Hair Masks: What Are They & How to Apply Them for Best Results
In This Article
Ever feel your regular conditioner just isn’t doing the trick anymore? Enter the answer to all of your hair problems: Hair masks! From treating dryness to split ends and giving our curls definition, hair masks are a staple when it comes to building a hair care routine worth raving about.
What is a Hair Mask?
Inspired by in-salon treatments, hair masks are the perfect combination of oils, butters, and other nourishing ingredients to bring life back to your strands. They're also known as deep conditioning treatments or intensive hair conditioners – because that's precisely what they do; provide an extra dose of the benefits your hair is craving.
Even if you follow a complete hair routine, your hair goes through a lot! Damage from the elements (UV damage, wind, pollution, humidity), color-treating, styling, heat tools, the list goes on. Each of these factors can lead to excessive dryness, damage and overall dull strands.
A hair mask is that superhero that comes to your hair's rescue when it's about to call it quits. They contain rich ingredients in heavier concentrations than everyday conditioners. You also leave them in your hair for a bit longer, giving your strands plenty of time to absorb all the good stuff (like hydrating oils, nutrients & antioxidants) and bounce back.
In this article, we're going to delve a little deeper when it comes to hair masks, taking a closer look at the benefits, the different types of hair masks, and how to use them to get the best results ever.
What Are The Benefits of a Hair Mask?
Incorporating a hair mask in your hair care routine has many advantages. Ingredients are key here. Hair masks with rich oils and lipids are fantastic for restoring your hair to its healthiest self. The most noticeable benefits of using a hair mask include:
- Improves moisture levels
- Reduces hair breakage
- Helps control frizz by smoothing the hair cuticle
- Promotes shinier, softer hair
- Promotes a healthier scalp
- Reduces environmental damage
- Reduces damage from dying and/or bleaching hair
- Reduces damage caused by heat styling
Seriously, what can’t they do?
Are All Hair Masks The Same?
In short: No. Just like many of us have different hair concerns, there is a plethora of masks designed to address these problems. Whether you have unruly hair or you're dealing with pesky frizz, the kind of mask you use needs to be tailored for your needs.
We know that sometimes finding the perfect hair mask for your hair type can feel like trying to find the perfect match on Tinder. So, here's a Mane Club guide on how to swipe right on your hair mask matches. Bonus points: our hair masks won’t disappoint you like a blind date might.
For Dry Hair
Whenever our hair starts to look dry, most of us reach for a hair mask (yay!). The secret to treating dry hair is layering on the moisture, and no other hair care product provides the infusion of moisture that a hair mask offers. Try a hair mask with glycerin and grapeseed oil, like CHA-CHING Moisturizing Hair Mask for instant smoothing, softening, and deep conditioning results.
For Unruly Hair
Unruly hair can be a certified diva. Prone to flyaways and frizz, unruly hair is sensitive to what type of products you use. A mask like the BABE ALERT Smoothing Hair Mask adds the perfect amount of slip while leaving hair feeling more manageable. With ingredients like fortifying rice protein, watermelon seed oil, and moisturizing glycerin, it smooths, adds shine, and conditions hair to leave it silky soft and flexible, use after use.
For Damaged Hair
Damaged hair calls for hair masks packed with nourishing ingredients that can fortify and help repair each strand over time. When your hair is about to have a meltdown, the CRY BABY Repairing Hair Mask with nourishing papaya extract, glycerin, and conditioning mangosteen seed oil comes to your rescue. Incorporating this hair mask into your weekly routine can help repair years of damage.
For Frizzy Hair
Ah, frizz – we all have it, we all hate it. One of the secrets to combat frizz is to fight it with rich, nourishing conditioners. The EXPERT PROCRASTINATOR Frizz Control Hair Mask with coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and sesame seed oil will smoothen out frizz, condition, and hydrate your hair use after use. Over time, your hair will feel softer, and you'll finally be able to mark "fight frizz" off your to-do list.
Dirt, oils, and other impurities can weigh your hair down over time. A hair mask sans sketchy ingredients can really strengthen and add volume to your hair without leaving residue behind. Try BAD ATTITUDE Volumizing Hair Mask, made with rice protein, hydrolyzed quinoa, and volume-boosting ingredients that fortify the hair cuticle over time to give it all the support it needs to stay full of body and bounce.
For Weak, Brittle Hair
Brittle hair is a combination of dullness, dryness, and frizzing. It's susceptible and prone to breakage. For that, you need a hair mask that you apply at least twice every week. The WILD THANG Strengthening Hair Mask is specially formulated for weak and brittle hair. Glycerin, coconut oil, and rice protein come together like a comforting hug to reduce breakage and strengthen brittle hair over time.
How to Use a Hair Mask
Like most beauty products, there's a certain way to apply a hair mask to maximize its benefits – here’s how:
Shampoo Your Hair & Rinse
You should always apply hair masks to clean hair. Use a clarifying shampoo to eliminate any product residue, dirt, and oil left on the hair to ensure the hair mask can work efficiently.
Divide Hair Into Sections (If Needed)
If you have long and/or thick hair, you might want to divide hair into sections. This is all about making it easier for you to apply the hair mask evenly all over your hair.
Apply Hair Mask on Wet Hair
Some hair masks can be applied to dry hair. We've found that most ones do best when applied to wet hair. Squeeze any excess water out of your hair and apply the hair mask following instructions.
Apply From Roots or Mid-Lengths to Ends
Where you apply your hair mask matters – a lot. If you have oily or sensitive scalp or thin hair, you might want to only use the mask to the lower two-thirds of your hair. But, if you're dealing with coarse or very dry hair, you can experiment with applying your hair mask from the roots all the way down to the ends. For all hair types, the tips/ends will benefit from extra TLC, as they are the area most prone to damage and split ends.
Comb It Through Hair
Comb the mask from mid-length to ends to help your hair take all of it and make sure it's spread evenly. Massage the mask well into the hair to apply it evenly onto every strand.
Cover It With a Shower Cap
To maximize the benefits of your hair mask and take this weekly treatment to the next level, cover it with a shower cap or a hot towel. This method creates an intense conditioning treatment that will help repair damage and give you instant results, even after your first use.
Wash It Out
Make sure to wash the mask away entirely. Rinse thoroughly using luke-warm water and keep massaging from roots to tips to eliminate any excess product left behind. It may take two or more rinses to get it fully out. Avoid using hot water since this can dry out your scalp and cause brittle hair.
Air Dry or Blow Dry Your Hair
If you need to speed up the process, towel dry with a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to prevent any excess damage or frizz. Style as usual and blow dry it if you're heading out. You will see results immediately after your first mask use.
How Often Should You Use a Hair Mask?
For most hair types, one to two times a week is ideal. As with most treatments, how often you use a hair mask will depend on how damaged your hair is.
If you're co-dependent with your styling tools (or that box of hair bleach), your hair might be more damaged and require more conditioning help over time. In this case, we recommend you use a hair mask on a more regular basis, like twice a week, until your hair reaches dreamy status. Then go back to using your fave mask once a week.
How Long Should You Leave a Hair Mask On?
Most hair masks only need about 3 to 5 minutes to work their magic (about the time it takes to shave your legs or overthink that one thing you said 5 years ago). Always look at the mask's instructions to see what is recommended. Specific hair masks may be formulated as leave-on products that you leave overnight. It all depends on the formula.
A Final Word On Hair Masks
Hair masks definitely deserve a spot in your hair care routine. They can help nourish and condition your hair. An excellent hair mask formulated to treat dry, damaged, unruly, or frizzy hair can do wonders.
Unlike leave-on products, hair masks remain on your hair for 3-5 minutes. Some masks can stay for longer, depending on your hair type, texture, treatment needs, and the mask’s ingredients.
Even though there are many DIY hair masks recipes you can try at home, buying an affordable ready-made mask suited for your hair type is easy to keep around and ready to use every week.
When you buy ready-made masks, you need to find ones with few preservatives and chemicals to prevent buildup and residues left behind. That's why our masks are 100% Vegan, Cruelty free & Junk-free, meaning they contain NO sulfates, NO parabens, NO phthalates, NO drying alcohol, NO artificial colors, and NO junk.
If hair masks are not part of your hair care routine (yet), take this as a sign to check our award-winning, vegan & cruelty-free hair masks and add a few ones to your next order.