Ask Grace: What Is Hair Serum?

Hi Grace,

I’m trying to make more of an effort with my haircare routine and use more than just shampoo and conditioner. I’ve started to use a scalp scrub and hair mask once a week, but I’d like to introduce something that will help to moisturise my hair and smooth frizz. Would a hair serum be the right product to use – and what exactly is a hair serum? I’m confused about the difference between hair serum and hair oil!

Thank you,


If you’re looking for a product to smooth, soften, hydrate, and add shine to your hair, then you’re right, a hair serum is definitely one of the best types of product to choose. Not to be confused with hair oil, hair serums are usually oil-free and water-based, and use silicones to smooth hair cuticles, which reduces the appearance of frizz and creates the appearance of sleek, shiny hair. In contrast, hair oils can be quite thick and heavy, and while they do have the same effect, they can make hair look and feel greasy.

Hair serums can be a better option if you have fine hair and find that oily products weight it down, and they’re also great for damaged hair since their formulas are usually packed with ingredients that will help to repair and strengthen. Just as you’d use a skincare serum to target specific concerns like dullness or textured skin, a hair serum can help if you experience frizz and flyaways, regularly use heat tools, or want to address hair loss, dryness or split ends.

If you’re usually low maintenance when it comes to haircare, don’t worry – hair serums are really quick and easy to apply. They can usually be applied to either wet or dry hair, and all you need is a few drops – rub between your palms and smooth down the lengths of your hair from root to tip. You can apply more if needed, and it’s a good idea to use a comb to ensure it’s evenly distributed. 

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If you have a question for our beauty editor and resident esthetician Grace Day, tweet us at @beautybay using the hashtag #AskGrace for a chance to be featured.