Should you apply a hair mask before or after shampoo? Should you leave the mask overnight or not?
Clearly, there is a lot of confusion around how to use a hair mask – whether homemade or store bought.
Read on, we will clarify these shortly.
How to use a hair mask
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a hair mask
Step 1: Prepare your hair mask
Start by preparing your hair mask.
Either DIY it or get one from the stores. If you go the DIY route, use nourishing ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Fenugreek, Honey, Avocado among others.
For inspiration, here are our favorite deep conditioning hair mask recipes.
When going for a store-bought mask, it’s important to learn about the different types of hair masks available.
According to a Springer journal on hair masks, these are the different types of hair masks available in the market.
a) Ayurvedic hair masks
For Ayurvedic hair masks, the ingredients used are a mixture of herbal and natural products like herbs, flowers, fruits, cooling oil, and nuts.
Bhringraj, amla, and neem are the main herbs used in these masks as they promote hair growth, and prevent hair lice and dandruff.
b) Natural hair masks
These are made from natural ingredients such as avocados, eggs, bananas, and coconut oil. They are good are providing essential proteins, vitamins, and protect the hair from damage.
c) Organic hair masks
Organic hair masks are made from organic ingredients free from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. They are a bit pricey when compared to other products, and are not available in all markets.
The popularity of these masks has been on the rise as people are now going for products that are free from harmful chemicals and are made out of natural ingredients.
Step 2: Wash the hair
It’s more effective to apply your hair mask after you shampoo the hair. Clean hair if free of product build-up making it easier for the hair to absorb nutrients from the hair mask.
When washing, ensure you get rid of all the dirt and build-up, use a clarifying shampoo if necessary.
After washing, towel dry the hair using a microfiber towel. Your hair should be slightly damp for the best results.
However, if you are using a hair mask made of oils such as olive or coconut oil it is recommended to apply it on dry hair.
Step 3: Apply the hair mask from roots to tips
Start by dividing the hair into small sections as this makes it easier to apply the mask evenly.
Take a small amount of your preferred hair mask and apply the hair mask carefully and thoroughly starting from the roots working your way to the top.
Give extra attention to the hair tips as they are prone to dryness and flyaways and need some extra love.
Gently apply the hair mask to the scalp especially if you have a dry scalp and want to treat dandruff. If you have a greasy scalp then keep the hair mask away from the scalp.
Ensure the mask covers all the hair completely. Run a wide-tooth comb through your hair for the mask to be evenly distributed. For shorter hair, you can use your fingers to do that.
Step 4: Cover and leave in
Cover your hair with a plastic cap to allow the mask to work its magic.
You can wrap a towel over the plastic cap to prevent the mask from dripping and to generate heat that open up the hair cuticles for easier absorption of nutrients.
Other ways of providing heat include blow-drying over the cover, hot water baths, using a heated shower cap or placing a warm towel over the covered hair.
Leave it on for at least 1 hour, or ideally, you can leave it overnight to get maximum benefits.
Remember the longer you leave the hair mask on the hair, the deeper the ingredients can penetrate.
Step 5: Rinse and style
Proceed to rinse off the mask completely with lukewarm or cool water for several minutes.
Do not wash the hair mask off with hot water. Cooler water works wonders on sealing hair cuticles and retaining moisture on your strands.
Gently squeeze off excess water and proceed to seal in moisture by applying a sealing oil. Finish off by styling your hair as usual
How Often should you use a hair mask?
- For damaged hair – once or twice a week
- Dry hair – at least once a week
- Heathy hair – two to three times a month
Benefits of a hair mask
Hair masks are good solutions for common hair problems like dandruff, frizz, breakage, and premature- greying.
Hair masks provide reparative treatments by penetrating deep into the hair shaft and fixing the issue whereas a regular conditioner makes the hair soft and easier to manage.
Here is a summary of the benefits of a hair mask on hair:
- Nourishes and moisturizes the hair
- Strengthens the hair roots enhancing hair growth and volume
- Repairs sun-damaged hair
- Repairs dry, impaired, frizzy, or extremely thin hair
- Fenugreek in hair masks prevents the premature greying
- Results in shinier and smoother hair
- The hair gains greater resistance to environmental damage
Whether you are looking to restore damaged hair, hydrate lifeless curls or simply nourish your hair, a hair mask is great addition to your hair care regimen.
To finalize, here is a summary of the key steps to follow when using a hair mask:
- Prepare your hair mask
- Wash the hair
- Apply the mask from roots to tips
- Cover for at least an hour
- Rinse and style