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Overnight hair serums can help repair and nourish hair while you sleep. Here are five editor-picks to consider adding to your haircare routine.

What Is an Overnight Serum? 5 Picks That Give New Meaning to Beauty Sleep

Overnight hair serums can help repair and nourish hair while you sleep. Here are five editor-picks to consider adding to your haircare routine.
What Is an Overnight Serum? 5 Picks That Give New Meaning to Beauty Sleep

Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to tackle everything you need to do—and major hair repair may be one of them. Well, what if we told you there’s a haircare product specifically designed to treat your strands after the sun goes down? We’re talking about overnight hair serums. These formulas are specifically made to target specific hair and scalp concerns while you catch up on beauty sleep.

We previously spoke with Erika Dawn Shear, a luxury hairstylist based in Las Vegas, to find out what exactly overnight serums are and how to use them. Here, we’re sharing everything we learned; plus, we’re breaking down our top picks from the L’Oréal portfolio of professional brands. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about scoring “I woke up like this” hair.

What Is an Overnight Hair Serum?

Overnight hair serums are liquid-based formulas that help target specific scalp or hair concerns while you sleep. At first glance, they may seem similar to daytime hair serums, but each serves a distinct purpose in your haircare routine.

For starters, many daytime serums function as styling aids. These types of formulas lightly coat the surface of the hair to help reduce frizz, enhance shine, and protect against hot tool heat. Some formulas can go even further, helping to defend hair against environmental stressors like UV rays, pollution, and humidity.

“During the day, our hair is exposed to different free radicals that can cause damage,” Shear explains. “Daytime serums [can be] great to minimize any damage caused by these aggressors.”

Nighttime serums, on the other hand, are usually thicker and formulated to provide deeper care and nourishment. They may also be formulated with ingredients intended to help repair damage.

“At night, our bodies naturally switch to repair at a cellular level,” Shear adds. The eight or so hours that you sleep give your hair a break from “heat, styling, and day-to-day health risks;” that’s why overnight is an ideal time to use a reparative night serum.

One way that day and night serums can be distinguished is that the former usually offer immediate, visual results. As for the latter, they often act as overnight treatments, delivering results while you sleep. Consistent use may also yield further benefits over time; however, this can be true for both types of serums.

Who Are Overnight Hair Serums Best For?

Anyone looking for extra nourishment can benefit from an overnight hair serum, but picking the right formula for your hair is key. Before filling up your virtual or real-life cart, consider your hair type, damage level, and styling habits. This will help you hone in on the most beneficial formulas for your mane. Those with dry or damaged hair should be on the lookout for hydrators like hyaluronic acid or strengthening ingredients like niacinamide or peptides. People with dandruff can seek formulas made with salicylic acid to help manage irritation, flaking, and itching. And, for more extreme repair (like from perming or bleaching), bonding treatments may be the way to go. When in doubt, consult a professional stylist. An expert can help you determine if an overnight serum is right for your hair’s needs and which one to choose.

Good hair day by @laemekiia

How Do You Use an Overnight Hair Serum?

There are a couple of ways to use overnight serums. Certain formulas are meant to be massaged onto the scalp, others are intended for the mid-lengths through ends of the hair, and some serums call for both hair and scalp application. The instruction label on your chosen product can give you a better idea of how to apply your serum and how often to use it in your P.M. routine.

As a general rule of thumb, though, always apply less than you think you need. The liquid consistency of hair serums can make it easy to overdo it—and you don’t want to wake up with greasy-looking hair or stains on your pillowcase.

5 Best Overnight Serums To Try

Here are five of our favorite overnight serums to consider adding to your pre-bedtime ritual.

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Reset Overnight Hair Serum

Hit the reset button on overprocessed hair with a little help from Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Reset Overnight Hair Serum. In just one use, this overnight treatment can help fight up to one year of visible surface damage on hair—whether from bleach, color, heat, or chemical services. Come morning, strands will be soft, supple, shiny, and have added strength.

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Overnight Hair Serum

If your hair is prone to frizzing up, consider counting sheep while Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Overnight Hair Serum works its magic. The camellia oil-infused formula provides nourishment while smoothing, softening, and taming frizz. Hair will be 25% smoother with 97% less breakage* and ready to style without needing a rinse. That’s one way to start the day on a positive note.

*vs non-conditioning shampoo

Kérastase Symbiose Antidandruff Night Serum

Don’t let dandruff flakes dash your dreams of healthy-looking hair—just pick up Kérastase Symbiose Antidandruff Night Serum. This highly concentrated night serum is formulated with salicylic acid, a powerful active ingredient, to help eliminate the symptoms of dandruff. Plus, it offers soothing and hydrating benefits to manage the dryness and itching associated with the scalp condition.

Learn more about the Symbiose range and how to use it in our full Kérastase Symbiose Review.

Kérastase Blond Absolu Sérum Cicanuit Hair Serum

Going blonde can be a damaging process, one that can make your strands feel dry and straw-like. The good news is that certain ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, can help replenish moisture and improve the look and feel of your hair. Find this hydrating hero in Kérastase Blond Absolu Sérum Cicanuit Hair Serum. The lightweight serum helps recover sensitized hair overnight while delivering deep hydration.

Good hair day by @glowhappiness_beauty

Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Hair Serum

Brittle hair is basically a four-letter word in the hair world, but you don’t have to live a life full of breakage and split ends. Apply Kérastase’s vitamin-infused Nutritive Legacy 8H Magic Night Hair Serum to strengthen your weakened hair by up to 98%.* It’s specially designed to provide eight hours of overnight nourishment so you wake up to hair that feels soft to the touch and easy to style.

*vs. non-conditioning shampoo

Next Up: How To Protect Your Hair While Sleeping: 17 Tips

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