These 10 hair masks have our tick of approval
We review our favourite masks of all time
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / August 21 2018
You shampoo your hair to keep it clean. You use conditioner for that soft touch and lustrous shine. But do you use a hair mask? Skipping this vital once-a-week step could be the reason your hair hasn’t reached its full potential.
It’s simple really: Healthy hair equals manageable, soft, glossy, well-behaved…the list goes on…hair. And what’s going to give you healthy hair? Well, besides taking good care of your tresses daily (think protecting hair from heat damage, using quality hair tools that won’t burn your strands, not brushing your hair when it’s wet), hair masks can help A LOT. It’s what they’ve been designed to do, after all.
What hair masks do
Masks are the serums of the haircare world. They’re like conditioners on steroids. Their role is to repair hair and keep it healthy. In their formulas you’ll find more active and extra conditioning ingredients that will give you more intense results than your conditioner.
How to choose a hair mask
Hair masks (also referred to as a hair masque) have a lot of us treading with caution, mostly because we’ve all used the wrong mask for our hair type at one point or another, and suffered from greasy and lifeless strands as a result. To make the right choice, keep these tips in mind:
Oily hair: Seek out a mask with purifying ingredients like clay, and use a clarifying shampoo regularly to remove oil build-up from your roots.
Fine hair: What you need is a lightweight formula, used sparingly.
Dry hair: Oil-infused hair masks are your friend.
Top 10 hair masks
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to hair masks, but they’re definitely not all created equal. These are our picks for the best hair treatment masks that will please just about anyone.
#10 / L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Clay Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask
Best suited for: Oily hair
What’s so good about it: Hair masks can be tricky territory for oily hair, because all those nourishing ingredients they’re packed with meshed with already-greasy strands just adds up to even more oily build-up. What you need is a balancing formula that absorbs your excess oils while still replenishing strands with the good stuff. This affordable hair mask utilises the purifying abilities of green, blue and white clay, while sunflower oil, avocado oil and aloe vera get to work on hydrating hair for 72 hours.
The review: “What I was left with was smooth, shiny, light and soft as silk strands. My scalp and roots really were less oily and lank than usual which lasted until my next hair wash, and the lengths were so soft, luscious and full.” Jordana, SUPER/crew member
#9 / Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask
Best suited for: Medium to thick, dry hair
What’s so good about it: Let’s start with the fact that this mask only needs to be left on for five minutes. Totally doable. Enriched with argan oil, this creamy mask intensely hydrates while improving hair’s elasticity and texture – meaning your mane will be stronger, smoother and shinier. A must-try for frizzy hair that’s on the thicker side.
The review: “I’ve been using this mask for a while now and haven’t switched. My hair tends to get quite dry, dehydrated and frizzy because I use a heap of heating tools on the regular. I use this at least once a week in the shower and leave it in for about five minutes. It’s super nourishing and hydrating and always leaves my hair looking healthier, shinier and feeling uber soft.” Erin Docherty, Beauty Crew Contributor
#8 / Kevin.Murphy Angel.Masque
Best suited for: Fine, dry and coloured hair
What’s so good about it: If you want to tick all the boxes – moisturising, restorative, repairing and strengthening – in one, this is your dream cream. Plus, celebrity hairstylist Kevin Murphy has added hair thickening benefits to his hair mask, too. Special mention goes to the addition of tripeptides in the formula, which attach to the hair cuticle and bond with chemically-treated hair to undo the damaging toll colouring your hair has on your strands.
The review: “I absolutely adore the Angel.Masque from Kevin Murphy. It’s specifically designed for fine, dry or coloured hair, which are my three hair concerns in one hit! It makes my hair feel very hydrated, and much thicker after use. I often use it as a weekend treat to prep my hair and add the look and feel of some extra volume before a night out. As a bonus, it smells absolutely delicious!” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#7 / Kérastase Resistane Masque Extentioniste
Best suited for: Damaged, brittle hair
What’s so good about it: Kérastase is the king of hair masks. We’re not sure we’ve ever met one we didn’t love. So choosing among the pick of the bunch was tough. The reason we chose the Resistane Masque Extentioniste is because it’s a hair growth mask, so those seeking long hair, this one’s for you. As well as working to strengthen slow-growing hair and stimulating a healthy scalp environment to encourage growth, it works wonders on strands that just need some general TLC to restore shine and softness. Our Beauty Editor, Iantha, has been using it as part of the in-salon Kérastase Extentioniste Protocole treatment - check out her tried and tested review.
The review: “Gosh damn my hair loved this mask! Balayage left me with frizzy ends & winter made it worse but a few applications of Kerastase Resistance Masque has left me with a silken, flippy ponytail.” Jodie, Beauty Crew member
#6 / L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Mask
Best suited for: Dry hair and very dry hair
What’s so good about it: This is the highest-rated hair mask on our site (it’s got a five-star rating), and we have to concur with all the rave reviews our members have posted. The formula’s six flower oils all work together to give you gorgeous, glossy hair with every use: rose oil helps regenerate hair, lotus oil softens, chamomile oil soothes, tiara oil works to purify, flax oil helps illuminate, and sunflower oil has wonderful antioxidant properties.
The review: “I have been applying this mask onto my hair weekly or sometimes fortnightly and have noticed that my hair is softer, shinier and has a good gloss to it. My hair is also more manageable and easier to style after using this mask as part of my regular haircare routine. It keeps my hair feeling soft, so much that I am always touching my hair to feel how soft it is! I highly recommend this affordable hair mask for anyone who wants soft hair and wants to nourish and keep their hair looking radiant!” Sarrah, SUPER/Crew member
#5 / O&M Seven Day Miracle Moisture Masque
Best suited for: Damaged hair
What’s so good about it: With a name like ‘Seven Day Miracle’, this hair mask has a lot to live up to. But thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. The blend of macadamia seed oil and cold-pressed certified organic Australian argan oil are an ultra-moisturising treat for damaged hair. And that lingering scent of vanilla bean? It makes us weak at the knees.
The review: “This stuff smells absolutely amazing and really did add noticeable moisture to my hair. Straight away after the first application my hair felt softer and less brittle, plus it was easy to just smooth a small amount through my hair after showering. Will definitely repurchase.” Laura, Sephora Australia customer
#4 / Ouai Treatment Masque
Best suited for: Damaged hair and frequent flyers
What’s so good about it: The top selling point would have to be the hair genius who created the product – Jen Atkin. She’s the go-to hairstylist for all the leading ladies in Hollywood, including Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian and her sisters, Jessica Alba…we could be here all day. And she makes really awesome, fuss-free hair products, like this mask. Cleverly portioned into single-use sachets, the formula focuses on repairing damage and giving you ultra-soft strands to run your fingers through.
The review: “My hair is addicted to this stuff. Gives silky, baby hair results as promised. Have already gone through 3 boxes. I've practically broken up with regular, basic conditioner. For medium hair you can get away with using half a packet and still get great results.” Lizzie, Sephora Australia customer
#3 / Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care in Baby Blond
Best suited for: Blondes – coloured, bleached, highlighted and natural blondes
What’s so good about it: Any blonde is well-versed in the benefits of using a purple shampoo to rid hair of warm undertones and keep colour looking vibrant. This is a purple mask that supports your toning shampoo, and goes the extra mile to nourish colour-treated strands and bring back radiance.
The review: “Fact: Having artificial blonde hair can be seriously difficult to maintain. However, one product that has made me reconsider that statement is Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care in Baby Blond. The reason why I love using it is because it’s a multitasker and really hard-working: it has a purple tint in its formula to banish brassiness and contains nourishing butters and oils to soften and improve manageability. Plus, it’s super concentrated, so you only need a tiny dollop of it at a time." Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew's Beauty Editor
#2 / Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque
Best suited for: Tired hair that has been damaged by styling and processing
What’s so good about it: The packaging is oh-so-luxe, and so is the formula inside. Oribe’s Signature Complex of watermelon, lychee and edelweiss flower extracts is a pretty-smelling cocktail that defends hair against oxidative stress, photoageing and the deterioration of natural keratin. A bio-restorative complex is also at play to fortify the cuticle from the inside out and stimulates scalp circulation. This one gets our vote for the best hair mask for damaged and dry hair in search of lustrous shine. It gets bonus marks for being vegan and cruelty-free, too.
The review: “Seriously I couldn’t compare this mask with anything else. It is fantastic!” Claudia, Adore Beauty customer
#1 / Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector
Best suited for: Damaged and compromised hair, especially coloured hair
What’s so good about it: Taking out the spot for the best hair mask, Olaplex’s No. 3 Treatment would have to be one of the most talked-about products for hair. And it’s caught the attention – and praise – of many celebs, including Kim Kardashian, who loves leaving it in overnight for maximum nourishment. “When your hair is really damaged, if you sleep in that, it really works. I notice a huge difference,” Kim shared on her website. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is also a big fan: “One of the products that I've recently discovered, which I can't stop raving about, is Olaplex, which is fantastic for colored hair and any breakage or damage that you might have in your hair. I use that about once a week for a deep treatment and I'll use it before I go get my hair colored as well,” she revealed to W magazine.
Also worth mentioning is what makes this treatment so good. And that would have to be the way its repairing formula finds and reconnects the broken bonds that make up the protein structure of hair, to deliver strands that are sleek, shiny and strengthened.
The review: “I’m not the best at hair masking, and that’s likely due to the fact that I’m not super into the ‘getting out of the shower, masking for half an hour, getting back into the shower to rinse’ scenario. Then I discovered Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 is a pre-wash mask and I’ve since become pretty diligent with the extra haircare step. Besides the fact that I like that it’s been formulated to care for my bleached hair that’s subjected to heat styling daily, I love how soft and silky it leaves my hair – and the scent is pretty great, too. An absolute winner if you’re looking to up your haircare routine without adding extra showers into the mix!” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
Want to try a DIY hair mask? Coconut oil is great at nourishing strands, or try this avocado hair mask that Kourtney Kardashian credits for her shiny hair or Kendall Jenner's banana-infused hair mask recipe.
What's your all-time favourite hair mask? Share with us your thoughts on the best hair mask treatment below.
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.