“I tried the $12 hair mask and miracle shot combo designed for damaged hair”

Because my split ends were screaming for help

Digital Beauty Editor / June 16 2021

When you look up ‘damaged hair’ in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure there’s a picture of me. I doubt it’s a flattering one, either – it’s probably split ends and frizz galore, because, well, damaged hair. So, as you’d safely assume, any mask that’s designed to repair damage from the inside out (while also helping to protect from future damage, which in my case will definitely occur) is right up my alley.

The thing is, though, that I’ve tried about a billion. Some with impressive results and some with lacklustre ones, and so I tend to sit on the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ side of the fence when it comes to new treatment formulas.

The latest to land on my desk, and consequently my shower shelf? Pantene’s Collagen Miracle Mask, accompanied by the brand’s Intense Collagen Miracle Shots; concentrated treatment ampoules that come shaped like adorably mini shampoo bottles. Cute points count, okay?

Wondering what they do (and what the difference is)? Let me shed some light. Both options are designed to repair signs of damage and leave strands significantly stronger, shinier and as I like to say, swishier (my personal barometer of hair mask success). The contrast between the two lies in the application, AKA where you put it and for how long you leave it in.

The mask is made to be used weekly, applied after shampoo and conditioner, and left for a full five minutes (or a round of “Bohemian Rhapsody”) before being rinsed out. The miracle shot ampoules are perfect for working through hair once you’re done with shampoo and conditioner, too, but you’ll want to massage them in from mid-lengths to ends only, for about a minute. Got it? Good. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes.

1. They both smell incredible

Let me start off by saying I wish I could bathe in the fragrance gracing these guys – both showers were true aromatic experiences, and the formulas feel a whole lot more luxurious than the $11.99 price tags might suggest. I can’t put my finger on quite what the scent is – it’s just a fresh, fruity but creamy fragrance that screams ‘yes, I just washed my hair” the way we all like to.

2. The mask produces seriously smooth results

I started off with the Pantene Collagen Miracle Mask. Besides the delight of the smell, all I could think about was the fact that it felt like frosting (in like, the best way possible) – it was so rich, smooth and creamy, and the way it was gliding over my hair offered a true natural high.

If I’m honest, I’d gotten into the shower a little peeved, considering the timing of the test meant I had to wash a bouncy blow-dry down the sink before its time (ah, beauty editors, we deserve so much sympathy, I know), but a few minutes into the sensory treat the shower became, all was forgiven. But while I may not personally possess the ability to wield a blow-dryer and brush like a wizard the way my hairdresser does, I was impressed to find that my hair felt just as soft and looked just as smooth post DIY mask session as when I’d been blessed with the schmancy salon treatment. Pretty impressive, huh?

Pantene Intense Collagen Miracle Mask

I also particularly enjoy a mask that doesn’t specifically tell me not to apply it to the top of my hair, because as someone always sealing (and thus singing) their baby hairs and flyaways, that area is particularly thirsty and sad. And hot damn, those very areas could have just about passed for ‘healthy’ after application. It makes sense, too, considering the formula contains vitamin B5 (a serious strand-strengthener) as well as collagen, which provides amino acid building blocks that also help to give damaged hair a particularly serious strength boost. On ya, Pantene.

I will say, though, as much as you’d be forgiven for thinking Freddie Mercury had been brought back to life watching my personal rendition of Rhapsody (I may be exaggerating, but let me have this one), an extra five minutes in the shower isn’t always a friend to my dry skin, especially in winter. Sure, I could shut the water off or turn it to cool while I wait, but um, I absolutely refuse to do so. And so, I was rather intrigued by the idea of a speedy one-minute option. Enter the Intense Collagen Miracle Shots, the subject of my next in-shower sample session.

3. The miracle shots don’t mess around

The shampooing and conditioning portion of the shower all went as planned (note: I didn’t need quite as much conditioner as normal, as it did feel softer since using the mask), and then it was time to massage in and comb the miracle shot treatment through like my hair’s life depended on it. Because it basically did. You can of course do a little longer than a minute, but I was in focused research mode, and so suffered the indignity and chill of exiting my shower to shut off my strict 60 second timer before rinsing.

Pantene Intense Collagen Miracle Shots

Though I wish I could have maintained the legit-feels-like-velvet sensation of my hair as I exited the shower (this formula is just as silky), my naturally frizzy, wavy texture did dry smoother, softer and stronger-feeling than usual – the B5/collagen combo strikes again. The usually very visible split ends took a little time off, too. Results are of course their softest and swishiest (my fave) within a 48-hour period of washing and styling, but considering my damage is generally pretty prominent immediately post-shower unless I’m working with a dynamite mask, that’s pretty damn good.

Final verdict

While I’m usually a once-a-week washer to avoid straightening more than I have to, I am tempted to switch to a twice-weekly situation to allow for both these formulas in my weekly rotation: the miracle shots on a quicker weeknight wash, and the five-minute mask for a self-care Sunday session. And while it’s too soon to completely tell in terms of long-term results or major damage repair, I will say this: if it’s instant glossy, manageable, smooth gratification after one application you’re in search of, these are your guys.

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