Take it from someone who knows: A hair mishap is no joke. I've already discussed my own experience at length (to be quick, virtually half of my hair fell out—like poof, bye!—after an unlucky and careless dye job), so I won't go there. It's still a tender point, and because of that, it's hard for me to extricate myself once I reach full-on rant mode. Thus, I'll spare you.
The thing is, I'm far from alone, and many of us, at some point in our lives, will likely fall victim to some kind of hair misfortune. And though some may be more significant than others or caused by different things (be it a disease like cancer or something as senseless as an uneducated colorist), it doesn't take away from the impact hair loss or even an unwanted length change can have on our self-esteem.
Not surprisingly, celebrities, with the repeated insult of color and styling their strands are subjected to, are some of the most susceptible. Have you ever wondered why so many of them chop off their hair? Hint: It's not always for the sake of a style statement. And most recently, Drew Barrymore took to Instagram (where she's recently been dishing up some real-talk beauty advice) to share her own personal experience with a blonde job gone awry. Keep reading for her experience and the one product she swears magically transformed her dry, dehydrated strands.
"Ok when you get older, bleach is hard on the hair!" Barrymore explained to her fans via her Instagram. "I wanted to lighten up! But what happened was my hair just didn’t respond well this time. A few months ago, I lightened my hair and it just looked dead! I was sad. Don't I look sad? This picture is sad! I wanted to do something to feel more attractive to myself and it totally backfired. Sometimes when you try to improve yourself and your confidence, it can go wrong, and then you feel worse." So relatable, right? Right.
She continued, "Haven't we all had a haircut or a bad eyebrow tweeze or bad hair color and you just want to run home and get in your time machine and have a do-over? We know it will just take a little time before things slip back into the comfort zone, but there is also action you can take!"
So what was Barrymore's solution? Per a recommendation from her go-to celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham, she reached for the Olaplex system (a three-stage line which is partly done in-salon and partly done at-home).
"Within three weeks @olaplex saved me! 20 minutes on clean wet hair! And so quickly my hair is remarkably and clearly better. It's curling and actually bouncing and looking like hair rather than coughed up bird feathers," the actress confirmed.
8 Best Hair Masks and Treatments to Try
So while the Byrdie team is all about Olaplex (senior editor Hallie Gould and I have both been known to wear "Olaplex buns" to work—all in the name of beauty research, of course), what better opportunity to gather together even more hair masks which have saved and improved my strands over the years? Keep scrolling for the eight best hair masks and treatments I personally credit for transforming my own parched strands. (I think Barrymore would definitely approve.)
1. Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3
This is the only step within the three-part Olaplex system you can do at home. (The first two need to be done in-house at the salon.) Simply apply the formula judiciously to wet hair, leave on for a couple of hours, and then rinse and shampoo as normal.
2. It's a 10 Miracle Hair Mask
This is the first mask I ever fell in love with and the first mask to truly save my strands immediately after my major bleaching disaster (combined with Olaplex, of course). If I was going to be showering in the morning, I would apply and braid it into my dry hair, sleep on it, and then wash it out the following day. It makes your hair feel like silk and made a huge difference in the health of my hair.
3. Davines Nourishing Hair Building Pak
This is my current go-to hair mask when my strands are feeling lifeless, damaged, and weak. That being said, this is heavy-hitting stuff, and I wouldn't recommend using it more than once or twice a month for 10 minutes tops. I'll apply it to wet hair post-shampoo, comb it through with a wide-tooth comb so it's evenly distributed, and then rinse out after about 10 minutes as normal (no additional conditioner is required).
4. Paul Mitchell Marula Oil Rare Oil Treatment
This is a recent discovery I've been using as a weekly treatment every night before I wash my hair. (Which, to be honest, is only about twice per week.) It's super moisturizing, and I attribute an increase in shine and a decrease in split ends to it. I like to dab it on the fragile baby hairs around my hairline and to my ends to keep them from getting too thirsty and brittle.
5. David Mallet Mask No.1
Although it's an investment, this mask is unequivocally dreamy. (Recently, I misplaced it during a move, and I'm still distraught.) If you're looking for glossy shine, consider this a top recommendation.
6. Verb Hydrating Mask
Everyone on Team Byrdie knows I have a deep-seated obsession with anything from Verb. And after test-driving this hydration-packed mask almost a year ago, I'm still infatuated. It's magically moisturizing without leaving any excess residue (hate that) or weighing down my hair. Plus, even though I'm really obsessed with my beloved detangler, I don't really need it after using this reparative hair mask. It literally makes your hair as smooth as butter.
7. L'Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Absolut Repair Lipidium Mask
This is another more intense mask I've had in my arsenal for a while. To be honest, I go through phases of using it more than others, but when I do use it, I notice significantly less breakage and significantly more shine. Win-win.
8. Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask
Last but not least, this was my savior during college and a few years post–bleach apocalypse. The smell is to die for, and its hydrating perks are unparalleled. I did stop using after I realized it was probably a little too heavy of a formula for my fine texture, but for those with lots of hair or curls, this is a great option for restoring strands to peak condition.
Next up: These are the only hair oils you should use if you have blonde hair—period.