How to Use Hair Serum for Damaged Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide

Girl holding her hair in her hand. Hair care concept. Shampoo. Haircut needed.

Key Points

  • If you notice excessive split ends, breakage, frizziness, dullness, and tangles in your hair, your hair is damaged.

  • Hair becomes damaged from heat styling, color treatments, harsh products, and other bad hair habits.

  • Identify the damage to your hair and start adopting better habits, such as regular trims, stress relief, and hair serums for damaged hair.

  • By using a hair serum for damaged hair regularly, you can reverse some damage to your locks while preventing further damage.

Be a hair hero and start reversing the damage done to your locks. Hair is the crown of the head, and it needs proper care in order to shine. Summer is one of the worst seasons for hair, so stay vigilant. Adopt a better hair routine and invest in products that nourish your hair — like hair serum.

Hair serums are a simple addition to your current hair routine that makes a big difference in the health of your locks. These products contain a blend of oils, proteins, and other serum ingredients that repair damaged hair. Read on to learn about hair damage and the products that help.

Hair Damage

The hair shaft is the part of the hair that we can see. It's made up of three layers: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer that protects the inner layers of the hair. The cortex is the middle layer made up of protein fibers. The medulla is the innermost layer made of air.

When the shaft is vulnerable, the hair faces damage. This happens from a number of factors, including heat styling, chemical processing, and environmental damage.

The cuticle is the most delicate layer of the hair shaft and the most susceptible to damage. When the cuticle is damaged, it becomes rough and uneven. This makes the hair dull, frizzy, and more prone to breakage.

The cortex, the middle layer, is the strongest layer of the hair shaft. When this layer becomes damaged, the hair is brittle, dry, and fragile.

The medulla is the least susceptible to damage, but it's still possible. If this innermost layer becomes damaged, the hair is weak and unable to grow as long. 

Nearly everyone deals with hair damage in their life. It's often frustrating to face such a fact, but once you know what is causing the damage, you can begin to repair your hair. 

Here are some signs of damaged hair:

  • Dry or brittle hair: If your hair feels dry, rough, or brittle, it may have damage. This is because the cuticle, the outermost layer of the hair shaft, has damage and is no longer smooth, making the hair more prone to breakage and tangles.

  • Split ends: Split ends are the most obvious sign of damaged hair. They're the result of the hair shaft splitting at the ends, making your hair look frizzy and unkempt.

  • Tangling easily: Healthy hair is easy to brush and comb. If your hair tangles easily, the cuticle is no longer smooth, and the hair is more prone to knotting.

  • Dullness: If your hair looks dull, it's likely that your cuticle is no longer smooth, and the hair is not reflecting light as well.

  • Frizziness: Frizz is from the hair shaft becoming rough and uneven. Frizz is a sign of damage that makes your hair look unkempt and difficult to manage.

  • Shedding: Everyone loses some hair every day, but if you're shedding more hair than usual, it may be a sign of damaged hair. This happens when the hair shaft is fragile and more likely to break off.

  • Change in texture: Healthy hair has a consistent texture throughout. If your hair feels different at the roots than it does at the ends, this is a sign of damage.

  • Hair loss: Severe hair loss is often due to a medical condition but can also be because of hair damage when the shaft becomes fragile.

If you notice any of these signs in your hair, you can take steps to repair it. Identify the cause of the damage and take steps to avoid it in the future. With proper care, you can repair the damage to your hair while restoring its health and beauty.

Repair and Protect

Now that you can determine the extent of damage in your hair, you can find ways to repair your hair and prevent further damage.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "In our quest for beautiful hair, we often do things that damage our hair. Damaged hair is fragile, so it tends to break. Hair breakage can leave us with frizzy, unhealthy looking hair. If we continue to damage our hair, we may eventually see thinning hair or even bald spots. The good news is that simple changes can prevent further hair damage."

Avoid Heat Styling

No, "heat styling" does not refer to going outside during the August 2023 Heat Dome. Heat styling strips away the hair's natural oils and proteins. When this happens, the hair becomes dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage. If you do use heat styling tools, be sure to use a heat protectant serum or spray to create a barrier between the heat and the hair, preventing damage.

Regular Trims

Trimming split ends prevent further damage to your hair. Split ends result from the hair shaft splitting at the ends. When this happens, the hair is more likely to break off or get tangled. Getting regular trims helps to remove the split ends and prevent further damage.

Moisturization Treatments

A gentle shampoo and conditioner remove dirt and debris without stripping away the hair's natural oils, which are important in protecting your hair.

A leave-in conditioner or serum protects the hair from damage while keeping it hydrated. These treatments help seal in moisture to prevent evaporation while coating the hair shafts to protect them.

There are so many hair masks and treatments available to buy or DIY to repair damaged hair. These products contain ingredients that strengthen the hair and restore its natural shine. Some of the ingredients that are commonly found in hair masks and treatments include keratin, collagen, and essential oils.

Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy diet promotes hair growth and overall health. Nourish your body with plenty of protein, iron, and zinc — essential nutrients for healthy hair growth.

If you have high levels of stress in your life, this is likely contributing to hair loss and damage, as well as other poor health. Stress causes the body to produce more cortisol, a hormone that damages hair follicles. Find ways to manage your stress to improve your overall health!

Hair Serums

Hair serums seal in moisture to prevent hair from drying out more. They prevent evaporation of the moisture in hair while making it feel softer and more manageable. Serums also create a barrier between the hair and the environment, protecting your precious strands from heat styling, UV rays, and other environmental factors. 

Damaged hair has a rough and uneven cuticle that causes the hair to look dull and frizzy while being more vulnerable to further damage and breakage. Hair serums work to smooth this cuticle to leave it healthier and shinier while sealing it from further damage. 

Hair serums sometimes add proteins and other nutrients to the hair to make it stronger. This reverses damage done to the hair, makes it less prone to breakage, and works to grow healthier hair. If you've lost a lot of hair due to damage or just want to promote growth, try using The Ordinary Hair Serum to facilitate healthy hair growth.

The specific way that hair serums work to repair damaged hair depends on the ingredients they contain. For example, hair serums that contain keratin repair damaged hair by filling in the gaps in the hair shaft. Hair serums that contain collagen hydrate the hair and prevent it from breaking. Hair serums with essential oils nourish the hair and improve its appearance.

To use hair serums effectively, it's important to apply them correctly. Apply your hair serum to clean, damp hair. Start by applying a small amount to your hands and then work it through your hair from the ends up. Avoid applying the serum to your scalp unless you're using a formula to improve scalp health. Use the serum as often as needed, but at least once a day.

With regular use, hair serums can help to repair damaged hair and restore its health and beauty.

Top Hair Serums for Damaged Hair

Time to start repairing your hair! All you need is the willpower to nourish your locks, a favorite hair salon for your regular trims, and your new favorite hair serum to religiously use daily:

Botanical Repair Strengthening Overnight Serum
$31.99 ($9.41 / Fl Oz)

by Aveda 

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09/20/2023 04:49 pm GMT

Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Overnight Serum

The plant-based formula of Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Overnight Serum is here to build bonds in your cortex to repair your shafts. By leaving this product in overnight, the serum penetrates your hair's cuticle and gets into your cortex, where it can fortify bonds and protect against future breakage.

By putting this product in before bed, you give your hair time to drink up all the nourishment. In the evening, smooth some of this amazing stuff over the length of your hair. Use a silk pillowcase or hair cap for bonus points while you sleep!

Wake up to softer, nourished hair in the morning with no need to wash it out. 

Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum

by Oribe

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Oribe Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum

Does your hair snap without stretching? Brittle hair simply breaks under the tug of a comb rather than stretching to detangle. If this is a source of your damaged hair, you should try the Oribe Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum.

This treatment contains plant-based ingredients with antioxidants and strengthening extracts to bring some life back into your hair. Provide strength and nourishment to your precious locks with this amazing product. Plus, the Oribe serum smells absolutely delicious.

No.7 Bonding Oil, 1 fl. Oz.

by Olaplex 

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09/19/2023 12:49 pm GMT

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil

The Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil adds hydration and shininess to all hair types and textures. This oil is sure to add vibrancy to your hair, making it look and feel healthier. It also has heat protection for styling up to 450 degrees.

Not only does this oil provide a better overall look, but it also makes big improvements to existing damage in your hair. Olaplex uses bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate to help bond the hair back together. When you use this oil long-term, it reverses previous damage while preventing future damage. 

Put a few drops of your new favorite serum into your palm, rub your hands together to warm it a bit, and distribute it into damp hair. If you have fine hair, focus more on your ends than your roots to avoid it weighing down your hair. Use this oil daily to reap all the benefits of hair repair.

Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Conditioner
$56.00 ($3.39 / Fl Oz)

by Alterna 

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09/20/2023 04:49 pm GMT

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair 3-in-1 Sealing Serum

If you're looking for a versatile hair serum that repairs your hair while adding softness and shine, check out the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair 3-in-1 Sealing Serum. It also protects your hair against heat styling.

This product is a good choice for all hair types. It's lightweight and an easy addition to your styling routine — layer over this repair serum with your other styling products. Caviar extract seals your cuticles to protect your damaged locks and repair your hair. 

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen
$9.90 ($1.60 / Fl Oz)

by Shea Moisture 

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09/20/2023 12:35 am GMT

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Oil Serum

Deeply nourish your hair while promoting growth with Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Oil Serum. Castor oil moisturizes your hair while stimulating more growth — perfect for recovering your hair from damage. The peppermint oil also helps to stimulate your hair follicles and promote hair growth.

This serum prevents split ends by locking in moisture. It's a perfect choice for textured or curly hair as it defines curl patterns and doesn't weigh you down.

Leave your hair healthy, happy, and shiny with this drug-store available hair serum.


Go Forth and Repair Your Hair

Damaged hair is not the end-all-be-all to good hair days. With proper care and patience, you can transform your locks into a better version than ever. Be mindful of things that damage your hair, such as rough brushing and heat styling. Incorporate habits to nourish your hair, such as regular trims and daily serum usage.

Be happy with the shine and health of your hair in no time!

For more hair health information and serum recommendations, subscribe to Age Defying.

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