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Strong, luscious hair is in, but keep in mind that healthy hair starts from within. In addition to thickening shampoos and leave-in restorative treatments, the best hair serums can make caring for your strands that much simpler.

“In order to achieve a healthy head of hair, it is mandatory that the hair follicles are kept clean, clear, and well maintained, meaning they aren’t weighed down by serum or products or obstructed by things like dead skin, dandruff, or inflammation,” explains New York City trichologist Bridgette Hill, also known as the Scalp Therapist. “Simply put, our hair-fiber formation and growth begin below the skin—by ​​the time the hair protrudes from the hair follicle, it has already been formed.” And so to improve hair quality, you must work to reinvigorate and reawaken the follicle at the scalp—which is where hair serums come into play.

What Are Hair Serums?

According to Hill, “Hair serums should be viewed as water- or oil-based products that provide moisture, protection, and/or styling benefits for scalp or hair fibers and deliver optimal results in a weightless formulation.” She continues that hair serums targeting hair loss work by “creating a healthier scalp microbiome and hair follicle, which increases the numbers of hair fibers that each follicle produces.”

However Hill emphasizes that these products work for hair-loss prevention not growth, as “there is no serum or active ingredient to date that is proven to grow hair.” She says that while you can’t make a dead follicle grow, you can restore and treat it when hair growth is disrupted.

Look to the best hair serums for lightweight nourishment that not only strengthens hair fibers for enhanced look and feel but also improves styling capabilities. As Hill puts it, serums offer more slip than creams while providing the “coating and protection hair needs without making it feel dirty, heavy, greasy, and motionless.” With this in mind, read on to discover 12 hair serums to consider adding to your regimen.

For Inflamed Scalps

dr Barbara Sturm Balancing Scalp Serum

“This scalp serum provides the first step to minimize scalp dryness and oiliness and reduce inflammation at the root of the hair fiber,” says Hill of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s scalp serum. “The cationic hyaluronic acid used in this serum does not wash off the scalp like normal hyaluronic acid, providing the scalp and hair long-lasting benefits.”

dr Barbara Sturm Balancing Scalp Serum

To lock in moisture

JVN Hair Complete Nourishing Shine Drops

Per Hill, JVN Hair’s Shine Drops “Allow the consumer to seal in moisture and shine that is weightless, nonsticky, and filled with moisture.” Great for blocking out humidity and protecting against fading color, it can also be used pre-blowout, as a curl refresher, or even as a daily moisturizer for medium to coarse hair types, she notes.

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JVN Hair Complete Nourishing Shine Drops

For Serum Beginners

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid Scalp Serum

The Ordinary’s scalp serum is a thoughtful buy for someone’s first foray into the world of hair serums. Infused with hyaluronic acid, squalane, and natural moisturizing ingredients, this lightweight milky serum works to hydrate dry, flaky scalps.

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The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid Scalp Serum

To Prevent Shedding

The Nue Co. Supa Thick Scalp Serum

Absolutely no one likes hair shedding, but if you think your hair needs some extra TLC to support hair retention, consider this serum by The Nue Co. that features a blend of the brand’s patented follicle technology, essential oils, and probiotics to cleanse, reduce the appearance of flakiness, and stimulate follicle circulation.

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The Nue Co. Supa Thick Scalp Serum

For Color-Treated Hair

Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Infinite Color Hold Dual Use Serum

Those with colored tresses should look to Alterna’s Caviar anti-aging formula that is crafted to add shine, quell frizz, and protect against UV rays. After using this serum, expect improved hair color and vibrancy for hair types from straight to coiled.

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Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Infinite Color Hold Dual Use Serum

To Clarify and Reduce Buildup

Vegamour Gro Scalp Detoxifying Hair Treatment Serum

With Vegamour’s detoxifying hair-treatment serum, expect a more balanced, buildup-free scalp powered by the brand’s proprietary vegan silk protein. Packed with willow-herb extract, baobab and marula oils, and fatty acids, the serum will leave your mane moisturized and protected too.

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Vegamour Gro Scalp Detoxifying Hair Treatment Serum

To Enhance Shine

Innersense Organic Beauty I Create Shine Glossing Serum

Bid dull hair goodbye after just one use of Innersense’s I Create Shine serum. As the name suggests, it uses a cocktail of sesame, cranberry seed, and macadamia oils for natural-based shine, smoothing, and sealant.

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Innersense Organic Beauty I Create Shine Glossing Serum

$40

INNER SENSE ORGANIC BEAUTY

For Heat Protectant

Mizani Press Agent Smoothing Raincoat Styling Serum

Mizani’s Press Agent smoothing serum is an all-star heat-styling companion for heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, whether you’re perfecting that blowout or simply using heat for a super-sleek look.

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Mizani Press Agent Smoothing Raincoat Styling Serum

For Thinning Edges

Sunday II Sunday Hair Flourish, Biotin Infused Scalp Serum

Ideal for those experiencing edge thinning with wavy, curly, or coiled hair, Sunday II Sunday’s scalp serum combines biotin, sunflower-seed oil, and coconut oil to reduce damage and prevent breakage.

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Sunday II Sunday Hair Flourish, Biotin Infused Scalp Serum

For Mature Hair

Christophe Robin Regenerating Serum with Prickly Pear Oil

The Christophe Robin Regenerating Serum is powered by prickly-pear-seed oil, an ingredient rich in omegas and fatty acids to strengthen and nourish from within. What’s more, this offers multipurpose solutions from heat protection to reduced frizz.

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Christophe Robin Regenerating Serum with Prickly Pear Oil

For Brittle Hair

Augustine Bader The Scalp Treatment

Infused with the brand’s TFC8 technology as well as maca root, hazel leaf, watercress, and Indian cress, Augustinus Bader’s The Scalp Treatment looks to strengthen hair overall. Just massage this lightweight formula into the scalp to reinvigorate follicles, prevent damage, and retain moisture.

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Augustine Bader The Scalp Treatment

For Natural Hair

Pattern Jojoba Oil Hair Serum

Few emollients are as effective as jojoba oil, the hydrator that powers this Pattern hair Serum. Featuring goodies like safflower, rose-hip, olive, and lavender oils, this provides lightweight moisture to natural hair, especially those with low-porosity strands, working to prevent flakiness and itchiness.

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Pattern Jojoba Oil Hair Serum

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