Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Mahek Chawla (Dietitian & Nutritionist) on 21st Sep 2020

Hair Serums - The New-Age Hair Essential

When we talk about cosmetics, most people think of skincare. But in times like now, hair care products which are given equal importance are a big part of the cosmetic industry. Apart from your regular shampoos and conditioners, hair serums are an important part of the hair care routine. 

What are hair serums? 

These are liquids made of a variety of ingredients but mostly silicones when it comes to chemical-based serums. In natural ones that are free of chemicals, hair serums are a compote of different oils. The usage of silicones or specific oils in hair serums is for their hydrophobic activity.

Hair serums are widely produced and used for hair issues such as frizz, damage, dryness, breakage, split ends. They deliver a multi-beneficial outcome even with initial usage because they work predominantly on the surface of the hair strand rather than penetrating into the innermost layer. The serum forms a layer that does all the work of smoothening, strengthening, protecting, and taming the frizz. 

Why are silicones used in hair serums?

Silicones are synthetic (manmade) polymers that have hydrophobic properties. They help in retaining moisture by creating an impenetrable seal. Silicones come in many different forms, some of which you would never put near your hair. Caulk is an excellent example of this because if you slathered this silicone-based sealant, your hair would damage.

Luckily, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, and Dimethicone - the different kinds of silicones used in serums are less sticky, heavy, and thick. They are not toxic and do not cause damage to hair. Silicones actually shield your strands from harmful elements by creating a protective layer around your hair shaft.  

Myth Busted!

Silicone is plastic and harmful for hair. No, this is not true. Firstly, silicones are not plastic, but human-made polymer. If your product has good silicones listed above, then they will keep hair healthy by retaining moisture. Many studies back this.


Before we get into more detail of how these hair serums really work, let's first keep in mind the basic anatomy of hair. Hair grows from the root, also called the bulb, present on the scalp.

The shaft is the visible part that we keep taming. The shaft has three layers starting with the outermost cuticle, middle cortex, and inner medulla. Now being said that, it’s easy for you to understand that hair serums containing silicones basically get absorbed maximum into the outermost layer cuticle or just create a layer of protection instead of getting absorbed.  

The primary reason why people use hair serums is to deal with frizz. But did you know, they have plenty to offer like:

  • They protect from environmental damage
  • Prevents premature weathering
  • Stops breakage
  • Adds shine and softens hair  
  • Detangles the hair

Hair serums have a wide variety to offer. From oil-based to alcohol-based ones, there are many convinced with specific active ingredients. Surfactants and hydrophilic molecules are the most commonly added ingredients. 

There is also a range of hair serums used according to your needs, which includes: 

TYPE OF BASETARGET hair typeTREATMENT
Oil basedThick, very dry, rough without oily scalp, voluminous Repairs damage, dryness, roughness and provides shine.
Aqua based Thin, limp, low volume, semi-dry strands with oily scalpControls frizz, prevents breakage, split ends and gives volume and moisture.
Fatty Alcohol based
( Lauryl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol )
Very dry, root curls, frizzy shafts with oily or combination scalpTames frizz very well,
Gives a luster and healthy look.

Oil-based serums are usually natural and have a combination of different oils that penetrate well and also create a layer around the shaft.

Apart from this classification of serums, there are serums available based on different concerns like: 

  • Dry, rough hair 
  • Frizzy hair
  • To avoid hair breakage 
  • Prevention from environmental damage
  • Curly and frizzy
  • Coloured or chemically treated hair 

Ingredients to consider in a hair serum 

Despite several studies and trials, there is little information available about what works for the above concerns. So, here are ingredients to look for when choosing a hair serum. 

  •  For dry, rough, frizzy hair strands: Cyclomethicone, amodimethicone, and dimethicone ( mild beneficial silicones ) and fatty alcohols, as mentioned above.  
  • For breakage, split ends, and weak shaft: Keratin, glycerin, and protein-containing products.  
  • For damaged hair due to coloring or environment: Keratin, silicones, and natural oils after a deep cleanse.

Though the above classification can help you post the damage, it is always good to know the science behind the damage. The root cause of damage is the low permeability of the cuticle. Lack of moisture and lack of ability to take in the moisture available make hair frizzy and weak.  

How to use hair serums? 

  • Wash your scalp and not the strands if not oily with a suitable shampoo
  • Condition your strands and not the scalp and leave it for 2-3 mins and wash it off thoroughly.
  • After 90 percent air drying your hair, take three to four drops of serum on your palm and rub lightly on your palms. This will distribute the serum evenly on your strands too. 
  • After rubbing serum on the palm, apply the serum gently on the strands starting from the root and moving towards the middle.  
  • Do not rub your strands with each other this will create more friction.

Reasons for frizzy hair

Humidity

One common cause of frizzy hair is humidity and excess moisture in the air. The humidity maintains high levels of hydrogen, and our hair is incredibly sensitive to this. This level of hydrogen forms a bond with your hair’s water molecules and proteins, and it’s this bond that makes hair frizzy. This creates a static charge around each strand, making it stand out and pop out every time you try to comb dry strands.

Friction  

The force created between two surfaces when rubbed towards each other is called friction. This force is caused due to cotton pillowcases, too much washing, towel drying, excessive brushing. This friction can charge up hair strands and make them cationic, causing them to repel from each other, making it frizzy. 

Do’s and Don'ts to prevent frizz

Hair is very delicate and, when damaged, should be treated even more carefully. Follow the below things to take care of your hair.

  • Use a silk pillow cover to reduce agitation.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush and a wide-tooth comb to detangle. 
  • Apply serum after every wash. 
  • Use a cotton T-shirt or thin towels to towel/cloth dry. 

Avoid the below:

  • Using cotton or wool pillow covers. 
  • Detangling or playing when hair is wet. 
  • Short-chain alcohols in your shampoo and conditioners.
  • Heat styling and blow-drying.
  • Overusing hair serums as they may make your hair very greasy.

Freewill provides personalized serum based on your hair type and goals. You can personalize your products as well as know what goes in them.

In this era, personalization has become the most favorite because who doesn't want a unique approach formulated as per their needs?   

The Bottom Line

Having natural oils combined with other active ingredients will ensure you have a good hair day every day! So, find the right hair serum is important for hair growth and healthy hair.

All serums can support your hair growth, but they are not a magic potion, so you need to be patient to see results. It usually takes 5-6 months or more in some cases. So keep using a product for at least 6 months before deciding to switch.

Hair growth also depends on the nutrient intake so, include iron-rich and Vitamin-rich foods into your diet.