Condé Nast Traveler October 13, 2022

CondE Nast Traveler


The 11 Best Hair Masks for Repairing Damage, According to Stylists


If a summer of saltwater and pool time took its toll, these expert-approved hair masks will revive dry strands.

Sure, summer is great, but the warm weather—and all the fun that comes with it, from swimming to suntanning and generally spending lots of time outdoors—can wreak havoc on your hair. Fortunately, the best hair masks will help boost hydration and repair damage, leaving you with softer, smoother strands that look and feel healthy.

Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Illinois, says that understanding your hair type and texture is key before selecting a hair mask. With that in mind, you’ll be relieved to know there’s a mask out there for everyone's hair needs. “When a client makes a statement saying they don’t like a mask because it makes their hair too flat, that indicates they’ve used the wrong one,” Aguirre says.

To make sure you’re receiving all the benefits the right hair mask has to offer, we reached out to several stylists for their expert recommendations. Whether you have color-treated hair, heat damage, a slew of split ends, or severely dehydrated curls, the masks below will effectively repair dry hair and damaged strands, thanks to their restorative formulas. Keep scrolling to find the best hair mask for you.

For curly hair

Oribe Moisture Control deep treatment masque

According to Aguirre, the Oribe Moisture Control mask is ideal for those with curly hair because of its hydrating formula that features moisturizing ingredients like murumuru butter, mango seed butter, and coconut oil. The stylist promises this hair mask will “quench the curl and bring new life” to your strands, leaving hair feeling healthy.

For frizzy hair

Redken Frizz Dismiss hair mask

Keep frizzy hair at bay with the Redken Frizz Dismiss hair mask. “This hair treatment provides lasting results by targeting the issues causing frizz—adding moisture, avoiding heavy build-up, and strengthening the natural texture,” explains Los Angeles–based hairstylist Bradley Leake. The stylist also calls attention to the product’s sulfate-free formula, which is spiked with incredibly lightweight and hydrating babassu oil.

For color-treated hair

Kérastase Chroma Absolu strengthening mask for color-treated hair

This reparative Kérastase product is one of the best hair masks for color-treated hair—even after a summer well-spent swimming in pools, oceans, lakes, and rivers. According to Leake, the hair mask contains amino acids that “build and strengthen your hair to keep [your] color looking flawless and healthy.”

Pureology Hydrate Superfood hair mask

Dry, color-treated hair is no match for the Pureology Hydrate Superfood hair mask, which comes recommended by New Jersey–based hairstylist and salon owner Jennifer Korab. Fatty acid-rich ingredients like coconut and avocado oils help seal in moisture, and, as such, says Korab, the mask “provides intense nourishment” while also “adding softness and shine.”

Unite Hair BlondaFix treatment mask

Finding the best hair mask is all about knowing your specific hair needs. The United Hair BlondaFix treatment mask was specially formulated with blondes in mind. According to Utah–based hairstylist and salon owner Jessica Page, this ultra-versatile hair mask “repairs and tones in one formula.” For these reasons, the product is a solid choice for limp or brassy-looking strands that have had just a little too much fun in the sun.

For fine hair

Color Wow Money mask deep hydrating & strengthening hair treatment

Thanks to its weightless formula, this Color Wow Money mask is suitable for even the finest hair. According to New Jersey–based stylist and salon owner Kevin Kelly, this mask helps strengthen strands while smoothing the hair cuticle—all without weighing it down.

For dry or brittle hair

Olaplex No. 8 Bond intense moisture hair mask

“The Olaplex No.8 Bond mask is extremely moisturizing and instantly repairs dry, damaged hair, including breakage and split ends,” says Ishimoto. It’s also packed with several key ingredients like moisturizing meadowfoam, avocado oil, hydrating glycerin, smoothing panthenol, and protective hemp seed oil.

For people with extensions

Hidden Crown Luxe Argan hair mask

Leake recommends the Hidden Crown Luxe Argan hair mask for both natural hair and extensions. Per the stylist, its hero ingredient, argan oil, is known for its nourishing and hydrating properties, which makes it great for “smoothing and styling extensions” and natural hair. “This mask will revitalize not only your natural hair but your extensions too, leaving you with a light, bouncy shine we all love,” he says.

More great masks for most hair types

Biolage Hydra Source Aloe mask

According to Kelly, the Biolage Hydrasource Aloe mask is a great hair care essential to keep in your shower for days when your strands need a little TLC. That’s because it’s rich in nourishing ingredients like vitamin E-spiked sunflower seed oil and vitamin-rich aloe to smooth and repair hair.

K18 Biomimetic Hairscience Leave-In Molecular Repair hair mask

Once a week, ditch your conditioner and grab the K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair hair mask. According to Kenji Ishimoto, a stylist at Salon Yoshiko in New York City, this do-it-all treatment is suitable for all hair types. He adds that, “it repairs damage from heat, bleach, color, and other chemicals that affect hair, and you will see results after just one application.”

Garnier Fructis Damage Repairing Treat 1 Minute hair mask

According to Ishimoto, this Garnier Fructis hair mask pulls triple-duty. Leave the product in for one minute while in the shower, then rinse immediately like you would traditional conditioner. For an extra boost of hydration, use it as a leave-in conditioner. Per the stylist, its hero ingredient, vitamin A- and C-loaded papaya extract, is “super hydrating.” (Even better, you can find it at most drugstores, so you can get your hands on the hydrating hair mask without waiting on shipping times.)