Guide To Hair Masks
Hair masks can transform your hair overnight thanks to their concentrated, nourishing ingredients. While regular shampooing and conditioning will help clean and sustain your hair, using a hair mask every so often will leave it sleek and glossy.
There is a lot to understand about how hair masks work, and how to apply them. So, we have created this step-by-step guide to hair masks to help you find the best option.
What is a hair mask?
A hair mask is a deep conditioning treatment for your hair. It is like a traditional conditioner, but more concentrated and thicker. It is possible to incorporate hair masks into your regular hair care routine in order to get results you want, whether that is softer, stronger, or shinier looking hair.
Hair masks can be used to target specific hair concerns when regular conditioner is not enough to moisturise and nourish your hair. For example, hydrating hair masks spend more time sinking into your hair than your average shampoo or conditioner, meaning that they give more dramatic benefits with a single use and can revitalise dry hair.
How does a hair mask work?
Hair masks are left in your hair for an extended period of time. Depending on the brand you use, the duration can range from a few minutes to overnight. Most regular use conditioners are applied and washed out in a few minutes.
Hair masks are left to soak, covering your hair, in order to heal damaged follicles. Masks can treat different types of damage, including hair which is naturally dry, heat-damaged, chemically-colored, or shows signs of aging – typically hair, like skin, will become more brittle and thinner as our hydrating scalp glands become less effective as we get older.
What are the ingredients in a hair mask?
Beneficial ingredients are concentrated into hair masks and provide a deeper treatment to improve hair health. Hair masks contain ingredients that nourish the hair such as natural oils and lipids. Many products contain natural oils such as jojoba, olive oil, almond oil, or even avocado, all of which contribute to maintaining healthy hair. Food products, such as bananas and honey, often make an appearance in hair masks for their unique properties in restoring nutrients to the hair.
Can I use a hair mask for my hair type?
Yes. Hair masks work for all types - dry, oily, coloured, curly. Whatever hair type you have, there is a hair mask out there that can help you. There are endless choices, all of which can treat any hair type.
There are special masks for restoring hair treated with colour, to give your hair more volume, and to repair damaged hair.
How do I apply a hair mask?
The steps you take to apply a hair mask will vary from brand to brand so make sure to read the instructions. However, the majority of hair masks follow a similar process.
Wash your hair prior to applying the hair mask
Washing your hair ensures that hair is clean and read to absorb the hair mask nutrients. Using a mask on unclean hair makes it less effective so make sure it is in good condition before applying it.
Hair masks differ from brand to brand so check if you have to apply it to damp or dry hair, the duration it stays in, and how to remove it. If instructions say to apply to damp hair, try to soak up moisture using a microfibre towel to draw water from your hair quickly without damaging it with friction.
Segment your hair
You want to make sure the hair mask is applied equally across your hair so segment your hair into 3-4 layers or sections. This will allow you to evenly apply the hair mask to the different layers of your hair. This will be more important if you have longer hair, to ensure you get overall coverage. Segmenting may not be necessary with shorter hair.
Apply the hair mask
Follow the instructions from your hair mask and apply it evenly through your hair. When focusing on the mid lengths and ends of your hair, gently massage the product into your hair in a downwards motion for 30 seconds. This will help the product penetrate and seal the cuticle for more smoothness and shine. Comb through the mask as well to help evenly apply it.
Cover your hair
Compressing the hair mask in a warm towel or shower cap should allow the ingredients to penetrate more deeply and provide better results. This step isn’t a necessity but many find that doing so is beneficial.
Leave your mask in for the recommended time
Follow the hair mask instructions and leave the mask in for the recommended duration. Each hair mask will use a slightly different formula that has been created with a length of time in mind. Removing the hair mask too soon means it may not work to its full potential and leaving the mask on too long can leave hair greasy and limp.
Rinse your hair thoroughly
It is recommended to rinse hair with lukewarm water, unless otherwise stated on the packaging. It is important to ensure that the hair mask has been thoroughly washed out and no remnants of it remain.
Once the mask has been removed, dry your hair and review your fantastic results!
Best hair masks
If you're not sure where to start with a hair mask, we have a few recommendations. We have included a selection of the best hair masks below, including options based on specific hair needs: