The Best Hair Serums For Split Ends

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Despite rumors to the contrary, once the hair shaft has split at the bottom (official name: trichoptilosis), you can’t magically get your splits ends to reseal. Only trimming them off will get rid of them for good, though the best hair serums for split ends can temporarily mend split ends and make them look softer so that they appear less frayed and brittle. Look for serums that contain nourishing, plant-derived oils and protective antioxidants to keep your hair looking and feeling its healthiest in both the short and long term. Even better if you can find a hair serum (or hair oil) that doubles as a heat protectant, in which case you should always apply it before going in with your hot tools.

While using a hair serum is great if you have split ends, there are other things you can do to prevent them from becoming worse. When I interviewed hair experts about the best split end treatments, they recommended getting frequent trims; using a gentle brush; blotting out as much water as possible, after showering, before applying any styling products or leave-in treatments; incorporating a hair mask into your weekly routine; and, as mentioned above, always using a thermal protectant before styling your hair with heat.

With those tips in mind, keep scrolling to find your new favorite hair serum, and don’t forget to pick up one of the best shampoos for split ends while you’re at it.

1. Best Budget Hair Serum For Split Ends

Garnier’s Sleek & Shine serum is a miracle worker for all hair types — and at just about $5, it’s no wonder it’s such a consistent best-seller on Amazon (to date, it boasts over 13,000 five-star ratings). Use this versatile serum on wet or dry hair to smooth down flyaways and unwanted frizz, then apply more product to your ends once your hair is fully dry; this will help disguise the appearance of split ends since they’ll become softer and less brittle.

The formula calls upon the powers of argan oil and apricot oil for nourishment, while lightweight silicones contribute to its instant smoothing effect. Useful for both thin and thick hair (just use less product if your hair is thinner, and more if it’s thicker), this is a no-brainer, budget-friendly addition to your bathroom shelf.

2. Best Quick-Fix Serum For Split Ends

Moroccanoil’s Mending Infusion prides itself on being a quick-fix for split ends — apply a generous amount onto dry hair and watch as the lightweight formula transforms your ends from straw-like and brittle to silky and soft. The hero ingredient in here, like in all Moroccanoil products, is argan oil, which is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, and generally amazing for helping to maintain shiny, healthy hair. Also in the formula are quinoa protein and baobab extracts for further strengthening and conditioning benefits.

3. Best Serum For Curly Hair & Split Ends

Prefer silicone-free hair products? DevaCurl’s CURLBOND Re-Coiling Split End Serum was designed to help repair damaged ends without the use of silicones (which some people find can, over time, build up and weigh down their hair). In this formula, the brand’s CurlBond Complex works overtime to help replenish dried-out, weakened hair and strengthen broken bonds so your curls look and feel their best. Unlike a lot of hair serums that feel more like oils, this one is unique in that it has a rich, creamy consistency (but don’t worry: it’s very lightweight).

4. Best Serum For Mega Shine

If sleek, shiny hair is your main goal, trust us: you want Color Wow’s Pop + Lock serum-oil hybrid. Though it also helps promote smoother, softer hair from root to tip, and it provides UV protection, too, it’s most loved for its ability to make hair look impossibly glossy and expensive. Another bonus: Like all Color Wow products, this serum can help prevent your color from fading so it stays vibrant and lustrous between salon visits. You can use this on both wet and dry hair, but after it’s dry, add more to your ends to keep them looking/feeling soft.

5. Best Splurge

Yes, the bottle is gorgeous and Oribe’s trademark fragrance is iconic, but their Split End Seal treatment is also a hair-healing powerhouse. Made with all sorts of advanced, nutrient-rich ingredients like a polymer blend to reseal split ends; carob tree extract and vegetable protein to strengthen; moringa seed and baobab oils for shine; and the brand’s special Signature Complex (that includes watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower extracts) to protect hair from external stressors, this serum is ideal for people with color-treated hair who are experiencing split, brittle ends and other signs of damage. Since it’s so rich in antioxidants, it can help prevent your color from fading, too.

6. Honorable Mention

We couldn’t not shout out Pantene’s Fortifying Damage Repair serum — for less than $15, you get two 3.2-ounce bottles, making them perfect for travel. The serum uses castor oil as its key ingredient to moisturize and seal split ends while helping to encourage stronger, shinier hair overall. Use it before you go to bed on wet or dry hair; it’s almost like an overnight hair mask, but in the morning, you don’t have to rinse it out. You’ll wake up to softer, smoother hair that looks gorgeous all day long.

Studies referenced:

Shampoo and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know?, by Paschal D'Souza and Sanjay K Rathi;