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Best hair serum 2021: For soft and sleek hair that feels healthier

Jade Vincent
16 Dec 2021
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Restore dry, damaged locks to their silkiest and softest with the best hair serums

Reap the benefits of soft and healthy tresses after integrating a hair serum into your haircare regime. Yes, a nourishing conditioner and hair oil will replenish and maintain moisture levels in parched strands but it's a hair serum that'll repair and protect your locks against pollutants, sun damage and heat styling. What's more, frizz-fighting serums can help to deliver a sleek, shiny finish, too. 

But hair serums aren't a one-fits-all product. With formulas aplenty – all promising to treat different hair types, textures, and concerns – it's hard to know where to indulge. The good news? We're on hand to match you with the best hair serum, whether your hair is bleached, damaged, fine or frizzy. Read on for our list of the best hair serums, followed by a buying guide that explains how to choose the right serum for your hair.

READ NEXT: Tame unwanted frizz with the best products for curly hair

The best hair serums to buy

1. Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Strengthening Hair Serum: The best hair serum for dry hair

Price: £5 | Buy now from Boots

Restore dry and damaged locks to their super-soft potential with the Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Strengthening hair serum. This honey-scented serum leaves hair feeling noticeably replenished thanks to its penetrative formula that nourishes locks without weighing it down, while propolis forms a protective barrier and vitamin-rich royal jelly gently treats your hair to the tips. The Ultimate Blends range is paraben-free, recyclable and sustainable, too, so not only will your hair thank you, but the environment will too.

A little goes a long way, so be careful not to use too much, or your hair will be left looking a little greasy. Overall, the Ultimate Blends Honey Strengthening hair serum is a fantastic budget option that actually delivers on its promises. Dry hair be gone!

2. Paul Mitchell Gloss Drops: The best serum for frizzy hair

Price: £14 | Buy now from Luxplus

Hair and humidity aren’t a match made in heaven. We’ve often found ourselves leaving the house with a sleek do only to rock up to work with a barnet that resembles a bird’s nest. But worry not: Paul Mitchell will fix frizzy hair woes with his ultra-lightweight and smoothing Gloss Drops hair serum. The serum of choice for many a hairdresser, Gloss Drops uses a moisturising blend of Hawaiian awapuhi, calming camomile, henna, rosemary, aloe vera and jojoba for a shiny and smooth finish.

For best results, use the humidity-resistant serum before blow drying your locks to help your style last longer. Simply pump onto your palm and then smooth over your hair. Those with fine hair should start with a single drop, adding more only if necessary. For a poker-straight style, apply Gloss Drops to dry hair before using a flat iron to smooth down flyaways.

Buy now from Luxplus


3. Toni & Guy Classic Shine Gloss Serum: The best hair serum for shine

Price: £8.75 | Buy now from Superdrug

For super-swishy, insta-worthy hair that you’ll want to keep running your fingers through, you’ll need a shine-promoting serum. The Toni & Guy Classic Shine Gloss is our pick of the bunch, thanks to its attractive price point, lightweight texture, and brilliantly shiny finish.

Unlike other hair serums on this list, the Classic Shine Gloss works best on dry hair to smooth, de-frizz and tame flyaways. Simply use 1-2 pumps of the product and work it through the lengths and ends, being careful to avoid the roots. 

4. Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment: The best hair serum for coloured hair

Price: £24 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

There’s nothing worse than leaving the salon with beautiful, newly blonde hair to find it damaged, dry and looking a little lacklustre only a few weeks later. A nourishing and protective serum will rebuild your hair’s strength to keep your style in tip-top condition for longer, and for that we choose Pureology’s Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment.

Formulated with colour-treated hair in mind, keravis restores the hair’s strength while the AntiFade Complex and lemon, camomile and coriander extracts work hard to boost brightness and protect colour vibrancy. The Pureology hair serum offers UVA/B protection, too, plus it’s sulphate-free and 100% vegan.

5. Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer: The best hair serum with heat and UV protection

Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon

Our hair suffers daily wear and tear, as a result of UV rays, nasty pollutants and heat styling. In order to stay one step ahead of potential breakage, split ends and dryness, simply incorporate the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil into your hair-care regime. Like a sunscreen for your hair, the oil and serum hybrid will form a protective barrier to prevent UV and heat damage. It’s ideal for straight and curly hair types, but works particularly well on medium-to-thick manes.

A blend of six lightweight, non-sticky oils – including coconut, argan and almond oil – you simply spritz the mist over damp hair and brush through the lengths and ends before styling. You can even spray lightly on dry hair before re-styling the following day. The Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer is pricey, but we’re happy to pay a little extra to be reassured that our locks are getting the protection they need.

How to buy the right hair serum for you

What do hair serums do?

We all know that hair serums can help set your style, smooth frizz and add shine and texture to your hair. But they’re so much more than that. With formulas that protect against heat, sun exposure and pollutants, they’re essential for achieving salon-quality hair without leaving the comfort of your home. 

What is the difference between a hair oil and hair serum?

It’s simple: hair oils penetrate deep into your hair follicles for ultimate conditioning and nourishment. If you suffer with severely dry hair then a hair oil is your best bet. Hair serums, on the other hand, coat the outside of your locks as a protective styling tool.

You can apply hair oil to wet or dry hair, and as a moisturising mask. But you’ll only need a few drops of hair serum, applied to wet hair, for it to work its magic. 

What hair serum do I need?

Think about your hair type, texture and concern and choose a hair serum accordingly. Finer textures will benefit from a lightweight, volume-boosting formula, whereas frizzier hair types should opt for a hair serum that will smooth locks and fight humidity. 

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