Magazine / Beauty / Hair Care

When to Use a Hair Mask or a Conditioner?

MD Alexandra Dorobantu
Dermatologist
On Mar 22nd, 2021

Good hair days make you feel confident, powerful and beautiful. Apply a mask to deeply nourish the scalp and hair stands for long-lasting results, and use a hair conditioner for instant hydration and locking-in moisture.

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Proper hair care plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy hair and preventing extensive damage that leads to hair loss. Washing your hair with shampoos is just the first step in your haircare routine. In our first episode of the Hair Routine mini-series, we explore how to take care of your locks according to your scalp and hair type.

Next step in your routine is to nourish and moisturise your hair. But the dilemma is what to choose between conditioners and hair masks? Both products have benefits for your hair strands, and we look at the differences in terms of application, effects and how to use them.

Hair Mask Application

Hair masks are remedial therapies that address the problem by reaching deeply into the hair follicles. Most hair masks should be applied after shampooing, but some masks, with a treatment like formulation, have to be used before cleansing your hair. When you apply the hair mask, focus on gently massaging the product to distribute it on your scalp and lengths evenly.

Hair masks concentrate more on nourishing and moisturising the hair with more potent formulas. The mask's texture is thicker than the hair conditioner and should be used once or twice a week from the roots to the ends. It is excellent for dyed, damaged hair.

Hair masks are made with nourishing oils and hair repairing ingredients. They work on dull, coloured and damaged hair, making it look healthier and smoother from the inside out. Hydrating hair masks offer long-lasting benefits after 3-4 applications. It's not a quick fix but rather a long-term investment in the health of your scalp and hair. A high-quality hair mask will help you supply your strands with the much-needed moisture and essential nutrients. It suits dry and itchy scalp too.

Hair Conditioner Application

Hair conditioners are typically the next step after shampoo. For best results, apply it to wet strands, avoiding the roots. Leave it for a couple of minutes and rinse thoroughly. Conditioners usually have a creamy, rich texture that tends to enhance the hairs immediately. You will feel your hair soft, bouncy and detangled.

The hair conditioners are formulated for more frequent use than that of a mask. Thus, you will find ingredients that moisturise, improve, protect and strengthen your hair. Conditioners hydrate the strands immediately, making the hairs smooth and easy to manage.

A good quality conditioner can minimise hair tangling and frizz, being a life saviour for curly hair. It helps prevent split ends and breakage while making the hair look smoother and softer. Hair conditioning also protects from harmful UV rays and environmental pollutants that cause the hair to lose its sheen and glow.

Masks vs Conditioners

They both accomplish the same purpose - hydrated, healthy hair that is shiny, soft and supple when touching. But the way they achieve the results is different: conditioners act more quickly with instant results, while masks penetrate deeper into the hair follicle with long-lasting effects.

Moisturisation and hydration are the most significant distinguishing factors between conditioners and hair masks. The significant difference is that while conditioners are simply for conditioning, giving an instant, shiny effect, hair masks penetrate deeper into the hair follicle, addressing root problems as well. 

Another essential difference between conditioners and hair mask is the duration of the application. If you are in a hurry, choose a conditioner. Masks are part of a more extended self-care ritual. You need to leave it on the hair for at least 30 minutes. For best results, wrap your head in a damp towel when you apply a hair mask. This procedure will help the moisture reach deeper into the scalp and hair follicles, repairing and nourishing damaged strands.

Hair conditioners and masks complement each other and can be both used in your extended hair care routine. If you don't have any significant scalp or hair concerns such as hair loss, dryness, or itchiness, you can apply a conditioner only. It is recommended to use a mask every time you need deeper nourishment. There are lots of good options available on the market to choose from. Or you can always prepare a home-made hair mask for your hair if you have the time and enjoy the process.

Hair conditioners have instant and short-lived effects such as silky and bouncy hair with extra softness, while hair masks provide deep nourishment and long-lasting benefits. Rely on a hair mask to keep your hair healthy if you suffer scalp issues or dryness.

Use a hair conditioner for smooth and healthy-looking hair with every washing. You can achieve healthy, shiny hair and protect it from sun damage by using both a conditioner and a mask. Masks nourish and repair the hair while enhancing and preserving its natural suppleness, while conditioners give you glossy locks almost instantaneously. Choose your shampoo, conditioner and mask according to your hair and scalp needs! The next episode of the Hair Routine mini-series will focus on some of the most common myths about hair care! Follow the #DHHairRoutine for more tips and products for healthy and strong hair.

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