When your hair is severely dehydrated, dry, and damaged, a simple hair conditioner may not be enough to replenish the lost moisture and nutrients. Your strands might need some extra care to nourish them back to health. This is where you start to consider adding a hair mask to your regular hair care routine, and while you’ve no doubt heard of hair masks before you may not fully understand how they work, why you might need them, and how to use them in the right way. So today we’re answering some of the most commonly asked hair mask questions as well as giving you an in-depth tutorial of how to use them properly for healthy hair.
What’s The Difference Between Conditioner And A Hair Mask?
To help bring this into focus, let’s talk about your face for a moment. When your face is a little dry you put a little moisturizing facial lotion on it. When your face is extremely dry you reach for a moisturizing facial mask to get that healing moisture to the deeper layers of your skin. Well, the conditioner is like the lotion. It’s a lighter formula that you apply on a regular basis to give your strands normal levels of moisturization. A hair mask is like a facial mask. It contains higher concentrations of nutrients and moisturizers and stays on longer to penetrate to a deeper level within the hair shaft.
Should Hair Masks Be Applied to Wet Or Dry Hair?
The answer to this depends on the type of mask that you’re using. Many hair masks are water-based. Those you should apply to clean, damp hair. When hair is damp it is more porous and can better absorb the nutrients from the mask. If you are using an oil-based mask, those should be applied to dry hair. Since oil and water don’t mix the mask won’t be able to penetrate as well if your hair is already saturated with water.
Should You Shampoo Before Or After Applying A Hair Mask?
This can also depend on the type of hair mask that you’re using, and for the same reasons. However, it is best to apply the mask to clean hair that is free of product residue or buildup. So you can shampoo immediately before applying a water-based mask. If you’re applying an oil-based mask and your hair is fairly clean and free of buildup you can skip the shampoo. If it really needs shampoo do so and allow it to dry before using the mask.
How To Apply A Hair Mask Correctly
- Determine your hair’s needs first. You need to fully assess your strands to determine what issues need to be addressed so that you can choose the right hair mask to meet your hair’s needs. Your stylist can help you with this.
- Deep clean your tresses. One common mistake is applying a hair mask to oily or dirty hair. The dirt and oils block the absorption of the mask, so always start with clean hair. Read the instructions on your mask to determine whether to shampoo immediately before the application or whether you should shampoo a day in advance. Use a clarifying shampoo to make sure your hair is free of buildup.
- Completely saturate your hair. Another common mistake is not using enough of the product. Every single hair should be thoroughly coated with the hair mask from the scalp to the tips. You can use a wide-toothed comb to help you work the mask through your strands for even coverage.
- Set a timer. The number one reason that masks fail to work is that they aren’t left on long enough. Conditioners only need a couple of minutes to do their job, but masks need to sit on your hair for anywhere from five all the way up to twenty minutes or longer. Follow the instructions on your particular hair mask and set a time so that you’re not guessing and rushing the process. On the other hand, leaving it on too long could leave your tresses looking limp and greasy.
- Rinse with cool water. Hot water opens the cuticle, and the goal here is to smooth the cuticle and lock in all the moisture and nutrients that you just infused into your strands. So keep your rinse water cool to lukewarm.
If you’re finding your hair in need of a little TLC you need to visit the hair care experts at Martino Cartier Salon. We will assess the condition of your hair and recommend treatments and products to nourish your strands back to a state of health and beauty and give you a gorgeous new cut to get you well on your way. Give us a call at 856.582.6600, book an appointment online, or use our free mobile app available from iTunes or Google Play to schedule right from your phone. We look forward to serving you at 304 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd., Sewell, NJ.