I remember when I was little how some of the things my mom did to beautify herself simply disturbed me. She seriously put a bunch of gooey green stuff on her face and let it harden into a crusty mess that she had to peel off her skin? Yuck. And what about hot oils for hair? Was that some form of torture?
Yep, that was my youthful mind. But now that I’ve blossomed into a beauty fanatic, ready to take on even the most odd of beautification methods (ok, well not all of them, but some), I realize the importance of self maintenance and know that some of the most important beautification processes may sound a bit funny. Take hair masques: To my child self, masques were something best reserved for Halloween. To my beauty-obsessed adult self, hair masques make a lot more sense.
But even so, many women are a bit confused about what a hair masque actually is, what purpose it serves, and whether or not it actually works. Well, my baffled friends, BeautyStat wanted to clear up any masque misconceptions you may be harboring, so we consulted two top hair experts— Master Colorist and mizu new york’s newest Resident Artist Vasken Demirjian and nationally acclaimed hairstylist Jeffrey Lyle of the Jeffrey Lyle Salon, and to talk all things hair masques. We’ve got the goods for you, darlings, so sit back, grab a drink, and get ready to indulge in a little self-pampering.
What in the world is a hair masque and why is it so important?
Think about your skin and its needs. It gets pretty dry due to weather, heat, and other factors, right? So you treat it with a lotion or cream to restore it. Well, hair works in the same way, according to both Lyle and Demirjian.
“Due to daily aggressors, (such as blow drying, environmental factors, etc.), we need to replace moisture that gets removed from the hair. Masques keep hair shiny, healthy, and strong,” Lyle says.
Hair might just need a bit more attention than your skin, Demirjian says: “Generally hair tends to be more porous than our skin, so our hair, in fact, requires more moisture, particularly in winter months when cold weather contributes further to the dryness of our hair. We need excellent masques to keep our hair protected and moist at all times of the year.”
Long story short? Hair masques help keep your hair looking healthy and beautiful.
What makes a masque different than a conditioner or a shampoo?
When you’re comparing a masque to a conditioner or shampoo, Demirjian says, it’s all a matter of product concentration. And when it comes down to it, it’s just about as simple as comparing a Band-Aid to triage. One (conditioners and shampoos) takes care of immediate damage and the other (masques) handle the long-term recovery.
“Imagine each hair strand is like a windowpane, and the cuticle (protective layer of each hair strand) is like the shutter on the window. Based on this analogy, damaged hair, regardless of the season and reason, is like a windowpane with its shutters open all the time,” Demirjian says. “A great conditioning masque will penetrate and coat the cuticle, and close them so that the hair strand is fortified and strengthened. Essentially, it restores the protective ability of each hair strand, giving our hair the much needed moisture and restore the luster, shine and integrity.”
The bottom line? Masques penetrate deeper into the hair, and conditioners wash right out.
How often should I apply a hair masque?
As with skincare, no two hair types are alike. And that means that you have to switch up your hair care routine based on the type of locks you’ve got and their condition, Lyle says. “It depends on the condition of the hair and how much you wash it. I always suggest using a hair masque once a week. Someone who has very dry hair should apply a masque twice a week.”
What kind of masque is best for my hair type?
There are various masques for different types of hair, and just about every hair product line has its own version of a masque, Lyle says. So to help you navigate the wide world of masques, he recommends asking your stylist which one is right for you. After all, “sometimes we think our hair is in better/worse condition than it actually is.
What’s the bottom line here?
Whether you’re a masque-aholic or a novice, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to these fantastic little hair nurturers. You might not think that you really need a masque, or you might not ever use them, but you might be missing out on a lot if that’s the case.
“Keep in mind that healthy hair is always easier to style because it always looks good, no matter what. Just because you don’t color or blow-dry your hair, doesn’t mean you don’t need to use a masque,” Lyle says.
Demirjian adds: “My formula of beautiful hair is not a secret. We should all know that ‘Beautiful hair unequivocally is healthy hair,’ which will singlehandedly prove the point that masques are most essential to our hair care regiment.”
Our Masque Picks
Oribe’s Signature Moisture Masque, $59, Barneys New York
It’s official: We’re obsessed with this masque. After massaging it into our hair, leaving it in for about 10 minutes, and rinsing, it left our locks soft, shiny, and defined. We could actually see the difference as soon as our hair started drying. Let the love affair begin, darlings.
Kérastase Masquintense, $60, http://www.kerastase-usa.com/
Both Lyle and Demirjian swear by this masque from the brand’s Nutritive series. Available for fine or thick hair, the masque restores vitality and shine from roots to ends, providing weightless nutrition.
Lush’s Jasmin & Henna Fluff Eaze, $20.95, Lush stores
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, this vegan henna treatment is just what the doctor ordered. Loaded with emollient oils (think almond oil, Brazil nut oil and hemp oil), this treatment adds shine and controls fluffiness.
In celebration of his new role as mizu new york’s newest Resident Artist, Vasken Demirjian, is offering one lucky reader a free restoring deep conditioning treatment. We know you all want to counteract that post-winter damage, so leave a comment below telling us your thoughts on hair masques and be entered to win.
– Chrissy Callahan
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