Some products are worth spending a lot of money on; others, not so much. Take hair serums, for example. They’re typically used to promote softness, strength, and shine, and since the ingredients that do these things best (namely, plant-derived oils) are both ubiquitous and cheap, you don’t have to go tracking down some $70 hair serum made with rare ingredients to achieve these benefits. In addition to working just as well as their luxury counterparts, the best drugstore hair serums won’t leave your hair feeling heavy or greasy, and best of all, they cost less than $10 per bottle.
It’s hard to mess up with a hair serum, but a good rule of thumb is to start with a small dab since a little usually goes a long way (again, that’s thanks to the rich oils in these formulas). Start with a dime-sized amount — you can always apply more — rub the product between your palms, and apply it to the middle and ends of your hair, while mostly avoiding the roots. These serums can be used on both damp and dry hair, either before and/or after styling it with hot tools.
Now that you’re armed with a few handy tips, scroll on to shop five of the best hair serums on the market right now.
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1. The Fan Favorite
Over 6,000 Amazon shoppers awarded this John Frieda hair serum a five-star review or rating after trying it. Designed for very dry hair, the "extra-strength" formula is made with hydrolyzed silk, algae extract, and mineral oil to smooth unwanted flyaways and frizz, untangle knots, and generally leave hair feeling smooth, manageable, and soft. There’s a reason this has been a drugstore classic for so many years.
2. Best Value
For the same price of one John Frieda hair serum, you can get two bottles of this Sleek and Shine Serum from Garnier Fructis. Made with argan and apricot kernel oils, it’s a great choice for all hair types, as it’s pretty lightweight, and in addition to promoting softness and shine, it also helps prevent humidity-induced frizz. Like all products from the brand’s Fructis line, it’ll leave your hair smelling absolutely delicious, too.
3. Best Silicone-Free Hair Serum
Silicones help give hair products that pleasantly slippery feel, but if you prefer to avoid silicones (since certain ones can weigh your hair down over time), look no further than this L’Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer. Free of both parabens and silicones, it gets its smoothing powers from ingredients like castor seed oil and cocoa seed butter, and also helps prevent hair damage from temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You can’t beat the price tag, either.
4. Best Spray-On Hair Serum (Also Silicone Free)
Ideal for curly or textured hair, Miss Jessie’s Gloss So Good is a shine-enhancing spray that won’t make your style droop. The formula is loaded with rich, nourishing oils, like sweet almond, primrose, avocado, coconut, tamanu, sesame, and argan, so it’ll give dry hair plenty of moisture while leaving curls bouncy and soft. Bonus points for the convenient, spray-tip bottle.
5. Best Overnight Hair Treatment
Most serums are intended to be used as styling aids, but this one, from Pantene, was created to strengthen your hair and repair damage as you sleep. This is another great value, as you get two, 3-ounce bottles for just $20 in this order. Feel free to use it on either wet or dry hair.
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