A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
In sixth grade, I cut my own bangs — and, after looking in the mirror, vowed to never cut my own hair again. Which means that during self-isolation, my short hair is growing way out — longer than it’s been in years. In normal times, I get chin-length chops every few months to ensure my colour-treated hair stays healthy. Now that that’s off the table and I can’t so much as get my split ends trimmed, I’ve taken to extensive, at-home, deep-conditioning treatments to make sure that as my hair lengthens, it doesn’t grow into a tangled, uncontrollable, broomlike disaster. And while trimming is the only real way to get rid of split ends, hair masks can make them look far less frizzy.
Generally, before I start a project — cleaning my apartment, say, or organising my closet — I’ll run a few pumps of one of these masks through my (dampened) hair and tie it up in a bun. I let all the conditioning and nourishing ingredients sink in so that a couple of hours later, when I shower, my hair air-dries like a dream and feels soft and healthy. Below, some of my favourite ultranourishing and hydrating masks that’ll help ensure healthy hair growth.
This mask has a great consistency — not too thick or rich, not too light. It’s formulated with rose-hip and argan oils, algae, and biotin — all of which replenish, rejuvenate, and deeply condition your hair. Run this through cleansed, wet hair, focusing on the ends, leave it in for as long as you’re willing to (at least 20 minutes), and then rinse it out. It will leave your hair looking beautiful and bouncy and feeling extremely silky and conditioned for days. I recommend using this approximately every other wash to give your hair focused, long-lasting treatment.
For anyone who prioritises paraben- and sulphate-free ingredient lists, this vegan, cruelty-free option from Rahua is incredible — and my colourist Emaly Baum’s favourite. In the past, I’d found that “clean” hair care didn’t nourish my hair as intensely as their “non-clean” counterparts, but that’s happily, absolutely not the case with this mask. This formula is loaded with sunflower oil — a vitamin E–rich ingredient that protects, restores, and hydrates — as well as ungurahua, a palm oil that helps fortify weak or damaged hair. Leave this on for ten to 15 minutes (or, again, as long as you want) and your hair will dry stronger, silkier, and more hydrated. This can be used multiple times a week and works well on just about any hair type.
My deepest sympathies to any platinum blondes whose roots are growing rapidly during quarantine. If you are going through this, I highly recommend getting your hands on this Christophe Robin mask — the absolute best for colour-treated hair, in my opinion. It comes in all different shades (baby blonde, chestnut, cool brown, golden blonde, and copper), and using it will give your hair a colour boost that’s as close to salon colour as you can humanly get from home. Magical colour-fixing properties aside, it’s one of the most wonderfully hydrating hair masks I’ve ever used. If your hair isn’t colour-treated but is dry and in desperate need of a hydration boost, Christophe Robin also offers a colour-free prickly-pear mask that’s one of my all-time favourites (after using it once, I noticed a change in the softness, shine, and texture of my hair for weeks).
I know a lot of people who want the benefits of a hair mask but cannot be bothered to wait around with a conditioner in their hair for even ten to 15 minutes. While I strongly believe in letting your mask sit and absorb into your hair for as long as possible, I have to admit I was truly impressed by just how incredible this product made my hair look (shiny, silky, and perfectly wavy) after using it for its recommended time: 60 seconds. It’s not the most conditioning mask out there — if you have super-dry, damaged, or bleached hair, this might not be for you — but it certainly makes hair look very good for a solid three to four days.
And if you don’t want to go through the fuss of a hair mask but do want to add a quick and easy boost of moisture into your hair, I really love this leave-in conditioner from Ouai. It smells like a bed of roses and does a wonderful job replenishing and conditioning your hair. You can use this daily if you have super-dry or damaged hair (I did when I was platinum) or once a week if you just want a little moisturising zhuzh every now and then. Spray it all over damp, towel-dried hair, brush through, and you’re done.
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