The 15 Best Hair Masks for Speedy Damage Recovery

hair masks

Astrid Stawiarz

Whether you’re a spokesperson for damaged hair (it’s bleached, it’s curly, it spends too much time around flat irons) or you do everything right, somehow, frizz, flyaways, limp curls, and breakage seem to come out of nowhere. You can wash your hair with hydrating shampoos, smooth on hair oils, and use heat protectant sprays religiously, and yet, a split end will still appear. Damage of some kind is inevitable, but luckily, hair masks are here to save the day.

“Hair masks are more intensive than an everyday conditioner in terms of treating dryness and damage, whether it be from color or chemical treatments, heat styling tools, the environment and climate or water type, or the hair’s natural texture,” explains Howard McLaren, co-founder and creative director of R+Co.

While hair masks are not miracle workers capable of returning your hair to the state it was in before you started manhandling it, these treatments can really do a lot to repair every hair type. Similar to how a great protein treatment can help strengthen your locks, masks can do everything from reversing damage to rehydrating and toning locks. “A good hair mask should provide nourishing nutrients and prolonged protection against environmental factors, and contain at least one oil rich in proteins, such as coconut and green tea oil, to keep your hair completely hydrated and healthy,” adds Aaron Grenia, co-founder of IGK Hair Care.

The hunt to find the perfect formula can feel overwhelming at times, but these hair masks come pretty damn close. We tested a range of popular options on the market and consulted customer reviews to bring you the 15 best intensive, hydrating, and transformative hair masks money can buy.

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Best Hair Mask for Damaged Hair


No. 3 Hair Perfector

Active ingredients Jojoba seed oil, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate
Hair Type All
Size 3.3 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Frizzy Hair


Intense Hydrating Mask

Active ingredients Argan oil, glycerin, linseed extract
Hair Type Dry
Size 2.53-16.9 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Dry Hair


Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner

Active ingredients Babassu seed oil, palm extract, glycerin, peppermint oil
Hair Type Dry, natural
Size 8 fl. oz

Best Hair Mask for Fine Hair


Treatment Mask for Fine and Medium Hair

Active ingredients Shea butter, keratin, panthenol
Hair type All
Size 8 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Damaged Curls


Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

Active ingredients Rosehip, sweet almond, argan oil, biotin
Hair type All
Size 8 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Color-Treated Hair

Bleach London

Reincarnation Mask

Active ingredients Proteins, glycerin, sunflower oil, lactic acid
Hair type Damaged, dry, colored
Size 6.7 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Breakage

Thank God It’s Natural

Repairx Curl Protein Reconstructor

Active ingredients Black castor oil, biotin, honey
Hair type Curly
Size 12 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Weak Hair

Living Proof

Restore Repair Mask

Active ingredients Healthy Hair Molecule, emollient blend, tucuma butter
Hair type All
Size 6.7 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Glossy Hair


Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask

Active ingredients Jojoba seed oil, sea buckthorn
Hair Type Dry
Size 16 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Bleached Hair


Leave-in Molecular Repair Mask

Active ingredients K18Peptide, hydrolyzed wheat protein
Hair type Damaged
Size 0.17-1.7 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Long Hair

Coco & Eve

Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque

Active ingredients Raw virgin coconuts, shea butter, argan oil, linseed
Hair type All
Size 7.1 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Dry Curls

Carol’s Daughter

Coco Crème Curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask

Active ingredients Coconut oil, coconut milk, mango butter, mirumiru butter
Hair type Dull, dry, curly
Size 12 fl. oz.

Best Hair Mask for Blondes


Total Results So Silver Triple Power Hair Mask

Active ingredients Hc Blue No. 2, ci 60730/acid violet 43
Hair type Blonde, silver, gray
Size 6.8 fl. oz

Best Hair Mask for Shine


Television Perfect Hair Masque

Active ingredients Murumuru butter, coconut oil, mushroom extract
Hair type Dry
Size 0.5-5 fl. oz.

Best Color-Depositing Hair Mask


Color-Depositing Mask

Active ingredients Squalene, quinoa extract
Hair type All
Size 6 fl. oz.

Who is a good candidate for a hydrating or repairing hair mask?

“Damage to the hair can come from many sources, including color or chemical treatments, mechanical damage from hot tools, and the environment and climate you live in,” says McLaren. “In addition, just like skin texture can vary from person to person, hair can as well, and some people have a naturally drier hair texture. If you feel like your hair is frizz-prone or dry, or if you feel like your hair isn’t as soft, shiny, or healthy-looking as you would like it to be, you could probably benefit from incorporating a hair mask into your regimen.”

Who is a good candidate for a toning or color-depositing hair mask?

“Color-depositing masks are the perfect way to keep your color fresh in between salon visits while also deeply moisturizing for softer, shinier hair,” says Grenia. “They work even better on highlighted hair: the lighter the hair, the more vibrant the shade will present.” For blondes, using a purple-toning shampoo can reduce brassy tones for a brighter color. “Toning masks that have purple tones are usually good for blondes or anyone that wants to prevent brassiness to maintain a cool-toned hue and keep the warm tones from creeping in,” adds McLaren.

Do you have any tips or tricks for applying hair masks?

“Typically, you can use a mask in place of conditioner once a week,” says McLaren. “After shampooing, it is good to try to gently remove excess water from the hair so it doesn’t dilute the masque and apply it throughout the hair—especially focusing on the mid-shafts to ends—leave it on for the recommended amount of time, and then rinse thoroughly. To get the most out of the mask, it is good to make sure it is evenly distributed through the hair. Combing through your hair gently with a wide-tooth comb or shower comb can help make sure the mask thoroughly coats the hair.”

Meet the Experts

Why Trust ELLE Beauty

As a leading publisher of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content, is committed to highlighting the best products in various categories by personally testing the latest and most innovative products, interviewing countless experts, and vetting customer-loved items. For this piece, editors and contributors spoke with haircare professionals about the benefits of hair masks and how to use them. The authors personally tested a number of these products and poured over reviews for dozens of top-rated hair masks, evaluating each on their ingredients, results offered, and customer feedback.

Beauty Commerce Editor Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music).
Beauty Commerce Writer Tatjana Freund is a Beauty Commerce Writer, covering makeup, skincare, and haircare products and trends.
Commerce Editor Sam Peters is a Commerce Editor at Hearst covering fashion, beauty and more.

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