If your hair is colored or subjected to heated styling tools regularly, swap out your after-shampoo conditioner for a hair mask to give those parched locks a more intensive fix. Bleaching and processing strips hair of its natural oils. Masks help to repair some of the damage by restoring the hair shaft. Make your treatment is a sheet hair mask and you’ll be on the cutting edge of advanced beauty care. Sheet hair masks are nutrient-infused caps that look like paper socks. Pull one on, tuck your hair underneath and massage in conditioning nutrients for a quick fix while you shower.
“I don’t see the point of conditioners when there’s a product available that’s better and stronger,” says Sophia Hilton, founder of Not Another Salon. “Conditioners can only nourish so much, whereas hair masks typically have smaller particles, so the product absorbs better, and your hair stays conditioned for longer.”
Hilton suggests using a mask every time you shampoo, and recommends Pureology’s Superfood Mask, which is specially formulated for colored hair. She also likes L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Vitamino Colour Masque.
Hair masks are particularly useful during winter, when less humidity outside and heated air inside leave strands dry and often dehydrated from the cold.
Switching from after-shampoo conditioner to masks is especially beneficial for hair that is prone to dehydration, such as Afro and mixed hair types. Loretta de Feo, founder of haircare brand Dizziak, says she developed her brand’s mask after finding that conditioners did nothing for her half Nigerian, half Italian hair. She created the Dizziak Deep Conditioner/Mask to nourish and strengthen strands from the inside out. The formula is a blend of scalp-friendly oils such as coconut, argan, babassu and inca inchi.
If you’re ready for a sheet hair mask, try Redken’s All Soft Mega Sheet Hair Mask for salon-quality gloss. It’s designed to preserve your color while softening your locks. The formula locks in moisture with a blend of ingredients such as argan kernel oil, camellia seed oil, aloe vera and glycerin.
The Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System includes a cap lined with argan oil beads to provide an extra layer of deeply hydrating treatment. Apply a deep-conditioning mask and then cover your hair with the cap. Kocostar’s Home Salon Hair Pack and Long Hair Pack offer an affordable option. The brand from South Korea is available on ASOS.
Intensive hair masks are not for everyone, and they can be far too heavy for fine hair. If your fine locks never see a curling iron or blow dryer, stick with conditioner. However, even fine hair that’s in very poor condition can benefit from a mask, stylists say.