9 Hair Masks Byrdie Editors Swear By to Rescue Damaged Strands

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Brittle, dull hair can be a real drag. Whether your strands are battling breakage due to sun, chlorine, hot tools, or chemical treatments, the perfect hair mask can help the situation ASAP by improving hydration, texture, and more. Plus, with the rise of work from home, it's never been easier to go about your day with a hair mask in place.

We enlisted our editors to share their picks for the best hair masks available now. Read on for the products they reach for time and time again.

What to Look For in a Hair Mask

Strengthening Properties


If you’re struggling with dry, lackluster hair the chances of your hair needing some extra protection around breakage is high. Look out for hair masks that contain protein and oils like keratin and argan oil. 


A Concentrated Formula


Concentrated formulas are known for their ability to better penetrate the hair shaft, which helps the deep conditioner absorb easily. The more concertrated the formula the better your hair tends to look afterwards. 


A Lightweight Finish


Some hair masks weigh the hair down, or leave a sticky residue afterwards, so you’ll want to select a formula that provides a lightweight finish. 

Leonor Greyl Paris Masque Quintessence Deep Nourishing Treatment Mask

Masque Quintessence Deep Nourishing Treatment Mask for Very Damaged Hair

Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

What We Like
  • Full of natural oils, proteins, plants extracts

  • Safe for color-treated hair, vegan with UV filters

  • Soothes and restores

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Byrdie editorial director Faith Xue swears that this mask from cult-favorite French brand Leonor Greyl transforms her bleached hair into liquid silk. "It's made with a slew of nourishing plant butters and oils," she says. "It leaves my hair smelling like a floral bouquet. But it's also ridiculously expensive, which is why I only save it for special occasions. Luckily, you don't need much product—just a small scoop and it'll work its magic."

Active Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Buxus Chinesis Seed Oil | Hair Type: Dry, Damaged | Free of: SLS/SLES, Silicone, Parabens, and Coal-Tar | Size: 7 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Authentic Beauty Concept Replenish Mask

Authentic Beauty Concept Replenish Mask

 Courtesy of Authentic Beauty Concept

What We Like
  • Strengthens hair fiber and seals the cuticle

  • Great slip

  • Smooth consistency

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

Faith also recently discovered this mask from Authentic Beauty, which she says has quickly become one of her favorites—not to mention her go-to during our current health situation. "Authentic Beauty Concept is a new holistic hair care line with a full range of clean, sustainably-minded products," she explains. "This hair mask is a standout—the brand's celeb hairstylist ambassador, Mara Roszak, says it's her fave, too. It smells amazing—like tropical flowers and sandalwood—and leaves my hair feeling silky-soft. Mara says she'll leave it on all day, which is something I'm going to try next (my thirsty strands definitely need it)."

Active Ingredients: C9-12 Alkane, Behentrimonium Chloride | Hair Type: Damaged | Free of: Micro Plastics, Mineral Oil, Parabens, Silicones, Pthalates, Formaldehydes And Formaldehyde-Releasing Agents, Retinyl Palminate, Oxybenzone, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclosan, Triclocarban | Size: 6.7 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

4.9
Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3
What We Like
  • Restores healthy appearance and texture

  • Reduces breakage

  • Repairs broken bonds

What We Don't Like
  • Have to do a strand test first

Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould is all about Olaplex. "This product is my hair's saving grace," she says. "Essentially, it finds bonds that have been broken down by various different aggressors—for me, it's hair color and heat tools—and quite literally reconnects them. It reinforces every last strand to create healthier, stronger, more resilient hair with every use. I apply it post-shampoo, brush out my hair, tie it back, and leave it in for a good 24 hours before washing it out. This stuff is magic."

Active Ingredients: Olaplex, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate | Hair Type: Damaged | Free of: Gluten, Sulfates, Parabens, Phthalates, and Phosphates | Size: 3.3 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Mask Treatment

Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Hair Mask

 Courtesy Shu Uemura

What We Like
  • Wood and earthy unique scent

  • Japanese-sourced rice extract protects and hydrates

  • Increases shine

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

When Hallie's hair needs some extra TLC, she reaches for Shu Uemura's Ultimate Reset. "It's hydrating and strengthening at the same time," she says. "It works to bind the hair cuticle and cortex, making everything softer, shinier, and physically stronger. After what I've put my hair through, it deserves a treat every few weeks."

Active Ingredients: Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Amodimethicone | Hair Type: Damaged | Free of: Gluten, Sulfates, Parabens, Phthalates, and Phosphates | Size: 6 oz. | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask

DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask

Walmart

What We Like
  • Provides a silky-soft touch

  • Nourishes without weighing down hair

  • Rich formula

What We Don't Like
  • Not for damaged hair

"Whenever my hair is *really* struggling, this is my go-to," says Byrdie associate social media editor Star Donaldson. "One wash and my hair is hydrated and defined, no matter what it's been through prior. Sometimes I even use a little as a leave-in, which keeps my curl pattern intact better than gels!"

Active Ingredients: Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Amodimethicone | Hair Type: Curly | Free of: Parabens | Size: 8 or 17.75 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
What We Like
  • Gives luster and shine

  • Restores hair's natural balance

  • Traps in moisture

  • Full of natural ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Might be drying for some

Star also keeps this shea butter masque in her shower at all times. "I mask every time I wet my hair, even if I don't shampoo, and I rely on this one to keep my hair healthy and hydrated almost every wash (or co-wash) day," she says. "Plus, it's affordable and I love that I can pick it up at any Duane Reed or CVS on a whim if I'm running low."

Active Ingredients: Sea Kelp Extract, Panthenol | Hair Type: Damaged, Dry, Chemically-Treated | Free of: DEA, Sulfates, Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Paraffins, Mineral Oil, and Synthetic Fragrances and Colors | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner

4.8
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Nice citrusy, floral smell

  • Three times the moisturizing power

  • Detangling

What We Don't Like
  • Might be drying for some

For senior commerce editor Jessica Mahgerefteh, this product lives up to its name—which is no small feat. "In just three minutes, this deep conditioning treatment eliminates all traces of hair dryness," she explains. "The formula is infused with avocado and Australian jojoba oils, as well as sea kelp to hydrate hair in a way that is—as promised—miraculous. In a weird way, I kind of look forward to the days when my hair feels like straw just so I can have an excuse to use this quickie mask and see immediate results. It also smells great and costs way less than it should, though I’m definitely not complaining about the latter."

Active Ingredients: Australian Aloe, Jojoba Seed Oil, Avocado Oil | Hair Type: Dry | Free of: Sulfates, Parabens | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

IGK EXPENSIVE Hi-Shine Gloss Treatment

IGK Expensive Amla Oil Hi-Shine Topcoat

 Courtesy of IGK

What We Like
  • Enhances color

  • Adds high shine

  • Intensely softens

What We Don't Like
  • Might be drying for some

"I've noticed a common cycle when it comes to hair masks," says Karli Bendlin, Byrdie's email editor. "I'll get really excited about one, try it a few times, and then stare at it in my shower for the next six months and think, 'I should really use that again.' This one from IGK is the only mask that's broken the mold. Since it's applied in-shower and only needs to be left on for three minutes, I have no excuse not to treat my hair to it a few times a week. It makes my strands so soft, shiny, and—dare I say it—expensive-looking."

Active Ingredients: Sea Kelp Extract, Sorbitol | Hair Type: All | Free of: Sulfates SLS and SLES, Parabens, and Phthalates | Size: 4.2 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Oil

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Prickly Pear Seed Oil

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Manages and controls frizz

  • Protects and revives pigments in color-treated hair

  • Smooths and enhances shine

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This Christophe Robin mask rescued Karli's hair after a long-retired phase where she'd wash, blowdry, and curl her hair every morning. "I eventually realized how much havoc this was wreaking on both my strands and my sleep cycle, but the damage was already done," she says. "This intensely hydrating mask from Christophe Robin saved my hair. I'd leave it in for 30 minutes at a time, and after a couple of months of continued use, my hair regained its softness and texture. I know it's pricey but it lasts forever since you only need to use a little at a time."

Active Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Inula Crithmoide Flower/Leaf Extract | Hair Type: Damaged, Color-Treated | Free of: Parabens, Formaldehydes, Formaldehyde-Releasing Agents, Phthalates, Mineral Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Sulfates SLS & SLES, Triclocarban, and Triclosan | Size: 8.4 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

FAQ
  • Can you use a deep conditioner with regular conditioner?

    If you’re someone with very damaged hair, you can totally use both, in fact, it’s advised! Simply, start with a traditional conditioner and follow up with a deep conditioner for extra hydration. 

  • How long should you leave deep conditioner in your hair?

    It really depends on what deep conditioner you’re using, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. However, there’s no harm to keeping a hair mask in longer than recommended. 



  • What is the difference between a hair mask and a hair conditioner?

    Conditioner serves the hair by providing it sheen and smoothness, whereas hair masks nourish the hair and scalp.

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