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models with chroma absolu hair mask

What Is a Hair Mask and How to Use One

Hair masks have been a staple for a few years now, but if you’re not quite sure what they are, this is your hair mask 101. Similar to a face mask for your skin, hair masks benefit your locks with nourishment and moisture to help maintain the appearance of healthy hair. Hair masks are an addition to your hair care routine that go beyond a conditioner, and you can customise your choice of mask to your hair concerns. For example, Kérastase hair masks formulated with hyaluronic acid can enhance hydration in dry locks, while antioxidants can be help protect your mane from sun damage. Read on to learn all about how to apply a hair mask to nourish and hydrate dry hair.

What is a hair mask and the benefits?

Hair masks are often touted for their conditioning properties, so it’s fair to wonder “what’s the difference between hair masks and conditioners?” Though similar, there are some key distinctions. You can think of hair masks as the middle ground between a hair treatment and a conditioner. The rich and creamy formula of a hair mask sits on your hair for longer than conditioner to provide additional care and target common hair concerns. Hair masks are designed to be swapped in once a week or so, but if you have thick locks or very dry hair they can be used more frequently. Generally, hair masks are most effective when given the time to permeate every strand with nourishment. Let’s examine how to apply a hair mask.

How to use a hair mask

You may be wondering; do you use a hair mask before or after conditioner? While we all desire hydrated hair, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing and using conditioner and hair masks in the same wash routine can result in drab hair. Hair masks are intended to be used in place of conditioner one a week or so. In terms of how to use Kérastase hair masks, our high-performance formulas all have slightly different directions for use, but an effective general approach is:
1. To prepare your hair for a mask, wash with shampoo, rinse and towel dry.
2. Avoiding the roots, gently comb the hair mask through the mid lengths and ends of your hair, to thoroughly saturate every strand.
3. Allow to sit, then rinse thoroughly. Most Kérastase hair masks yield best results when left on for 5-10 minutes. Follow product instructions for use as recommendations can differ between formulas.

hair with mask applied

How often should you use a hair mask?

The frequency with which to pamper your hair with a mask depends on your hair type and wash schedule. A common approach is to use a hair mask in place of conditioner every third wash; for some that could mean twice a week, for others, one a fortnight or so. Hair type also plays a role, and those with a thicker mane or low porosity strands might find it helpful to switch their conditioner to a hair mask more often. Once you’ve figured out a schedule that works for your mane, the key is to be consistent. 

hair with mask combed in

Can you leave a hair mask on overnight?

Hair masks are designed to help support common hair concerns, but they are not hair treatments. Hair treatments may be designed for overnight application, touching up hair hydration throughout the day, or as a pre-styling step. While you can leave a hair mask on for a few minutes longer than directed, they do need to be rinsed off to see results. Leaving a hair mask on overnight can weigh down the hair, so it’s best to follow directions. 

How to choose the right mask for your hair

Now you know how to apply a hair mask, there are a few things to consider when it comes to selecting a one that’s most suited to your hair. If you’re unsure where to start, you can discover more about your hair with our online hair diagnosis tool.

Hair structure is about the thickness of the hair strands - while finer hair structures need weightless hydration, those with coarser strands can benefit from rich formulas left on for longer.
Hair type refers to the curl pattern of your locks – hair with tightly coiled curls requires different products than naturally straight hair, and there’s an array of hair types in between.
Hair porosity plays a factor in the kind of ingredients that can best support your locks and how often to use a hair mask. Low porosity hair can from a benefit from a boost of hydration and moisture more often.

Looking for more ways to support dehydrated locks? Learn everything you need to know about what causes dry hair and how to fix it.

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