I'll be the first to admit that I was never really good at taking care of my hair. I have a set routine for my skincare, but when it comes to my hair, it's pretty bare bones. Granted, I am pretty low-maintenance with my hair overall. I don't dye my hair, I rarely use hot tools, and most days, I air-dry it. So the extent of my hair maintenance up until now has been shampoo and conditioner. End of story.
Recently though, I've been experimenting with new-to-me products to take care of my hair in between washes or as an extra treat for my hair when it's feeling dry or frizzy. I've also been using scalp treatments to deal with the weird scalp issues I've been getting in quarantine. And I've been testing out new shampoos and conditioners. So I've had quite the hair journey in the past couple of months.
One thing that I've been loving is a good hair mask. I can't believe I've never treated my hair to one of these before! The ones I've tried have made my hair feel silky soft and a little bit stronger, which comes in handy, especially right now as I can't get my hair cut as often as I would like in these quarantine times and am battling some gnarly split ends.
The best thing about masks is that there's pretty much one for every type of hair concern. Got dry, damaged hair? Try a deep-conditioning one. Dealing with frizz? There's a mask for that. Want something that will also treat your scalp? You got it.
Ready to buy a new mask? Take a look at some of the best hair masks below, broken down by hair concern or type.
For Damaged Hair
1. Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
This highly rated hair mask is formulated to treat damaged hair and strengthen your strands to prevent future damage. Ingredients like rosehip oil control frizz, while algae extract and B vitamins nourish, strengthen, and improve texture.
2. Christophe Robin Regenerating Hair Mask With Prickly Pear Seed Oil
The prickly pear–seed oil in this mask is packed with antioxidants to smooth and soften dry, damaged hair. You'll also notice added shine after using this product. It's safe to use on color-treated hair, too.
Beauty editor Erin Jahns uses Olaplex's No. 3 Hair Perfector regularly to keep her strands healthy. "It's been my saving grace ever since I started bleaching my hair, and I swear it's the reason I only lose about three strands when I carefully comb through my fragile blonde strands," she explains. "That said, it's great for every hair texture and every level of damage. It's one of those products every being with hair on their head needs in their arsenal."
This is another editor-recommended pick that is super nourishing. The product actually has two formulas: a deep-conditioning hair mask and an extender so you can see the effects for up to three washes. Apply to towel-dried hair after shampooing and leave on for three to five minutes.
Give your hair a boost of hydration and shine with this clean mask. It contains papaya extract to moisturize your scalp and prevent any itching. Although it's on the pricier side, Jahns says it's worth it, and you only need a tiny bit for each use. "Although people with non-damaged hair can also benefit from this mask due to its luxe, super-creamy consistency, it's an especially great antidote for damaged hair and might veer a little heavy for those without problem areas," she says.
This mask targets damage while adding moisture and protecting your hair color. Reviewers say it makes their hair so soft, but everyone seems to be divided on the scent. Some say it smells great, while others don't love it. If you're okay with fragrance, this one's definitely worth a try!
7. Ouai Haircare Treatment Mask for Fine and Medium Hair
For seriously dried-out hair with split ends and breakage, Ouai's Treatment Masque can be a big help. The formula contains shea butter, panthenol, and hydrolyzed keratin and protein to hydrate, protect, and add shine. This one is for fine-to-medium hair, but there's also a version for thick hair.
You can use this ultra-nourishing mask daily or weekly to strengthen and condition your hair. It works well on every hair type and is just such a luxe treatment. You'll notice your hair is softer, shinier, and healthier after applying.
Hairstylist and groomer Timothy Aylward recommends this treatment for 4a to 4c curls: "Pattern prides itself on generous portions of texture-specific formulas that are rich and thick, perfect for hair that loves a little extra weight to keep it together, and promote healthy hair growth."
Celebrity hairstylist Matthew Collins gave us this rec, saying, "Humidity and frizz are the biggest nightmares for kinky hair texture. This hair mask won’t weigh down your hair or remove the curl. It will only hydrate and give max control so your coils hug each other for voluptuous coil glory."
Collins also recommended this mask for 3a to 3c curls since it helps the hair stay moisturized. It also balances the hair's natural oil levels. The formula contains argan, vitamin E, cotton-seed, and omega-3 oils.
Associate beauty editor Courtney Higgs recommends this mask from Carol's Daughter: "This mask makes my hair feel soft and manageable. The almond oil, aloe butter, and shea oil make detangling a lot much easier, so I'm causing less stress fallout, and in turn, my hair looks thicker and healthier."
Branded content editor Anneliese Dominguez says this is one of her favorite products for her curly hair. Even though it's pricey, she says it's just that good. "It has plant-based extracts, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that claim to energize the scalp to strengthen damaged hair from the root. My hair immediately felt stronger and shinier after one use," she says.
This leave-in conditioner does so much. It smooths, repairs, nourishes, and moisturizes thanks to ingredients like shea butter, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar. Dominguez says she loves wearing this in her hair for a few hours: "Even my most-dehydrated curls are no match for this mask. It took my dull hair to shiny in just one use. Plus, the peppermint adds an extra-cooling bonus."
Oribe's hair mask is specially formulated to deliver deep moisture to curly hair types. It repairs damage and protects the hair from future breakage. It's infused with coconut oil and shea butter to deal with frizz, enhance shine, and soften.
8. DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask
This conditioning treatment is great because it won't weigh your curls down. Ingredients include matcha butter, sweet almond oil, and beetroot extract to leave your strands super moisturized. After washing your hair, leave it on for three minutes, but you can also leave it on for 15-20 with a plastic cap or overnight for even more moisture.
Use this treatment mask before you shampoo your hair to detoxify your scalp. The menthol and camphor in this product will soothe any irritation or itchiness, and salicylic acid exfoliates any dead skin cells.