Top Ten

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

Woman applying hair mask

Sometimes achieving your hair goals means going beyond your usual wash, shampoo and condition routine. If you want to restore limp locks to their lustrous glory, trust hair masks to get the job done.

What Do Hair Masks Do for Your Hair?

A hair mask is a moisture powerhouse that nourishes and rejuvenates your hair with restorative and intensely hydrating ingredients like shea butter, green teahoney 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, but the benefits don’t stop at hydration alone. Aside from sealing in moisture, they also address common problems of dry and damaged hair like split ends, brittleness and frizz. Masks can also help remedy the effects of color treatments that cause hair to look lifeless, lose luster and break easily.

How Do You Use a Hair Mask?

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, 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 and scalp. Allow the formula to absorb for a few minutes, and rinse. You can skip conditioner, as the mask should provide all the hydration your hair needs.

The Best Hair Mask for You

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. 1. Normal Hair
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    1. Normal Hair

    Having “normal” hair means your hair is generally healthy and neither too oily nor overly dry. This hair type can still benefit from using a mask—especially at times when hair looks dull or lifeless—and you have free range when it comes to the types of masks you can use. Instead of considering texture, think about how you style your hair. 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: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Weightless Mask
    Trying on different hairstyles and trends is easy when you have drama-free hair. Unfortunately, all that time spent at the mercy of heat and tools can also be punishing for your strands. This lightweight, silicone-free treatment is infused with murumuru butter, amino acids and Living Proof’s own patented Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA). It intensely hydrates to boost shine and manageability without weighing hair down.

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  2. 2. Dry or Dull Hair
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    2. 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 Television Perfect Hair Masque
    Dry and dull hair will be a thing of the past with this moisture-boosting mask. Enriched with coconut oil, murumuru butter and snow mushroom extract, it deeply conditions dry hair, delivers intense hydration and helps boost manageability and elasticity. After shampooing, apply to wet hair for 2-5 minutes and rinse.

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  3. 3. Chemically Treated or Damaged Hair
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    3. Chemically Treated or Damaged Hair

    That mermaid hair, beachy waves and sleek bun may be racking up likes and heart emojis on Instagram, but we all know that exposure to chemicals and constant use of styling tools can be a nightmare for your hair. To keep your hair shiny and healthy, go for a deep-conditioning 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 restorative mask brings your hair back to life by thoroughly hydrating and nourishing each 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!

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  4. 4. Weak, Brittle Hair
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    4. Weak, Brittle Hair

    It’s one thing to be born with fine hair, but having weak and brittle hair 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 hot tools and keep a close eye on the ingredients in your hair products. Look for a treatment that will provide your hair with much-needed moisture while strengthening your strands.
    Try: VIRTUE® Restorative Treatment Mask
    Say goodbye to damage with this rehabilitating mask that helps hair regain its shine, moisture and resiliency. Its hero ingredient, Alpha Keratin 60ku®—a first-of-its-kind reparative protein derived from ethically sourced human hair—binds directly to damaged areas of the hair to fill in cracks, fortifying each strand.

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  5. 5. Color-Treated Hair
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    5. Color-Treated Hair

    Changing up your color is a great way to amp up your hair game, but it also comes with some drawbacks. Aside from constantly requiring maintenance, there’s also brassiness, breakage and dullness to worry about. To address this, look for masks that specifically say they’re tailored for 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: Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color
    This color-protecting treatment helps strengthen hair damaged by processing with its keratin- and ceramide-packed formula. UV filters help defend against fading, while next-generation bio-polymers tame frizz.

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  6. 6. Fine Hair
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    6. Fine Hair

    Using hair products that are too dense can quickly make fine hair greasy, so you’ll want a formula that is lightweight. Any added moisture can easily weigh fine hair down, so consider limiting the use of hair masks if you have finer strands unless your hair is also chemically treated or has heat damage.
    Try: dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Mask
    Infused with pH rebalancing apple cider vinegar, strengthening vitamin B3 and color-protecting sunflower seed extract, this moisture-boosting formula restores hair’s elasticity and luster. Best of all, its formula remains light enough to deliver its promised benefits without weighing down fine hair.

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  7. 7. Coarse Hair
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    7. 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.

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  8. 8. Curly Hair
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    8. 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 Melt Into Moisture™ Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask
    This intensive moisture treatment gets five-star reviews from the curly-haired gals who have experienced its hydrating powers. Enriched with sweet almond oil and matcha green tea butter, it nourishes hair and boosts shine, leaving you with lustrous, healthy-looking curls.

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Beauty Reporter

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 a good pair of hiking shoes and skip hotels to camp under the stars. She loves horror movies, googling ingredients in her beauty products and backpacking trips with her toddler. Her newfound obsession: nude lipstick.