11 Stylist-Approved Hair Masks for Every Hair Type

Updated: Jan. 25, 2023

Whether you're a curly Sue or stick-straight Sally, there's a hair mask designed just for you to deliver the 'do you've always dreamed of rocking.

sanneberg/Shutterstock, via ouidad.com

For curly hair

If you are lucky enough to have naturally curly hair (though you might not feel lucky at times when the weather is humid!), you should treat it with products that will enhance your bounce and keep curls frizz-free and defined. “If you are air drying your natural curls you want to use a mask that won’t weigh down your strands and instead allow your curls to stay light and bouncy,” says Deycke Heidorn, New York-based celebrity hair stylist. Her go-to mask for curly hair comes from the curl experts at Ouidad—their Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner. “After shampooing, apply the mask mainly to the lengths and ends,” she says. “Rinse out after 20 minutes or so and let your curls air dry or use a hair dryer with diffuser.” Try it once or twice a week.

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For long hair

To keep long strands lustrous, moisturized, and manageable, use the right shampoo for your hair type, then follow with a heavier, restoring mask once a week. Alex LaMarsh, celebrity hair stylist and makeup artist who’s worked with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Cher, and Sarah Jessica Parker, recommends Phyto Paris Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Brilliance Mask because, while it’s deeply hydrating, it won’t weigh your hair down—something that comes in handy when you’re rocking a long ‘do. “The jojoba oil melts right into the hair to keep hair tangle free and the angelica root extract and sweet orange essential oil add shine.” Your hair will have a weightless vibrance that you’ll love. If you’re looking for a hair mask that simultaneously helps straighten hair, try label.m Honey & Oat Treatment Mask. “This mask straightens hair from the inside out while, hydrates, and prevents damage,” says Netty Jordan, celebrity hair stylist.

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For short hair

With short hair, your strands are relatively young and fresh, hair masks are typically only required when your hair has been bleached, color-corrected, or undergoes damage from heat styling tools. If your locks fall into one of those three categories, start with Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre Shampoo Masque. “I love this mask because you use it before shampooing, which gives you all the richness of the ingredients but doesn’t weigh down short styles,” says LaMarsh. “It’s full of super hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, argan oil, and macadamia nut oil.”

For color-treated hair

More than half of women color their hair, and it is definitely possible to do so while still maintaining shiny, vibrant, and healthy strands. The key is using products that are labeled “for color-treated hair.” These products will help reduce color fading and replenish moisture that’s been lost during the coloring process. “Color treatments, especially lighter shades cause damage to your hair shaft,” explains Heidorn. “While regular hair masks for untreated hair help restoring nutrients and moisture, they will fade your hair color after rinsing.” To keep your hair color lasting longer, more vibrant and to keep color from fading, try Davines Minu Hair Mask. You can use it either as a leave-in or rinse-out treatment to protect against over-processing.

Anastasiia-Kazakova, via burtsbees.com

For straight hair

When hair is straight, mask choices also depend on the hair’s texture, says Angelo David, celebrity hair stylist, thinning hair expert and founder of Angelo David Salon. “Look more specifically for descriptive words like ‘coarse,’ ‘fine,’ or ‘color-treated’ (if that’s you) on the packaging.” One to try is Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, which doubles as a deep conditioner. “The natural protein in the main ingredient, avocado oil, gives your hair and scalp the moisture it needs without a greasy film,” says LaMarsh. “It also contains rosemary, almond, and olive oil which help keep hair glossy.” When it comes to regular Burt Bee’s chapstick, make sure to avoid putting it on your eyelids like some do with the beezin’ trend.

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For dry or damaged hair

When your hair feels dry and brittle, it’s because its structure is lacking moisture and oils to keep it smooth and silky, explains Heidorn. “With temperatures getting warmer in the summer, just like your skin, your hair is craving moisture and treatment.” The best way to restore it? Deep condition it overnight. A good mask for you is Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Reconstructing Strength Butter. “Massage a good amount of treatment mask into your dry hair before going to bed,” Heidorn says. “Your hair and scalp can recover overnight and you will feel a significant difference in your hair quality when you rinse out the mask in the morning.” You can protect your pillow from getting sticky while you sleep by using a towel or get a satin cover headscarf.

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For thick hair

Thick strands are likely healthy (seeing as they’re all staying put!), but may need help in the detangling department. This is when a good deep conditioner can really make the difference. Lea Kruczynski, hairstylist at Tarro Beauty + Art, recommends Kérastase Masquintense Thick, which, as its name suggests, is formulated specifically for thick hair. “It features the Irisome complex, made up of glucose, proteins, lipids, and iris rhizome extract, which work together to replenish and restore the surface of fibers in thick, dry hair,” she says. Another option is Pantene Gold Series Repairing Hair Mask, which is infused with argan oil to repair strands and keep them manageable.

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For fine hair

Fine hair will quickly feel oily after using deep conditioning products, says Heidorn, so your main goal when selecting a hair mask is to choose one that won’t weigh down your hair. “Use light products that contain hydrating ingredients like vitamins A , C, and E, as well as aloe vera.” She recommends Jason Thin-to-Thick Extra Volume Conditioner, which, even though it’s not a mask, will add the right amount of moisture and volume to fine hair. For an actual mask that promises to restore substance, shine and resiliency without weighing hair down, try Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Masque for Normal to Dry Hair.

BLACKDAY/Shutterstock, lorealparisusa.com

For oily hair

When your hair gets oily shortly after washing, your scalp needs a balancing treatment. “You are likely using a shampoo that’s drying your scalp, so it produces more oil in order to protect it,” says Heidorn. “And using a deep conditioning mask after shampooing might only clog your pores and leave hair even more heavy.” She suggests using an oil-regulating product before shampooing, such as L’Oréal Extraordinary Clay Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask. “This pre-shampoo mask absorbs oils and impurities right at the scalp leaving your hair lighter and more free to flow.” Apply the mask to your roots before shampooing, leave in for five minutes to absorb excess and impurities and rinse out. Follow with shampoo only if needed, she adds. Another go-to mask for an oily, unbalanced scalp is Mizani Scalp Care Deep Conditioner. “Filled with sunflower and avocado oil and aloe vera, this mask works to leave the scalp soft, clear of dandruff and healthy,” says Jordan.

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For coarse or ethnic hair

Natural and ethnic hair demands rich and smooth hair care products that keep the scalp and hair shaft nourished at all times, says Heidorn. She recommends Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Restoring Hair Mask for just about any type or coarse hair to add nutrients to the scalp and soften the hair shaft. Another great mask for medium-to-coarse or curly hair that delivers the right amount of health and shine is Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque. “This mask wonderfully delivers hydration, repair from processing, detangles and reduces frizz,” says LaMarsh. “The macadamia and argan oil combination improves hair health, elasticity and shine.”

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For dull, lackluster hair

If your hair goals are shine, volume, manageability, and all-around gorgeousness, try Rene Furterer Lumicia Shine Rinse. “This one-of-a-kind shine rinse contains Fioravanti alchoholate, a blend of 11 botanicals that infuses the hair to help smooth down the cuticle,” says Kruczynski. “Also acerola cherry vinegar which uses its natural acid pH to help normalize damaged hair and smooths the cuticle closed.” Another go-to mask for add some overall oomph is R and Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask, suggests Jordan. “This mask can be used before or after shampooing to soften, add shine and totally recharge dull hair.” A blend of babassu seed oil, shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil and sodium PCA, provides deep hydration and intense conditioning to soften hair and seal in moisture.