February 24, 2017

With a myriad of hair treatments in the market that claim to do wonders for our hair in the heat, finding the most effective formulation can get a little tricky. Those of a richer consistency tend to weigh the hair down, while lighter products simply coat our frazzled locks in a sheen that does nothing to repair the damage. To help us cut through the clutter, we’ve invited four top hairstylists in Singapore to do a blind test of five anonymous drugstore products in various formulations.


hairstylists dove

(L-R): Rick Yang, Co-Founder of FAC3INC; Addy Lee, Director of Monsoon Salon Group; Junie Tan, Co-Founder of DUO Hair Salon; and Calvin Gan, Founder of Hairloom.


Criteria set by judges:

  • Level of absorption
  • Evenness in distribution
  • Weight and consistency of product
  • Shiny and healthy appearance

Have a look at the video below to find out how the different hair treatment formulas fared, or skip ahead for the final verdict and comments.



Well, guess who won? The Serum-in-Oil came out on top amongst our panel of hairstylists!


Stylists’ choice #1:
(A) Serum-in-Oil: Absorbs well, leaving hair healthy looking, smooth and airy.



Dove Advanced Hair Series Regenerate Nourishment Serum-in-Oil


Creams, balms, serums, and oil treatments have been favoured in the industry for the longest time, which is why we didn’t expect the Serum-in-Oil to come out at the top. In fact, this hybrid treatment is a formulation that we’ve yet to come across in the haircare department, until we chanced upon Dove’s Advanced Hair Series Regenerate Nourishment Serum-in-Oil and decided to put it to the test.

Junie Tan explains, “It feels quite heavy on hands initially, but when you apply it on, it is instantly absorbed and provides a quick-fix to provide that healthy shine on hair.” Rick Yang lets on, “I’m quite surprised at the absorption of this product on dry hair as most serums or oils tend to only work well on damp hair but this product can be applied evenly on dry hair.”

Addy Lee agrees, “Absorbs very well, not oily or sticky at all. It feels like there’s less silicone compared to some of the high end products that I’ve used and there’s completely no residue.” Imparting a balanced amount of moisture to the hair and making sure that it lasts is an issue that arises with other formulas, however it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the Serum-in-Oil.


Stylists’ choice #2:
(C) Balm: Absorbs well and helps to tame hair. A lot of product is required in order to see the desired effect.



Phyto Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm


For those who gravitate towards a balm formulation, know that it might not have much of a smoothening effect, although it helps to tame the hair. “It absorbs very well but doesn’t smooth out the hair much. I feel that it has been absorbed into my hands even more than the hair – it needs to be worked with quickly in order to get it onto the hair,” Rick Yang explains.


Stylists’ choice #3:
(B) Cream: Lightweight product, generally suitable for virgin hair that’s not chemically or heat processed.



(L-R): L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil Crème Universelle, Klorane Leave-in Cream with Desert Date, Sunsilk Co-Creations Instant Smoothening Cream


You’ll discover popular cream formats at your nearby Watsons or Guardian store with the likes of L’Oreal’s Professionnel Mythic Oil Crème, Klorane’s Leave-in Cream, and Sunsilk’s Instant Smoothening Cream. With cream formulas, they appear to absorb instantly but it doesn’t seem to deliver lasting moisture. Junie Tan says, “This particular product can absorb quite well. Although, there’s not much shine and I can’t really tell the difference it makes to the hair.”


Stylists’ choice #4:
(D) Serum: Tends to be rich and heavy. Recommended for styling.



(L-R): John Frieda Frizz Ease Original 6 Effects Hair Serum, Liese Hair Cocktail Serum, Botaneco Garden Argan & Virgin Olive Oil Hair Serum


There’s now an ever-growing array of serums to choose from, such as John Frieda’s Frizz Ease, Liese’s Hair Cocktail Serum, and Botaneco Garden’s. A serum may seem like a great alternative for those who prefer a lighter product, but it might not be the case. Calvin Gan tells us, “The consistency is very thick so consumers will feel smoother hair immediately, but doesn’t mean it’s protecting your hair.”


Stylists’ choice #5:
(E) Oil: Might result in greasy and streaky-looking hair due to the high silicone content.



(L-R): L’Oreal Elseve Extraordinary Oil Eclat Imperial High Shine Oil, Ma Cherie Hair Oil, Tsubaki Oil Perfection Hair Oil


Another favourable option for parched locks is an oil formulation. L’Oreal Elseve’s Extraordinary Oil has risen in the ranks to becoming a haircare staple, while Ma Cherie’s Hair Oil and Tsubaki’s Oil Perfection are also luxurious treatments that have been making their mark. However, using a hair oil during the day isn’t really the best idea when we’re surrounded by this humidity. “This texture is really heavy and synthetic to the touch. It seems like the molecules are too big to be absorbed into the hair. It provides a more cosmetic effect rather than nourishment,” Junie Tan remarks.

From what we’ve seen, most of these holy grail formulations aren’t without their flaws, which could explain why our panel of hairstylists have placed the Serum-in-Oil first amongst the five. Unlike most drugstore treatments, the Serum-in-Oil is neither too heavy for our humid climate nor too tacky as most serums tend to feel, so that’s a huge plus for those with fine hair, not just for serial hair experimentalists with distressed locks. “I’d say this is a new generation of technology,” Calvin Gan affirms. It’s not difficult to see why the Serum-in-Oil is in a class of its own – even professionals agree.