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There’s no shortage of factors that can leave your hair dry and dehydrated. We’re talking everything from coloring to heat styling to sun exposure to cold weather…you get the picture. Happily, no matter the cause, the antidote and solution for quenching parched strands is simple—a hydrating hair mask. When your standard conditioner just isn’t cutting it, these deeply moisturizing and reparative formulas come up huge. Use one a few times per week, letting it soak into strands for several minutes while you’re in the shower (we like to use the time to do something productive, like shave our legs or exfoliate). Then rinse to reveal a softer, smoother mane…it’s that easy.
Ahead, the best hair masks for dry hair to reach for when your tresses need some extra TLC.
Best Overall: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3
Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould swears by any and all of the Olaplex products, and this concentrated treatment is no different. Because it works by targeting and rebuilding the specific protein bonds that have been broken down in your hair, it’s an especially good pick for those whose strands are not only dry but also damaged. The instructions suggest leaving it in for at least 10 minutes, but Gould says she leaves it in for 24 hours to let it really work its magic.
Best Drugstore: SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
Nab this mask the next time you’re at the drugstore. As the name suggests, it’s rife with deeply nourishing and moisturizing shea butter, plus argan oil, avocado oil, and more. (It’s a favorite of Byrdie Social Media Editor Star Donaldson, who says it’s her secret for keeping her hair healthy.) In true drugstore fashion, it’s super affordable, and while it works great as a rinse-out mask, it can also pull double-duty as a leave-in styling cream.
Best for Thick Hair: Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Oil
While this works for all textures, it’s especially choice for thick and coarse hair (or any hair that’s really beat up, the formula is intense). The star of the show is prickly pear seed oil packed with protective antioxidants that delivers a hefty dose of hydration. It’s coupled with plant-based ceramides that further help increase strength and shine.
Best for Curly Hair: Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner
This strand-saver relies on unique Indian herbs, extracts, and oils to hydrate both the inside and outside of the hair shaft, all while locking out frizz (curls’ arch-nemesis). Still, it’s nice and light so it won’t weigh down your curls—it can even be used daily—and also helps improve their elasticity, warding off breakage in the process.
Best for Color-Treated Hair: Matrix Biolage ColorLast Deep Treatment Pack
Coloring can do a major number on your hair, particularly if you’re lightening it. A good mask is imperative for not only keeping your mane healthy and hydrated but also ensuring your hue stays shiny and vibrant. We’re partial to this option, a vegan formula that touts plant-based moisturizers and strengthening ingredients to reduce breakage by up to 70% after just one use. Bonus points for the easy-to-use, easy-to-squeeze packs that also makes this a great option for travel.
Best for Textured Hair: Pattern Beauty Intensive Conditioner
For extra-dense curls or tight and coily textures, this formula is choice. It’s the most hydrating conditioner in the line, relying on heavy-hitting hydrators such as avocado oil, shea butter, and more. Not to mention that it’s also a standout detangler and helps maintains the definition and shape of each hair strand after you rinse it out.
Best Splurge: Crown Affair The Renewal Mask
This is a shower staple for Kelly Gallagher, Byrdie Senior Social Media Manager. Yes, it’s a bit on the pricier side, but a little goes a long way, and you only need to use it once a week to reap the benefits. We’re talking smoother, shinier, silkier hair, thanks to the use of hydrating Tsubaki seed oil and yuzu fruit extract. If that’s not enough to hook you, the light and citrusy scent will be.
Best Overnight: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector
Think you don’t have the time for a hair mask? You do if you use an overnight formula, like this one. All you have to do is work this through hair (either damp or dry) before you hit the sack and let it do its thing while you snooze. A combo of amino acids, time-released conditioners, and the brand’s own Healthy Hair Molecule add shine, hydration, and manageability in just one night—and deliver results that will last all week, even throughout up to five shampoos. Also nice: You can either wash it out in the morning or leave it in and style as usual.
Best Growth-Boosting: Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback Treatment
A hair mask isn’t going to make your hair grow per se, but what it can do is keep your strands strong and hydrated so that they don’t break—and therefore grow out longer. Case in point: This option is a great pick for those seeking to grow out their curls and/or transition to natural hair, thanks to the shea butter and strengthening Centella Asiatica extract in the formula.
Best Treatment: Nexxus Keraphix Gel Treatment for Damaged Hair
Think of this as a hair mask on steroids, a targeted, at-home treatment that riffs on the in-salon version of a full-on reparative system. The protein-packed formula touts keratin, collagen, and elastin to strengthen strands and works equally well on all hair types. Plus, it’s way more affordable than a salon service.
Best Cap: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System
We appreciate both the rejuvenating formula and convenient application of this two-step system. Step one, slather on a pack of the mask, loaded with algae, panthenol, biotin, and more—basically everything you need to both hydrate and strengthen hair in one fell swoop. Then, pop on the included cap. It functions in two ways; the inner lining is infused with reparative ingredients, further amping up the effects of the mask, and it also locks in moisture and steam to open the hair cuticle so that all of the ingredients can better penetrate. It’s the perfect way to score a salon-worthy treatment while you sit on the couch.
Best Budget: L’Oréal Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm
You hear a lot about ceramides in skincare, but they can be a great ingredient for strengthening and hydrating hair, too. They’re the standout ingredient in this (crazy affordable) mask, coupled with protective proteins. It packs plenty of moisture and also helps minimize the look of split ends.