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Hair Mask - Why Is It Essential In Hair Care?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

When it comes to hair, everyone wants theirs to be strong, healthy, shiny and lustrous.

Hair composition includes a wide range of substances, such as lipids, water, or minerals. One of the most significant components of hair is proteins (aka keratin). It forms tough, insoluble fibres that give hair strength, elasticity, and the ability to withstand damage.

When the keratin gets damaged, protein treatments are a profound way to fix the issue. You can receive a professional protein treatment at hair salons or simply utilize a hair mask at home to nourish your hair.

Within the scope of this article, you can learn more in-depth about hair masks, how they could help your hair issues and how to optimize them for the best results.


Hair Mask – Is It Necessary?

A hair mask is a beneficial treatment that gives hair a silky sheen, softness, superior nourishment and hydration. Thus, it can improve the overall health and appearance of the hair.

Most often in paste form, the hair mask fortifies hair strands, hydrates them, and helps mend the damage. It is ideal for individuals with brittle, weakened, unruly, extremely long or thin hair. Distinct from conditioners, this line of hair products offers reparative treatments that penetrate the hair follicles, whereas conditioners merely make hair more manageable and supple.

So, what exactly is in hair masks? They typically contain a combination of nourishing ingredients, including a high concentration of proteins, oils, minerals and vitamins. These ingredients work together to repair hair damage and restore its health while improving physical attractiveness as well.

If you're looking for a way to revitalise your hair and bring back its natural beauty, hair masks can be the answer.


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What Does A Hair Mask Do For Hair?

Repair damage and strengthen hair

Hair masks are capable of significantly improving the quality of your hair. By supplying essential nourishing ingredients, hair masks can temporarily mend split ends and breakage while simultaneously fortifying hair fibres. Thanks to their direct attachment to the hair, the proteins in hair masks fill the cracks and gaps, thereby restoring the strength of the hair shaft and rectifying any damage.

Moisturise and improve shine

Hair masks also offer improved smoothness, softness and lustre by smoothing the cuticle and hydrating the hair shaft intensely. All these characteristics help to rejuvenate dry, brittle hair and revamp the physical characteristics of the hair.

Read more about Hair cuticles and how to boost hair shine 

Reduce frizz and enhance manageability

Using hair masks can help to diminish frizz, improving the texture and appearance of hair. The hydrating and moisturising agents enable hair cuticles to stay flat and undisturbed, thus less vulnerable to frizziness. Not only that, but hair masks also make hair easier to manage by lessening tangles and giving it more flexibility. 

Especially, some hair masks may contain ingredients that help to protect the hair from environmental stressors, such as UV light and wind, or damage caused by heat styling.


Hair Masks vs. Hair Conditioners: Why Do You Need A Hair Mask?

Hair conditioners and masks may appear to have the same purpose—improving the health of your hair—but their composition and uses are actually quite different. What makes hair masks stand out is their comprehensive care that includes hydrating, nourishing and restoring the hair.

But first, let's have a closer look into each of them.

Hair conditioners

You can utilise conditioners in your daily hair care routine. They contain a lower concentration of proteins, usually 1-5%. Hair conditioners provide a quick and easy solution for making your hair more manageable, detangled, and soft. Simply apply the conditioner to your hair after shampooing and rinse it out after about five minutes. This step helps to add a layer of protection to your hair, preventing it from becoming dry, frizzy, and brittle.

Hair masks

Alternatively, hair masks provide a more robust treatment, boasting higher protein concentrations - ranging from 2-10%. As such, they are the ideal remedy for hair in need of extra care or damage repair. Typically, it is favourable to use hair masks once a week or whenever needed. For optimal results, they must remain in your hair for 15-30 minutes to allow the beneficial ingredients to be fully absorbed deep down into the hair strands.

Having both a conditioner and a hair mask as part of your hair care regimen is vital, yet they serve different functions. Unlike conditioners, hair masks can deeply penetrate the hair shaft, allowing for more reparative treatments. While conditioners make hair easier to manage and softer, hair masks go a step further and are used to address more serious issues.



How To Use A Hair Mask

It is recommended to use a hair mask once or twice a week, depending on your hair type and needs. Also, make sure to choose one that is appropriate for your hair type and needs, as some masks can be too heavy for fine or oily hair, while others may not provide enough nourishment for very dry or damaged hair.

Below are the steps you can follow to get the most out of your hair mask product.

  • Wash your hair: Have your hair thoroughly washed to remove all dirt and any impurities that may be present.
  • Apply the mask: After removing excess water, take an appropriate amount of hair mask and distribute it evenly throughout your hair, focusing on the ends.
  • Massage: Use your fingers to massage the mask into your hair and scalp, ensuring it is well distributed.
  • Leave it on: Follow the instructions on the hair mask packaging regarding the time you should leave the mask on. Usually, it is between 15-30 minutes. To enhance the effectiveness, you can cover your hair with a shower cap or wrap it in a towel to help trap heat in.
  • Rinse thoroughly: Rinse the hair mask out of your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. You may need to rinse your hair several times to ensure all the product is removed.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Hair Mask, and What Does It Do?

A hair mask is a deep conditioning treatment that helps to repair and nourish hair. It can provide additional moisture, shine, and nourishment to hair. In short, it helps improve hair's overall health and appearance.

How Often Should I Use a Hair Mask?

It is recommended to use a hair mask once a week for the best results if your hair is severely dehydrated or damaged.

How Long Should I Leave a Hair Mask on My Hair?

Typically, hair masks should be left on for 15-30 minutes. It is essential to follow the instructions for the specific product you are using for the best results.

Can a Hair Mask be Used on All Hair Types?

Yes, you can use hair masks on all hair types. However, it is advisable to choose a mask that is suited to your specific hair type, such as one for dry, damaged, or color-treated hair.

How Do I Apply a Hair Mask?

To apply a hair mask, start by shampooing your hair and then towel-drying it until it is damp. Apply the mask evenly throughout your hair, focusing on the ends. Cover your hair with a plastic cap or wrap and let it sit for the recommended time. Rinse thoroughly and style as usual.

Can I Use a Hair Mask on my Scalp?

Some hair masks are scalp friendly, and you can apply them on the scalp. However, it depends on the instructions for your specific product. Some masks are not intended for the scalp, and using them in this manner may cause irritation or other issues.



Narayanamoorthy, Samayan & J V, Brainy & Thangaraj, Manirathinam & Samayan, Kalaiselvan & Kureethara, Joseph Varghese & Kang, Daekook. (2021). An Adoptable Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Analysis to Select a Best Hair Mask Product-Extended Weighted Aggregated Sum Product Assessment Method. International Journal of Computational Intelligence Systems. 14. 10.1007/s44196-021-00007-y. 

Helen, Ivony & Hadinoto, Idajani & Hadisoewignyo, Lannie & Soegianto, Lisa. (2011). Effect of Various Concentration of Vegetable Protein in Hair Mask on The Hair Texture. Indonesian Journal of Cancer Chemoprevention. 2. 159. 10.14499/indonesianjcanchemoprev2iss1pp159-168. 


Hair and Scalp Disorders: Medical, Surgical, and Cosmetic Treatments, Second Edition. Edited by Amy J. McMichael, MD, and Maria K. Hordinsky, MD.

Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.