It’s 2019, so I’m assuming that if you’re on Instagram you’re already a proud member of the face masker club. But if you haven’t tried hair masks yet, you should get on that.
Hair masks are super-concentrated, deep-conditioning treatments designed to target and correct a specific problem, says Paul Cucinello, celebrity stylist and owner of Cucinello Studio in New York City. They deliver key active ingredients deep into the hair and/or scalp in a set amount of time. Hair masks are heavier than regular conditioners and give the hair a little something extra, says Sadah Saltzman, hairstylist at Salon AKS in New York City. Using one will make your hair feel stronger and appear healthier.
Masks are best applied to clean, damp hair, says Cucinello. He recommends using a tool to help ensure even application and saturation, like a wide toothed comb (try the Diane Extra Wide Tooth Shampoo Comb) for weak, curly, or damaged hair. A specialty brush (like The Feel Good Brush by Spornette) is good for medium, thick, coarse, or long hair.
Before you apply a hair mask, make sure you have enough time to allow it to penetrate your strands properly. Follow the brand’s instructions as far as timing goes, keeping in mind that sometimes you actually can overdo it, says Cucinello. Saltzman suggests applying a mask and putting hair into a braid or bun while working out, which lets the mask penetrate deeply while also keeping the hair off of your face (and multitasking!).
Ready to try it for yourself? Check out the best mask for your hair’s needs.
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Best For Dry Hair
Intense Hydrating Mask
This rich, creamy mask is infused with Argan oil to nourish and replenish moisture in hair. Saltzman loves the serious shine it imparts on hair, too.
Best For Color-Treated Hair
Color Full Hair Mask
This plant-based treatment preserves color and keeps it vibrant, thanks to Rahua and Morete oils from the Amazon rainforest. When you use this mask, your hair looks healthy and maintains that “freshly colored” look, says Cucinello.
Best For Curly Hair
Melt into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask
According to Cucinello, this is a great mask for curly girls. The antioxidant butter blend gently nourishes and strengthens curls without weighing them down or tightening them up too much. Bonus: It minimizes frizz.
Best For Anti-Aging
Phytodensia Fluid Plumping Mask
Hyaluronic acid and collagen are two big buzzwords in beauty—and this mask has them both. They help plump and protect the hair strand and cuticle. The lightweight texture gives hair fullness and bounce without weighing it down, says Saltzman.
Best for Deep Conditioning
Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask
According to Cucinello, this deep conditioner works like a dream. It’s perfect on all hair textures, lengths, and conditions because you are putting ingredients in your hair that it understands: rosehip oil, algae extract, almond oil, and vitamin B, he says. Plus, it smells delicious!
Best for Shine
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Masque
Add shiny hair to the laundry list of apple cider vinegar’s benefits. This ACV treatment lowers the PH of the hair, creating an ultra-smooth texture with mirror-like shine and also leaves hair soft and silky. The other ingredients are also beneficial: sunflower seed oil protects hair color, smart proteins fill in damaged areas along the surface of hair, and aloe vera helps to repair hair.
Best for Damaged Hair
Miracle Hair Mask
This multi-purpose mask is gentle enough to be used as a daily conditioner, but also intense enough to use as weekly deep-conditioning treatment. You just change up the amount you use and processing time, says Saltzman. Boasting tons of great reviews across numerous sites, it brings damaged or over-processed hair back to life.
Best for Blondes
Color Extend Blondage Color Depositing Purple Shampoo 10oz
Don’t be deterred by the bold purple pigment in this mask—it will turn blonde hair from brassy to bright after one use and won’t turn your hair purple in the process. Plus, it softens dry, brittle strands.
Best for Brunettes
Total Results Brass Off Custom Neutralization Hair Mask
This blue-hued mask counteracts unwanted orange tones in just five minutes. Cucinello advises using this mask once a week max to prevent over-coloring the hair.
Best for Textured Hair
KARINGA Ultimate Hydrating Mask
A blend of shea butter, Argan oil, and Moringa extract moisturize and strengthen dry, textured strands. Saltzman loves that it rinses out easily, without leaving a layer of product behind.
Best for Fine Hair
Ghost Hair Mask
It’s hard to find a mask that’s light enough for super-fine hair, but this nourishing, feather-weight formula is just right. It boosts shine, smooths frizz, and repairs hair without any residue, says Cucinello,
Best for Coarse Hair
Ultra-Nourishing Mask with Abyssinia Oil
Both of our pros agree: This Klorane mask is the perfect treatment for women with thick or coarse hair. It contains 23 (!!) nourishing ingredients for the ultimate hydration boost. Plus, the included Abyssinia oil tames frizz and helps restore damaged and brittle hair, making detangling and styling a little easier.
Best for Frizz
Discipline Maskeratine Smooth-in-Motion Masque
If you suffer from frizz (especially in the humid summer months), give this powerhouse a try. It was specifically formulated to control and virtually eliminate frizz, says Cucinello, and uses proprietary Morpho-keratine technology to protect hair from humidity and control erratic strands without restricting natural texture.
Best for Dandruff
This is a pre-shampoo mask that deep cleans the scalp to help prevent flakes. The mix of salicylic acid, extra-virgin coconut oil, lavender oil, and chamomile blue oil works to break down dead skin cells and remove oil and product buildup so it can easily be washed away.
Best Overnight Mask
Antisocial Overnight Bond-Building Dry Hair Mask
Apply this mask before bed for the ultimate beauty sleep. The innovative product repairs and protects the hair from the inside out, says Cucinello. The dry spray strengthens hair by bonding to its natural proteins and conditions it with an amino acid complex. Saltzman loves that you don’t have to rinse it out in the morning (time-saver!) and that it’s good for all hair textures.
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