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What is Serum & How Should It Be Applied to Natural Curls?

What is Serum & How Should It Be Applied to Natural Curls?

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Once you start flaunting your natural curls, it becomes addicting. You’ll want those juicy & joyful locks to accompany you wherever you go. But how can you show off your curls everyday without damaging them or drying them out?

A serum for curly hair is your answer.

Learning how to implement serum into your daily hair care routine can keep your curls & coils healthy & hydrated. Put some spring in your step (& in your hair) with these hair serum tips & tricks.

What is Hair Serum?

Hair serum is a specifically-formulated product that acts as a protective coat around your hair cuticles.1 Though all serums work to protect & seal the cuticles, a wide range of serums exist for specific hair care purposes.

Some hair serum specialties include:

  • Scalp rejuvenation
  • Minimizing frizz
  • Improving shine
  • Repairing hair damage
  • Reducing tangles
  • Strengthening cuticles
  • Protecting against damage

So, the use of hair serum can help you along your journey to heavenly hair, regardless of what your long-term goal is, by keeping your hair density strong.

What is the Difference Between Hair Serum & Hair Oil?

Many people have a hard time distinguishing hair oil from hair serum. The main differences between the two come from what they’re made of & what they’re best used for.

  • Hair oil – Hair oils are typically made from pure, fat-soluble liquid. Many oils (jojoba oil vs argan oil) can nourish the hair follicle deeply when natural oils have been stripped after washing.2
  • Hair serum – Serums are specifically formulated to protect hair & target specific hair care needs, such as adding moisture back to dry hair, controlling frizz & leaving a smooth finish without weighing your curly hair down.

How To Apply Hair Serum to Curls

Unsure of how to use hair serum on your natural curls? We’ve got you covered. Grab your bottle & let’s get started:

  • Use small amounts – A little serum can go a long way. Most applications only need one or two drops of product, but always double-check the bottle for specific instructions. Drop the serum into the palm of your hand rather than directly on the hair to ensure even distribution. Allow the product to warm up slightly in your palms. Using warmer serum may help extend the overall spread, as well.
  • Apply on damp hair – Apply your serum to clean, damp hair. We recommend applying after a shower for the best results.
  • Start at the ends – Some serums are meant to be used on the ends of your hair type, while others are meant to be applied to the scalp. If opting for a serum specifically-intended to seal the hair cuticle, start by applying your serum at the ends of your hair, slowly working your way up. Like conditioner, you want to avoid using too much product near your roots, which can result in build-up or a greasy appearance. However, if you are using a serum with the intention to improve scalp health, start by sectioning off your hair and then massage the product directly onto your scalp for the best results.
  • Comb through hair – Once you feel you’ve applied thoroughly with your hands, go through once more with a wide-toothed comb. Combing should ensure the serum evenly distributes throughout the whole head of hair.

How Often Should I Apply Hair Serum?

Hair serum works best when applied to clean & damp hair, so you only need to apply serum on your wash days. However, you can also use it throughout the day for frizz maintenance & improved shine.

@patternbeauty Scalp Serum Spotlight by our Brand Educator, @ebony.bomani ✨ #patternbeauty #scalpcare ♬ original sound - PATTERN

Benefits of Different Hair Serums

Even now that you know serum protects your follicles, you may still wonder, what does hair serum do for me in the long run?

Many different types of serums exist to yield positive, long term results for a variety of curly hair types. So, whether your hair curls or coils, a specialty serum can keep each hair strand looking fabulous.

The list of long term hair serum benefits extends far & wide, but a few examples include:3

  • Protecting against damage – Most serum formulas come highly recommended to prevent long term hair damage. Some serums combat damage from heat styling, while others aim to nourish the scalp and repair damaged hair caused by chemical treatments or over-styling. Take our Scalp Serum, for example.
  • Boosting shine – Serums that help with smoothness can also improve the appearance of natural shine. In addition, some serums contain a light-reflecting formula designed to help light bounce off your hair & dazzle those around you.
  • Defining texture – Wondering, how to define curls? By sealing & protecting your natural hair, serums can help you lock in your natural texture & define your curls.
  • Strengthening hair – The right serum can help strengthen the hair itself & prevent the onset of natural hair breakage. This not only reduces the regularity of tangles & knots, but it also helps minimize frizz.

Wherever you are on your hair care journey, it’s always essential to understand the fundamental purpose of curly hair products on your bathroom countertop. Learning how they can serve you & your hair goal will ensure healthy, hydrated & exquisite locks for years to come.

Love Your Locks Everyday with PATTERN Beauty

At PATTERN Beauty, we’re passionate about providing inclusive hair treatments for curly hair. Whether you’re part of the curly, coily, or tight-textured community, you can shop our collection of healing scalp serums & curl-tastic conditioners to keep your locks luscious, strong & beautiful.

At the end of the day, curl care & self care go hand in hand. So, whether you are looking for the best hair serum to use on your strands or are simply interested in adding new natural curly hair products to your current regime to support curly hair growth, take care of yourself & your hair with PATTERN. Learn more about our hair product ingredients today!


  1. Tee-Melegrito Rachel Ann. "How to use hair serum: Dos and Don’ts." Medical News Today. 8 May, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-to-use-hair-serum
  2. Patrice, Christina. "The Difference Between Hair Oil and Serum."  Naturally Curly. 5 May, 2014. https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/kinky-hair-type-4a/the-difference-between-hair-oils-serums
  3.  Nunez, Kirsten. "Hair Serum Benefits and How to Use." Healthline. 3 November, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-use-serum-for-hair#how-to-use
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Reviewed by Ashley Ludgood

With over 12 years of experience in the beauty and fashion industry, Ashley Ludgood brings a wealth of expertise to her current role at PATTERN. Her insights have been featured in reputable publications like American Salon Magazine, American Spa Magazine, and Skin, Inc. Ashley has also shared her knowledge at conferences, including Face & Body, demonstrating her ongoing commitment to contributing to the industry. Having been an integral part of the team at PATTERN for nearly 4 years, Ashley continues to make significant contributions. Holding a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, she remains passionate about her field. Among her favorite products, Ashley turns to the PATTERN Styling Cream, Moisture Milk, and the Cleansing Shampoo as her go-to essentials.

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