If your locks are in desperate need of some TLC, then hair masks are the best option. Whether your strands are lusting for vitamins, hydration, or a colour boost, we’ve got a selection of the best hair masks to suit you and your hair type.
We also explain the difference between a conditioner and a hair mask, and how often you should be using a hair mask.
A hair mask is a more intense and more targeted extension of your conditioner. It takes all the benefits of an everyday conditioner and condenses the impact into a weekly treatment. This means that the best hair mask will help smooth the cuticle, seal the shaft, lock in moisture, and repair damage.
They’re great levellers and aren’t just for people with dry hair. All hair types can benefit from an injection of hydration and health-boosting ingredients.
FURTHER READING: What type of hair do I have? Find out with our hair types guide
A hair mask should be applied after your shampoo but before a conditioner. The best shampoo will cleanse the hair and cause individual strands to swell. This allows ingredients to more easily penetrate the shaft. Applying a hair mask straight after shampooing means you can inject the concentrated ingredients straight to the source of the damage, or where the hydration is needed most.
Depending on the mask, you can leave it on for a few minutes or overnight. Hair conditioners and masks only work when the hair is wet, due to the fact they can get deeper into the shaft. Once the hair has dried, the cuticle is sealed after which point, it doesn’t matter how much longer you leave the mask in your hair.
We sleep in hair masks but loosely wrap them in a silk scrunchie and wear a silk turban. This means the hair stays damp all night, allowing the mask to work for hours. You can read more about this in our best overnight treatments guide.
Most masks are so intense, they should be reserved for once a week. If you have damaged hair, you can use some hair masks – such as the Olaplex No.3 – up to three times a week while you’re working on repairing the hair.
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£15 | Buy now
Why we love it: The Give Me Hair Mask has become a cult classic, yet we only discovered it in recent months.
It’s garnered such support because it works as well as more expensive hair masks, including those which exceed more than £50 each.
It blends argan oil and coconut oil to leave your hair smooth, shiny, and silky. This combination of ingredients also helps deeply condition each strand, making this the best hair mask for dry and damaged hair in particular.
Over time, the Give Me Hair Mask will also repair the hair. It makes it look and feel more elastic, which gives it more movement when it’s dry. It also makes it easier to style. All for a relatively low £15!
£12 | Buy now
Why we love it: Our Bargain Buy is a Body Shop classic.
The Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask will instantly ramp up the gloss leaving your hair looking and feeling less frizzy while smelling absolutely amazing.
It contains potassium from the use of banana puree. The addition of shea butter and brazil nut oil then add even more softness and hydration.
Priced at £12, this vegan-friendly mask is particularly great for anyone with dry or brittle hair.
£50 | Buy now
Why we love it: Prickly Pear Oil is an active ingredient that’s renowned for making hair feel stronger and when used in the Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask, it helps to restore damaged, colour- and chemically-treated hair to its former glory.
In particular, this mask works to improve the appearance of split ends while adding a glossy look to the mid-lengths and roots.
In this way, it also significantly reduces frizz. We love the fact you can notice the difference after the first use, and it only takes a few minutes to work its magic.
Just like the Christophe Robin Salt Scrub, you only need a tiny amount of this mask each time you use it so this pot will last you a while.
Long enough to completely transform your tresses!
FURTHER READING: The best hair masks for dry, fine, curly and natural hair types
£32 | Buy now
Why we love it: The Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 is ideal for those with dyed or bleached hair. This is because it protects strands during the bleaching process, and so it strengthens and conditions the hair where it’s damaged.
We’re big fans of Olaplex hair products generally because they do exactly as they promise.
The Olaplex No. 5 conditioner was judged to be an Editor’s Pick in our best conditioner article and we’re huge fans of the No.7 Bonding Oil. You can read more about the Olaplex range in our ultimate Olaplex guide.
Priced at £32, this hair mask is far from cheap but it really is a hair saviour and because it’s got a thick consistency, a little goes a really long way so even with a weekly mask, you’ll get around six months use!
£31.25| Buy now from Lookfantastic
Why we love it: Sent from the haircare gods, the Hydrating Mask Light by Moroccanoil conditions and hydrates fine hair. Technically the Olaplex No.3 Protector mask should be our Luxury Buy, given its price, but this hair mask is almost as good.
Containing the brand’s iconic, and well-loved Argan oil formula, this is the best hair mask for any of you who want to restore damaged and dry hair, and give flat hair more volume. Priced at £31.25 this mask will leave your locks feeling lustrous.
£44.95 | Buy now
Why we love it: One hair mask we’ve been using a lot recently, and one that has left our hair looking super smooth, is the Boombastic mask from Cocunat.
If you’ve not heard of Cocunat, it makes and sells sustainable and 100% toxic-free skincare and haircare.
It’s particularly popular among people with curly hair because it defines and smooths like a dream. That doesn’t mean it only suits curly hair – our hair is wavy at best and it really does seem to nourish and repair from within.
This is thanks to its formula being rich in lauric, linoleic acid and carotenoid.
This combination penetrates the hair shaft, prevents protein loss and strengthens the hair fibre. It also contains water-repellents that block moisture from the cuticle and reduce frizz.
It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way and you get a free anti-frizz turban to either help dry your hair after you’re used the mask, or – like us – if you want to wear the mask overnight while protecting your pillowcase.
£15 | Buy now
Why we love it: Lush products regularly feature in our Best Buys lists, particularly for hair care products. It Lush bars feature in our best shampoo list, and the brand features in our vegan beauty products roundup.
The brand’s best mask, in our opinion, is its H’Suan Wen Hua treatment. This shine-enhancing mask will leave your locks feeling revitalised and is particularly suited to people with natural hair.
Packed with fresh bay leaf and watercress it stimulates the roots and soothes the scalp, which encourages healthy hair growth. You can read more about his in our how to grow your hair fast article.
While there are definitely cheaper masks out there, they don’t offer the same results as H’Suan Wen Hua, and at £15 this natural hair mask is incredibly popular.
£19.50 | Buy now from Lookfantastic
Why we love it: If you’re looking to tame unruly, thick hair then this argan oil and Myrrh extract mask will leave your hair volume-controlled whilst providing instant nutrition.
It doesn’t perform quite as well as the Give Me Hair mask, but it’s a great alternative if you have thicker hair.
The Professional Mythic Oil Masque by L’Oreal is a buttery mask that leaves you with nourished and disciplined locks.