We all want to leave the house each morning looking like we’ve just left the salon. You know the feeling—the slow-motion close-up highlighting our perfectly shiny, healthy hair as we toss it casually over our shoulders.
No? Is that just us?
Either way, split ends and frizz can put a damper on our hair fantasies—but with the help of restorative treatments like hair masks, we can get pretty close.
Want to learn how to get healthy hair? Hair masks can add a beneficial boost to any healthy haircare routine. With a hair treatment so lush, you might wonder if it can replace your daily conditioner—or if you should relegate them to a once-monthly ritual. In fact, depending on your hair type, you can use a hair mask up to a few times a week to deliver a healthy dose of moisture to your locks.
But that’s just a start—getting the most out of your hair mask means taking a look at the ingredients, your hair type, and more. Let’s dive in.
What Is A Hair Mask?
So, what is a hair mask? Hair masks are deep conditioning treatments that nourish, protect, and revitalize. Nourishing hair masks give your mane a deep conditioning treatment for maximum shine, softness, and manageability.
Similar to how you might use face masks, they’re generally applied to wet hair after initial cleaning. Then, you’ll want to leave the mask for a period of time (often 5 or 10 minutes) to soak in all the beneficial and nourishing ingredients. While using a mask every day might be overkill, using one to replace your regular conditioner here and there can do wonders for your hair you’re prone to extreme dryness and hair damage.
More intensive than a regular conditioner, hair masks differ from a leave-in conditioner because they’re usually rinsed out after doing their job. However, you can find hair masks that double as a leave-in treatment. Importantly, hair masks aren’t one-size-fits-all: you can find hair masks that target any or every hair issue, from dullness and dryness to frizz.
Benefits of Hair Masks
Hair masks can provide transformative results to thirsty locks, bringing strands back to life with a bright, shiny bounce. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should add a hair mask to your healthy hair routine, consider all the ways using a hair mask treatment can enhance the beauty of your hair.
Thanks to their conditioning powers, masks have the potential to:1
- Repair hair damage
- Restore moisture
- Protect from damage
- Reduce hair breakage
- Replenish hair’s protective layer
- Make hair feel and look healthier
While hair masks could help your hair in so many incredible ways, it’s best to restrain yourself from using them every single day. The intense hydration lasts longer than you think, and over-conditioning, when your hair doesn’t need it, could lead to hair build-up, excess oil, and heavy, weighed-down hair.
When in doubt, use the product as recommended by the packaging for best results.
Are Hair Masks Safe?
Hair masks are absolutely safe for regular use as long as you purchase them from companies that conduct rigorous consumer safety testing, like Living Proof. Depending on the type of hair mask and the specific ingredients, you may not want to overuse them. Giving your hair too much love might do more damage than good. It’s also a good idea to check out the ingredients of a hair mask before use in case you have any allergies or sensitivities.
How Often Should I Use A Hair Mask Based On Hair Type?
Your hair type and haircare routine play an important role in the type of hair mask you buy. For instance, some lightweight masks might work well every other day, while heavier treatments are better kept to once a week.
That said, your hair type is equally important when deciding how to use a hair mask and how often to use one.
While you can use your hair mask’s instructions as a general guideline, being familiar with your hair type and its needs will help determine how often to use a hair mask. Whether you have sleek, straight hair or buoyant curls, here are our recommendations for how often you should use a hair mask according to your hair type.
Dry Hair: 2 to 3 Times Per Week
If you’re lacking in natural oils and have dry hair, you’ll benefit from the fortifying moisture and nourishment of a hair mask multiple times per week. Look for a mask with intense hydration that will seal in moisture and give your dry hair new life.
Whether you have curly or straight hair, you may not wash your hair every day. But when the time comes to wash your hair (whether that’s one, two, or three times a week), you could consider using a hair mask as a replacement for your conditioner.
Damaged Hair: 2 to 3 Times Per Week
Has your hair been run through the flat iron one too many times? Hair masks are just the thing to help you restore damaged hair. For hair that needs support, you might want to treat your hair to a moisturizing mask a few times a week to get it back on track.
A deep conditioning hair mask can moisturize and rejuvenate your hair’s brittle strands or split ends, helping you achieve strong, shiny, and restored locks. Some hair masks can penetrate and seal the hair shaft to lock in needed hydration and protect it from future damage.1
Fine or Oily Hair: Once a Week (Or Every Other Week)
If you already have plenty of natural oils permeating your scalp or your strands are fine and feathery, keep hair mask usage to about once a week, or even less. This schedule will help you avoid weighing down your hair with too much moisture-rich hydration or throwing off the balance of your natural oils by adding unnecessary moisture. It’s the Goldilocks effect—you want just the right amount to strengthen and nourish without overpowering your natural hair structure.
Using a Hair Mask with Other Products
As you curate a cocktail of hair masks perfect for your hair type, you might pause and wonder—can you use a hair mask alongside other hair products? You’ll be glad to know the answer is yes—but, preferably, not all at the same time. You don’t want to add anything else while your mask is in use to give your strands room for maximum absorption.
Otherwise, it’s easy to layer into your haircare routine:
- Shampoo your hair as usual and rinse until clean.
- Then, use the mask in place of your conditioner.
- Let the mask sit as long as instructed by the packaging.
- If your mask is a leave-in option, like our hair repair treatment product, be sure to wash and condition as normal, then simply comb it through and go about styling your hair as usual.
- If you’re using a rinse-out mask, rinse the mask out completely before you start styling.
Last but not least—marvel at how smooth and moisturized your hair has become.
Which Hair Mask Is Right For Me?
When choosing a hair mask, select a product that best addresses your specific hair concern, whether it be heat damage, dullness, frizz, or you want to give your hair extra protection:
- If you need to minimize frizz, try our
frizz® Intense Moisture Mask
- For dry, brittle, damaged hair, you’ll love the intense transformation of our Living Proof Restore Repair Mask for full restoration
- For hair that needs a little lift with no extreme issues, try the Perfect hair Day™ Weightless Mask
If you’re looking for the highest level of damage control, a combination bond builder and hair mask might be just the thing. Our hair strengthener, Triple Bond Complex, is a leave-in hair mask treatment clinically proven to rebuild hair structure that also strengthens and provides heat protection.
Unmask Your Hair’s Full Potential With Living Proof
At Living Proof, our science-based haircare solutions mean we’re constantly pursuing the newest innovations, paving the way for the future of hair repair. Combining the knowledge of biotech scientists and haircare specialists, we’ve created products with proven performance that improve and evolve with each new discovery.
When you’re ready to find science-backed solutions for your toughest hair needs, take our hair quiz and browse our hair products online, which are specially formulated to target, treat, and protect so you can put your best hair forward with confidence.
- International Journal Of Trichology. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/
- FASEB. Topical and nutricosmetic products for healthy hair and dermal antiaging using “dual‐acting” (2 for 1) plant‐based peptides, hormones, and cannabinoids. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8332470/
- Scientific American. Hair Products Popular with Black Women May Contain Harmful Chemicals. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hair-products-popular-with-black-women-may-contain-harmful-chemicals/