Your hair is a huge part of your identity, which is why you’re probably shelling out a pretty penny on a myriad of hair products, from shampoos and conditioners to serums and sprays. But if you’re one of many individuals battling dry, brittle strands, there’s one haircare product that's a cut above the rest, and that’s a deep conditioning mask.
Unlike a regular conditioner, a deep conditioning mask is formulated to penetrate deeper into the hair strands, providing more moisture and nourishment than a standard conditioner, notes Andrew Fitzsimons, a celebrity hairstylist whose client list includes the Kardashians. “Typically, deep conditioning masks are formulated with super nourishing ingredients like butters, oils, softeners and repairative ingredients, bringing optimum health back into your hair,” he says.
On top of potential lifestyle changes, a hair mask is an essential treatment for someone struggling with brittle strands, notes Kallie Henskens, a hairstylist at Mirror Mirror in Austin, Texas. “Brittle hair can easily break off and, if people don’t treat the problem, it will most definitely persist,” she says. “It’s also a smart idea to consider the lifestyle habits that can be contributing to dry, lackluster and weak hair, including hormonal imbalances, poor diet, low water intake, overuse of hot tools, environmental stress (i.e. pollution and sun damage) and over-processing or over-washing your hair and scalp.”
When you work to minimize these bad hair habits and use a deep conditioning treatment on the regular, your hair will be in significantly better shape (and more manageable for styling, too). Here are a few top-rated hair masks, including tips from notable hair pros. These products should bring any lackluster locks back to life.
$30 at Amazon
This is hairstylist and founder of Megan Graham Beauty, Megan Graham’s favorite mask for weakened and breaking hair. “As a corrective hair colorist, my clients often have extremely compromised hair by the time they reach me, and this mask works wonders on their hair,” she says. It’s formulated for over-processed hair and works by rebuilding the damaged hair fibers and preventing further splitting of the ends. In addition to ceramides, known to enhance shine and promote elasticity, this mask contains resurrection plant sap, which helps smooth and hydrate.
$36 at Amazon
If you have curly hair and are inneed of some extra TLC, Henskens says this curl mask is an excellent choice. “LOVE is an incredible treatment for curly hair that craves moisture,” she says. “It contains vitamins B and E, as well as fatty acids to restore hydration and create defined curls.” After shampooing, apply the mask and leave it on for a minimum of 15 minutes for maximum results.
$36 at Sephora
This clinically-tested hair mask is clean and naturally derived, featuring a blend of rosehip oil, algae extract and B vitamins to improve hair texture, control frizz,and boost hydration. In clinical trials, it was shown to decrease hair breakage by up to 66 percent. It’s ideal for all hair types, from straight and wavy to curly and coiled and can be used several times a week as needed.
$16 at Amazon
For the price, you can’t go wrong with this vitality-boosting hair mask, which contains an antioxidant-rich oil blend and botanical extracts to protect hair from the elements and shows results with one use. “This mask is super moisturizing and helps strengthen your strands to prevent future breakage,” says Fitzsimons. “If you chemically process your hair in any way, you definitely want to consider adding a repair mask to your routine.”
$14 at Amazon
If your hair is dry and brittle, but tends to get weighed down easily, Fitzsimons suggests this pick from Pai Shau. “It provides weightless moisture while retaining natural volume,” he says. Its nutrient-rich formula contains a blend of teas, vitamins and protective antioxidants that not only leaves hair silky and hydrated, but also smells incredible.
$42.50 at Nordstrom
“This mask not only has healing ingredients for the hair, but it actually heals dry scalp and promotes collagen production in the scalp, which encourages healthy hair growth,” says Henskens. Its patented formula features buriti oil to help seal in moisture and hydrate dry strands. It’s safe for color-treated hair and formulated with Aveda’s signature pure-fume™ aroma, which features organic lavender, bergamot, ginger lily and other pure flower and plant essences.
$38 at Amazon
This company is known for its ability to repair even the most damaged strands, but is arguably best known for its deep conditioning mask. It’s meant to be left on for five minutes, unlike many other conditioning masks that require at least 10 minutes of sitting before rinsing. The key ingredient is argan oil, which is not only great for adding moisture to the hair itself, but also the scalp.
$28 at Sephora
If you’re looking for a salon-quality transformation from an at-home product, this miracle in a bottle is an absolute must. The highly-concentrated formulation features the same patented, bond-building technology that is used in many professional hair salons. It helps relink broken hair strands that are deteriorated after long-term chemical and heat-styling damage. Unlike other deep conditioning masks, this one is meant to be used prior to shampooing.