Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for Best hair masks

Let’s be honest – we torture our hair a lot. Between dyes, flat irons, and being a little heavy-handed with a brush, we leave our once-luscious locks so dry and damaged that a regular conditioner just can’t keep up. That’s where hair masks come in.

These intensely rejuvenating products nourish, tame, and strengthen your hair in just a few minutes each week. Unfortunately, not all hair masks are created equal. With hundreds of options on the market, knowing which one is best for you can be difficult.

If you’re ready to restore your hair to show-stopping form, we'll provide tips on how to choose a hair mask and how to get the most out of it.

Related: Check out our reviews on purple shampoos here.

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Hair masks aren’t the same as moisturizing conditioners. They work on a deeper level to hydrate and nourish your hair for long-term health.

Hair mask benefits

Hair masks are primarily used for moisturizing hair and protecting it against further damage. However, some products offer additional benefits.

Some contain proteins that help to strengthen hair and prevent breakage. Others work to soothe an irritated scalp and control dandruff.

Think about the main reasons you’re seeking out a hair mask, and make sure that the product you choose checks those boxes.

Watch out for products that make outrageous claims about repairing damaged hair, though. Nothing exists in modern science that can fuse a split end back together. The best these products can do is mask the damage and prevent any more from occurring.

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Did you know?
Hair masks aren’t just good for your hair. They can also help soothe a dry, irritated scalp and prevent dandruff.

Hair mask ingredients

The nature of the ingredients can make or break a hair mask. They determine how well the product is actually going to work.

Here are some ingredients you may want to look for, depending on the type of hair mask you’re interested in.


If you’re seeking to soothe your hair, look for:


If you’re seeking moisture, look for:

  • Argan oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Almond oil

  • Avocado

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Jojoba oil

  • Panthenol


If you’re seeking to strengthen your hair, look for:

  • Keratin

  • Wheat proteins

  • Shea butter

  • Almond oil

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Make sure the product you’re buying is truly a hair mask and not a daily deep conditioner. Read the label to see how often you’re supposed to use it. If it recommends daily use, it’s not a hair mask.

The best mask for your hair type

The right hair mask for you depends on your hair type. Length isn’t a factor, but texture, thickness, and color will make a big difference.

  • If you have dry or curly hair, you need nourishment. Look for something that’s intensely moisturizing, as this will help tame frizz and give your hair a healthy shine.

  • If you have oily hair, you want something lightweight that isn’t going to make your problems worse. Look for a product that works on your ends, and avoid the roots as much as possible.

  • If you have color-treated hair, you don’t want it washing right out when you use your hair mask. Make sure the product you choose is formulated for color-treated hair.

  • If you have fine hair, you don’t want a mask that’s too heavy or difficult to wash out, as fine hair is easily weighed down. Go with a product that you only need to leave in for a few minutes at a time.

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How long it lasts


Generally speaking, a little goes a long way with hair masks. But this will vary depending on the length of your hair and the product you choose.

Most hair masks come in eight- or 16-ounce jars. This should be enough to last you several months.

Remember, you don’t need to use a lot – that could backfire, as it may leave your hair looking weighed down and greasy.

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Did you know?
Using a hair mask before and after coloring your hair can help preserve the color for longer.

Duration and frequency of use

Most hair mask manufacturers recommend that you leave the product in your hair around 20 minutes, but this number can vary. Some products can also be worn overnight.

But hair masks aren’t meant to be used every day, and using them too much can lead to a build-up in your hair. Check the label for recommendations on how often you should use your hair mask.

Choose a product that fits in with your lifestyle. If you want something quick and easy, you’re better off going with a product that you only need to leave in for a few minutes.

But if time isn’t an issue, you may see greater benefit from leaving the mask on longer.

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Hair mask prices


Depending on the brand and quality of the product, hair masks can range from under $5 to over $50. If you want a quality hair mask, it’s worth investing in one that’s at least $25 to $30.

These products usually contain top-shelf ingredients that do a better job of nourishing your hair.

If you are on a budget, it’s better to focus on price per ounce than price overall. A larger jar may be more expensive initially, but it will probably turn out to be more cost-effective in the long run.

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Did you know?
A hair mask can’t undo damage that’s already been done, but it can help minimize its appearance and stop more damage from occurring.


  • For best results, apply the mask when your hair is damp. While you can use hair masks on dry hair, they are usually most effective on damp hair. Apply right after showering.

  • Comb it through. Combing the mask through your hair will ensure that it’s evenly distributed.

  • Wash your hair after you’re finished. This won’t negate the benefits of the hair mask, and it will help remove any unwanted residue from your hair.

  • You may want to sleep in your mask. If your hair is especially damaged or dry, you may want to try sleeping in your hair mask overnight. This gives your hair more time to absorb the benefits of the mask.

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A hair mask is not a replacement for a daily conditioner. Using a mask every day will not give you any additional benefit, and it may leave a greasy residue in your hair.


Q. Who needs to use a hair mask?

A. If your hair has gotten dull and dry and you’re looking for a great way to show it some love, you’re a candidate for a hair mask –  especially if your moisturizing conditioners aren’t making a dent in the problem.

Q. How often should I use my hair mask?

A. You should always refer to your product’s label for specific guidance, but generally, it’s recommended that you use a hair mask about once a week in order to obtain maximum benefit without it building up in your hair.

Q. Will I see instant results?

A. That depends on how well you mesh with your hair mask. Some people claim to see results after just one treatment, but this isn’t always the case. Like most rejuvenating hair products, it takes a few uses before you start seeing results.

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