When and Why Should You Use a Hair Mask

by Faith Cancro

Hair masks definitely sound like a good idea, but they can be a little intimidating at first. I once convinced myself they are more trouble than they’re worth. That is really just not the case. The thing about them is, they’re much less maintenance and work than most people think. Although, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Should I make one homemade? How often should I put them in? What is actually happening when I use a hair mask? Warehouse Salon owner and stylist Nick Mirabella is here to answer these burning questions and more…


While mixing together some eggs and olive oil in your kitchen may seem like the best, cheapest, healthiest route to go when attempting a hair mask, let me stop you right there. Mirabella explains “it’s not going to have any true beneficial properties to the cortex and the lipid layer of your hair.” Your hair may feel softer on the surface, but the truth is, the nourishment you get from a hair mask designed and perfected by an actual hair product brand, is going to be unmatched. “These brands spend a lot of money on trying to find the best technology to drive proteins and vitamins into your hair so you can actually repair and heal [it] from the inside out,” Mirabella continues.


Investing in an effective, carefully formulated hair mask is not something you will regret. However, it is important to know what you’re putting in your hair. There are three kinds of hair masks.


  1. Repair

Hair masks meant to restructure and rebuild the sodium disulfide bond in your hair are full of proteins/keratins. This mask is to be used about once a week, or every few days, as your hair needs a lot of help at this stage. Although, do not use this every day, because your hair is not meant to handle ample amounts of protein. There is a such a thing as too much. Mirabella explains, “what that means is the proteins build up inside of your hair and actually makes it feel more dry and possibly more brittle.” These hair masks are generally for people with damaged hair, often due to heat styling or chemicals. Although, it is important to note that damaged hair is not the same as dry hair. Your hair is dry because it’s damaged but not necessarily damaged because it’s dry. (You know, like how a square can be a rectangle but a rectangle isn’t a square- same idea.) Some great reparative hair masks: Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask and Truss Professional Miracle Hair Mask


  1. Moisturizing

Once your hair is feeling better and stronger from some repairing mask uses, you are safe to move on to a moisturizing hair mask. This mask hydrates your hair and has a bit more flexibility in terms of use. You can really use it as often as you would like, but for best results and cost effectiveness in mind, once a week is a fine idea. If you’re in the pool or the ocean every other wash is ideal, says Mirabella. An extra application or two is also a good idea in the winter, seeing as the cold weather can strip moisture. A moisturizing mask also helps with static, so a moisturizing mask is good for someone hoping to combat frizz. For the best hydration, try these hair masks: Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Hair Mask and Truss Specific Mask

  1. Shine

Lastly, the lightest mask you can use is a mask for shine. Once your hair has enough moisture, using an independent hair mask or adding a serum into your conditioner can brighten up dull hair. A hair mask for shine, while still effective, is the least aggressive, and can be used as often as someone wants. Use it daily or once a week as a treatment, a shine mask is good for anyone looking to boost the appearance of their hair. Some of Mirabella’s favorite shine enhancing hair masks: Amika Flash Instant Shine Mask, SUDZZfx Zenyth Frizz Eliminator, and Moroccanoil Smoothing Mask.


Hair masks are a great remedy right after a big day for your hair- a drastic color change, a long day at the beach, that phase you had in seventh grade when you straightened your hair every single day (without any heat protectant, might I add). This quick guide will lead you in the right direction in terms of what hair mask to start with and a few good options to choose from. A couple hair masks later and you’ll have the best hair on the block.

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