Your hair stands up to a lot of abuse, what with styling, coloring and sun exposure. Daily conditioners help, but to repair damaged strands, you should try a hair mask. “It will nourish and fortify hair,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist and scalp expert in NYC. To find the best formula for you, consider your hair type. #selfcaresunday

By Ardenis Perez
Photo by Getty Images

If your hair is dry

Celebrity hairstylist Alyn Topper suggests shea butter for dull, dehydrated hair. The rich ingredient boosts shine and quenches hair without weighing it down. Try Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Masque ($45).

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If your curls lack definition

Natural oils in curly hair aren’t always evenly distributed along the shaft, which can turn curls brittle and make them lose their shape, Topper says. Avocado oil puts the spring back in your curls, since it mimics your body’s own moisturizers. We like Garnier Whole Blends Avocado Oil & Shea Butter Nourishing Mask ($5.50).

If your hair needs volume

It’s counterintuitive, yes, but a moisturizing mask can actually add body. Hair is made up primarily of protein, which can be diminished by heat styling and chemical processing. The result? Flat hair. Fusco says coconut oil is able to penetrate strands and can protect against protein loss. Our pick is Nexxus Vital 8 in 1 Rejuvenating Masque ($5).

If your hair is frizzy

High humidity equals hair going haywire due to the moisture in the air getting under the cuticle. Argan oil is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, which hydrate hair and tame frizz, Fusco explains. We recommend OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair Argan Oil of Morocco Hydrate Mask ($9).

Photo by Peter Ardito

How to Mask

Masks are typically applied either on dry hair before showering,  or on wet hair after rinsing out your shampoo, in place of traditional conditioner. They’re formulated to work for only a certain amount of time, Topper says, so leaving a mask on for longer than directed won’t make it more effective. Always read the product’s label for directions on how to use it.  With a wide-tooth comb, distribute the mask evenly from roots to ends.  Tuck hair into a shower cap to let the mask soak in. When time’s up, rinse with cool water. Aim to use a mask once a week.

Pro Tips:

  • Mix sugar into shampoo to exfoliate your scalp before masking.
  • Wrap a microwave-heated towel around your mask-moistened hair for a few minutes to create a sauna for your hair.
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