Your hair’s health is just as important as how cute, long, or voluminous it is. But taking care of your hair can become a bit challenging and time-consuming, especially after all the bleaching, braiding, heat application, and general manipulating some of us do. Thankfully, using the right treatments can often help to restore your hair back to its former glory, no matter how damaged it is.
Hair masks are one way to repair distressed strands. And while these treatments come in a wide array of formulas and price points, at their core, masks are rich in moisture-boosting and strand-strengthening benefits. “These typically are packed full of moisture and smoothing agents,” explains Los Angeles-based hairstylist Michael Dueñas. Look for ingredients like hydrating oils (coconut and avocado oils are always reliable moisturizers), as well masks that incorporate hydrolyzed proteins — made of amino acids and peptides — to simultaneously help rebalance moisture and strengthen hair.
San Diego-based stylist Gina Rivera agrees and adds that some ingredients often include smoothing keratin and strengthening fatty acids. If possible, she recommends steering clear of hair masks formulated with silicones. Avoid this ingredient particularly if you have finer hair that’s easily weighed down or hair that has a hard time retaining moisture. The stylist tells Allure that, while silicones can “create the illusion of healthy hair,” they can also coat the scalp, “clogging your pores and drying your hair from the inside out.” Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson previously confirmed to Allure that silicones like dimethicone prevent moisture from getting into your hair and can cause it to dry out.
Whether your hair needs some extra moisture after too many color appointments or your split ends have become a bit out-of-control, hair masks are a relatively quick fix. They might not be as Instagrammable as their face mask counterparts, but that doesn’t make them any less necessary. The right combination of ingredients can fortify fried strands, smooth damage-induced frizz, and leave parched hair’s thirst quenched. “The highly moisturizing ingredients in hair masks help bring in much-needed moisture and nourishment to your hair,” New York City hairstylist Cheryl Bergamy tells Allure.
Fortunately, some of the best hair masks can be found in your local drugstore — and conveniently available online — for delightfully low prices. Whether your entire head needs it or just your ends, here are some of the best deep treatments and masks on the market, curated by Allure editors and stylists for any hair type.