No matter the length, texture, or style of our hair, we’re always on the hunt for ways to make our tresses as lustrous as possible. But between
monthly colorist appointments, an affinity for hot tools, and unpredictable weather conditions, this is no easy task. So to help repair the damage caused by chemicals, heat, Mother Nature, and genetics, there’s nothing better than a hair mask to get your mane back into tip-top shape.
Not to be confused with your daily conditioner, a hair mask (or masque, if you want to sound fancy) is more intense, usually thicker, and should be left on for anywhere from three to 15 minutes — sometimes even overnight if your strands are in need of some extra TLC.
“Daily conditioners just touch the surface of the hair,” says Renee Pelc, color expert and owner of
Gloss Salon in Chicago. “While your regular hydrator lowers the pH of your hair, which makes your hair appear smooth and shiny, it’s not doing anything to actually restructure the hair.”
Of course, one hair mask does not fit all hair types, so we rounded up a splurge and a bargain option for 10 different textures and styles, from curly to oily to fine. So, until we can crack the code on how to have perfect tresses year-round, these secret weapons are the next best things.
Keep clicking to discover the mask that's right for your hair
Curly Hair: Splurge This mask eliminates frizz and hydrates curls for soft, happy hair. It might be pricey, but it lasts forever because you only need a small amount each time. Kérastase Discipline Maskeratine, $65, available at Kérastase.
Photo: Via Carol's Daughter.
Curly Hair: Bargain This oil- and butter-rich formula is so luscious, we kind of want to slather it all over our bodies. But, we’ve found that it really works wonders for taming unruly manes that are subjected to occasional — or regular — frizz and breakage.
Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage and Anti-Frizz Restoring Hair Mask,
Long Hair: Splurge Rich moisturizing masks can be a bit too heavy for long hair that’s on the finer side — and that’s where this weightless gel comes in. Formulated without oils, and with a generous dose of amino acids, you’ll get shiny, healthy hair that feels light and bouncy. Philip B Katira Hair Masque, $40, available at Nordstrom.
Photo: Via L'Oréal.
Long Hair: Bargain A drugstore favorite, this mask claims to repair a year’s worth of damage in one use. Ceramides work to restore split ends, weak and rough cuticles, and thirsty tresses in need of a serious overhaul.
Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm,
Photo: Via Drybar.
Short Hair: Splurge Drybar, the brand that brings you killer blowouts on demand, makes a lightweight mask that’s perfect for gals with short locks, too. Moringa seed oil provides hydration without heaviness, while protein and yuzu oil add resiliency and shine that turns heads.
Mudslide Nourishing Hair Mask,
Mudslide Nourishing Hair Mask,
Photo: Via It'a A 10.
Short Hair: Bargain The name of this ingredient-packed magic mask says it all, working to transform your hair (you guessed it) 10 different ways. But, even though it's overloaded with benefits, this formula won’t weigh down your 'do.
It's a 10
Miracle Hair Mask,
Color-Treated: Splurge The container alone could tell you this product is fancy, but it’s what’s inside that really counts. The wild mango butter, edelweiss flower extract, and keratin-packed formula keeps color-treated hair healthy and soft — even after your third touch-up this season. Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color, $63, available at Amazon.
Photo: Via Fekkai.
Color-Treated: Bargain Used at the famed Fekkai salons across the country, this luxe-for-less mask strengthens, repairs, and protects color-treated locks with pure grapeseed oil. Extra points for the dreamy rose fragrance.
Technician Color Care Luxe Color Mask,
Photo: VIa Davines.
Straight Hair: Splurge This mask (or pak) means serious business, people: Among restructuring ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin, this straight-hair savior also contains grape phytoceuticals, which are loaded with antioxidants — a must for city gals barraged daily by urban pollution.
Hair Building Pak,
Straight Hair: Bargain This formula is, technically, meant to be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, but it's also great as deep conditioner as well. It's full of hydrating avocado, olive, and almond oils, which means it always leaves our tresses feeling soft and looking shiny. Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, $9, available at Burt's Bees.
Dry Hair: Splurge The term 'intensive care' isn’t usually seen in the context of hair, but that’s exactly what this powerful mask promises: a reparative, rejuvenating experience that leaves dry, tired, compromised hair silky and transformed after a single use. Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil, $71, available at Christophe Robin.
Dry Hair: Bargain If you haven’t picked up Aussie’s products since you were in college, then it’s time to revisit the purple kangaroo. In just three minutes, this deep-conditioning treatment hydrates dry and damaged 'dos with good old-fashioned aloe and jojoba seed oil. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Crème Treatment, $2.50, available at Target.
Damaged/Sensitized: Splurge Individual deep conditioning packets mean you can take this mask wherever, whenever. Want to treat your hair before a sweat-inducing SoulCycle class? Just grab one and go. By the time you're done sweating, your hair will be fully revived.
Photo: Via Garnier.
Damaged/Sensitized: Bargain This buttery hair mask smells so good, it may as well be a body butter. Yummy scent aside, ingredients like sugar-cane extract, coconut oil, hydrolyzed soy protein, and lemon-peel extract help repair what you destroyed at the salon. There’s no reason to stop booking those appointments as long as there’s a mask like this around.
Fructis Damage Eraser Strength Reconstructing Butter,
Photo: Via Alterna.
Thick Hair: Splurge You get what you pay for with this miracle worker. Alterna’s proprietary Enzymetherapy delivery system literally helps to pump up the formation of keratin in your thick head of hair. Add frankincense and French Champagne-quality grapeseed oil to the mix and this product is pure luxury.
Thick Hair: Bargain We know, hearing the word "butter" combined with build-up on thick hair doesn't sound like a magical duo, but it actually is. Although it's deeply hydrating, the hero use is to buff away product buildup at the root for a deep clean on even your most product-heavy hair day. Not Your Mother's Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom Nutrient Rich Butter Masque, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Fine Hair: Splurge This lightweight mask is made with rose petals, lavender stem, and beta-carotene which helps moisturize and strengthen strands without weighing them down. Aesop Rose Hair & Scalp Moisturizing Masque, $99, available at Need Supply.
Photo: Via Wella.
Fine Hair: Bargain Your hair is left silky sans the grease and is enriched with diamond dust to give it superior shine. Yes, this is our bargain suggestion.
Brilliance Treatment for Fine To Normal Colored Hair,
Photo: Via Carita.
Oily Hair: Splurge If you’re familiar with the House of Carita, then you already know its products are worth the splurge — and this mask is no exception. Not only does it help to remove excess dirt and grime from product buildup, but it also works to repair and protect your hair, resulting in touch-worthy, silky strands.
Haute Beaute Cheveu Purifying Mask,
Oily Hair: Bargain The keyword here is lightweight — anything too heavy will only make oily hair even oilier. This classic formula is the perfect balance between hydrating and weightless — and in this single-serving packet, it’s easier to use (and less expensive) than ever. Nexxus Humectress Moisture Masque, $3.99, available at Ulta.
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