Supercharge your haircare regime with one of these top picks

Once solely reserved for the skin on our face, serums are now a salon staple. Akin to our favourite face serums, these haircare heroes are often laced with powerhouse ingredients (think vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and essential oils) that help hair look healthier and feel stronger. 

Dubbed the ‘skin-tegrity of hair’ by the Boots 2022 Trends Report, the demand for hair products, such as serums, that focus on the scalp and skincare ingredients is on the rise. In fact, searches containing the term ‘scalp’ have more than doubled on In response, the beauty world’s major players have become more innovative, launching various products that focus on helping support the integrity of both the scalp and the hair. 

Hair, like skin, deserves to be nourished and cared for, which is why a serum is a great addition to any haircare regime. Here, we reveal everything you need to know about hair serums and provide a curated list of some of the best in the biz.  

What is a hair serum? 

"Hair serum is a styling product that, in most cases, has a silicone base, which allows it to sit on top of the hair and coat your strands," says Jordan Jones, senior stylist at Taylor Taylor London. While formulas do differ, most hair serums are on the same mission: to add shine, tame frizz, help protect against damage and lock in moisture. They may also contain ingredients that add slip for detangling, as well as proteins to help smooth and strengthen the hair shaft and help protect against breakage.

Suitable for all hair types, they’re especially great for curly hair as "serums can help define your natural curl pattern and reduce frizz", says Jordan. 

Unlike hair masks, hair serums tend to be lightweight in texture and most are leave-in treatments. To find the perfect formula for you, it’s important to consider your hair type and concern. Certain serums aim to help boost scalp health, while others are focused on helping to reduce the appearance of split ends. 

How to choose a hair serum for you

"For thick, frizzy or dry hair, using a silicone-based formula can help stop water from evaporating, which in turn may help keep your hair hydrated," says Jordan. "For thin, frizzy hair, opt for a lighter silicone, such as cyclomethicone, which is a water-soluble ingredient that won’t weigh your hair down. If you want to skip using silicone-based products, some hair serums contain hydrolysed proteins, which have a similar smoothing effect."

For scalp serums, try formulas that contain ingredients you’d usually look for in your skincare. For hydration, we love ones with hyaluronic acid and lightweight oils. For greasy scalps or flakes, try ones with exfoliating acids. 

How do you use a hair serum? 

Application will vary depending on the product, so always read the instructions of your chosen serum. Most formulas work best when applied to freshly washed hair that’s damp or towel dried, but many can be also used on dry hair to help tame flyaways. Unless it’s a scalp serum, focus the product on the mid-lengths to ends – as "too much product at the root can weigh hair down and make it look greasy," says Jordan. 

Scalp serums are always great massaged in – take your time, starting with a small amount at first. It’s the perfect way to turn your hair wash into the ultimate self–care ritual

11 of the best hair serums available at Boots 

Whatever your hair type or length, we’ve got it covered. Soup up your routine with one of these top serums. 

Find more top-rated hair serums by browsing our full range

Best hair serum for long, frizzy hair

Try: L'Orèal Leave In Serum by Elvive Dream Lengths Sleek Frizz Killer for Long, Frizzy Hair

• Size: 100ml
• Silicone-free
• Heat protection up to 230°

Desperate for longer locks? Help maintain healthy ends as hair grows with this nourishing serum. Loaded with vegetal keratin and cocoa butter, the formula helps hydrate and remove the appearance of split ends. Use one to two pumps on damp hair before blow-drying and, to tame frizz, apply a little onto dry hair, too.

Best hair serum for medium-to-thick hair

Try: John Frieda Frizz Ease All-in-1 Original Serum

• Size: 50ml

• Helps protect against heat

Specifically formulated for medium-to-thick hair types, this multitasking serum helps tame frizz, repel humidity and protect hair from heat styling. It can be applied to wet or dry strands (mid-lengths to ends) and one pump is plenty. The results? Hair looks smooth, shiny and, most important, healthy. Triple tick!

Best hair serum for scalp irritation

Try: Pattern Jojoba Oil Serum

• Size: 115ml

• For use on wet or dry scalp

Soothe an itchy scalp with this residue-free blend of nourishing oils. Not only does the serum treat your tresses to a smell that’s truly heaven-scent but it also gives the scalp an instant splash of hydration to help keep flakiness at bay – use on its own or cocktailed with your other favourite haircare heroes.

Best hair serum for scalp stimulation

Try: Lee Stafford Hair Growth Stimulating Scalp Serum

• Size: 75ml
• For use on wet or dry scalp

This serum is laced with plant-based lupine seed protein and vegetable protein to help stimulate hair growth. For best results, apply two full pipettes directly onto the scalp and massage in with fingertips.

Best hair serum for a flaky scalp

Try: Arkive The Root-Ine Scalp Serum

• Size: 50ml

• Cruelty-free
• Certified BCorp
• Unfragranced
• Suitable for all hair types

Scalp feeling dry and flaky? Then this replenishing serum may be the answer to your headcare woes. Baobab oil and jojoba esters help with moisture, succinic acid provides a dose of exfoliation, while baobab protein aims to help add strength to lengths. Benefits from root to end? We’re sold.

Best hair serum for hydration

Try: Pantene Night Hair Serum, Overnight Beauty Reset Leave-In Hair Treatment

• Size: 75ml
• Overnight hair serum

Treat dry, damaged strands to this super-hydrating serum that’s brimming with nourishing biotin, baobab essence and, skin’s number one hydrator, hyaluronic acid. To use, apply one to two pumps onto dry or damp hair, before hitting the hay. Come morning, hair will look shinier and feel smoother.

Best hair serum for curly hair

Try: Umberto Giannini No More Frizz Curl Serum

• Size: 75ml

• Cruelty-free

If your hair’s curly and prone to humidity-induced frizz, consider this serum from Umberto Giannini. Developed by a team of stylists, the formula is jam-packed with argan oil to help smooth strands and bolster shine. Expect glossy, defined curls after a single use.

Best hair serum for damaged hair

Try: Boots Ingredients Repair Serum With Niacinamide

• Size: 50ml
• Suitable for all hair types

Niacinamide is a superstar ingredient that works just as well for your hair as it does for your skin. Find it alongside plant protein in this serum to help protect strands against breakage, while increasing the appearance of body and shine. Apply a pea-sized amount to wet or dry hair, once or twice a week.

Best hair serum for shine

Try: Boots Ingredients Moisture Serum With Hyaluronic Acid

• Size: 50ml

• Suitable for all hair types

Give hair the same TLC as you give your skin and treat it to this hydrating serum from Boots. Starring hyaluronic acid and cold-pressed extra virgin chai seed oil, this hair hero helps bolster shine, reduces the appearance of frizz and locks in moisture.

Best hair serum for frizz-prone hair

Try: The Hair Lab by Mark Hill Smoothing Serum

• Size: 50ml
• No artificial fragrances

Designed for thick hair or hair that’s prone to frizz, this luxurious serum is brimming with 100% natural essential oils, including orange oil and organic Moroccan argan oil, to help add shine and control frizz for super-sleek results. For best results, use on towel-dried or dry hair. Locks are left softly scented, too.  

Best hair serum for split ends

Try: Bondi Boost Rapid Repair Serum

• Size: 125ml

• Suitable for all hair types
• Helps smooth the cuticle

If split ends are your beauty bugbear, turn your head to this serum from Bondi Boost. Focused on improving the appearance of broken ends, this hardworking formula helps control frizz and smooths the hair cuticle (thanks to jojoba oil, coconut oil and aloe vera) for healthier-looking locks. Apply one to two pumps to mid-lengths and ends.