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Hair masks for damaged hair that really make a difference

October 7th 2020 / Melanie Macleod / 0 comment


Hair looking straggly rather than swishy? Treat your locks to these hair masks to breathe new life into dull, brittle or bleached hair

There's nothing like a hair mask to breathe life back into locks that are looking a little worse for wear, especially if you haven't been for a trim for a while. It seems like hair masks are on our minds more so than ever at the moment, with a 120 per cent rise in Google searches for ‘hair mask for damaged hair’ in the last seven days. “During the winter months, the condition of our hair can change. You often find that a change in the weather, turning the heating on and using more heat tools – due to not wanting to go out with wet hair – can have an effect on the condition of our hair. This can cause hair to dry out and in result can become brittle," says Redken and Pureology senior educator Jimmy Green.

If you're experiencing dry, brittle or unwanted frizzy hair, a specialist hydrating hair mask or a repairing hair mask (or hair masque, if you want to be fancy) is a must-do once or twice a week. (By the by, for smoothing and sealing split ends we recommend Virtue's Perfect Ending Split End Serum which uses a keratin protein identical to the one in hair to seal broken ends and prevent further fraying).

Which hair mask will refresh, recharge and rehydrate your locks back to shampoo ad swishiness? These are the picks we've tested and rated.

Best mask for dry, brittle, lifeless hair

John Frieda Hydrate and Recharge Deep Soak Masque, £6.99


John Frieda created the Hydrate and Recharge range (there's a shampoo and conditioner too) in response to real women’s brittle hair woes, pumping it full of ingredients such as monoi oil (though this isn't heavy or oily) to help restore the hair's lipid barrier. GTG's editorial director Victoria is a big fan of this, saying that it added movability to her dehydrated, brittle hair. It also didn't weight down her fine curls.

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Best hair mask for thick hair

Living Proof No Frizz Intense Moisture Mask, £33 for 200ml


I've always has Living Proof's Restore Mask Treatment in my hair regime but this month sees the launch of three new masks from our favourite silicone free haircare brand. This particular mask tames frizzy hair and strengthens your strands by boosting the protective layer on each hair, preventing pollution from seeping in and damaging as well as stopping humidity in its tracks. After just one use this reportedly improves breakage by 70 per cent. It's an intense mask so perfect for thick hair that needs maintenace. The other two new masks are the Restore Repair Mask, £33, for dry and damaged hair and the Weightless Mask, for soft and shiny manageable hair, great for adding movement into locks.

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Best hair mask for dry blonde or bleached hair

Kérastase Blond Absolu Masque Ultra Violet Treatment, £29.10 for 200ml


Last summer I went much, much blonder than my natural colour and this was the only mask I trusted to keep my salon-treated hair shiny and brassiness-free. It leaves purple mess ALL over the shower (and in the ears) but when I used it weekly, it kept my blonde light and shiny and protected against the dullness caused by pollution. Ingredients include hyaluronic acid and edelweiss flower to deliver soothing moisture, rebuilding weak hair fibres and infusing strands with a healthy, salon-worthy gloss.

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Best hair conditioning mask for fine hair

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, £8.50 for 30ml


Those with fine hair sometimes shy away from hair masks, thinking that they'll be too heavy but that is far from the truth with this mask. This natural blend restores hydration to dry, brittle hair with 98 per cent natural, nourishing ingredients, such as avocado oil, sweet almond oil, lemon oil and biotin. It's also free from parabens, sulfates and silicones.

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Best hair masks for afro hair

Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque, £7.99 for 400g


You can almost feel your hair breathing a sigh of relief when you apply this thick product through the lengths - it penetrates deep into the hair shaft to give a new lease of life to damaged, overprocessed hair thanks to the pure shea butter formulation.

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Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque, £11.04 for 340g


Made with invigorating peppermint and without sulphates and parabens this is godsend for processed hair. It repair and restores with castor oil and keratin, while shea butter and apple cider vinegar work to add mirror-worthy shine.

MORE GLOSS: How to use Castor Oil for hair and eyelash growth

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Dizziak Deep Conditioner, £22 for 200ml


Beauty journalist Loretta De Feo created Dizziak to “push multicultural hair products into the 21st century” and beauty editors have gone wild for this mask. The ingredients list includes inca inchi, babassu and argan oils for smoothing, quinoa for protein and aloe vera for hydration making quite the powerful combination. Just five minutes with this is enough for a hit of hydration, or leave on for thirty mins to really tackle the frazzled lengths of your hair.

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Best leave-in hair mask


Rahua Leave-In Treatment Light, £42 for 60ml

Designed for fine, delicate hair, this lightweight anti-frizz mask is a new take on the original Rahua Leave-In treatment which protects against heat damage to prevent breakage and help hair grow longer. This new mask is a weightless formula promising healthy, bouncy hair with enviable shine thanks to hand-harvested ingredients from the Amazon rainforest (rahua oil and shea butter to name two). It’s scented with eucalyptus and lavender for an uplifting waft everytime you swish you hair.

Buy it now

Best organic hair mask for dry hair

Innersense Beauty Hydrating Hair Masque, £28 for 118ml


Organic haircare brand Innersense Beauty creates clean, vegan products from ethically sourced and harvested ingredients. The mask revitalises dry hair, helping it regain softness and shine with ingredients including shea butter, monoi oil, flaxseed and coconut oil. Leave on for 10 minutes for quick hydration hit or sleep with it in for an intense treatment.

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Best rich repairing hair mask

Fable and Mane Holiroots Mask, £24 for 237ml


Fable and Mane's four product range is inspired by centuries-old beauty rituals and fables from India, dreamt up by sibling duo Akash Mehta, (former digital director for Dior) and Nikita Mehta, who wanted to bring ayurvedic wisdom to western beauty. It's free from silicone, parabens and sulphates, with the ingredients list including coconut milk for smoothing and shining and banana for strength and fullness of hair.

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Best hair mask for hair growth

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment, £9.99 for 200ml


Experts say that there's no way a topical treatment can make your hair grow, but I will forever attribute using this mask to my hair growing longer than it ever did. The blurb for this pink pot says that the "pro-growth complex helps fertilise the follicles and help hair reach its maximum potential length" and that the soothing formulation reduces irritation and moisturises the scalp and we all know a happy scalp leads to happy hair...

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Best overnight hair mask for dull hair

Grow Gorgeous Balance Shine-Enhancing Overnight Mask, £25 for 200ml


Of course, any hair mask can be left on overnight, but this one was specifically designed to be slept in. It deeply conditions your hair for impressive shine with ingredients you'd normally find in skincare such as with hyaluronic acid to smooth and moisturise, giving your hair a shiny finish.

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Best hair mask for dandruff and scalp health

Maria Nila Head and Hair Heal Masque, £30 for 250ml


I'm yet to find a Maria Nila product I don't like but this one is my favourite from the range. Its anti-inflammatory, calming dandruff with aloe vera and claims to stimulate hair growth thanks to vitamin E which stimulates the hair follicles to encourage growth, while aloe vera extract treats and prevents dandruff and scalp issues. Oleanolic acid helps with prevention of hair loss too, so your hair looks fuller.

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Best budget hair repair mask

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Treatment, £4.66 for 100ml


Aussie have upped their haircare game with a whole new range that took ten years to make. The new SOS collection uses the most effective Australian superfruits to give you super-hair, super-quick. Just three minutes is enough to leave your hair feeling nourished, and it has the unmistakable Aussie smell the lingers long after wash-day. Even more uplifting that the tropical scent it that 100 per cent of UK sales profits across the range are being donated (from March 11th to May 20th 2020) to support the World Wildlife Fund and local Australian wildfire charities after the devastating bushfires.

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Best hair mask for dry, frizzy and curly hair

Lee Stafford Coco Loco Coconut Mask, £4.66 200ml


This claims to turn hair from straw to silk (Rumpelstiltskin for hair, if you will), with coconut oil to repair dry, weak hair for a pocket money price. It smells like a tropical getaway and leaves hair super-swishy after you wash it out.

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John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Deep Conditioner, £5.99 for 150ml


Every time I use this, my curls are more defined, much shinier and way more manageable. It's a once-a-week treatment but with the pocket money price, there's no harm in using more than once weekly, if you ask me. It softens the hair so that brittle ends are a thing of the past, making my curls much bouncier.

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Best conditioning mask for coloured hair

Pureology Pure Hydrate Superfood Mask, £28.55 for 170g


Pureology was created specifically to keep coloured hair looking salon-fresh, with sulphate free, vegan formulas. The Hydrate shampoo and conditioner make up one of my forever ever haircare lineups (i love the minty fresh tingle it gives my scalp) and the mask is well worth trying too. It nourishes dry and damaged hair with coconut oil and avocado oil and has the brand's artifice colour complex to keep it rich and vibrant for as long as possible.

Buy now

MORE GLOSS: How to make your hair colour last longer at home

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