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What’s The Difference Between Conditioner and Serum?

Written by Ross Goodhart
What’s The Difference Between Conditioner and Serum?

Many conditioners, serums, and leave-in hair care treatments are available, and choosing the right one may seem daunting. So what's the difference between your conditioner and serum?

Below we’ll answer your questions about the differences between hair conditioners and serums, what they do, and how to use them.

What Is Hair Conditioner & What Does It Do?

A hair conditioner is a product that adds manageability to your hair strands. After shampooing, apply conditioner to smooth away tangles, replenish moisture in your hair, and make it softer and easier to manage.

Hair conditioner protects your hair shaft from damage and reduces friction between your hair strands to make the hair easier to brush or comb. It is recommended that you condition your hair after each shampoo, and doing this will help prevent split ends and damaged, dry hair.

How Is Conditioner Used?

It is best to choose a conditioner that’s right for your hair type and one that is compatible with the shampoo you use. After shampooing, apply conditioner to your hair from the mid-shaft to the ends or starting at your scalp from root to tip, depending on the product. 

The best conditioners use moisturizing and scalp healthy ingredients to soothe your scalp and leave your hair silky soft. Jupiter’s Nourishing Conditioner is packed with natural ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, green tea extract, and probiotics to moisturize the scalp and hair, reduce breakage and tangling, and help prevent split ends. Apply it to your scalp and hair after each shampoo, massage for 30 to 60 seconds, and then rinse thoroughly. 

What Is Hair Serum & What Does it Do?

Hair serum or scalp serum is a product that coats your hair shaft or scalp. It is thicker than liquid treatments like shampoo and usually feels slick to the touch. There are different types of serum depending on your hair or scalp health goals.

Do not rinse serums from your hair, but instead leave it in to get the full benefits of the serum whether it’s goal is to seal your hair’s ends and tame flyaways and frizz, or soothe scalp redness or dryness.

Many scalp and hair serums are packed with vitamins to nourish your hair and help make it look shiny and sleek. Medicated leave-on serums, like our Restoring Serum, support specific scalp conditions. Ours is formulated with Zinc Pyrithione to maintain a healthy scalp microbiome, and relieve itching, flaking, and redness.

Do not rinse serums from your hair, but instead leave it in to get the full benefits of the serum...

How is Serum Used?

Hair serum is usually after your hair is shampooed, conditioned, and blow-dried to tame flyaways and make hair look sleek and hydrated. This goes for serums used to reduce frizz, add shine, tame flyaways, or straighten the hair.

Serums designed to treat specific scalp concerns apply differently depending on their purpose. 

For example, our Restoring Serum should be applied directly onto a damp scalp just after showering or to dry scalp as needed. Simply massage the serum into the scalp and leave it on to work its magic.

What Is a Leave-In Hair Treatment

There are different types of leave-in hair products based on your hair goals. Some leave-in hair products are heat protectants, used to protect your hair from heat damage and replenish moisture. Heat damage occurs when hair is exposed to curling irons, flat irons, hairdryers, and other heated hair styling tools. 

Other leave-in treatments, such as our Restoring Serum, are focused on the scalp and treating conditions such as redness, flaking, and itching.

What Are the Differences Between Conditioner and Hair Serum?

Both conditioners and serums moisturize, but serums are more concentrated treatments. When used together, conditioner and serums work wonders in helping you achieve a soothed scalp and healthy looking hair.

It is recommended to use conditioners after every shampoo. And use your serum as directed after showering.


The difference between conditioner and serum is quite simple. Daily conditioners add nourishment, detangle, and soften the hair while moisturizing the scalp. Serums can target either the hair or scalp and are meant as a leave-on treatment.

Some serums add silkiness and shine to your hair, while others treat the symptoms of dandruff or scalp discomfort.

Jupiter’s line of scalp care products leave your hair and scalp healthy, and refreshed. Choose our Nourishing Conditioner for a daily dose of scalp TLC and soft, tangle-free hair, and our Restoring Serum to keep your scalp balanced and healthy.

Restoring Serum
Restoring Serum

Your scalp savior outside of the shower. Our Restoring Serum is best for those with oily scalps, more severe flaking or wash their hair less frequently. Apply this medicated leave-in (active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione) directly to the scalp in between washes to relieve and control itching, flaking, and redness.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.