Whatever havoc may be wreaked on your strands, you can trust a hair mask to work hard at fixing it. We round up the best formulas for every issue, from dry to damaged.
If you haven’t entered the all-consuming world of hair masks, then this is the best place to start. Often delegated to special occasions or in a crisis, these super-powered formulas act in ways that not many conditioners can, but not enough of us are using them as often as we should.
However, that seems set to change. Hair brand Redken tells Stylist.co.uk that Google searches around “hair mask for damaged hair” is up 120%, with more of us relying on hair masks than ever to keep our hair in good condition. But what exactly do they do?
While conditioners largely serve to coat the hair and add temporary shine and softness, masks work that little bit harder by penetrating the hair shaft with their smaller molecules. When left on longer than your standard few minutes, they work over time to deliver much-needed nutrients, traces of which stay long after you’ve rinsed the rest down the drain.
If you’re struggling with dried-out, processed hair, then try swapping out your standard conditioner for a mask, leaving it to work its magic for at least 20 minutes. Masks can also be left on overnight with a shower cap for the ultimate treat if needed, but make sure to only do this every so often to avoid your hair becoming over-moisturised.
Scroll on for the best hair masks for every hair type and concern – we’ve tried every single one and can confirm that they’ve beaten all the others. Happy hair days are here.
Best hair masks for different hair types and concerns, tried and tested by the Stylist beauty team
The best hair masks for damaged hair
Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore Conditioner
Although labelled a conditioner, this formula packs more than enough power to land itself a spot in the mask camp. Even bleached hair is left smoother and shinier, and not just temporarily. It’s worth every penny.
Shop Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore Conditioner at Cult Beauty, £52.50
Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector
The ultimate resurrection for damaged hair, this salon favourite magically whips hair back into shape with a unique bonding formula.
The best hair masks for coloured hair
Davines Minu Illuminating and Regenerating Mask for Coloured Hair
With botanical extracts, hair is left fortified, gleaming and softened after just 15 minutes.
Living Proof Restore Treatment Mask
This rebuilds the hair’s compromised protective layer (a result of colouring) and smooths the cuticle down, meaning strength and shine.
The best hair masks for dry hair
Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches LifeSaver Ultra Intense
This new, intense version of MVC’s LifeSaver Pre-wash Treatment radically and rapidly transforms hair, adding vitality and tackling shrinkage, breakage and splitting. It works on all hair types, is silicone-free and hypoallergenic. A game changer if you are serious about getting damaged hair back to being shiny and strong.
Pureology Hydrate Superfood Treatment
With avocado and coconut oils, this formula replenishes straw-like hair for long-lasting moisture.
Maui Moisture Revive & Hydrate Shea Butter Hair Mask
Rich, intense and buttery, dry hair is no match for this shea-packed mask. Massage into damp ends and leave on for an extra boost.
The best hair masks for curly hair
Dizziak Deep Conditioner
Quinoa protein and babassu oil add strength and shine to curly strands - in fact, just read our entire ode to the wonders of this product.
Boucleme Intensive Moisture Treatment
A rich blend of marula oil and prickly pear seed oil wrap each curl in a loving cocoon, leaving them supple and shiny after rinsing.
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Equi Botanics Babassu Deep Treatment Hair Mask
Highly concentrated and packed with hair-loving butters, a tiny amount of this mask goes a very long way – and leaves behind impossible softness and shine.
As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner
Coconut, sugar cane, shea butter and vitamin E all blend together for the most nourishing concoction.
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The best hair masks for fine hair
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer
Beloved by pretty much every hair expert and celebrity, this formula restores structure and shine to every hair type, despite being lightweight.
Aussie Calm The Frizz Hair Mask
Hemp seed extract moisturises weak flyaway strands without weighing them down.
Images: Getty/Courtesy of brands