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Best Hair Masks for Dry and Damaged Hair

Best intensive hair treatments for fried hair

Today for Makeup Wars we’re talking about our favorite masks. Usually that would make you think immediately of face masks, but since I seem to talk about those a lot, I didn’t feel like I had anything new to share on that topic! I decided I’d talk about my favorite hair masks, since I seem to be doing a lot of hair masking recently.

First, I want to say the reason that I’m masking is sooooo my fault. You might remember a few years ago when I fried my hair by overusing my BeachWaver, sans heat protectant. I’ve since grown out all of the damage, and my hair was super, crazy healthy. Despite lots of coloring and bleaching. It was so healthy that it was really hard to get it to curl. So, I had this great idea to get a perm (and retrospectively I wish I’d picked a digital perm, but I digress). It did rough up my cuticle some, and my hair just looks kind of wavy when it is wet now, but mostly it made it so when I curl my hair now, it actually stays. I still use product, but the perm made a big difference.

To prevent too much damage, my stylist (I go to Tiffany at One One Nine in Ann Arbor, she’s amazing) added Olaplex to the perm. And we started adding it to bleach for my hair as well. And all was well. Until a few months later when I decided I wanted more dimension to my hair. Because I can’t leave well enough alone. And I had Tiffany add even lighter balayage to the front part of my hair. It was sooooo pretty.

But that last bit of bleach (even with Olaplex in it) just put my hair over the edge. I started getting breakage and split ends in the area of the blond. I was cutting off split ends left and right! And masking…. lots of masking to help repair the damage and prevent things from getting worse. I’ve since cut off the damage (luckily I only needed a few shorter layers in front to remove it), but the whole experience definitely renewed my love of these hair masks!

1. Olaplex

Buy it from Olaplex or Sephora, I would avoid buying it elsewhere due to diversion and fake versions.

First, the biggie. I mentioned Olaplex above, and it is pretty amazing stuff. It is not “just another conditioner”, it actually works to repair bonds in your hair. (Labmuffin has an amazing explanation of how Olaplex works) There are 3 “steps”, though you can do any of them alone, skip steps, etc. It doesn’t need to be done in a step-wise fashion.

Step 3 is the one you can buy in the salon for use at home. The directions say to apply to clean, damp hair, and then wash off about 10 minutes later. Ummm…. no. Don’t do that. I’ve done it, it helps my hair a bit, but since this treatment isn’t a conditioner, leaving it on longer (ok, a lot longer) isn’t going to weigh your hair down. I do what Tiffany told me to do, I use Olaplex as an overnight treatment! I apply to dry hair (you can dampen your hair a bit to make it easier to spread if you want), I start about 2-3 inches from the roots of my hair and apply down to the tips. My hair definitely has product in it, but it isn’t wet. I then put my hair up in a bun and sleep on it! You’ll need a towel on your pillow, but it doesn’t make my head cold. I just wash it out in the am.

Since Olaplex is going into the hair shaft to repair chemical bonds rather than adding conditioning agents to my hair, it doesn’t weigh down my hair. I still have a ton of volume! But, I definitely do feel an immediate difference in my hair. It is shinier, smoother and definitely stronger. It helps a lot with damage. I use it every 1-2 weeks.

2. Darshana

Available from Darshana and Amazon (note that the seller on Amazon is the brand, so you can safely buy it here)

If my hair is dry, instead of using Olaplex I’ll reach for Darshana. You can read my Darshana review, but basically this is a special blend of oils that add a ton of moisture to your hair but don’t weigh it down. It smells amazing (like oranges), and I use it exactly like I use Olaplex.

3. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle

Get Moist at Amazon, Target, Walmart
Buy Strong at Amazon, Walmart

Both of the two masks I’ve mentioned are ones that I use overnight. I have to plan ahead for a day that I’m not on call (I can’t head in to the hospital for a sick patient with a hair full of Olaplex, it looks crazy), I’m planning to wash my hair first thing in the morning, etc. I definitely have days like that, but it takes planning. But, there are still days that I think my hair is a bit drier than it should be, or I need a little something beyond just my regular conditioner. On those days I use the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle that I keep in my shower. There are different versions, I like both Strong (see my 3 Minute Miracle Strong Review), and Moist. I just swap it out for my normal conditioner, and it really does make a big difference. And it costs about $3!

What are your favorite hair masks?

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links
The Aussie and Darshana were sent by PR, though I’ve repurchased the Aussie a lot and have been meaning to buy more Darshana (that bottle is empty, I actually keep it around just for pictures). I bought the Olaplex and have repurchased a few times!

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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