Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
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Consider indulging in a treatment mask as a form of hair self-care.

Much like we pamper our skin on dedicated self-care days with face masks and high-tech treatments, our hair is deserving of the same love. At any given moment our hair is put on the defence in a constant battle against damage, dehydration, and frizz than we’d like to deal with. The right hair masks fix these problems and even protect hair, though.

What to look for in the best hair masks

Designed to rejuvenate and restore lacklustre hair, hair masks are a crucial step in a solid haircare routine. No matter your hair type or texture, celebrity hairstylist Glenna Sandy tells FASHION that these masks should be added to everyone’s regimen.

“They take the place of a conditioner and provide more protection against dehydration, frizz, and free radicals,” she explains. “If you live in an area that experiences fall and winter, adding a hair mask to your hair routine is essential, as the cold air and climate directly impact the health of our hair.”

Sandy recommends prepping with a clarifying shampoo in the shower, before following up with your hair mask and allowing it to sit for about 10-15 minutes or so — depending on what the product label recommends. “If you want more of an impact, or if you have low porosity hair [hair that doesn’t absorb water and moisture well], you can also apply heat by sitting under a dryer as well.”

And, as a general rule of thumb, Sandy advises those with fine hair to stick with lightweight masks, while those with thicker hair will require something a little heavier. How often you reach for these masks, she explains, is entirely up to you and how your hair feels.

“There are no hard and fast rules about when you’d use a hair mask. If you can feel a change in your hair or it feels dry or brittle, you can reach for a mask. Or, you can incorporate it into your routine in a more scheduled way, like every other wash for example,” she says. “I always suggest people do what works for their individual needs to make things less complicated for themselves.”

Best hair mask products 2023

Best overall

K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask

Considered a molecular miracle worker, K18’s Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask lands the top spot. As its name suggests, this mask utilizes an innovative K18Peptide, which is precisely the right size and molecular structure to penetrate the innermost parts of our hair and repair keratin chains broken by chemical, colour, and bleach treatments—as well as heat damage.

This mask has been clinically proven to reverse said damage in just four minutes. After use, hair regains its strength and appears softer, smoother, and bouncier than ever. Use this product is made to be used as a leave-in—it doesn’t need to be rinsed out like other hair masks.

Pros

Suitable for all hair types
Safe for colour-treated hair
Doubles as a mask and a leave-in
Seals the hair cuticle
Won’t make hair feel greasy

Cons

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Best rated

Kérastase Résistance Masque Extentioniste

When we say Kérastase’s Résistance Masque Extentioniste is worth the hype, don’t just take our word for it. Look to the 2,000+ Amazon reviews that have secured this mask a 4.6-star rating on Amazon for proof. One user even described it as a “miracle in a bottle.”

Infused with amino acids, this mask seeks to strengthen hair while repairing damaged lengths, sealing split ends, and warding off future breakage. To treat those pesky split ends, focus this product on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair, leave it on for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse for best results.

Pros

Suitable for all hair types
Boosts shine
Promotes hair growth

Cons

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Best for dry/damaged hair

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask

Dry and damaged hair will drink up this pick by Moroccanoil.  This beloved haircare brand offers several mask options, from the Weightless Hydrating Hair Mask to the Smoothing Hair Mask, but this Intense Hydrating Hair Mask is without a doubt the right fit for those in need of some serious fixing up. And all it takes is 5 minutes for this deep conditioning mask to work its magic.

A nourishing blend of argan oil and linseed extract come together within this formula to promote healthier, more hydrated hair. Shop the larger 16.9-ounce tub if you have especially dry, coarse or over-treated tresses. Anyone with thick or curly hair knows that we tend to be a little heavy-handed with our product portions.

Pros

Short use time
Improves elasticity
Improves shine

Cons

Not recommended for fine hair types

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Best for bleached hair

L’Oréal Professionnel Vitamono Colour Care Hair Mask

L’Oréal Professional’s Vitamino Colour line is committed to keeping your bleached hair feeling as good as it looks. Whether you’re trying to maintain a colour brought on by bleaching your hair or recover from the damage caused during the process, this Vitamino Colour Care Hair Mask will serve you in more ways than one.

If you’re still trying to keep up with colour, this mask provides up to six times more shine and protects against up to eight weeks of colour fading. Or, if intense hydration is what you need, soak up its strengthening and restorative benefits to revive damaged hair. What can we say, it’s pro-level haircare you can use from the comfort of your own bathroom.

Pros

Boosts colour vibrancy
Protects against breakage
Adds shine

Cons

Features a strong floral fragrance that some consumers may not like

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Best drugstore

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Treatment Masque

With a “Strengthen & Restore” promise, Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment is a drugstore gem. Designed to remedy dry, damaged, and chemically treated hair, it’s a top contender for anyone who frequently colours, heat styles, or overmanipulates their tresses.

This deep conditioner harnesses the power of starring Jamaican black castor oil (which is believed to promote hair growth!) and shea butter ingredients to provide softer, shinier, more manageable hair. Plus, its peppermint ingredient stimulates the scalp with a spa-like cooling sensation that we can’t get enough of.

Wear this mask for 10-15 minutes under a dryer. Or, use It heatless for up to 30 minutes.

Pros

Budget-friendly
Works with or without heat
Colour safe

Cons

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Best for frizz

Redken Frizz Dismiss Mask

Frizz, where? This Frizz Dismiss Mask by Redken is a true anti-frizz warrior. Made to target unruly strands, this treatment is the third step in the hair care brand’s Frizz Dismiss routine, and it’s arguably the most important.

Within this product, a babassu oil and smoothing complex duo team up to tame frizz-prone stands. Additionally, this mask also provides humidity protection so you can confidently face the outdoors.

Pros

Suitable for all types
Short use time
Also provides heat protection

Cons

Some reviews report it may not be suitable for fine hair types

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Best for hair growth

Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Masque

If this Mielle mask looks familiar, you may be thinking of its viral oil counterpart, the Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil. The oil absolutely blew up on social media with consumers claiming it made their hair grow, so it’s only right that we mention the mask from the same collection in this best for hair growth category.

Drawing upon its rosemary and biotin ingredients, this penetrative mask’s formula is a true recipe for longer hair. Rosemary oil is said to have both restorative and preventative hair loss benefits, which is why it’s widely considered a charm for hair growth. And biotin is reported to do much of the same. The healthier your hair is, the easier it’ll be to grow long, luscious, locks!

Pros

Affordable
Hydrates
Strengthens
Safe for thin hair
Apply the mask weekly for best results

Cons

Features a strong floral fragrance that some consumers may not like

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Best hydrating

Amika Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Hair Mask

Delivering a blast of hydration, Amika’s Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Hair Mask is like a cool drink of water for thirsty hair. Though hyaluronic acid is typically thought to be more of a skincare ingredient, it’s one of the main attractions within this mask formula alongside squalene.

Plump hair up to attract more moisture with this powerhouse duo. Moisture loss is prevented and the cuticle stays sealed. It’s also clinically proven to hydrate hair for up to five days, while making it five times more hydrated and easier to comb after a single use. We won’t argue with science about those results!

Pros

Detangles
Provides slip
Reduces breakage
Safe for color-treated hair
Works in tandem with the brand’s shampoo and conditioners or can be used on its own

Cons

Best suited for medium to thick types

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Best for fine hair

Ouai Treatment Mask for Fine and Medium Hair

Photography Courtesy of Ouai

This offering by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin’s Ouai is specifically catered to fine to medium hair types. If you’re looking to boost shine and restore hydration without weighing your hair down, this is the mask for you.

A shea butter, panthenol, and hydrolyzed keratin and protein concoction come together to condition your strands while simultaneously preventing breakage and keeping frizz and flyaways at bay. As a result, your hair will appear softer, stronger, and shinier. We think your hair is worthy of a little celebrity treatment, don’t you?

Pros

Lightweight
Colour safe
Approved for all textures

Cons

Best suited for fine to medium types

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Best for curly hair

Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Deep Conditioning Treatment Hair Mask

Photography Courtesy of Carol’s Daughter

Designed with super dry curls and coils in mind, selecting this Carol’s Daughter mask for the best for curls category was a no-brainer. We know that curly hair often requires more moisture than other hair textures, and Carol’s Daughter understands this.

The Coco Crème “recipe” within this mask that runs throughout the entire Coco Crème collection boasts a deep conditioning combination of coconut milk, coconut oil, mango butter, and murumuru butter. It’s a creamy, buttery blend of replenishing goodness that is intense enough for even the coiliest curls to absorb. Trust us, your curly hair will never be happier.

Pros

Affordable
Increases softness
Provides long-lasting curl definition
Leave on for 15 minutes or longer, with or without a shower cap, to have extremely healthy hair

Cons

Best suited for curly hair

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Best budget

Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate

Photography Courtesy of Maui Moisture

Maui Moisture’s Heal & Hydrate Hair Mask packs a whole lot of bang for its buck. The under-$10 price point is also especially appealing. This shea butter-rich treatment targets dry hair so that your strands can survive the winter looking as quenched, and nourished as ever.

This mask’s tropical formula fusion of shea butter, coconut milk, and pure macadamia oil (lighter than olive oil) is a remedy for damage and dehydration. Plus, it can also be used as a leave-in for dry hair that needs a little extra oomph.

Pros

Affordable
Colour safe
Use It as a leave-in or rinse-out

Cons

Features a strong floral fragrance that some consumers may not like

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Best luxury

Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Hair Masque

Photography Courtesy of Oribe

What’s more luxurious than gold? Oribe’s Gold Lust Transformative Hair Masque is a royal treatment, indeed. Described as being a “fountain of youth for hair,” this mask was made to penetrate overworked hair and rebuild hair fibres with reparative white tea, baobab and jasmine extracts.

Treat yourself to a soothing scalp massage as you work this mask into your strands and take in notes of Oribe’s signature Côte d’Azur fragrance. Before you know it, your shower will be transformed into a spa with scents of Calabrian bergamot, white butterfly jasmine, and sandalwood swirling around you.

Pros

Intensely nourishing
Strengthening
Adds softness, shine, and body
Richer than traditional conditioners
Seals the hair shaft

Cons

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