Friday, June 8, 2012

Beauty School: Serums

So I got out of the shower a little while ago, and I thought we should have a talk.

We need to talk about serums. Should you be using them? Yes, and if you think this post isn't directed at you because of your hair type, you're wrong. Do you have fine, straight hair that just gets frizzy or sticks out on the ends? Put your flat iron down and grab some product.  Do you have curly hair that looks dry no matter what you do? Grab a serum.   

I find that many girls avoid serums because they're afraid of it looking greasy, but if you use the product properly that won't be the case. Follow these steps for easy, non-greasy serum usage, and I promise you'll feel a difference in the health of your hair.

1. Don't use too much. 
            I feel like this should be a warning on all professional hair care products. Many of these serums come with a pump, and no matter what the length of your hair, start with just one pump.  If you feel a need to add more, go for a second pump after you feel you've distributed the product to your ends as much as possible. If your serum doesn't have a pump, eyeball it until it's about the size of a dime in your palm.  

2. Always emulsify! 
            Once you have the product in your hands, rub them together.  With every hair product and every tip you will ever get from me, I'll tell you to emulsify in your palms.  It spreads and changes the consistency of the product, making it much easier to work with and helping you avoid a "clumpy" feel once you run your hands through your hair.  Emulsifying helps you avoid putting too much product in one place. 

3.  Read the directions. 
             Some serums can stick, or clump if you don't apply heat, so if your directions specifically say to apply to damp hair before blow drying but don't mention the ability to put it on dry hair, you might want to find a different one.  Conversely, not all styling products have a heat protectant in them. If you're going to flat iron over it, please make sure your bottle clearly states that you can add heat, and that your hair is 100% dry and not saturated with product, before you add an iron. If there isn't heat protection in your serum, get something that has it to spray on before you iron or blow dry, and then use the serum afterward to smooth your ends. 

4. Apply downward.
             Your hair shaft is coated by something called a Cuticle, and under a microscope it sort of looks like a bunch of Solo cups stacked on top of eachother, pointing down toward your nape. Since the point of a serum is smooth hair, make sure you apply in a downward motion, in a way that won't rough up your cuticle and create frizz. That would be kind of counterproductive, don't you think? 

5. Your scalp has it's own oil. 
               The focus of your product placement should be the midshaft and ends of the hair strand, since they have the most cuticle damage.  Think of the your ends as "old" hair. It's been exposed to more damage, so it needs more help where the "younger" hair doesn't.   To avoid feeling greasy, especially if your hair is thin and/or fine, don't apply too close to the scalp.  If you don't regret it immediately, you will on day two when you feel like a greaseball. 

Final Product Recommendations:

My current favorite is Matrix Biolage Smooththerapie Deep Smoothing Serum . Also try It's A 10 Miracle Styling Serum or Silky Sexy Hair Frizz Eliminator in Lite if your hair is on the thin, fine, and straight side.  If you have thicker, curlier hair try Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal or, if you can find it, Design Essentials Silk Essentials or Botanical Oils. 

Visit their websites to find salons or stores near you that carry these products.

Edited to add:  I just tried Paul Mitchell Super Skinny at my new salon. I LOVE THIS STUFF!  Great for all hair types, I even use it to help comb out tangles on clients.  It's my new favorite! 

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