What Are Hair Masks? Everything You Need To Know
After spending the best part of my early twenties dying my hair every colour imaginable, it was suffering. The sheer amount of bleaching and colour stripping left my hair dry, brittle and unable to hold a permanent dye. I was embarrassed by hairdressers asking me ‘when did you last bleach your hair?’, even a year later.
I knew there wasn’t a quick fix, other than cutting half my hair off, but it was a real wake-up call to start looking after my hair better. And that’s where I came to learn about hair masks.
Hair masks are the hottest trend right now in hair care, and for good reason! These luscious creams drench our hair in a goodness a conditioner could never do. Women all over are sharing their stories of how it’s changed the hair game.
At Stranded, we have a team of industry professionals dedicated to ensuring we’re not just a hair extension brand, but a knowledge bank of everything you need to know! Your hair truly is your crown and we want to help you keep it shining!
So what do you need to know?
In this blog, we will teach you everything you need to know about hair masks, including their benefits, how to use them and our industry-recommended favourites!
- What are hair masks?
- What are the benefits of hair masks?
- How to use hair masks
- Best ingredients in hair masks
- Best hair masks for different hair needs
What are hair masks?
You’ve probably heard of face masks, right? Pots or packets of creams and clays, all with benefits to match your specific skin type. But the self-care industry doesn’t just stop at the face; these days we have masks for all over our body, including our hair.
Hair masks work in a very similar way to face masks. You choose ingredients that promote benefits to your specific hair needs (in my case, dry and damaged), leave it to soak in your hair and wash it off after a set amount of time.
What are the benefits of hair masks?
There are many benefits to hair masks. However, the benefits you'll receive are purely based on the mask you decide to use, and how it's formulated for your specific hair needs.
According to Healthline, here are some benefits you can expect from most hair masks:
- Shinier, softer hair
- Added moisture
- Reduced hair breakage and damage
- Less frizz
- A healthier scalp
- Stronger hair
- Less environmental and product damage
How to use hair masks
So you’ve decided to give hair masks a go?
Picking the right ingredients may feel like a challenge, but you won’t get any of the mask’s benefits if you don’t know how to apply it correctly!
Pantene inspired us to make a 5-step hair mask routine, so that we can help you make applying hair masks just a little bit simpler.
1. Wash your hair
Make sure your hair is completely clean, by thoroughly shampooing your hair from root to end. If your hair is in a particularly bad condition or feeling especially dry, use your go-to conditioner as usual beforehand.
2. Dampen hair
For better results, use a hair mask on damp hair - not dry or soaking wet! Use a microfiber towel to draw water without risking friction damage. If you don’t have one, a cotton t-shirt is the next best thing.
3. Apply the mask
Focus on your mid-lengths and the ends of your hair, gently massaging the product in a downward, circular motion for 30 seconds to a minute. This will help the product penetrate the cuticle. Start with a coin-sized amount and add more if needed.
4. Leave them to soak
Follow the recommended soak time - usually, 3-5 minutes is more than enough to work its magic. You can leave it on longer; some women like to leave their masks on overnight! Test out different methods to see what works best for you.
5. Rinse thoroughly
After leaving the mask to soak in, you need to carefully rinse it all off, ensuring no residue is left behind. If not fully rinsed out, your hair may feel weighed down or get ‘greasy’ quicker.
Best ingredients in hair masks
I bet you can already feel the benefits of a hair mask, just thinking about it! However, when purchasing, you should be as picky with your hair care as you are with your skincare. The ingredients within a product determine the quality and how close you will get to your intended outcomes.
Read below to see what ingredients we would recommend - inspired by Garnier’s article. All the ingredients recommended below are safe for all hair types, including dry, damaged and/or coloured hair.
A highly nourishing, natural oil that penetrates the cuticle with medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid. These acids can penetrate the hair shaft and increase fat, mineral and vitamin content in your hair.
A natural oil that can help soften, moisturise and protect your hair. Full of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that give shine and hydration to your hair, this oil is the perfect moisturiser.
A natural, butter fat that is filled with beneficial acids such as stearic, oleic and linoleic acid, as well as vitamins, minerals and catechins. The creamy texture hydrates the hair and locks in moisture, without weighing it down.
This is a multifaceted, highly beneficial ingredient to use on your hair. Honey is full of antioxidants, has antibacterial qualities and contains minerals and vitamins that are perfect for your hair. It’s especially great for breakage and split ends.
This natural, fruit (not a vegetable) oil has many healthy components such as Vitamin E, potassium, lecithin, and fatty chlorophyll. It is a light oil that transforms your hair from dull to shiny. The monounsaturated fats create a protective barrier to lock in moisture.
Chock full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, it contains; B vitamins, folate, polyphenols and amino acids. Green tea can improve nutrient delivery, promote new growth and prevent hair loss. Matched with shea butter, green tea can replenish your hair and lock in moisture.
This magical, natural water is full of Omega 3s, Vitamin C, minerals (such as magnesium and potassium), enzymes, and amino acids. It promotes growth, hair strength and hydration for long, soft, silky locks.
TOP TIP: Ask your hairdresser what your hair type is - they might have some in-salon or at-home products to recommend!
Best hair masks for different hair needs
Whilst DIY hair masks can be a fun, self-care night activity, sometimes we just want the convenience of ordering them online. Leave it to the hair care specialists to formulate the best hair masks for your specific hair needs (without messing up your kitchen).
Our in-house industry professionals have ranked their favourite hair masks for your different hair needs:
Best hair mask for dry hair
We recommend Aussie Deep Moisture Hair Mask for dry hair; a vegan and cruelty-free product infused with ‘a blend of Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil and Macadamia Nut Oil’. Purchase here, RRP £9.99.
Best hair mask for curly hair
We recommend Only Curls Deep Hydration Hair Mask for curly hair. This product is suitable for all curl types and contains a ‘blend of Shea Butter, Coconut, Argan and Prickly Pear Oils’ along with ‘Coconut Fruit Extract’, ‘Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein’ and ‘essential minerals’. Purchase here, RRP £24.
Best hair mask for damaged hair
We recommend K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask for damaged hair. K18 is one of the hottest hair care brands on the market right now. This product is ‘packed with a plethora of beneficial ingredients, namely their uniquely patented K18 Peptide™’, combining salon science with at-home hair care. Purchase here, RRP £25 (15ml).
Best hair mask for a salon finish
We recommend Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask for a salon-finish hair mask. Olaplex No.8 has a wide range of beneficial ingredients, including oils and acids which can support damaged hair and has application customisable for different hair types and lengths. Purchase here, RRP £28.
Best hair mask on a budget
We recommend Garnier Ultimate Blends Glowing Lengths Hair Food for a budget hair mask. This product combines a mixture of oils, butters and acids to brighten dull hair and support growth. It can also be used as a conditioner, mask or leave-in conditioner. Purchase here, RRP £7.99.
Ready to go?
You came to this article wanting to learn everything you could about hair masks, before jumping straight into your new hair care journey. You now know how to use hair masks, their benefits, the best ingredients to look for and our industry-professional recommended products.
But what next?
Recognising your own hair needs and type is the first step. If you’re struggling, why not ask your hairdresser for their honest opinion - they may also have some in-salon or at-home products to recommend!
Fancy learning more about hair and hair care? Check out other articles on our website for more educational content, here!