From cold, windy winter days, scorching heat in summer, humidity and pollution to dyes and blow-dryers. Every day, our hair is exposed to thousands of external agents which can be very damaging to its structure. If our hair suffers on the inside, it will show on the outside, as limp, dull and lifeless locks.

Fortunately, the beauty industry has come up with solutions to these problems. One of the key weapons in keeping your hair healthy and well-protected are hair masks. These products can address a range of issues to produce a stunning head of hair.

Key Facts

  • Hair masks are a  hair treatment that gives hair intense nourishment and hydration. They have many advantages, both for the health of the hair and its appearance.
  • Hair masks are enriched with various active ingredients which have important hair care functions.
  • Currently, the market offers various types of hair masks with a range of different properties and formats. It’s important to know the difference between a mask and a conditioner, as they are not the same thing.

Ranking: The best hair masks on the Australian market

In this section, you will find a compilation of the 5 best hair masks currently available in Australia. Additionally, we’ve included an explanation about each so that you can research and compare the various products. This should be handy for you to decide which is the best choice for you and your loved ones.

No. 1: Shu Uemura Shusu Sleek Hair Masque

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This mask is designed for coarse and naturally frizzy hair the deeply nourishes the hair fibre to give smooth texture and a lightweight finish. This product is also safe to use with colour-treated hair.

Working by deeply nourishing the hair follicle right to its core, this hair mask is also infused with a sensual, oriental-style floral fragrance. You can apply by putting a small amount in the palm of your hand, massage through wet hair and then leave in for 5 to 10 minutes.

No. 2: Phyto PhytoelixirIntense Nutrition Mask

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This hair mask is super rich, luxurious and indulgent. It provides deep nourishment to the hair, making it extraordinarily shiny and supple.

The mask is suitable for all hair types, though it is particularly useful for dry and damaged hair as it offers intense hydration. The manufacturers recommend you use it 1 to 2 times a week.

No. 3: Alterna Bamboo Shine Silk Sleek Brilliance Cream

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This bamboo hair mask from Alterna uses bamboo extract to give hair shine, making it look healthy and bright. It is also great to tame wild and unruly hair, providing soft texture and making hair easier to control.

Along with bamboo extracts, the mask also contains organic Indian gooseberry for extra nourishing and hydrating effects. The cream can be worked through the entire length of the hair, either when clean and damp or it can also be used on dry hair to give it texture and extra radiant shine.

No. 4: TIGI Bed Head Blow-Out Golden Illuminating Shine Cream

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This Golden Illuminating Shine Cream from TIGI is designed to provide intense nourishment, producing super shiny, glossy hair. This mask is also great for fighting fly aways and combatting frizz thanks to its smoothing effect.

Designed for frizzy, unruly hair, this hair mask will help to bring your hair under control. It can also help to repair signs of damage. As an extra bonus, it has golden illuminating particles to bring gold and shimmer to your hair.

Shopping Guide: What you should know about hair masks

It’s important that before buying any kind of hair mask, you know the key things about this product. Below are some of the most important aspects of this hair care essential, so that you can make the best purchasing decision. We’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions about this product.

In order to get the best results, you need to correctly apply the hair mask to your hair.
(Source: Puhha: 70675773/ 123rf.com)

What is a hair mask exactly?

Hair masks are a type of hair care product which, among other purposes, deeply hydrates and protects the hair. Unlike other hair care products, hair masks act on the internal structure of the hair, going right to the core. In this way, they offer an invaluable level of care for the hair.

Hair masks are enriched with strong hydrating ingredients. Because they are left in the hair longer than shampoo or conditioner, they can soak into the deepest parts of each hair. This can be highly beneficial.

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The result is healthy. well-nourished and stunning hair.

Why are hair masks recommended by experts?

Hair masks have many advantages for not only the look, but also the health of your hair. Our hair is exposed every day to a range of harmful external agents. Hair masks contain ingredients which restore, moisturise and regenerate the hair and reverse any damage.

Hair that is healthy on the inside is reflected on the outside. Hair masks give hair extra shine and strength, while making it smooth, silky and full of body. As well as restoring the health of the hair, hair masks also protect and defend it from future damage, such as extreme heat and sun damage.

Hair masks are very safe and useful products, without adverse effects. 
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Finally, hair masks have many other little benefits. They often have a nice, long-lasting smell. They can also be a relaxing beauty ritual, with their creamy, smooth consistency. Putting on a hair mask and letting it soak in can be very comforting.

What are hair masks made of?

As we have seen, hair masks deeply hydrate, repair and protect our hair, with impressive results. But where does the power of the hair mask come from? The secret is in its formulation. They have a special combination of ingredients which are like a magic potion for our hair.

Hair masks generally contain water and solidifying agents to give it the required consistency. They also usually include non-greasy moisturisers, which can be applied to the hair after shampooing it. Finally, they will have vegetable proteins and other ingredients which strengthen the hair.

Hair masks protect your locks from harmful external elements.
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The key active ingredients in hair masks are a type of component called humectants (oils and fats) which intensely hydrate the hair. Below is a table with the 7 key components of the most beneficial hair masks. We’ve also included the most important characteristics and properties of each.

Ingredient Properties
Argan Oil Rich in minerals, vitamins and beneficial fatty acids. Moisturises hair deeply, protects, adds shine and softness.
Honey Natural ingredient with high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Repairs damaged hair, has antimicrobial power and protects the hair.
Green Tea Intense repair thanks to antioxidant, mineral and vitamin content. It contains amino acids, folate and vitamin B that nourish and enrich the hair.
Coco Oil Very powerful moisturising agent. Contains unsaturated fatty acid and lauric acid, which boosts vitamin, fat and mineral content in the hair. Penetrates even the inner layers of each hair for deep nourishment.
Coco Water Incredible amount of beneficial components, including magnesium, potassium, amino acids, vitamin C and omega 3. Has antioxidant, repairing and nourishing properties.
Shea Butter Moisturising and oily, source of beneficial fatty acids. For example, linoleic and oleic acid, in addition to essential vitamins and minerals.
Avocado Oil Component that brings instant shine and strength to the hair. This is because it is rich in vitamin E, lecithin, potassium, unsaturated fatty acids and chlorophyll.

What types of hair masks are there?

These days, you can find a range of hair mask available on the Australian market. Each has their own particular properties which can make them more suitable for one particular hair type or another. However, this isn’t the only difference: there are also a variety of form and formats or hair masks, which we’ll talk about more below.

When it comes to individual properties,  there smoothing masks, and those anti-frizz, curl enhancing and colour protection, among others.

Type of mask Features
For dry and damaged hair Masks rich in nutrients and repairing agents, such as oils, fats and antioxidants. They keep the hair hydrated and protect against harmful external agents.
For dyed hair They contain active agents that maintain strong colour for longer. In addition, they provide the “extra” hydration that the dyed hair needs for soft and luscious locks.
For fine and fragile hair   Nourish and hydrate the hair in depth. At the same time, they strengthen the hair and reduce frizziness. Ideal for hair which is full of life.
For thick hair They prevent waviness in thick hair, in addition to providing hydration that reaches the deepest layers of the hair. They turn thick and rebellious hair into soft and manageable locks.
For curly hair Products that soften and shape curls, preventing frizz. They bring volume and vitality to the hair for well-defined curls.
For oily hair   Hydrates the hair without creating oiliness. They regulate excess sebum (oil) in the scalp for a clean, shiny mane without a greasy appearance.
For straight hair Enriched with smoothing compounds. They promote smooth, soft and silky hair, which is well-nourished and hydrated.

In terms of format, there are creams, exfoliants, in-cap and powder forms of hair masks. The table below outlines the main types of masks which you should know about.

Format Features
Creams (moisturising) These are conventional masks. There are different types adapted to the needs of each hair type. They deeply hydration and nourish the hair. They are applied after shampooing and need to be rinsed out.
Exfoliants Treatment removes accumulated dirt and excess sebum from the scalp. Exfoliates the surface, boosting oxygenation and vascularization. Thus promotes strong and healthy hair growth.
In-cap Masks whose active ingredients are embedded in a comfortable shower cap.
Powder These are powders that contain active agents which treat hair. Mix the powder with water and apply to the hair.
Sauna effect Creamy consistency, they give a hot sensation when applied to the scalp. This dilates the hair cuticle, allowing it to greatly absorb the active ingredients.

What is the difference between a mask and conditioner?

Hair masks and conditioners are quite often confused with one another. Both are moisturising hair treatments, but are they the same thing? The answer is no: they differ in a few ways, such as their benefits, the way they are used, and how often they should be used. Hair treatments expert Dr Berrocal provides some advice on the subject.

Conditioner hydrates and nourishes the hair, in order to compensate for the lack of oil. This gives you softer and brighter hair, as well as making it easier to style. Masks, on the other hand, reconstruct the outer layers of the hair follicle and are a more intensive and complete hair treatment.

Both are applied after shampooing the hair, but in different ways. Masks need some time to be effective, while the conditioner works pretty much instantly. Conditioner can be used daily, unlike a hair mask. The below table compares the similarities and differences between both products.

Conditioner Mask
Action Moisturizes, softens and brightens hair Deeply nourishes and regenerates hair
Moment of application After the shampoo After the shampoo
Acting time Instant ≥ 3 minutes
Application frequency After each wash Once a week

How do you use a hair mask?

Because hair masks are a treatment, it is important to apply them correctly in order to get optimal results and avoid unwanted side-effects. Firstly, you need to wash your hair with shampoo. Then, after rinsing it thoroughly, towel dry the hair.

Next, put a moderate amount of the hair mask product in the palm of your hand. It’s important not to use too much or too little. The correct amount will depend on the length of your hair. You should then distribute the product through your hair well, working from the middle of your hair to the ends.

Hair masks help to repair and hydrate the hair.
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You should avoid applying the hair mask to the roots of your hair as this can make your scalp oily. Once you have well-distributed the mask through your hair, you can use a comb to untangle it, which also helps to improve coverage of the product. Leave it in your hair for the required amount of time before rinsing it out with plenty of water. Try to ensure that the product is completed rinsed out.

How often should I use a hair mask?

As already mentioned, unlike conditioner, hair masks are not suitable for daily use. They offer deep repair and nourishment to the hair which is unquestionably beneficial. However, using them too often can make the hair oily, so it’s important to maintain a balance.

Experts generally recommend using a hair mask once a week. This is the frequency which will give your hair the best results. However, this can vary depending on your hair type and characteristics.

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For very damaged hair, a hair mask could be applied up to 3 times per week.

What are the possible side effects of hair masks?

By now, it’s clear that hair masks are very beneficial for hair health. However, their use may have some unwanted side effects. Primary among these is that they can make your hair oily and greasy.

On the other hand, you can experience caking in the hair. Both can occur as a result of applying excessive amounts of hair mask, or not properly rinsing it out. Some people may also experience allergic or hypersensitive reactions to certain products.

It’s important to know the differences between a mask and conditioner, a these are not the same product.
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In summary, adverse side effects from hair masks are rare. They are mostly poor results due to misuse of the product. Additionally, it is always important to be careful if you have a particular allergy or skin condition. By taking care and using the product properly you shouldn’t have any adverse reactions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hair masks?

Hair masks are very safe products with a range of benefits for the hair. Even so, you may not always see the desired results, or you could experience adverse reactions. The below table summarises the advantages and disadvantages of this hair product.

Advantages
  • Nourishes the hair
  • Easy application
  • Deep hydration
  • Promote volume, shine and strength
Disadvantages
  • They can cause greasiness and cake the hair
  • Possible allergic reactions
  • Hypersensitivity

Shopping Criteria

When buying a hair mask, it is important to consider some key factors. In this section we’ll look at the most important things you should know before buying this product, to help you to choose the one which is best for you. These factors are:

  • Hair type
  • Format
  • Composition
  • Desired results

Hair type

As we’ve already mentioned, there are hair masks which have been formulated specifically for each hair type. This is because the specific needs of the hair type are not always the same, as they depend on many factors. These include the level of sebum (dry or oily hair types), curly or straight, and natural or coloured hair.

Curly hair will need products which offer the curls better definition. For dyed hair, it is advisable to use hair masks with sunscreen, antioxidants and moisturisers.

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Straight hair will benefit from a smoothing, anti-frizz mask which gives more body and volume.

Format

In the market we can find masks of various forms and formats. To decide which is best for you, think about the characteristics of your hair and the results you are looking for. If you are looking for conventional care and nourishment, go for a creamy mask. Among the many options, you’ll be able to find one suitable for your hair.

For rebellious or difficult hair, you may want to dry a sauna-effect mask. These are more intensive. Exfoliating masks are great for greasy or lifeless hair, as they are revitalising. Finally, hair mask caps are easy and comfortable to use.

Composition

The composition of a hair mask is important for two main reasons. Firstly, it determines the properties and functions of the product. This means that your choice of composition will be determined by your hair type and the results you are looking for. For example, for greater hydration, you’ll want a product which is rich in oils and moisturising nutrients.

On the other hand, certain ingredients in a given hair mask may also cause potential adverse reactions. It is important to always check the ingredients list to make sure it does not contain anything which may be harmful, particularly if you have an allergy or a skin condition.

Desired results

Finally, the results that we are looking for will greatly influence our choice as to which hair mask to buy. If you are looking to repair very damaged and lifeless hair, you should choose a repairing mask which is rich in antioxidants.

In this case, a sauna effect mask could be a good option. You may, on the other hand, want to enhance coloured hair, and give it a soft and natural texture. For these purposes, a moisturising mask with protective components would be ideal. Essentially, look for the product which will give you your desired effect.

Summary

Hair masks are an essential part of hair care. They penetrate to the innermost part of the hair follicle to deliver unparalleled hydration and nutrition. This results in healthy hair from the inside out, which gives radiant, strong and shiny looks on the outside.

Do you have dull, lifeless hair? Do you want to get the most out of your hair? Whatever your hair type, and whatever results you are looking for, there is a mask waiting to take care of your hair.

If you have enjoyed our guide on hair masks, please share it on social media or leave us a comment.

(Source of the featured image: Legoshyn: 68257232/ 123rf.com)

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