How to Use a Hair Mask: The Best Treatments for Dry, Damaged Hair

how to use a hair mask

Keeping your hair healthy is no easy feat. Getting highlights, using extensions, and running a curling iron through your hair can really do a number on its overall health and appearance. But living without any of those things is only asking for dull, lifeless, and insanely frizzy strands.

It might seem tedious to add another step to your beauty routine, but using a hair mask regularly can help keep your strands in check. Hair masks lock in moisture, restore shine and softness, and add nourishment to mend breakage or split ends. And bonus, they’re really easy to use.

Read on to find out how to pick the right hair mask for your needs, as well as how to use a hair mask to get the most bang for your buck.

How to Use a Hair Mask

Step 1: Wash your hair thoroughly with both shampoo and conditioner.

Step 2: Ring your hair dry then use a hair towel to soak up excess moisture. This is important because hair masks penetrate better when your strands aren’t soaking wet.

Step 3: Squeeze a quarter-size amount of your favorite hair mask into the palm of your hand. Use more product for longer, thicker hair and less for fine or short hair. The product should completely saturate your hair by the time you’re done applying it.

Step 4: Apply the product from your roots to ends, paying extra attention to ends (which tend to get the most dry).

Step 5: Leave the mask on your hair for 5 to 20 minutes—every hair mask has instructions that vary.

Step 6: Rinse your hair out thoroughly and style as usual.

Hair Mask Tips

  • If you’re applying your hair mask in the shower, try putting a shower cap over your hair mask to allow the steam to penetrate the product. The steam will offer up an extra does of hydration, and the shower cap will help your hair from getting wet while you shave or soap up.
  • Comb the mask through your hair with a wide-tooth comb. This will help ensure that you’ve evenly distributed the mask throughout your hair before it sets and works its magic.
  • Consider wearing a hair mask overnight if your strands are really dry or damaged. After applying the mask, just slick your hair back in a bun and then rinse it out in the morning. Wear a shower cap or use an old pillowcase so you don’t get product all over your bed.
  • Short on time? Apply a mask to dry hair and let it soak in while you work from home or do a quick workout. Rinse it out and shampoo and condition your hair per usual when you shower.
  • Make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly after using a hair mask. If you don’t, you can end up with too much product build-up in your strands.
  • Another MVP in the hair remedy game? Hair oils. Although most people use oil in their hair before they blow dry or use hot tools, they also make great leave-in treatments. If a hair mask still isn’t cutting it for you, try applying a hair oil and letting it soak overnight.

The Best Hair Masks for Damaged Hair

With so many hair masks out there, it can be hard to decide on the one that will work best for you. Some are specific to certain types of hair while others focus on specific results, like restoring moisture, adding shine, or repairing damaged ends.

So which one should you use? Here are a handful of my favorites, along with what type of hair they’re best for.

Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Mask

This has been my go-to hair mask for years and I’m just as obsessed with it now as I was then. It’s meant to be used weekly, and it’s versatile enough to work on fine, medium, or thick hair. It’s also great on a variety of hair types, like curly or straight. It does a standout job at reducing frizz.

Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask

Anything Olaplex is considered top-notch in the hair industry. While it’s suitable for all hair types, keep in mind that the biggest benefit it offers is deep hydration. It also gives your strands some body if you style your hair after using it.

Moroccanoil Weightless Hydrating Mask

This oil-infused mask is ideal for finer, lighter-colored hair that desperately needs hydration. It has a creamy consistency but it doesn’t feel too heavy and won’t weigh your hair down.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Hair Mask

If you’re into clean beauty products then you’ll love this vegan mask. Some of its ingredients include rosehip oil, algae extract, and B vitamins, which add antioxidants and healing benefits to overly heat-styled hair. If you have any type of heat damage, color damage, or split ends, this mask will help.

Davines Renaissance Circle Repairing Hair Mask

If improving your hair texture is at the top of your wish list, try this repairing mask. A little bit of the product goes a long way, so this one packet should last you several uses. Specifically made for brittle, damaged hair, expect your locks to be way softer after you rinse the mask out.

Amika Flash Instant Shine Hair Gloss Mask

Best for fine to medium hair, this gloss mask offers up speedy quick results. It’s formulated with amino acids to smooth the hair cuticle, boost elasticity, and keep color vibrant—all in just a minute.

Kérastase Nutritive Hair Mask

While offering up detangling and softening benefits, this hair mask also enhances shine. It works well on all hair types, but its heavy consistency makes it best for those with thicker strands.

Bumble and Bumble Bond-Building Treatment

If you find yourself at the salon frequently, start incorporating this bond-building treatment into your routine. Processed, colored hair can really take a hit, but this mask will help build new bonds to strengthen it. It penetrates deep to help reverse the look of past heat and chemical damage, all while taming frizz.

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