After putting off a haircut for a week too long, or in the dead of winter when it’s just so dry outside, sometimes regular old conditioner just won’t cut it. Enter, overnight hair masks. You get to sleep (a favorite pastime) while these work, making them perfect for both very busy people and very lazy people.
“Overnight masks are such a secret weapon. Every hair type benefits, however the ones that will see the biggest change will be the drier, coarser hair types. The longer you leave it on, the more effect it has,” says Kristen Shaw, celebrity hairstylist. Benefits of using an overnight hair mask include: shinier hair, less breakage, softer hair, frizz reduction, detangling, and less time spent contemplating your life choices in the shower.
Applying an overnight hair mask is basically foolproof. “Take a shower at night and shampoo your hair. Towel dry it, put the mask on, comb it through and you can either just clip it up, or put a shampoo cap on while you sleep,” Shaw says. “A fun little trick is to also try this before you go into a sauna or steam room. The heat will help to open up the cuticle and really allow the product to get in the hair strand,” Shaw says.
The only downside to an overnight mask is that you do have to hop back in the shower to wash it out in the morning (but that beats standing in the shower having imaginary conversations with your crush for twenty minutes like you would with a regular hair mask IMHO).While there are masks specifically labeled “overnight hair masks,” Shaw says you can turn pretty much any mask into an overnight mask by, well, wearing it overnight as described above.
“I love all the Davines Circle Chronicles options, which makes using masks so fun, by giving you options of shine, detox, moisture, and more,” Shaw says. The superstar ingredient in the Spotlight Circle is moringa oil, which helps hair look shinier and be less tangly.
Shaw is a fan of this treatment mask. It’s packed with ingredients that read like a who’s who of hydration: coconut oil, meadowfoam seed oil, babassu oil, and vitamin E. She also likes the La Tierra Segrada Jojoba, $42, which she says she uses as an overnight mask, but it’s also great for the daytime.
This one is definitely on the pricier side, but it works wonders on damaged hair, and it’s lightweight so it’s especially good for people with fine or oily hair.
This mask doesn’t contain any silicones or oils, which makes it a solid option for people who find that heavy masks weigh down their hair. It was one of the first overnight hair masks I ever tried, and I keep coming back to it.
This mask smells incredible—don’t blame me if strangers catch you sniffing your own hair after using—and is deeply nourishing with ingredients like baobab oil and shea butter.
This mask delivers on all the buzzwords of a great hair mask: it leaves hair soft, shiny, detangled, and smelling amazing.
This is an intensely conditioning mask that contains a nourishing blend of shea butter, argan oil, and avocado oil.
You can also DIY your own overnight hair mask with a carrier oil and some essential oils, Shaw says. “I love a good carrier oil like jojoba or olive oil. I put a couple drops of essential oil, in like rosemary for promoting hair growth or cedarwood as an antifungal. Both smell amazing so it’s an extra added plus,” Shaw says. “Keeping it simple is essential—when it comes to natural, you don’t need a lot of ingredients for it to be effective.” You would apply these DIY masks the same way you would a store bought one.
“I recommend that if your hair is damaged, sleep with an overnight mask once a week,” Shaw advises. “If your hair feels normal and you’d just like a refresh, do it once a month.”
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