Heat and colour treatments produce beautiful results but end up taking a toll on tresses over time. Much like our skin, there are days when our hair needs an occasional pick-me-up, outside of our regular routine. If your locks are unusually frizzy, dull and unruly, the situation calls for 10 to 15 minutes of intense conditioning, using hair masks.
Hair masks typically come in tubs, smell delectable and work harder than your hair conditioner. "Hair masks provide moisture and lustre to the hair through rich ingredients, like natural oils and antioxidants, and they're in higher concentration than in hair conditioners," said Dr Mona Mady, specialist dermatologist at Medcare Medical Centre, Jumeirah, Dubai.
This miracle product can truly rejuvenate stressed locks, adds Dr Mady. Our hair is susceptible to damage when we dye it, use relaxers, perm or opt for a keratin treatment. Even excessive styling and repeated exposure to heat are enough reasons for you to reach out to a hair mask.
We're spoilt for choice when it comes to masks for the hair. Our expert stresses it's imperative we pick up a product that's "specific to the treatment you've done and the nature of your hair". For instance, curl heads will prefer masks that enhance their curl pattern and prevent frizzing; dull hair would need apple cider vinegar and raspberry extract to restore shine; and protein-treated hair will benefit from essential fatty acids and humectants to protect the strands.
This thick cream-like formula is applied to freshly washed hair, because clean tresses absorb more product. "The first step would be to shampoo the hair with lukewarm water, towel dry and apply the mask to the length of the hair. Part the hair into four sections to make sure you've coated the strands well. Leave it on for about three to 20 minutes, depending on the mask or your hair type," advised Dr Mady.
Application instructions can vary from tub to tub, but most brands also recommend a 30-minute marination with moist heat for deeper conditioning. You can add heat by tucking your locks into a plastic cap and wrapping the head with a warm towel. But, do note that heat could further irritate any existing scalp issues or excess sebum.
"If you have naturally oily hair, don't leave the hair mask on for too long," added Dr Mady. "Rinse off the product with cold water to reduce frizz." No matter what your choice, it's always safe to opt for a hair mask that's free of parabens, alcohol, silicones and sulfates.
Step up your beauty routine with our handpicked hair masks that have rave reviews on Amazon. If you sign up for Prime, you can get free, same- or next-day delivery!
1. Best Overall: Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector Home Treatment
Dr Mady's favourite, the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector works like a hair mask but goes on the tresses before shampooing. "Not only is it hydrating and adds shine to the hair, but the Olaplex mask corrects damaged ends and helps build the keratin that naturally covers the hair," said Dr Mady. Its patented bond-building technology repairs hair at the molecular level, using nut-, cruelty-, paraben- and gluten-free ingredients. This weekly treatment reduces breakage and split ends over time, too. Suitable for all hair types, the No. 3 also includes jojoba seed oil and aloe vera. Users who bleach their hair routinely are impressed by the results after just one application.
2. Best for Dry Hair: Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask
Coming in number two is Macadamia's hair repair mask that's been tried and tested by repeat buyers in the reviews. Packed with macadamia oil, argan oil and glycerin, the mask is formulated for weak and stressed hair of all types and textures. It's not only free of parabens and sulfates, but also mimics the scalp's natural oil production with the addition of omega 3, 5 and 7 fatty acids. Simply apply to damp hair for up to 10 minutes, for the mask to reconstruct and hydrate damaged locks. According to reviewers, it works brilliantly on colour-treated hair and adds shine like no other; they say the mask brings their hair back to life.
3. Best for Colour-Treated Hair: Maria Nila Structure Repair Mask
This repair mask by Maria Nila uses algae to moisturise and soften chemically treated hair. The 100 per cent vegan formula packs shea butter, sunflower seed oil and moringa seed oil. Besides these nutrients, there's the colour guard complex that shields colour-treated hair from UV (ultraviolet) rays and free radicals. Long-term users in the reviews swear by the product, especially after bleaching and colouring their hair. Even those with dyed curls say it helps with detangling. They add that the formula doesn't weigh the hair down, like most thick masks.
4. Best for Frizz: Fanola Nutri Care Restructuring Mask
Fanola's pH-balanced restructuring mask comes with milk proteins for untamable, damaged hair. The special formula eases frizz, nourishes hair and makes it much more manageable in just five minutes. Nearly every other reviewer comments on how soft their hair feels after each use, which helps them style with minimal fuss. If you're looking for a mask to chase away frizz and add hydration, this large, 1,500ml tub is your answer. Plus, buyers say it has a sweet fragrance that leaves your hair smelling like vanilla and cookies.
5. Best All-Rounder: It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask
This hair treatment by It's a 10 can be anything you want it to be - from a daily conditioner to an intensive mask. For deep conditioning results, all you have to do is leave the product on for longer with moderate heat. Active ingredients like keratin amino acids, collagen, apricot kernel oil and sweet almond oil, all help to restore shine and strengthen strands. Whether they're looking to heal their heat-styled locks or excessively dyed hair, reviewers pick this product as the number one solution recommended to them by hairdressers. They report having revived their 'straw-like' hair.
6. Best for Curls: Tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Deep Conditioner
Formulated for curl heads, the Tgin raw honey hair mask penetrates ringlets to deliver deep conditioning. It's free of parabens, sulfates and petrolatum. You'll find the raw honey adding back shine to your hair, and jojoba and olive oils repairing damaged locks. Reviewers note the improved curl definition and add that their curls now last till the next wash day. Those with low-porosity hair (texture that is less water-absorbent) love the hydration they get from this mask.
7. Best Budget: Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Mask
A hair mask that encourages growth, Mielle's product is made with certified organic goodness. You're adding nutrients from rosemary, sesame seed oil, honey and coconut oil to your stressed tresses. It's also infused with biotin or vitamin B7, which boosts keratin production in the hair. Rave reviews attest to the hair growth they've experienced with consistent use and also recommend it for dry scalps. The peppermint adds to the squeaky clean feeling, too.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.