Best Hair Moisturisers & Serums
Using a hair moisturiser or serum can help you finally wave goodbye to bad hair days, but what should you look for in a hair care product? In stores today you'll find everything from hair growth serums and anti-frizz serums to scalp moisturisers and masks - this guide will help you sort through it all so that you can find a product that's right for you and your hair.
Best Hair Moisturiser & Serum
If your hair needs a little TLC, then georgiemane’s 10 Minute Hair Mask could do the trick; it uses natural ingredients to soften and nourish your locks, leaving them looking and feeling healthier.
A staple in many hairdressing salons, the Bondi Boost Intensive Growth Spray uses natural and organic ingredients to grow, strengthen, and add shine to your hair.
Ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, and castor oil work together in the Bondi Boost Growth Miracle Mask to bring damaged and lacklustre hair back to life, leaving you with soft, silky tresses.
Latest review: The first thing you notice is the beautiful peppermint smell. It is also a beautiful light pink colour. It's a strange sensation putting scrub on your hair but once washed out, it leaves your hair
Not many products can boast a 100% natural and organic formula, but the Bondi Boost Elixir Oil can; it uses ingredients like Jamaican black castor oil and argan oil to smooth and nourish thirsty hair.
The Bondi Boost Rapid Repair Serum repairs split ends and adds shine to your hair without being greasy, making it a great choice for those with damaged, coloured, and thinning hair.
Latest review: Ive only used no. 4 and 5 twice and already noticed a big difference! The first time i used it my hair was so soft and the second time not only was it super soft but way less hair came/fell out when
Latest review: I have fine, oily, flat, long hair that is prone to dandruff and spilt ends. It's almost impossible to keep my hair not looking oily and has that healthy shine with volume. You get what you pay for
Latest review: I bought this spray to use when straightening my hair, perhaps once a week. It’s a very light spray that certainly doesn’t leave any sticky, greasy or stiff feeling to my hair. As far as preventing da
Latest review: This hair mask has saved my hair multiple times especially when going Blonde, When using this mask less is more as it’s heavy on the hair but repairs it. I found the best results are after shampooing
Latest review: I have fine, slightly longer than shoulder length hair, which is touched up for regrowth every six weeks, along with streaks every so often. This product has been a saviour for my dry ends ! It's
Latest review: I have wavy-curly hair. Over the last few years my hair has been more frizzy wavy rather than curly. I’ve tried a lot of cremes/ oils etc and they don’t seem to make any difference. Olaplex no 6 mak
Latest review: I love this product for my hair. My hair is 2b/ii so white wavy. This product is curly girl method approved and I found it added a lot of moisture back into my hair. If I don’t use it and skip and o
Latest review: I have only been using this tonic in conjunction with the Plantur 39 shampoo for fine brittle hair & conditioner for not even a month. Already I've seen a dramatic difference in how much less hair
Latest review: The first time I used it was on wet hair and I either used too much or .... but it looked awful so I washed my hair again. BB offered me a refund but with the discount I already had I thought it
Latest review: My 9 year old daughter and I have been using this product for about 2 years now and it is the best product I have ever used on our hair. It is called a straightening mask but we both have fine hair
Latest review: Absolutely love this product, life saving on my damaged hair. I use it once a week, and leave it on for a couple of hours for maximum effect and it always turns out
Latest review: I purchased this at Chemist Warehouse for around $35.00 for 125ml, after trying their shampoo and conditioner range (also reviewed). It has made my hair the nicest it has been in a long time. It is
Latest review: I ordered Frizz control serum and so far it’s been good to my hair .I only used it twice and can see some difference .I am trying to use it more frequently to see how it will work it’s magic on my fri
Latest review: Got a gift from my hairdresser 3 years back. Love the smell. Washed and conditioned my hair as usual, on damp hair I applied this product, limited amount. My detangle brush just glided through my
What do hair moisturisers and serums do?
What is hair moisturiser used for?
It’s all in the name - a hair moisturiser gives your hair strands an intense dose of moisture to make them stronger, smoother, and shinier. Most of the time, they have a creamy consistency.
Depending on the type of moisturiser you use (you can find hair masks, hair creams, and leave-in hair moisturisers), a hair moisturiser can be left in for anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight for all the nourishing properties to soak in and take effect.
What does hair serum do?
A hair serum is a product (most are a gel or oil-like consistency) that coats the surface of your hair to help repair, strengthen, and thicken each strand.
Generally speaking, this has the effect of reducing frizz, adding moisture, preventing and repairing damage, and smoothing flyaways to make hair stronger and shinier. Different serums have different purposes however, so you should choose one depending on your own hair goals and concerns.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of hair serums and moisturisers?
Choosing a product based on your hair concern
The right hair moisturiser or serum for you will largely depend on your hair type, texture, density, as well as your own personal preferences and specific hair concerns.
Think about what you want your hair care product to achieve - we’ve listed some hair goals below.
Prevent and repair damage
Doing things like bleaching, colouring, and heat styling our hair can cause it to fray, split, and break.
While a cream or serum can’t glue your split ends back together (the only real way to get rid of them is to cut them off), you can partially mend these damaged hair strands and strengthen them to prevent further splitting and breakage.
Cream-based and oil-based formulas tend to be more effective at preventing and repairing damage. You can also use a hair oil, as these penetrate the hair cuticle and treat the hair follicle, while a serum sits on the hair’s surface.
Keratin is often found in moisturisers and serums for damaged hair, as it’s great for preventing hairs from splitting and breaking.
Protect against heat and pollution
If you live in a humid climate, use heat styling tools regularly, or are concerned about air pollutants damaging your hair, then it’s recommended that you opt for a quick-absorbing, lightweight formula that won’t leave your hair feeling greasy.
Ingredients like lavender oil and jojoba oil can help detangle hair and protect it against heat.
Reduce frizz and maintain your natural hair
Whether you’ve got bouncy ringlets or dead-straight hair, frizz is not your friend. The right anti-frizz hair smoothing serum can detangle knots and reduce overall hair dullness to add shine to your locks and make them easier to manage.
Even if you’re after a sleeker do, don’t opt for a cream or a product with a thick consistency if you have finer hair, as these could weigh your hair down and make it look oily. Some products that can help make your hair silkier include and .
Lightweight products with moisturising ingredients - such as argan oil, jojoba oil, and macadamia oil - can help smooth your hair and make it easier to run your hands through.
If your hair is parched, cream-based (if you have coarse, denser hair) and oil-based formulas tend to be more effective in replenishing your hair’s moisture - particularly if you have coloured or chemically-treated hair.
You can also opt for overnight treatments, letting you wake up with shiny, nourished hair.
Moisturisers and serums that add intense hydration often contain ingredients like coconut, jojoba, argan, and macadamia.
Promote hair growth
Whether you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning, or you just want your hair to grow longer, quicker, a hair growth oil or serum - such as the - may help. You can also find dedicated that sometimes deliver better results.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s a good idea to see a medical professional to find out the root cause for this, as well as eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Look for products with castor oil - it’s an ingredient renowned for helping hair grow.
Common ingredients in hair moisturisers and serums
Ingredients to look for
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but the following ingredients in a hair moisturiser or serum are known to repair and nourish hair.
- Argan oil can moisturise your hair, promote hair growth, and protect it from damage. It can also reduce the incidence of breakage and split ends, keeping your hair healthy as it grows.
- Coconut oil helps maintain your hair’s natural proteins, which can often be lost when hair is heated or brushed.
- Avocado oil softens hair, making it useful for treating damaged hair.
- Jojoba oil keeps the hair and scalp moisturised.
- Shea butter is packed with vitamin A, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids, all of which help lock in moisture and tame frizzy hair.
- Macadamia seed oil is moisture-rich and is packed with antioxidants that protect and strengthen hair.
- Castor oil, including Jamaican black castor oil, nourishes the scalp which can help grow hair faster.
- Keratin can help maintain the structural integrity of your hair and protect it from the damage caused by sun exposure, dye, and chlorine.
- Biotin is important for hair health, as it helps prevent hair loss and brittle hair, making it a great ingredient in hair and scalp serum.
- Glycerin is a humectant that helps your skin and hair retain moisture, making it a great ingredient to look out for if you're suffering from hair dryness.
Ingredients to be wary of
These ingredients can be damaging to your hair, so it’s a good idea to do some digging into what’s in a moisturiser or serum before you buy it.
- Parabens extend the lifespan of your hair product by preventing the growth of bacteria, but are known to cause skin irritation and are a suspected carcinogen.
- Silicone makes hair shinier, but this is a skin-deep benefit, as it also dries it out and prevents moisture from penetrating it, leading to frizz and breakage.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) can cause skin and eye irritation, so you’re better off avoiding them if you experience skin sensitivity.
- Phthalates make a hair product softer to the touch and easier to apply, but they’re also thought to interfere with hormonal activity.
- Triclosan is in many hair products to prevent the growth of bad bacteria, but it can also irritate your skin.
- Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are a thickening agent found in hair care products that often strip the moisture from your hair.
While it’s difficult to avoid all of these ingredients, it’s helpful to be aware of the potential damage they can do to your hair so you can do your own research on products that might be right for you.
At the end of the day, these aren’t the ingredients that will nourish your hair, so your hair care routine can do without them.
With consumers becoming more and more concerned with ethical beauty products, there are plenty of hair care products on store shelves that are kinder to the planet.
You can find cruelty-free products that haven’t been tested on animals, vegan products, and products that don’t have ingredients whose harvest is known to be harmful to the environment (such as palm oil).
You can also look for products with minimal, plastic-free packaging to help reduce landfill waste.
If you have sensitive skin, you should consider avoiding synthetic fragrances and colours. They serve no other purpose than to make your hair moisture cream or serum smell and look nice, and they’re known to cause skin irritation.
The price of a hair moisturiser or serum can vary greatly, with a tub or bottle costing anywhere from $5 to $300 and upwards. A higher price often indicates higher quality ingredients, however there will be a big mark up if you’re buying from a luxury brand.
If you’re interested in a pricier hair treatment but don’t want to fork out money for something that may not even work for your hair, check whether you can get or buy a smaller amount to try it out.
Hair masks, for example, often come as individual sachets for 1 or 2 uses, and can cost anywhere from $2.50 to $15. You can also often get free testers for products from the beauty counters at many department stores - you’ve just got to ask.
These are some general tips for how to make the most of your hair moisturiser or serum, but you should consult the product label for its recommended use.
- Start by applying the hair moisturiser or serum to the ends of your hair and working your way up to the middle - this will help ensure you apply product where you need it most (that is, your drier ends).
- Add 1-2 pumps of serum to damp hair before you blow dry it, and a few drops after it’s dry. You can also apply a small amount on days that you don’t wash your hair.
- Avoid applying serum to your roots or scalp, as this can cause a build-up of product and make your roots look oily.
The bottom line
It’s easy to be swayed into buying "holy grail" products, but the truth is, a product can be life-changing for one person and totally ineffective for the next.
Reading reviews, doing your research into a product’s active ingredients, and considering your own hair concerns should help you find a serum or moisturiser that makes your locks look and feel great.