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Which is better: Hair serum or hair oil?


What Exactly Does a Hair Serum Do?

Hair serum is a formulation that coats the surface of your hair. Its action seals the cuticles and locks the natural curls and waves of the hair. This protective layer hydrates the hair, making it light and frizz-free. Hair serum also provides help in repairing hair damage, protection from pollution, heat, and prolonged sun exposure. Using a hair serum gives your hair a shinier, smoother, and healthier-looking appearance. 


Benefits of Using a Hair Serum:

If applied effectively, the serum can help your hair in many ways. Here, we look at some of the hair serum benefits for hair regrowth.

  • Keeps the frizz in check

Applying hair serum tames your frizz very efficiently. It is one of the more effective ways than going for other products such as hair spray or frequenting the salon too often for quick trims.

If you have damaged hair, you might have experienced the inability to simply run your fingers through the hair without catching a few strands. Using a hair serum makes your hair soft and detangles the locks. This detangling action is very effective and makes serums more useful when considering hair oil vs hair serum for hair growth and hair fall control.

  • Adds shine to your hair

Hair serum gives the hair a reflecting quality, making it shiny. If you are dealing with dull hair, a few drops of serum can add a lot of liveliness to your hair strands. Comparing hair oil vs hair serum, the serum tends to lend more instant shine.

Using a hair serum restores the damage that your hair might have gone through during heat treatments, usage of styling tools, and hair coloring. These treatments cause the hair to undergo wear and tear, robbing its natural oils and shine. Using a serum is the best way to repair all such damage.

  • Hydrates dry hair

Using a hair serum also hydrates the hair. It forms a protective layer around the hair and does not let the moisture escape. Dry hair can look extremely lifeless and dull. Hair serum can help you deal with improving the quality of your hair growth and other such situations by providing the essential nutrients to your hair and making it softer, shinier, and silkier.

  • Protects against external factors

A very humid environment can cause your hair to puff up. This phenomenon is more prevalent in people of some hair types as compared to others. Using a serum gives a protective coating to the hair strands and prevents them from reacting like this to external conditions such as excessive humidity, heat from the sun, or environmental pollution. Considering hair oil vs hair serum, the serum is effective in protecting the hair against external and environmental threats.

Also read: 20 Best Foods for Hair Growth and Healthy Hair  

Benefits of Using a Hair Growth Oil:

Before we give a verdict on hair oil vs hair serum, let us run through the benefits of oiling once. Oiling the hair is one of the oldest continuing hair care practices. Hair oil can impart immense benefits and nutrients to your hair and scalp. Most of the hair growth oil that we use are natural and essential oils for hair and are thus chemical-free. Here, we look at some of the major benefits of hair oil for hair growth.

  • Nourishment to the hair and scalp

Using hot oil for hair deeply nourishes the hair. The vitamins and minerals present in oils nourish the hair and all its parts. Oils penetrate the scalp tissues deeply and repair the hair follicles and roots. Thus, using hair oil vs hair serum can provide much better nourishment and better hair regrowth.

  • Strengthening the Roots

Using hair oil strengthens the hair roots. This helps reduce hair fall. If you have this concern go for a suitable hair oil vs hair serum.

  • Improving blood circulation

The scalp massaging action that is practiced while applying hair oil rejuvenates the blood vessels in the scalp and greatly improves blood circulation. An enhanced blood circulation ensures better delivery of nutrients to the scalp and the hair follicles. Thus, your hair becomes stronger, thicker, and healthier. This is one factor that gives more preference to hair oil vs hair serum.

  • Hydrating the hair

Hair oil is very effective in helping you deal with dry and frizzy hair. Hair oil deep conditions your hair, hydrating it and making it soft. This action also helps in treating split ends which in turn reduces hair fall and hair breakage. Here hair oil vs hair serum provides you similar effects.

  • Keeping the scalp healthy

An ayurvedic head massage with a good herbal hair oil not only improves the blood circulation and strength of the roots but also hydrates the scalp and helps deal with problems such as dry scalp and dandruff.

You must choose a hair oil that is best suited for your hair type and texture. If you have made an informed choice about the product and are using it consistently, you will find a marked improvement in the health of your hair due to the beneficial actions of using hair oils as discussed above.

Also Read: Dandruff vs Dry Scalp

Should You Apply Hair Oil or Hair Serum?

Now that we know the benefits of hair oil vs hair serum, let us see what should be applied over the other and when you should do that. Hair serum and hair oil are both beneficial for your hair. They both provide nourishment, hydration, and protection. However, the key is to use a product that is suited for your hair type and use it in the right manner.

Different hair oil may be used for different purposes, such as for dry hair, scalp itchiness, dandruff, hair fall, or oil for grey hair. Thus, using the best hair oil for hair growth depends on the stage of hair care that you are in. If you are trying to address a specific issue you might prefer hair oil vs hair serum. 

If you have just washed your hair, the choice between hair oil vs hair serum is easier. Hair serum acts best when applied to damp hair. Although you can use a drop or so during your day to lend shine to your hair, ideal usage should be right after hair wash. Thus, the choice between hair oil vs hair serum also depends on what stage of hair washing you are at or what day of the time it is in your hair care routine.

Here, we must clarify that most of the hair serum is chemical-based and have compounds known as silicones. These compounds tend to make the hair greasy and heavy. They might also block the cuticles, making the hair brittle. Thus, you must opt for a hair serum that is silicone-free and is enriched with natural oils to provide extra nourishment. If you are an all-out only natural person then the choice between hair oil vs hair serum in this scenario should not be a difficult one for you.

Thus, while serums should be used aiming to improve the style and appearance of your hair, oils should be used to nourish and repair the damage. It is also essential that we reiterate here that products that contain less artificial or chemical ingredients are always better for the health of the hair and scalp. This is why oil treatment must be aimed for internal rejuvenation while serum usage for external liveliness. This should help you decide between hair oil vs hair serum.

Can You Use Hair Serum and Hair Oil Together?

In an ideal scenario, hair should be oiled and massaged before hair wash. The oil must be kept applied for at least 20-30 minutes before washing it off. Serum on the other hand is a product that is to be used after a hair wash. 

However, in practice, most people apply a few drops of hair oil after hair wash. This is just to prevent tangling and lend some shine to the washed and dull hair. Normally, this is only a few drops to the hair, skipping the scalp. In this scenario, one is often faced with the dilemma of hair oil vs hair serum and if they both can be used together.

The answer is yes. Let us see how you do this. First, towel-dry your hair after washing. After this, use a few drops of hair serum. Now, if you want you can use a few drops of hair oil as a finisher. Make sure that you do not apply the oil to the root. Using a few drops of oil after serum can be helpful if you have extremely frizzy hair. On the days you are skipping hair washing, you can go for either the hair serum or the hair oil that will help in hair fall control as well.



Hair oil vs hair serum is two different products that have some overlapping benefits. These are ideal to be used at different stages of your hair care routine. Here we must repeat that choosing the best product is essential as per your hair type and texture. After you decide on hair oil vs hair serum choice, do check out the collection at Traya which has the best choices for both hair serum and hair oil


Dr. Kalyani Deshmukh, M.D.


Dr. Deshmukh is an MD (Dermatology, Venerology, and Leprosy) with more than 4 years of experience. She successfully runs her own practice and believes that a personalized service maximizes customer satisfaction.

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