I Hated Hair-Repair Products Until I Tried This Honey Serum

Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images.
In my attempt to keep my hair healthy, I’ve tried all the gimmicks; I’ve chewed hundreds of gummy hair vitamins and done all the serums, but have zero recommendations for you. Through years of testing the product trends, I have found some effective hair treatments. For instance, I started using pre-shampoo oils to help with dry scalp and I put a Jolie filter on my shower head to soften my hard water and hair.
Currently, I’m  struggling to find the perfect leave-in that I can add to my hair when it’s damp to make it dry nicely. I’m looking for a specific product — a lightweight serum or oil — that does a lot: adds a touch of moisture to cut frizz (did you know that dry hair is more prone to frizz?), and acts as a heat protectant because I’m usually styling with a blow dryer or a blow dry brush. Because I’m scared about extra weight and heaviness on my fine hair, I’ll often forgo leave-ins altogether. But I recently tried the new Gisou Honey-Infused Repair Serum and it made me consider that honey might be the key ingredient I’ve been sleeping on.
We talk a lot about humectants for the skin — my personal favorites are hyaluronic acid and glycerin. They help draw water into the skin to keep it hydrated. With these ingredients in my serum, my skin stays dewier than it would otherwise. Honey does the same thing for my hair. "Honey's humectant properties draw moisture to the hair to keep it soft, which can prevent breakage and help you retain more length over time," explains hair stylist Maya Smith and the founder of The Doux, a natural hair care brand that formulates using honey.
Negin Mirsalehi, hair influencer-turned-beekeeper, founded Gisou in 2015 with the understanding that honey is beneficial for hair health. She created Gisou's first and still best-selling honey-infused hair oil. Now, as a disclaimer, I tried the Gisou hair oil a few years ago and never drained the (very chic) glass bottle. Although, looking back, the reason I fell off of it was more of a user error. I was applying the oil to my hair dry, immediately after a blow dry, and now I know that my fine hair gets heavy and flat when I apply any oils to it dry. Damp hair works better.

Mirsalehi explains that an effective hair routine should look kind of like a skincare routine: shampoo, conditioner, serum when wet, and an oil when dry, if needed. Of course, if you're a fan of the Gisou Oil, you know that the oil can be applied to damp hair as a leave-in, but this new serum is actually a lot more effective (and a lot lighter, IMO).

The difference is in the innovative "encapsulated honey technology," which protects the purified honey (ethically harvested surplus honey from the Mirsalehi family bee garden) from the blend of other ingredients in this formula, including hydrolyzed pea protein as a form of vegan keratin. You've probably seen encapsulated ingredients in skincare or makeup. Personally, I love the Chanel Les Beiges Fresh Water Tint with "microdroplets" of foundation that burst when you apply it to the skin, so it wears more like a skin tint than a foundation. This serum works the same way, the honey bursts when you rub it into your hands and rake through your hair, mid-shafts and ends. It's cosmetic-grade honey so it's not sticky or anything.
What I like about the serum formula is that I can't feel it in my hair. Weightlessly, it does exactly what I want it to: adds moisture to my hair — I can tell because it's not frizzing in this sticky NYC humidity — and acts as both a heat and UV protectant, which is helpful if I'm just air drying but especially if I'm using a blowdryer.
According to Mirsalehi, the serum has really helped with her postpartum hair loss. "Around four months postpartum, I was experiencing a lot of hair shedding," she explains. "After beginning to incorporate the serum into my routine, it instantly reduced my breakage. My hair immediately felt more hydrated and the serum brought back the shine and strength I’d lost." Of course, this is not a hair-growth oil — it's not being applied to the scalp — but instead will help maintain the hair you have.
Since my own hair has taken a beating this summer — too many high and tight ponytails and residual buildup from waiting too long to wash it — this serum has been helpful in making it look and feel softer and smoother (maybe that's the hair version of dewy skin). I recently got a pre-fall haircut, so my ends are fresh and I can't speak to how well this would seal or repair split or damaged ones. However, I'm guessing I'll find out as I drain this bottle through my grow-out phase.
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