If you're like most people, your hair probably goes through a lot. From dyes and blowouts to relaxers and hot curlers, day-to-day stresses can take a toll on your hair. But luckily, there's an easy solution. Enter: overnight hair masks.
What is a hair mask, exactly? It's essentially a deep conditioning treatment that helps nourish and repair weakened, damaged, or brittle strands. You can find options that moisturize parched hair, smooth frizz, add shine, strengthen, detangle, fortify—you name it. Some are supposed to be left in, and others are meant to be rinsed out after a few minutes. With the overnight variety, you let the product do its thing for several hours while you get your beauty sleep.
Scroll on to check out our picks for the best overnight hair masks.
Best Overall: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector
Gives long-lasting results
Could be more moisturizing
Who else recommends it? Marie Claire, Allure, and Insider all picked the Living Proof Night Cap Overnight Perfector.
What do buyers say? 100+ Ulta reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Living Proof really has its chemistry down, and it shows. Night Cap Overnight Perfector is a straightforward hair mask that delivers on its promises, thanks to the brand's patented and somewhat mysterious "Healthy Hair Molecule," plus an amino acid blend.
It works to smooth your hair cuticles, then seals them closed to keep your hair looking healthy, soft, supple, and more manageable through your next five shampoos. What's more, the formula fortifies your hair to help it stand up to styling damage.
Active Ingredients: Healthy Hair Molecule, amino acids, time-release conditioners | Size: 4.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Budget: Aveeno Oat Milk Blend Overnight Oats Hair Mask
Hydrates without feeling too heavy
Helps detangle hair
You don't have to shell out a lot of cash to have great hair. Aveeno's cleverly named Overnight Oats is infused with—you guessed it—oats and almond milk. This affordable hair mask delivers lightweight moisture, softer strands, and healthier-looking hair.
Active Ingredients: Oats, almond milk | Size: 8.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Pantene Pro-V Overnight Restoring Serum
Tamps down frizz
A little goes a long way
Could be more moisturizing
What does it take to achieve the shiny, cascading hair you see on Pantene commercials? While we can't make any promises, the brand's Overnight Restoring Serum is definitely a step in the right direction. As you dream of good hair days, the restorative formula repairs damage and nourishes your hair.
Active Ingredients: Vitamin E-rich castor oil | Size: 3.2 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Strengthening: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave-In Spray Hair Mask
Won't weigh down hair
Hair feels moisturized
Packaging could be improved
"For an overnight mask, I love the Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Mask," New York-based hairstylist Sky Kim of Serge Normant at John Frieda tells Byrdie. "It's a clean product and smells great. Plus, it's not too heavy, so it works for all hair types, including fine hair, and really brings the moisture!"
Active Ingredients: Argan oil, algae extract, panthenol, biotin | Size: 4.0 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Split Ends: Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque
Includes Tangle Tamer comb
Tamps down frizz
Can weigh hair down if used too often
Split ends got you down? Reach for Coco & Eve Like a Virgin. This cheekily named, award-winning hair mask works overtime to condition, hydrate, and mend, all while enhancing texture and helping to prevent frizz and flyaways.
Active Ingredients: Coconut, fig and shea butter, linseed, and argan oil | Size: 7.2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Reparative: Bumble and Bumble Bb. While You Sleep Overnight Damage Repair Masque
Makes hair feel silky
Smooths and softens hair
A little goes a long way
Not the best value
Infused with evening primrose and other fortifying ingredients, Bumble and Bumble's While You Sleep Masque is specially formulated to address brittle, damaged hair as you doze. Want proof? This leave-in mask was shown to reduce breakage by nearly 80 percent in a clinical trial.
Active Ingredients: Evening primrose oil, camellia oil | Size: 6.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Curly Hair: Curlsmith Intense Treatment Serum
Made with organic ingredients
A little sticky
For our curly-haired friends, we recommend Curlsmith Intense Treatment Serum. This multi-use balm is chock full of nourishing oils and earth-derived butters that give coils the shine, bounce, and lusciousness they crave.
Active Ingredients: Apricot kernel, aloe vera, macadamia, oats, rosemary | Size: 4.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Natural Hair: Klorane Nourishing & Repairing 3-in-1 Mask with Organic Cupuacu Butter
Made with organic ingredients
Can be used as a leave-in or rinse-out
This plant-based hair mask from Klorane is ideal for natural hair. Formulated with organic cupuacu butter, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil, it nourishes and repairs brittle hair while helping it retain moisture.
Active Ingredients: Organic cupuacu butter | Size: 5.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Nourishing: Rene Furterer KARITÉ NUTRI Overnight Care
Hydrates and nourishes
Hair looks healthier
Enriched with wheat protein, shea butter, and essential lipids, Rene Furterer Karité Nutri is the answer to weakened, over-processed strands. Your hair will drink the formula right up while you rest assured it's getting the nourishment it needs.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, cimentrio complex, wheat protein | Size: 2.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Frizz Control: Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum
Got frizz? Kérastase Magic Night Serum has you covered. This leave-in treatment draws on a blend of vitamins and iris root extract to coat each strand and smooth out the follicles, keeping flyaways in check and preventing future damage.
Active Ingredients: Iris root extract, vitamin blend | Size: 3.04 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Conditioning: The Mane Choice Prickly Pear Paradise Dry Overnight Mask
A little heavy
Prickly Pear Paradise boasts a superfood blend of sea kelp, coconut oil, aloe vera, and antioxidants to condition overworked hair. Apply it to your dry, unwashed hair, then cover with a plastic cap, and let it do its thing for up to 12 hours.
Active Ingredients: Amino acids, sea kelp, aloe vera | Size: 12.0 ounces | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Clean: Pacifica Moon Cloud Overnight Repair Mask
Clean beauty stans will appreciate Pacifica's Overnight Repair Mask. Infused with hemp and vegan collagen (and without any silicone, mineral oil, or synthetic preservatives), Moon Cloud deep conditions and strengthens your hair while you sleep. Oh, and did we mention it smells like oranges and vanilla beans?
Active Ingredients: Hemp and vegan collagen | Size: 8.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Dry: IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond Building Dry Hair Mask
Easy to use
Smooths and strengthens hair
Could be more moisturizing
You're probably familiar with dry shampoo, but what do you know about dry hair masks? Allow us to introduce you to IGK Antisocial, the first of its kind to deliver a bond-building, cuticle-smoothing, dry overnight formula that strengthens tired hair from the inside out.
Active Ingredients: Leave In Bond Building Technology, vegan silk proteins | Size: 5.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
If we could only recommend one overnight hair mask, we'd definitely go with Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector (view at Sephora). This easy-to-use, highly effective treatment smooths and seals hair cuticles and creates supple, healthier-looking hair for up to five washes. But if you want something a little more affordable, you can't go wrong with Pantene Pro-V Overnight Restoring Serum (view at Amazon).
What to Look For in an Overnight Hair Mask
With so many hair masks on the market, you'll want to pay attention to the intended use when shopping around. Many options are meant to be rinsed out after a few minutes, but overnight masks are formulated to work for several hours.
Unlike rinse-out treatments and leave-in conditioners, an overnight hair mask won't typically offer a styled look. You can usually expect the formula to be thick, goopy, or oily, which may make your hair look temporarily greasy or heavy. When you wake up in the morning, you can wash it out and style it as usual.
One of the most important things to look for when browsing overnight hair masks is the ingredients list. While there isn't one specific ingredient that makes a good formula, several are known to condition, fortify, repair, smooth, and nourish.
Look out for products containing natural butters and oils, like shea, cupuacu, coconut, avocado, sunflower, argon, or castor, as these will nourish and moisturize your hair. Wheat protein, amino acids, sea kelp, algae extract, and other ocean-derived ingredients help repair and strengthen. Ingredients like iris root extract, collagen, and aloe vera promote elasticity while smoothing the hair follicles.
Anytime you're leaving an intensive treatment on for several hours—whether it's a haircare or skincare product—you'll want to carefully read the instructions. Most are relatively straightforward and won't harm your hair if you leave them on longer than directed.
However, some call for using a plastic cap to allow the product to penetrate (while keeping it off your pillowcase), and others will have a more absorbent, less goopy finish. In any case, you'll also want to ensure that when you wake up in the morning, you're washing or rinsing it out as directed—at least the first time to see how your hair responds.
Can you leave any hair mask on overnight?
Hair masks that don’t specifically say they can be used overnight should not be used in that way. For one thing, a regular hair mask that isn’t designed for overnight use might contain heavy ingredients, like strong oils, that don’t allow your hair to breathe if left on for longer than they’re supposed to be, which isn’t good for it. Another reason is that some masks contain protein, and while you do want to add some amount of protein to your hair occasionally, adding too much of it can cause breakage.
Should I wash my hair before applying an overnight hair mask?
Yes, you should wash your hair before applying an overnight hair mask. Not washing your hair will cause your hair cuticles to stay closed, whereas washing your hair opens the cuticle, allowing the hair mask to absorb into the hair shaft. If you have no products in your hair and you don’t normally use shampoo, you can consider washing your hair with water only before applying your mask. That method should be used only by people whose hair errs on the dry side, not for anyone with oily hair.
Which is better, an overnight hair mask or conditioner?
Hair masks and conditioners are two different products with two different purposes, so neither is necessarily better than the other. A hair conditioner is used every time after you wash your hair, and most people wash their hair a few times a week. On the other hand, an overnight hair mask is used once a week or once a month. Think of an overnight hair mask as something occasional, whereas conditioner is for frequent use.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is well-versed in intensive hair treatments. Having used her fair share of hot hair tools over the years, she's no stranger to reparative solutions, including deep conditioners and other leave-in formulas. You can scope out more of Theresa's writing on The Spruce, MyDomaine, and Verywell Fit.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough overnight hair masks from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
10 Overnight Hair Masks That'll Make You Believe In Miracles. Marie Claire. https://www.marieclaire.com/beauty/hair/g4935/best-overnight-hair-masks/
5 Must-Try Overnight Hair Treatments. Allure. https://www.allure.com/gallery/5-must-try-overnight-hair-treatments
The best hair masks. Insider. https://www.insider.com/guides/beauty/best-hair-mask