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The best hair masks

  • Hair masks are an affordable and easy way to strengthen, deep condition, and nourish without going to a salon — especially in the winter when all the cold air is drying out your hair.
  • You can use one in the shower to treat your hair weekly, or if you have really damaged hair, every few days. 
  • Our top pick is the It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask, but we also like ones from Brigeo, Function of Beauty, Living Proof, and Olaplex.

Between blow-drying, heat-styling, color processing, skipping hair cuts, and more, your hair can incur some serious damage. Thankfully, at-home hair masks are one of the easiest ways to give your strands a little TLC without leaving your house or breaking the bank.

Whether you want to repair, strengthen, add shine, or protect your hair from future damage, the right hair mask can help transform your hair and even improve its overall health. But with so many on the market, working out which one is right for you can be overwhelming.

So we did the research and put our own hair to the test to find the best hair masks. 

Here are the best hair masks:

  • Best hair mask overall: It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask
  • Best deep conditioning hair mask: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Mask
  • Best personalized hair mask: Function of Beauty Customized Hair Mask
  • Best overnight hair mask: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector
  • Best hair mask for strengthening: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

Updated 10/20/20 by Maria Del Russo: Updated links and prices. Replaced "best overnight hair mask" because our previous mask was no longer available. We are currently re-testing products for this guide, including hair masks for natural hair. 

The best hair mask overall

It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask transforms dry, damaged hair into super-soft and smooth strands while also restoring elasticity.

It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask is a sulfate-free conditioning treatment that was made to treat many types of hair. The mask contains linseed and apricot extracts, which help soothe and repair your scalp while leaving you tangle-free.  

The mask also features almond extract to promote healthy and shiny hair, and oat extract, which strengthens and restructures hair to make it smooth and soft. The lightweight mask is versatile enough to be used as an everyday conditioner for hair, or as a periodic treatment.

Plenty of members of the Insider Reviews team have tried this mask and love it. Editor Maria Del Russo calls this mask her go-to winter hair mask because it effectively nixes the static that tends to plague her mane when the temperature dips.

"I use it twice a week instead of my conditioner, and it cures any dry hair fuzz that pops up," she says. The only drawback? "It's very easy to use too much, and when you do, it can really weigh your hair down," she says. So make sure to start with less than you think and add little by little if you feel you need more. 

Pros: Leaves hair tangle-free and super soft, soothes and repairs scalp, treats damaged hair, can be used daily

Cons: Can weigh your hair down if you use too much

Best deep conditioning hair mask

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Mask deep conditions for an extra boost of hydration and moisture.

The Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask is formulated with a host of ingredients to help restore hydration and transform lackluster hair into shiny, healthy locks. Rosehip oil delivers fatty acids, which work to add hydration while removing frizz, while algae extract delivers a rush of amino acids and antioxidants to strengthen.

Vitamin B, on the other hand, actually works to improve the texture of the hair, leaving you with softer, more elastic strands over time. Vitamin B is especially great for folks who have suffered damage because of chemical or heat treatments. It helps to repair the brittle texture you get from over-styling. 

The mask works on all types of hair including chemically-treated, relaxed, and keratin-treated hair. It is also cruelty-free and made without any silicones, parabens, sulfates, and artificial dyes. In a blind clinical trial run by the brand, 80% of women said they saw a "noticeable improvement in hydration".

Pros: Makes hair super soft and silky, deeply hydrating, cruelty-free, makes hair shiny

Cons: Customers have claimed the formula used to be thicker, and that the thinner formula isn't as effective

Best personalized hair mask

If you're looking for a customized formula that addresses one or many concerns, try Function of Beauty.

Function of Beauty develops personalized hair-care products, including a hair mask. At $19 for a 7.5 oz jar, it's not cheap. But it's also a weekly deep-conditioning treatment that's catered specifically to your needs, so I think the price is justified. There's also an option to subscribe to regular deliveries of each product, so you'd never run out.

To create your custom formula, you'd have to take a short online quiz and indicate your concerns and needs. I said that I wanted to hydrate and repair my dry, heat-damaged hair, but wanted to make sure the formula wouldn't be too heavy and weigh my fine hair down. 

A few weeks later, the mask arrived at my door. Since I've been using it, I've noticed that my hair definitely feels stronger and healthier, and it has a lot more shine than before. While each formula is made specifically for your particular hair needs, it generally contains hydrating Japanese sake extract, as well as argan and jojoba oils.

The Insider Reviews team has tested and reviewed other Function of Beauty hair-care products, here's the full review.

Pros: Personalized formula for your specific hair needs, has one-time or subscription option for flexibility 

Cons: Is only available online 

The best overnight hair mask

Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Night Cap helps add shine and tame frizz overnight, and the results last for multiple shampoos. 

If the idea of applying a hair mask in the shower sounds a little too time-intensive for you, then look for a mask that does the work while you snooze. Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Mask helps to soften and add shine to your strands overnight, so you wake up with more hydrated hair than you fell asleep with. 

Living Proof's hair mask is made with the brand's patented healthy hair molecule OFPMA. This molecule seals the hair cuticle, which is what makes the hair look frizzy. Your hair cuticle lays like shingles on a roof, and when they're dry or damaged, they fray. This is what makes your hair look frizzy. But by sealing the cuticle, your strands look smoother — and it also helps protect pigment fading if you color-treat your hair. 

I like to use this mask when my hair is going through a particularly rough patch, like in the dead of winter, or after I've been using my dryer for a while. I'll shower at night, towel-dry my hair until it's damp, and then rake two pumps through my hair from ear-length down. I try to avoid the crown of my hair, so it doesn't look oily in the morning. 

When I wake up, my hair is air-dried, soft, and much more manageable than before, making this a clutch option to use before a party or another event where your hair needs to look its best. Just be forewarned, it can take some trial and error to get the correct amount for your hair type just right. The first few times I tried it, I used too much, and had to wash my hair again in the morning because all of the product didn't absorb, which made my strands greasy. — Maria Del Russo, style & beauty guides editor

Pros: Works while you sleep, seals the hair cuticle, leaves hair feeling soft and frizz-free

Cons: Might be a little too heavy for finer hair types

Best hair mask for strengthening

If color-treating and heat-styling have weakened your hair, then you need Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, which is a favorite of professional hairstylists

Hair-care brand Olaplex is used in top salons, but the Hair Perfector No. 3 was created for general retail when the brand realized how many of its clients wanted to use it at home.

The mask is made with Olaplex's patented bond-building technology, which relinks the broken parts of hair caused by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage. It's not a conditioning mask for that reason — it actually works to rebuild the bonds in your hair. Olaplex works on many hair types and is formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

If you have color-treated hair or regularly heat-style, Hair Perfector No. 3 is a great restorative treatment that will bring softness and shine back to your hair. Some users with particularly damaged hair recommend leaving it in for a bit longer than the instructed ten minutes.

You can have too much of a good thing, though. "You should only use it once a week," says Lucille Javier, a color specialist at Mark Ryan Salon in NYC. "It's a bonding treatment, so it can only do so much. The hair can only absorb so much. Using it more than once a week is wasteful." Instead, she recommends alternating between Olaplex and a conditioning mask if you want to use a hair mask more than once a week. 

Pros: Repairs and strengthens hair, leaves it feeling soft and bouncy, professional-grade treatment at home

Cons: Not as strong as the in-salon treatment, you should only use it once a week

Check out our other hair-care buying guides

The best curling irons

The best anti-frizz hair products

The best straightening brushes

 

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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