Stress—okay, and a lack of showering, shampooing, and even brushing—destroyed my hair over the past year. And now we’re headed straight into hot-vax summer, where the sun, surf, and chlorine are sure to do even more damage to my long-neglected tresses. All of this is to say that my hair needs some serious help; however, shampoo and conditioner alone are not going to remedy the sad state of my strands, which is where hydrating hair masks come in.
Masks offer intensive treatment to hair that’s been over-processed, color-treated, or is just otherwise in need of some extra TLC. They can typically be added into your beauty routine anywhere from once or twice a week to once or twice a month. Essentially, they’re to be utilized on an as-needed basis, and if you’re anything like me, the need is now. There are thousands of masks on the market; so below, just a few of our favorites.
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1. Christophe Robin Regenerating Hair Mask with Prickly Pear Seed Oil
Anything by Christophe Robin is on my desert-island list of products; the brand’s hair care is unparalleled IMO. While I’m a forever devotee of the line’s beachy Detangling Gelée with Sea Minerals, when my hair needs extra help (read: always) this is my go-to mask. It’s ultra-moisturizing, leaving hair feeling thicker and looking healthier without being weighted down or greasy. It’ll give an instant glow-up to any hair type in any condition, and is worth every penny of its not-so-modest price.
2. Rahua Color Full Hair Mask
This plant-based mask from clean-beauty superstar Rahua is a great option for those of us who dye our natural hair color into oblivion. It works on all hues to enhance vibrancy while fortifying damaged strands using rich oils sourced from the Amazon. It smells more like a gardenia-dappled flower garden than it does a jungle, and I mean that in the best way. While it’s also not exactly in the budget category, its premium, plant-derived ingredients justify the price tag.
3. Oribe Moisture & Control Deep Treatment Hair Mask
This one’s for curly-haired gals. It’s a deeply moisturizing mask comprised of luxe oils, such as coconut, almond, and seed butters. It works on split ends by sealing the cuticle to prevent breakage while locking in its moisturizing ingredients from follicle to tip. Hair is left frizz-free, strengthened, and shiny AF. It’s suggested for use weekly, which means you can make a tub last through hot-vax summer and well, well beyond.
4. Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask
This mask from cult-beloved brand Moroccanoil is designed to treat hair damaged by hot tools and/or chemical treatments. In other words, if you’ve fried your hair, this is the mask for you. It relies on lush natural ingredients like shea butter and argan oil to work its moisturizing magic, as well as keratin proteins to fortify weakened strands. It’s a five-to-seven-minute leave-in mask that can be used once a week for truly damaged hair, and then less frequently over time as hair quality improves.
5. Kérastase Soleil Nourishing After Sun Hair Mask
If you’re planning to have as much fun in the sun this summer as I am, you may want to invest in this after-sun mask that helps to rejuvenate over-exposed lengths. It works on all hair types and textures and not only soothes and nourishes sun-drenched strands but also offers protection against further damage by absorbing UV rays. The product’s vitamin E content also has protective benefits, acting as a shield against other outdoor environmental stressors you’ll encounter this summer, including sand and saltwater.
6. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
If you’re looking at this list so far and thinking, ‘Okay, I’ll spend $$$ on a hair mask after I win the lottery, you privileged jerk,’ take heart in knowing that A) I get to sample products for free and B) there are plenty of highly effective masks at lower price points, like this one from Briogeo. It’s great for hair that’s dry, broken, or frizzy, as it moisturizes and repairs via gentle natural ingredients such as rosehip oil, algae extract, and B vitamins. In a clinical study, two turns with this mask reduced breakage by 66 percent. See, I told you not to despair! (Repair!)
7. Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk 12 fl. oz. Ultra-Nourishing Hair Mask
This is another budget-friendly option that’s a steal considering its undeniable results. The mask is intended for intensely damaged, over-processed, naturally curly (coiled, kinky, or loose) hair that’s in dire need of (forgive the rhyme) repair, and it relies on a blend of almond milk, shea oil, and aloe butter to make its magic happen. It’ll leave your hair softer than you ever imagined it could be, and healthier, too.
8. OLAPLEX No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
Created using OLAPLEX’s patented bond-building technology, this mask is a dream for strengthening super-weak hair. It’s designed to treat all hair types and textures (including everything from straight and thick to coily and delicate), and works to address frizz, breakage, and dehydration simultaneously. In clinical studies, 94 percent of users polled reported seeing more body to their hair after use, while results showed a two-fold increase in shine, a four-fold increase in moisture, and a six-fold increase in smoothness. As an added bonus, the price point won’t give you heart palpitations, either.
9. Verb Ghost Hair Mask
This super-light mask is great for those whose hair can get easily weighed down by product. It’s designed to perform on all hair types and textures, but it’s especially great for over-processed or color-treated hair due to its restorative properties and lack of harsh chemicals that could further strip the hair. Glycerin softens while moringa oil hydrates for an overall result that’s healthy, smooth, and supermodel shiny.
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