Hair & Makeup

Are you using your hair mask correctly?

Coarse, dry hair? Or just lacking in oomph? When it comes to sorting out unruly lengths and achieving a super-polished finish, hydration is everything. EVIE LEATHAM explains how to pick the best masks for your hair type, plus how and when to use them

Backstage at J.W.Anderson FW17

The search for the ultimate hydrating mask is as relevant for our hair as it is for our skin. While conditioners will always have their place, it’s the hair mask that results in the sleek ‘aristo’ hair we want, regardless of trends – though FW17 shows such as J.W.Anderson, Mary Katrantzou and Acne Studios offer plenty of inspiration.

According to Steve Shiel, Scientific Director at L’Oréal UK, the mistake that most people make is buying masks “based on hair type – oily, dry, processed – rather than choosing them based on the texture you want to treat, for example fine, coarse or curly”. The texture of your hair (not whether it’s colored or not) has the most bearing on the amount of hydration it will need.

Masks are best for thick but fine hair, whereas oil treatments are more effective at hydrating coarser hair

“I find that masks are best for thick but fine hair that simply needs moisture, whereas oil treatments are more effective at hydrating coarser hair,” says super-stylist Sam McKnight. He warns against applying any treatment too near the roots where you typically want volume: “Restrict it to the hair that is left loose when you pull your hair back into a high ponytail, then braid or wind your hair up into a bun and leave it.”

If you have fine hair, whether there is lots of it or not, reverse your technique. Apply a mask on damp hair first, then shampoo to nourish without deflating, as “rinsing with water alone cannot remove the residue that leaves it limp,” says Shiel. Like all good treatments, a mask shouldn’t be a one-off. Apply once or twice a week for two weeks before a big event – the more damaged your hair, the more transformative it will be.


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