Beach season is well underway and that means getting serious on your quest for Instagram-worthy ‘dos and silky curls and tresses. Achieving your summer hair goals means going beyond your usual wash, shampoo and condition routine—especially when you consider the constant beating your mane suffers from the scorching heat and the prolonged exposure to pool chemicals and salt water. If you want to restore your limp locks to its lustrous glory, trust hair masks to get the job done.
Benefits of Using a Hair Mask
A hair mask is a moisture powerhouse that nourishes and rejuvenates your hair with restorative and intensely hydrating ingredients like shea butter, green tea, honey and natural oils extracted from coconut, argan and jojoba, to name a few. Unlike conditioners, hair masks are usually left on your hair for a longer period of time—usually from three to 15 minutes—to allow their nutrients to sink deeper into the roots, scalp and hair strands.
“Hair masks are a great way to moisturize dry scalp and hair,” says Robyn Michel, a stylist at Supercuts in Providence, Rhode Island. But the benefits of hair masks don’t stop at hydration alone. Aside from sealing in moisture into your tresses, they also address common problems of dry and damaged hair like split ends, brittle strands and frizz.
The same is true for those with color-treated hair. According to Michel, hair masks help remedy the effects of some chemicals and dyes that cause hair to look lifeless, lose luster and break easily.
How to Use for Best Results
To make sure you only wake up to good hair days, take time to apply a hair mask in the shower at least once a week, says Michel, or as needed in times of hair emergencies (like damage caused by sun exposure, over styling or the wrong hair products). After shampooing, squeeze all excess water out and gently massage the mask into your hair. Throw a shower cap over it and allow the formula to sit according to the amount of time it needs to be fully absorbed.
While masks are key to preventing and repairing hair damage, Michel says you can’t rely on these products alone if you want to keep your locks healthy. “I always tell my clients that one of the biggest keys for healthy hair is limiting heat styling. Heat can really damage hair. While masking is great for helping repair some of that damage, it can’t undo all of it,” explains Michel. “If you are using heat tools like a straightener or a curling iron, make sure you prevent damage by using heat-protection products. The best way to reduce hair damage is to stop it from starting in the first place!” she explains.
Whether you’re looking for a solution that will put an end to all your hair drama or just want to maintain your hair’s bounce and shine, there’s a mask just waiting to be discovered. Here are our top picks for best hair masks according to your hair type.