Woman applying mask

Hair masks are amazing things. They can transform the look of even the driest and most brittle strands into a gleaming, glossy mane.

Sadly, many people underestimate the power of a hair mask. They don’t understand how it differs from a regular conditioner, and didn’t notice any significant differences that one time they used one.

If you really want to experience hair mask magic, here are do’s and don’ts you need to be aware of:

DO: Use the Right Hair Mask for Your Hair Type

Woman applying hair mask

In the same way that different skin care products are created for different skin types, hair care products also target different needs. Pick products that aren’t suitable for your hair type and not only will you barely notice an improvement, but you could also end up with hair and scalp problems.

When it comes to hair masks, consider what you want your mask to accomplish before going mask shopping:

  • If you want to hydrate the feel of dry and damaged hair, look for an intensely rich mask
  • To combat a greasy-feeling scalp, go for a clay-based mask that will absorb excess oils
  • If your aim is to tame curly hair, look for a moisturising mask packed with plant oils to help calm the look of frizz
  • To preserve your dyed hair colour, look for a mask with protective and restorative ingredients

As you can see, there’s so much choice out there. This can seem overwhelming at first, but the benefit is that you’ll likely be able to find a mask that’s specifically targeted to what your skin needs.

DON’T: Apply a Hair Mask to Dry Hair

Let’s clear one thing up first – you can apply hair masks to dry hair. They will sometimes work very well, with the key word being sometimes.

On the other hand, apply your mask to wet hair and you’ll notice a much bigger difference. Wet hair not only absorbs ingredients better than dry hair, but it also means that your hair is clean. A lack of dirt and oil will also allow the ingredients in your mask to better penetrate into your hair shafts.

One exception here would be if you know that your hair is clean. In this case, a hair mask will still be able to work in the way that it should.

Of course, if you’re using an oil-based hair mask, then the rules are a little different.

As you know, water and oil repel each other. Applying an oil-based mask to wet hair would mean that the oils in the mask are pushed away from your wet hair, rather than being drawn in. In this case, applying your mask to dry hair would be much more beneficial.

DO: Try Sleeping in a Hair Mask

There’s nothing quite like waking up to luxuriously soft and glossy locks, which is exactly what you end up with after sleeping in a hair mask.

Now, not all masks are made for overnight use. Moisturising and hydrating masks work well when worn overnight, whereas protein and clay masks could end up damaging your hair if you leave them on for too long.

Wondering how you would sleep in a hair mask without making a huge mess of your pillow?

Once you’ve applied your mask, wrap your hair in a shower cap. If the sound of the cap rustling will keep you awake at night, a silk scarf also works well. Then, unwrap your hair in the morning, rinse the mask out, and enjoy that magnificent sheen.

DON’T: Overdo it

Woman applying hair mask

We get it – hair masks can make your hair feel amazing. So much so that you’re tempted to use your mask each time you wash your hair. It’s not long before you’re using it even more than that, loving the shine it brings to your hair.

However, this is all usually followed by a greasy scalp, limp hair, and other problems.


Because over-using a hair mask causes all of that product to really weigh down your hair. It also prevents your scalp from properly breathing and increases scalp sebum production, resulting in the grease.

So, how often should you use a hair mask?

Well, most hair masks are designed to be used once a week. However, just as with everything else in the beauty world, one size never fits all.

How often you use a hair mask will depend on everything from your hair type to the mask that you’re using. Those with very dry and damaged hair could benefit from using a hydrating hair mask two or three times a week, while those with greasy hair may want to stick to the recommended once a week.

If you’ve got very straight hair, then you should also avoid using a hair mask more than twice a week. However, curly hair would benefit from more frequent usage.