No matter the length, texture, or style of our hair, we’re always on the hunt for ways to make every last strand 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 yours back into tip-top shape.
Not to be confused with your daily conditioner, a hair mask (or masque, if you prefer) 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, expert colorist 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 all textures and styles, from curly to oily to fine. So, until we can crack the code on how to have perfect hair year-round, these secret weapons are the next best things.