As women, we put our hair through a lot. From chemical processes, like bleaching and keratin straightening, to the daily heat exposure that comes with our love of blowdryers and curling irons, our hair habits can have a big impact on health of our locks. If your hair is feeling — and looking — worse for the wear, it may be time to treat yourself to the best hair mask for your strands.
What is a hair mask?
Like a good face mask does for the skin, deep-conditioning hair masks are meant to refresh, rejuvenate, and fortify your mane. These masks go far beyond what your favorite conditioners can do, as they’re much richer. Ideal for those with dry, damaged, and color-treated strands, these products are designed to be intensely hydrating, using a rich blend of oils, moisturizers, and strengthening aids — like keratin and collagen — to pamper and transform your coif.
How to Use a Hair Mask
Here are six steps on how to properly use a hair mask to reap the most benefits for your tresses.
Wash your hair. Hair masks are meant to nourish the hair, but they can’t properly do that if they have to break through a layer of dirt and grime. In general, hair masks should be used after your shampoo and in place of your conditioner, so always start the process with a clean head of damp hair.
Apply liberally and cautiously. The biggest mistake people make with hair masks is how much they apply and where they apply it. You should always start with less (most masks recommend starting with a dollop-sized amount) and add more if you notice your hair soaking up the product, so you don’t end up weighing your strands down. As for where you should be applying, stay away from your roots and focus on your ends — this is where most of the damage accumulates.
Comb the mask through your hair. While you want to concentrate a hair mask from mid-shaft to ends when applying, you still want to make sure it treats your whole head. This is where your trusty comb comes in. To properly saturate your hair and scalp, comb your hair from top to bottom while you’re still in the shower to evenly distribute the product. By combing it into the area around the roots instead of slathering it on directly, you’ll apply the perfect amount for avoiding any possible greasiness that might otherwise occur.
Pin it and wait. Once you’ve got the mask on, it’s time to kick back. Clip your hair away from your face and let the product work its magic. Follow your mask’s directions and leave it on for the recommended amount of time (usually five to 15 minutes).
Rinse, protect, and style. Once the time is up, it’s time to rinse out your mask. From there, you can style as usual. Be sure to apply a heat protectant, like a great serum, to the hair before styling, however, especially if hot tools are involved.
Stick to a weekly regimen. Like skincare and exercise, routine use is what makes a deep conditioning hair mask effective, especially if your hair is damaged or exposed to dry, harsh weather. Thankfully, because these masks are so highly-concentrated, a once a week application will do.
Best Hair Masks
An essential part of every hair care routine, hair masks help give your hair the love it deserves. Keep scrolling to shop Woman’s World’s picks for the best deep conditioning hair masks that will transform your hair today.
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Best Hair Mask for Damaged Hair
Function of Beauty
Where to buy: $19, Function of Beauty
It's important to approach your mask with your needs in mind, and luckily, Function of Beauty's newly-launched hair mask was designed specifically for that purpose. Like its iconic shampoo and conditioner, this hair mask can be customized to your hair type and preferences. While it will certainly treat dry, damaged hair —aka the number one reason people turn to hair masks— this mask is also tailored to work with your frizz or color damage based on the included survey you'll take to help the company find the perfect mix of ingredients for you.
Best Hair Mask for Dry Hair
Amika Soulfood Nourishing Mask
Where to buy: $28, Sephora
If your strands are straw-like and parched, reach for this Amika Soulfood nourishing mask. Using a rich blend of ingredients like jojoba oil, vitamin C, panthenol (a derivative of vitamin B5 that helps hair retain its moisture), and sea buckthorn berry, this luxurious mask douses hair in hydration from top to bottom. The result? Long-lasting softness, shine, and manageability.
Best Hair Mask for Hair Growth
Amplixin Hydrating Hair Masque
Where to buy: $25.50, Amazon
While we may not like to talk about it, hair loss is a problem many women face. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to combat it. For a hair mask that not only nourishes the hair you already have, but promotes the growth of new hair, turn to Amplixin. This deep conditioner hydrates hair with a rich blend of coconut and argan oils while its innovative Ampligro Complex, a unique combination of clinically-studied active ingredients, and works to block the production of dihydrotestosterone (aka the hair loss hormone), promoting healthy, shiny growth.
Best Hair Mask for Fine Hair
OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Hair Mask
Where to buy: $7.59, Amazon
For women with fine hair, the idea of a heavy hair mask may sound daunting. Don't let your fear of flat hair keep you from your best hair days! Go with a lightweight pick, like OGX's Argan Oil of Morroco mask. Featuring a blend of argan oil and silk-proteins that will repair even the most severely dry and damaged of strands, this feathery find leaves hair nourished — never weighed down.
One happy customer shared, "This stuff is amazing! I have pretty fine hair, and this leaves hair soft without making it look or feel greasy!"
Best Hair Mask for Curly Hair
Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask
Where to buy: $31.99, Amazon
A leader in curly hair care, Carol's Daughter is beloved for its five-star products. Whether your curls are coiled, kinky, or loose, your spirals will come out stronger, hydrated, and well-defined after using this Monoi hair mask. This mask harnesses the moisturizing power of monoi oil — pure coconut oil blended with Tahitian gardenia extract — plus a healthy dose of hydrating bamboo water and fortifying vitamin B5 for a formula that will transform weakened ringlets.
Best Hair Mask for Natural Hair
Sauce Beauty Deep Moisture Mask
Where to buy: $9.99, Amazon
Ladies going au naturale are well aware of the need for a good deep conditioning mask. With kinky, curly hair being some of the most porous, it's constantly in need of hydration, which can be found in abundance with Sauce Beauty's's Deep Moisture mask. Infusing the power of whipped avocado, jarrah honey, argan oil, and monoi oil, this green dream is loaded with proteins, essential fatty acids, and vitamins for a nutrient-packed boost.
Wrote one reviewer: "I've tried so many products to gain and maintain moisture for my curls, and I've wasted so much money trying multiple products for the result I got from this one product."
Best Hair Mask for Frizzy Hair
Potion 10 It's a 10 Miracle Repair Hair Mask
Where to buy: $38.99, ULTA
No matter what time of year it is, frizzy-hair knows how to spoil the party. Keep your flyways tame with Potion 10's It's a 10 miracle repair hair mask. Thick, rich, and creamy, it's infused with proteins, conditioners, and softeners that will penetrate deeply into hair to repair breakage, smoothing cuticles and strengthening follicles for the frizz-free locks of your dreams.
Best Hair Mask for Dry Scalp
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Honey Moisture Mask
Where to buy: $36, Sephora
A limited-edition, super-hydrating spin on Briogeo's top-selling mask, this Don't Despair, Repair Honey moisture mask is the relief your dry, itchy scalp has been begging for. Made with a mix of moisturizing organic honey, frizz-fighting rosehip oil, and antioxidant-rich algae extract, this treatment restores essential hydration and natural vibrancy to dry, brittle hair, while simultaneously soothing the scalp and protecting it from free radical damage.
Best Hair Mask for Bleached Hair
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Where to buy: $28, Sephora
Anyone who has ever bleached their hair knows the toll it can take on their mane and the necessity of a good hair mask to restore it to optimal health. A dream for over-processed hair, Olaplex's No. 5 Bond Maintenance conditioner from Olaplex is here to revive your blonde tresses. A staple in salons the world over, this highly-moisturizing mask repairs damaged hair, split ends, and frizz by re-linking broken bonds, leaving hair more silky and stronger than ever.
Best Hair Mask for Colored Hair
Pureology Colour Fanatic Instant Deep Conditioning Mask
Where to buy: $45, ULTA
You spent all that time and money getting your hair to the shade of your dreams, so make sure it stays looking as great as it did when you left the salon with Pureology's Colour Fanatic deep conditioning mask. One of the most potent masks on this list, it boasts 21 (yes, you read that number correctly!) restoring, protecting, and perfecting benefits for locks aside from color protection, including frizz-reduction and heat and UV protection, for some of the best hair of your life.