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It’s the equivalent of the difference between putting on sunblock to prevent a sunburn versus putting on a coat. Don’t get me wrong, some serums do contain oil to condition and keep hair healthy but the bottom line is serums and hair oils have different goals. Serums aid in styling and shine.

Isn’t silicone bad for your hair? That depends on the silicone and your hair. Silicone is considered one of the most inert materials around. Medical-grade silicone is considered a material that has zero adverse effects and that practically no one is allergic to. It’s used in everything from sunblock to cooking utensils but it’s gotten a bad rap in our hair products with lots of shampoos and conditioners boasting that they are silicone-free.

Certain silicones, like dimethicone, won’t damage your hair but they might weigh it down. Dimethicone is so effective at coating your hair strands that it’s difficult to wash off. This can lead to build up in some hair types. Dimethicone is cheap to produce so you’ll find it as the only silicone ingredient in bargain serums.

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Higher quality silicones like cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, or dimethicone copolyol don’t have that same sticking problem and either evaporate or are water-soluble making them easy to wash out. That way you get the shine and protection benefits without the nasty build up. It’s important to carefully check your ingredient list–or read an article by someone who has.

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If you only remember one thing it should be this: less is more. Just like you can overdo it will your hair oil, you can definitely overdo it and there is way less leeway with serum. For most treatments you’ll only need one to two drops. Once you are out of the shower and your hair is towel-dry, apply one to two drops of serum to your hands and rub evenly over your palms.

Serum bottles last you a long time so it’s worth not settling for a cheap drugstore brand. Let’s go through the best serums–I read all the ingredient lists so you don’t have to. The Phytolisse Ultra-Glossing Finishing Serum by Phyto is a plant-derived serum with marshmallow root extract. This isn’t the same kind of marshmallow you roast (or blacken) over a fire, but the root that use to be used to make these tasty puffs before food science got involved.

This serum’s main ingredient is cyclomethicone, an evaporating silicone which coats your hair for that high shine without building up. Phyto Phytolisse is great for taming frizz and won’t ever leave your hair feeling greasy. I love that it comes in a pump which gives you much better control of how much product you use since you only need one to two drops to get the job done.

Their heat protection products are some of the best on the market. This serum by Chi is no different. The formula is great for eliminating frizz. The hydrolyzed silk and keratin are both proteins that help rebuild and repair damaged hair, restoring its strength and preventing breakage. If you use daily heat processes or have colored your hair one too many times (guilty) then this serum will return that healthy shine to your stressed out hair.

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This makes this serum ideal for people with natural hair or for those who have chemically damaged, dry hair. If your hair tends toward the oily side, you probably want to find a serum that doesn’t contain any extra oils.It comes in this two ounce bottle if you want to try it out first.

The Amika The Wizard Multi-Benefit Primer was developed for targeted protection of hair from heat treatments like blow drying, curling irons, straighteners, as well as from the everyday hazards of life like harmful UV rays. If you use any of these heat treatments often, The Wizard can keep your hair safe from heat stress while nourishing and strengthening it at the same time with sea buckthorn oil, avocado oil, and vitamins E and B5.

It is very pure to its purpose and contains four different types of silicone so get ready for serious shine and frizz relief. The Blowpro serum contains cyclomethicone, dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and phenyl trimethicone which is somewhere between the others in consistency and is great for heat protection. If you’re looking for hair armor against humidity, sun, pollution, and heat, Blowpro has your hair covered–literally.

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With this serum, a little goes a long way and you only need a tiny bit to kick frizz out of your day.Price: $18.39Pros: Contains four silicones for ultimate protection Expert frizz tamer Contains silk and soy protein for strengthening Cons: Contains dimethicone so avoid if you’re sensitive to build up This Obliphica Seaberry serum is another heavy-hitter with three types of silicone in their formula: cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, phenyl trimethicone.

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The combination of these silicones acts as a very intense smoother leaving hair silky, frizz-free, and soft. It contains sea buckthorn oil which is a very gentle moisturizer and is safe to massage into your scalp without the fear of looking greasy. If you have dry ends or flyaways, this one is for you.

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HairMax Density Activator is formulated to use on thin or thinning hair. It contains silicone quanternium-2 which sounds fancy but is simply a water-soluble silicone which is one of healthier options for your hair. This silicone will fluff up your hair making it look fuller as well as protect your hair from heat damage, sun, pollution, and lock in all the good stuff HairMax contains so your hair can get the most out of it.

It also contains castor oil which has the kind of omega fatty acids that help promote hair growth. Price: $37Pros: Silicone Quanterium: one of the good evaporating silicones Contains healthy botanicals Great for thinning hair Cons: Not formulated for thick or damaged hair This Biosilk Silk Therapy serum has been around and loved for years.

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The silk protein helps repair and strengthen brittle hair damaged by chemicals or heat and reduces breakage while the evaporating silicone helps detangle knots, prevent more snarls, and define your curls. It doesn’t contain any oils and relies solely on the silicone to lock in your hair’s natural moisture. It has a to die for scent and one bottle will last you a long time.

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This serum is great for nearly all hair types and is amazing at calming frizz. If you have curly hair, this would be a great product to use before straightening as a heat protection, but if you use it on curly hair, it could loosen your curls a little depending on your hair type.