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Hair products make all the difference in styling. They can protect your hair from heat, add volume, shine, texture, or make your styles last longer — but not all products are created equal. Choosing a hair product is not a one-stop shop kind of deal, and each are good for different things.

cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, ethylhexyl palmitate, squalane, cyclohexasiloxane, argania spinosa kernel oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), fragrance/parfum, tocopherol, limonene, linalool

Hair products make all the difference in styling. They can protect your hair from heat, add volume, shine, texture, or make your styles last longer — but not all products are created equal. Choosing a hair product is not a one-stop shop kind of deal, and each are good for different things.

They might look similar, but they're not intended for the same use.Hair serums are a styling tool. They can add shine, protect against humidity (making them amaze frizz-fighters), and ....

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As a product junkie and blogger, I read tons of ingredient labels. I'm also keen on marketing tactics that cosmetic companies use to hook ladies looking for the perfect tresses. From label fonts and coloring and pixie dust extracts (you know, the ones featured prominently on the front label, but that are actually listed as 28th of 32 ingredients) to peddling promises that can't be delivered, thousands of dollars are spent to connect their products with your wallet.

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I'm just not a huge fan of watching people be misled, especially when it comes to oils and serums for the hair. In many drugstores, beauty supply and salon stores, there are serums everywhere that are labeled as oils, and many ladies using them as though they are pure oils.

To help you safeguard your wallet and get the most out of what you put in your hair, let's dive head first into a quick savvy shopper lesson on oils vs. serums. Oils are essentially fats that are liquid at room temperature. They can come from a variety of sources, and be extracted by any number of means.

When it comes to oils, you really can't go wrong. Most oils are full of omegas/fatty acids and various vitamins, while touting an array of healing, antiseptic, scalp stimulating, soothing, smoothing, and other properties. Although any oils are fair game, those which are labeled as virgin/pure/unrefined, cold pressed, and organic are best.

For more information on oils, read along here! Hair serums are essentially solutions that provide targeted conditioning to the hair. They often promote shine, cuticle smoothing, detangling ability, and taming of flyways. Serums tend to be heavily based in silicones such as cyclopentasiloxane and amodimethicone because of their ability to coat the hair, provide the aforementioned benefits and sun damage protection, and some thermal styling protection--all while being lightweight and non-greasy.

Although silicone-based, serums often contain oils and extracts for additional softening and nourishing of the hair. Now that we've got a little background on the distinction, let me say this: I don't think serums are bad. Whenever I'm going to straighten my hair, I always make sure there is a serum in the mix.

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If you don't read the rest of the label, you'd pick this orange liquid drop shaped bottle up thinking you've got some fancy blend of jojoba oil and amla extract. But a closer look at the front and back labels confirms this is a serum. And there is nothing wrong with that! Do not expect a hair serum to nourish and moisturize your hair, because serums are typically not water-based and often times the natural oils and extracts are so far down on the list, they aren't present in concentrations enough to be effective.

I love them, there are tons of great ones. But be a little more keen before spending tons of money, and definitely take the time to do a little investigation of your own before dropping down your debit card. Chances are, you can find serum comparable to the more expensive counterparts for a fraction of the cost.

If your hair is feeling dry, rough, or brittle, don't automatically reach for the nearest super potion--serums are a temporary patch, not a long-term solution. They're best for enhancing healthy hair, not masking damage. Follow my blog and read my latest post at www.maneobjective.com! .

Whether you’re interested in improving length or simply protecting hair from everyday stressors, there is a hair oil or serum that’s right for you. The key is understanding the difference between the two. Hair oils are nature’s multitaskers—able to solve everything from treating split ends and a dry scalp to taming flyaways and ethically-sourced oils like argan and maracuja, among others.

In the salon environment, serums are typically used as styling products. Most serums are silicone-based and add a protective layer to cuticles that fights vigorous brushing, heat styling and combing. Hair serums are most effective on curly or coily hair types, which naturally have raised cuticles. Wavy hair types can also use serums, but they need to be mindful of how much and how often they’re using it to avoid weighing hair down.

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Some companies use the terms hair oil and hair serum interchangeably. If a product has a laundry list of natural and synthetic ingredients it’s a serum, and if it contains one or more natural oils, it’s an oil. The words hair and oil together can be terrifying to people who have been lead to believe that applying oil to the hair (especially those with naturally oily strands) will leave it heavy and greasy.

Serums containing silicones also get a bad rep, but it’s important to remember that everything manmade isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, silicones can give hair a much needed boost and protect from damage caused by styling, managing or manipulating hair. Hair oils can be used in an endless number of ways.

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Depending on the type, hair oils can be applied at various stages of the hair care process, including during blow drying or diffusing, as an overnight treatment and even before washing as a rinse-out treatment. Plus, they don’t need to be used daily to be effective. Hair serums work best when they are applied to wet hair.

Some serums can also be used for midday touch-ups but try not to apply to dirty hair as it may only enhance your days-old look. Serums work by sealing the cuticles and fusing with your strands to create a lasting protective layer. This effect is why they’re usually sold with the promise of “fixing” split ends.

Hair oil, on the other hand, can penetrate hair (especially if applied on dry ends) and, with repetitive use, can strengthen hair resulting in less splitting over time. Remember, nothing can actually get rid of split ends except for a trim. If you’re looking for an oil that won’t weigh down your strands, look no further.