physical appearance, hair serums are thicker than hair oils. Moreover, serums are either water-based or oil-based.

Oils, on the other hand, are oil-based products. Hair serums are styling products that help gather flyways while hair oils are used for treating the hair.

You can apply hair oil to both scalp and strands but you can’t use every serum on your scalp. Otherwise, the silicone molecules can cause build-up on your scalp. Also, hair oils should be applied to the scalp with caution to prevent greasiness.

Hair oils lubricate and nourish your hair while serums protect your hair from damage and give your hair a smooth appearance. The effect of hair serum on the hair is temporary while that of hair oil lasts longer on your strands.

Hair serums are post-wash hair treatments that aid in detangling and help to condition the hair. You can use hair oil before and after washing your hair to protect it from chemicals and losing moisture.

Is Hair Serum the Same as Hair Oil?

Hair serum is not hair oil. The comparison highlights the differences in their physical appearances and the roles each plays in your hair care routine.

Although they seem to perform similar functions, hair serums cannot fill in the functions of hair oils or the other way around.

Serums help to style your hair and gather it together in a clean stylish bun. Hair oils are hair treatments that nourish your hair and stimulate hair growth.

Are Hair Serums Better Than Oils?

Hair serum and hair oil are vital products for the health and appearance of your hair. Each product is in its class and has unique features that separate it from the others. None is better than the other.

The product you apply to your hair depends on what you’re looking to address at the time. After washing your hair, serums aid in detangling and styling your hair while it is still damp with moisture. Hair oils are better pre-poo protectors to shield your hair from chemicals.

Additionally, hair serums serve as heat protectants; they protect your hair while using hair tools. Oils are great for scalp massage which stimulates nutrient circulation and fosters hair growth.

Can You Use Hair Serum Without Oil?

Hair serums are best used with hydrating products like oils that can help seal in moisture and amp hydration. Moreover, if you’re using a serum that is strictly for your strands alone, you’ll need oil for your scalp.

Serums work best with hair oil to improve the health and appearance of your hair. The molecules in serum cannot penetrate your hair shaft. Therefore, it cannot affect the health of your hair. It only confers volume and makes your hair appear smooth and reflective.

Can You Use Hair Oil Without Hair Serum?

You may use hair oils alone, especially on your non-wash days. Hair serums are essential on wash days and when you need to heat style your hair. If you’re not doing any of these, it is okay to stick with just oils. Hair oil can effectively hydrate and nourish your hair.

Hair oil can function as a hair serum; it is highly conditioning and can help repair damaged ends and control frizz. Furthermore, hair serums are not an everyday necessity.

If you’re not battling hair issues like breakage, frizz, limp hair, or scalp dryness, you can do without hair serum.

Should You Use Hair Serum and Oil Together?

Hair serum and oil make a better hair care routine when you use them together. Using both products brings balance to your hair.

While hair serum works on the outside by coating your hair strands with molecules that protect them, oils nourish and hydrate your hair from within.

Together, they yield more results and improve the appearance of your hair. When you use them together in your routine, serums protect your hair from the damage of heat tools.

Hair oil serves as hair sunscreen to shield your hair from sun exposure. All of which can affect the appearance of your hair.

Although using serum and oil on your hair is cool, you should be sure your hair needs both products. If your hair gets excessively dry, you can use both products. However, if your scalp and hair easily get weighed down with products, stick to just one at a time.

How to Use Hair Serum and Oil Together

When you use hair serum and oil in your hair care routine, use it sparingly to avoid product build-up. Follow the steps below to use hair serum and oil in your hair care routine:

  • Pre-treat your scalp and hair with oil before you apply shampoo
  • The oil pre-treatment of your hair aids scalp cleansing with shampoo. It also protects your strands from the harsh chemicals in shampoo and from absorbing too much water and getting dry and brittle
  • After pre-treatment, apply sulfate-free shampoo to your scalp and gently lather it with your fingers. Ensure to reach every area of your scalp and wash off the oil to prevent greasiness
  • Thereafter, rinse off the shampoo with clean, lukewarm water
  • Apply conditioner to your strands, rub it in gently and rinse it out
  • Wrap a lint-free towel around your hair to absorb excess water. However, you should retain moisture in your hair to aid the application and absorption of hair serum
  • Pump out the serum and apply some drops of serum all over your hair. Apply more serum to the ends of your hair
  • Use a detangling brush to gently detangle your hair
  • Thereafter, apply oil to seal in moisture and add shine to your hair
  • Go ahead to style your hair as you like


Is hair serum necessary?

Hair serum becomes necessary for your hair if you’re battling frizz, limp strands, breakage, and moisture loss. It also aids in detangling and can help add volume and shine to your hair. If you do not have any of these hair concerns, you may not use a serum for your hair.

How often should you use hair oil?

Apply oil to your hair two to three times a week to lock in moisture and nourish your hair. Applying oil to your hair every day will lead to greasiness, and product build-up and can attract dirt to your hair.

Are serums or oils better for hair growth?

Serums and oils stimulate hair growth. Hair growth serums can extend the growth phase of your hair, oils also increase blood and nutrient circulation to foster hair growth.

However, the growth results of serum only last for as long as you use hair serum while the growth results from using hair oils are permanent.


Hair products are a necessity if you want to grow healthy hair. The product you use depends on what you want to achieve. From shampoos to serums to hair oils, every hair care product is important for hair growth and glow.

Hair serum is not better than oil or the other way around. Rather than making a choice, you can have both products and use them as your hair demands. What is most important is that you use the right products and apply them correctly.

Thanks for reading.

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