A pump of smoothing hair serum can definitely help you achieve silky, frizz-free hair, if that's a priority for you. But the best serums for frizzy hair don’t need to be used solely for taming flyaways. And even if you don’t have frizz-prone hair, or you don’t really care about their hair-smoothing properties, you can still benefit from these serums’ many other great qualities. For instance: All of the serums on this list will hydrate dry hair, give it some luster, and offer protection from heat styling tools, pollution, and other aggressors that can sap strength and shine. Certain formulas can actually repair damage on a molecular level, while others can boost color retention in dyed hair.
A word on hair serum best practices: Unless your particular product directs otherwise, there’s almost no wrong way to use a hair serum. Use it on towel-dried hair before blow-drying, or on dry hair before curling or flat-ironing for heat protection. Apply it to wet hair (before air-drying or blow-drying, doesn’t really matter) to prevent future frizz, or on dry hair to tame existing frizz.
Generally, stylists recommend applying serum at the ends of your hair, where the cuticle is older and most in need of hydration and protection. Then you can work the product through with your fingers (or a brush, if you’re feeling Marcia Brady about it), then touch up near your roots, around your hairline, or wherever else you want a little extra smoothness and shine. For the best results, apply your serum on freshly washed hair.
With that in mind, any of these hardworking serums will make your hair stronger, safer — and, yes, smoother — with every dollop.
1. The Overall Best Serum For Frizzy Hair
The reviews for this Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum are as close to perfect as any product can get on the internet. It's super lightweight, smells fresh and fruity (but not sickly), doesn’t leave a sticky residue on your hands, and a little goes a long way. It’s billed as a blowout serum to speed up the drying process, but like any good smoothing serum, you can use it to soften and protect your hair no matter how you are, or aren’t, drying it. And according to the diversity of its enthusiastic reviewers, this serum works on all pretty much every hair type: people with curly, permed, fine, natural, thick, and wavy hair have all found success with this salon staple.
2. The Best Repairing Serum For Damaged, Frizzy Hair
Olaplex products use a revolutionary patented chemistry to rebuild your hair’s broken bonds on a molecular level. This Olaplex No 6 Bond Smoother is one of the brand’s five core products in their consumer line, and it does way more than just smooth frizz (though it does that beautifully, too). In addition to speeding up drying time and taming flyaways, this leave-in cream repairs damage and restores hydration, so it’s a must-have if you have color-treated or chemically-processed hair. That said, everyone’s hair suffers some amount of damage over time, so we could all use a little (or a lot of) Olaplex in our lives.
3. The Best Color-Extending Serum For Dyed, Frizzy Hair
I’ve been using Pureology’s shampoo and conditioner since my colorist recommended it for protecting my dyed hair, and I couldn’t really love it more — my hair has been noticeably shinier and stronger, and the color is more vibrant between salon trips. So I’ll definitely be trying this Pureology Smooth Perfection Smoothing Serum next. The formula contains the brand’s proprietary Thermal AntiFade Complex, which protects color-treated hair from hot tool-induced fading, while vitamin E oil helps prevents breakage and split ends. And Pureology’s signature spicy-sweet scent (courtesy of clove, musk, and a hint of violet) is a welcome alternative if you’re not into fruity, floral, or overly sweet fragrances.
4. The Best Long-Lasting Serum For Frizzy Hair
If you live in a humid climate, or you just want to feel safe in the knowledge that your hair will behave itself all day, go for this Amika Velveteen Dream Smoothing Balm. The formula’s time-released active ingredients and conditioning polymers will help keep your hair smooth and protected for a full 24 hours. And lots of those active ingredients are botanically-sourced, like collagen-rich sea buckthorn berry, arnica for scalp health, and conditioning wild cherry bark extract. Plus, Amika is another brand known for their heavenly-scented products — just another perk to this fabulous product.
5. The Best Budget Serum For Frizzy Hair
While all of the previous four products are amazing, the truth is that you don’t really need to spend almost $30 if you’re looking for a foolproof, straightforward smoothing serum. So if that’s what you’re going for, try this Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum. Infused with fatty acid-rich argan and apricot kernel oils, this light and flexible serum does exactly what it says on the bottle: Smooths and hydrates frizzy hair (and, like all Garnier Fructis products, it smells amazing).
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