Beauty

9 of the best hydrating hair masks for strengthening dry hair

Plus, we break down how to make the most of their hydrating abilities.

There are certain things in life we prefer on the dry side. A sense of humour? Definitely. Our hair? Absolutely not!

However, while colouring and heat-styling remain pretty common things that a load of us dabble in, dehydration can be difficult to avoid.

So, when your hair has been drained of the moisture it requires to stay strong and glossy, it’s time to take action with a nourishing treatment. Here, we round-up 9 of the best hydrating hair masks for dry strands.

HOW DO HAIR MASKS WORK?

Think of your haircare routine the same way you would your skincare one: shampoo is the equivalent of cleanser, conditioner plays a similar role to moisturiser, and while the combination of the two is perfectly adequate when your skin is on track, you call in a richer formula when nourishment of a higher calibre is necessary.

This is the position hair masks occupy in the mane realm, as a deeply conditioning mask formula designed for dry hair can make a colossal difference in shine and strength levels.

HOW LONG SHOULD MASKS BE LEFT IN FOR?

It’s case-by-case, and usage instructions (usually outlined on the packaging of the mask you’re working with) will vary. As a general rule, however, hydrating masks, as opposed to more abrasive formulas that work to strip the scalp or purify hair, don’t have a stringent time limit, especially if dehydration has lead to frizz or breakage.

It’s always a safe bet to follow the timeframe recommendation on your mask if you’re stripped for time (they tend to vary from five minutes to an hour), but if you happen to have the luxury of a little time up your sleeve, leave your hydrating formula on overnight to capitalise on the benefits.

If you’re concerned about the wellbeing of your beloved silk pillowcase, try concealing the mask mixture beneath a shower cap or hair wrap once applied. This will help to keep your garments clean, while also ensuring that all ingredients are trapped within a finite space, and can thus make their way directly into the hair cuticles.

SHOULD MASKS BE APPLIED TO WET OR DRY HAIR?

Ironically, hair that is dry in nature actually benefits from the application of treatments when it is also physically dry. If time permits, wash hair first, wait for it to air-dry, then apply. When applied to clean, dry hair, the formulas will be able to better penetrate the hair shaft (instead of sitting atop the surface, locked out by oil, residue or moisture).

WILL HEAVY HYDRATING MASKS WEIGH DOWN MY HAIR’S VOLUME?

Not if applied correctly, no. By only applying your heavier hydrating masks from mid-lengths to ends (and leaving roots free of product), volume levels should remain intact.

THE BEST HYDRATING HAIR MASKS TO SHOP

john frieda detox and repair mask

1 / 9

John Frieda Detox & Repair Masque with Avocado Oil + Green Tea, $17.99 from Priceline.

With extracts of avocado oil and green tea, this John Frieda mask is a great pick to hydrate dry and stressed out hair. Like the rest of the detox range, it also aims to help your hair shed unwanted impurities—super important for those of us in big cities with lots of pollution!

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5 / 9

Luxe Oil Keratin Restore Mask by Wella, $38.95 at Adore Beauty

If deep, smoothing hydration is what you’re after, this formula delivers it in spades, strengthening fragile dry ends and protecting the hair’s keratin.

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6 / 9 

Weightless Hydrating Mask by Moroccanoil, $55.95 at Adore Beauty

If your hair is both dry and fine, opt for a weightless blend—this argan oil-rich option hydrates deeply without dragging down volume levels.

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7 / 9

Hair Repair by Sachajuan, $46 at Sephora

Repair is in the name for good reason—this ocean silk technology-driven treatment promotes reparative growth, all while providing significant moisture.

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8 / 9

Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring BOND REPAIR Masque by Alterna, $50 at Sephora

A deeply reparative nourishing formula able to smooth strands directly from the cuticle, it enhances elasticity and gloss while also repairing broken bonds.

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9 / 9

Ultimate Reset Mask by Shu Uemura, $68 at MECCA

If your hair could use a serious drink of moisture, give this rice-powered repairing and protecting treatment a whirl. Consider locks quenched.

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