9 Must-Have Hair Masks for Every Hair Type and Concern

BY Janeca Racho · July 13, 2018

model with hair turban I Dermstore Blog

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.

1. Dry or Dull Hair

Some of the most common hair problems you encounter—like frizz, dullness and breakage—start with dry hair, so in choosing a hair mask, keep an eye out for nourishing ingredients—like oils, butters and antioxidants. These will help your hair retain moisture, prevent further damage and protect from environmental stressors.

Try: R+Co PALM SPRINGS Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask 

Dry and dull hair will be a thing of the past with this pre-shampoo treatment mask. Enriched with essential oils, shea butter and rice and botanical extracts, it strengthens and deeply conditions dry and damaged hair, delivers intense hydration and provides antioxidant protection. Apply to dry hair for 10 minutes or use a traditional hair mask after shampooing.

2. Chemically Treated or Damaged Hair

That mermaid hair, beachy waves and sleek bun may be raking up likes and heart emojis on Instagram, but we all know that exposure to chemicals and constant use of heat and styling tools can be a nightmare for your hair. To keep your tresses and curls shiny and healthy, go for a deep-conditioning, hair-restoring mask that’s specifically formulated to reverse the damage of chemical treatments and over-styling.

Try: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

Infused with hair-loving ingredients like biotin, keratin and rosehip and argan oils, this deep-conditioning mask brings your hair back to life by thoroughly hydrating and nourishing each hair strand. It promotes healthy, frizz-free growth, protects hair from environmental aggressors and leaves your hair shinier and breakage-free. Proof? An independent study showed an 81 percent reduction in hair breakage in just three treatments!

3. Weak, Brittle Hair

It’s one thing to be born with fine hair, but having weak and brittle tresses is another story. Often, this is a sure sign that your mane is in poor health. Not only will your hair be prone to breaking even at the lightest brushing, it can also appear dry and frizzy. To address this, you may want to lay off the blow dryers and ironing tools and keep a close eye on the ingredients in your hair products. Instead, look for a hair treatment that will provide your locks with much-needed moisture while strengthening your strands.

Try: Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Intense Moisture Masque

Say goodbye to breakage and hair fall with this intensive repair hair mask that’s specifically formulated to restore dry, frizzy and brittle hair. Featuring kendi oil, glycerin and bamboo and algae extracts, it restores health and manageability to tired and damaged tresses by delivering intense hydration and fortifying each hair strand.

4. Color-Treated Hair

Changing up your color is a great way to amp up your hair game, but it also comes with a number of concerns. Aside from constantly requiring maintenance, there’s also brassiness, breakage and dullness to worry about. To address this, Michel says, “Look for masks that specifically say they’re tailored to color-treated hair.” Aside from helping to prolong the life and vibrancy of your color, these specially formulated masks also aid in replenishing the moisture your hair lost during the treatment process, she adds.

Try: Julien Farel Haircare Vitamin Restore

This hair-restoring treatment reverses the side effects of chemicals and color treatments to your scalp and hair shaft with its rich conditioning formula. Infused with collagen-boosting plant stem cells and hydrating hyaluronic acid, it leaves your tresses softer and fuller while preserving its color.

5. Fine Hair

Using hair products that are too dense can quickly make fine hair greasy, so Michel says, “When masking fine hair, you want something that is lightweight. Any added product or moisture can easily weigh it down.” In fact, she recommends limiting the use of hair masks if you have finer strands “unless your hair is also chemically treated or has heat damage.”

Try: Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs de  Jasmin Nourishing Mask

This nourishing mask will keep your hair fine and dandy for days on end. Infused with jasmine flower water, palm and jojoba oils, this moisture-boosting emollient restores softness and shine, strengthens strands and controls damage and frizz. Best of all, its formula remains light enough to deliver its promised benefits without weighing down fine hair.

6. Coarse Hair

Naturally, coarse hair typically requires an extra dose of TLC to keep the scalp and strands soft and smooth, prevent dryness and control frizz. “Look for a mask that packs plenty of moisture! Anything with natural oils will help smooth coarse hair,” notes Michel.

Try: Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask 

Featuring rahua and sunflower seed oils, quinoa and panthenol, this deeply hydrating, professional-strength hair mask replenishes moisture, soothes the scalp and strengthens your locks while reducing tangles and frizz. Extra points for its calming aroma courtesy of eucalyptus and lavender extracts.

7. Curly Hair

Without proper care, curly hair can feel flat and dry, so hydration is key to maintain its health, volume and shine. Reach for hair masks with nourishing oils to improve the body and texture of your curls. “The extra moisture will also minimize frizz,” adds Michel.

Try: DevaCurl Heaven In Hair

This intensive moisture treatment gets five-star reviews from the curly-haired gals who have experienced its hydrating powers. Enriched with cocoa and murumuru-seed butter, it conditions and rejuvenates hair to eliminate tangles and frizz, leaving you with lustrous, healthy-looking locks. It also works great for those with processed or color-treated hair.

8. Oily Hair

Don’t mistake grease for gloss. Too much oil in your mane is typically caused by a problematic scalp and using the wrong products can only make things worse. “If you have oily hair, look for the words ‘dandruff’ or ‘cleansing.’ These types of masks are the best for oily hair,” says Michel. It’s also important to avoid products with alcohol in it as this can be too drying on your scalp, she adds. It can trigger your sebaceous glands to produce more grease to make up for the stripped moisture.

Try: SHOW Beauty Sublime Repair Treatment Mask

This mask blends tried-and-tested shea butter with luxurious ingredients like caviar and white truffle to deeply nourish each follicle from root to tip. It’s also infused with quinoa proteins that target and repair hair and scalp concerns. It restores and conditions locks, improves strength and manageability and maintains your hair’s health.

8. Normal Hair

Having normal hair means you have “free range when it comes to the types of masks you can use,” says Michel. Instead of considering texture, she suggests, “Think about how you style your hair instead. If you like to wear it straight, get something smoothing. If you like it curly, just make sure the mask won’t weigh down your curls too much.”

Try: Sachajuan Hair Repair

Trying on different hairstyles and trends is easy when you have normal, drama-free hair. Unfortunately, all that time spent at the mercy of heat and tools can also be punishing for your tresses. This restorative treatment is infused with wheat proteins, algae-derived extracts and Sachajuan’s own Ocean Silk Technology. It strengthens your hair shaft, tames frizz and repairs damage caused by over-styling and environmental stressors.

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for ... Read More >

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