ad hair days: we all have them. From supermodels to software engineers (and, despite appearances, I’m sure even the Duchess of Cambridge), every woman has those dreaded mornings where you roll out of bed to find your hair just won’t cooperate, no matter what you try. But when bad hair days become the norm, it’s probably time to treat your tresses and reach for a restorative hair mask.
Much like face masks, hair masks offer much more intensive treatment, working like a super-charged conditioner to battle the daily damage our locks face from heat, sun, styling and environmental agressors. And whether you’re looking to revive your colour, detox after a big event, combat dryness, damage and split ends, or just fancy giving your tresses some much-needed TLC, there are hair masks aplenty to do the job. Here’s our pick of the best hair masks, muds and treatments to restore your locks to their former lustre.
Aesop Rose Hair + Scalp Moisturising Masque
Since launching in 1987, Melbourne-based brand Aesop has become one of the best-loved names in beauty thanks to its aromatic, plant-based products and shelfie-friendly minimalist aesthetic. Infused with restorative sweet almond, soybean, grapefruit seed, lavender and carrot oils, the rose hair and scalp moisturising mask has become a hero product for the B Corp-certified brand. Ideal for salon-treated hair, simply smooth a generous palmful of this creamy formula into clean, towel-dried hair, distributing with a wide-toothed comb, then leave for 15 minutes before rinsing for beautifully restored, lustrous locks.
Aveda Nutriplenish Treatment Masque
100 per cent vegan and infused with an Omega-5 rich superfood blend, Aveda’s restorative Nutriplenish range promises to leave hair rehydrated and replenished. Formulated for medium to thick hair, this indulgent treatment masque, blended with pomegranate seed oil, mango butter and coconut oil, deeply nourishes dull and dry tresses, restoring moisture. Smooth through your lengths after shampooing and leave for 2-5 minutes for noticeably healthier, shinier and softer hair.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Repair Hair Mask
Formulated with potent anti-ageing ingredients, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s high-performing skincare line is a cult favourite of beauty aficionados – and its rejuvenating haircare offering is just as impressive. Blended with shea butter, hemi-squalane and hyaluronic acid for improved moisture and manageability, this richly hydrating reparative hair mask helps to smooth the hair cuticle, while protecting against heat, UV, colour fade and stress. Meanwhile, a complex blend of algae and lavender soothes the scalp, reducing irritation, itching, dryness and dandruff. Leave this 100 per cent vegan mask in wet, freshly shampooed locks for 1-3 minutes for hair that is left visibly nourished, glossy and silky smooth.
ESPA Pink Hair & Scalp Mud
Pink clay has become somewhat of a skincare hero over the last few years thanks to its gentle exfoliating powers and calming, balancing and brightening properties, and now it’s making its mark on haircare. Ideal for hair that has been left dry, damaged and weak, this intensive mineral-rich treatment mask, enriched with Vitamin C-rich watercress, red clay and apricot kernel oil, deeply conditions the hair and scalp. For healthier, more manageable, stronger-looking hair, massage into the scalp and through damp hair, leaving for 20 minutes (or overnight for extra nourishment) before rinsing. And if you struggle with dry skin, this multi-tasking mask can be used to hydrate and nourish the body, too.
Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
Beloved by hair stylists and bottle blondes, Olaplex has been restoring dried-out locks to their former glory with its innovative, award-winning bond building technology since 2014. Free from sulphates, parabens, glutens and phthalates, this concentrated 4-in-1 mask, ideal for smoothing and moisturising post-wash, works to boost shine and body, repairing broken hair bonds and restoring elasticity to protect hair follicles from further damage, increasing softness and manageability with each treatment.
Philip Kingsley Swimcap
Whether we like it or not, our long-awaited summer holiday can have quite the damaging effect on our hair, from excess UV exposure to one too many dips in chlorine-heavy pool water. Thankfully, Philip Kingsley’s water-resistant Swimcap hair mask is here to provide some much-needed protection. Originally developed for the first US Olympic synchronised swimming team and dubbed the ‘swimmer’s saviour’, this all-day leave-in mask is infused with powerful UV protection and works intensively to nourish and hydrate hair, preventing colour fade and shielding from the damaging and drying effects of chlorine and salt water. Sulphate and paraben-free, with hydrolyzed elastin, castor oil and Vitamin E-rich olive oil, this moisture-locking mask leaves hair glossy, radiant and protected from discolouration.
Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Pre-Shampoo Purifying Mask
As with skin, our tresses, too, suffer from the effects of pollutants and environmental agressors, leaving hair in dire need of a detox. Fortunately, Sisley’s Hair Rituel purifying mask is here to do just that. Infused with white clay, and gentle enough for use on sensitive scalps, this pre-shampoo treatment works to soothe irritation and discomfort, while deeply cleansing your strands from root to tip. Applied to dry hair, its lightweight, soft and fragrant formula absorbs excess oil, resetting the hair’s delicate balance, leaving it bouncier, softer and noticeably healthier.
Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask
Perfect for those with fine to medium hair, Virtue’s restorative treatment mask works to hydrate hair without weighing it down. Infused with baobab seed oil, brown algae and artichoke leaf extracts, and Virtue’s proprietary Alpha Keratin 60ku, this creamy formula intensely repairs the hair, providing heat protection and assisting with moisture retention for hair that is left silkier, stronger and protected against damage from environmental aggressors.