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Conditioners vs Masks

Conditioners and masks have an essential role to play when it comes to keeping your hair in tip-top condition, says our stylist Charlie. But what’s the difference between the two? And why do we need both?

“Put simply, a conditioner should be used every time you wash your hair while a hair mask is used just once or twice a week,” explains Charlie.

Hair conditioners…

Treat the hair surface, smoothing cuticles raised by shampooing to make hair shinier and less tangled. They are rinsed out very quickly after being applied. Conditioner should be used every time you wash your hair.

Hair masks…

These are much richer and more nutritious. They are designed to penetrate, and deep treat the hair and are left on for longer than conditioners. Because the hair absorbs the concentrated goodness in the mask, the results last longer. They will strengthen and nourish your hair, treat damage, and make it softer, shinier, and bouncier.

Types of hair mask

There are different types of hair masks, so it can be a bit confusing if you’re trying to choose the best one for you, so I suggest you chat with your stylist and ask for their recommendation, says Charlie.

Hair frequently coloured, bleached or styled with heated tools is likely to need one of the more decadent masks like Renaissance Circle from Davines. This also goes for coarser hair, curly hair and afro hair that are more likely to become dehydrated.

On the other hand, fine hair, or hair that isn’t coloured or heat styled very often, would benefit from a lighter mask treatment. I often suggest my clients try Quick Fix Circle from Davines.

But do ask your stylist for their recommendation at your next appointment, or pop into the salon for professional advice.

Getting the best from hair masks

“Hair masks do take longer to work correctly than conditioners, so plan to use one when you have a soak in the bath or watch your favourite TV programme. Make it a special treat – this is not one for your pre-work early morning shower, says Charlie.

Always check the directions for use on each product, as they do vary:

  1. Generally, apply non-oil-based masks to wet or damp hair, which is porous and absorbs the nutrients better. But don’t apply the mask to soaking wet hair, as too much water will dilute it. Pat the excess water off with a towel, then apply the mask. However, masks with oil, such as Dark Oil Lightweight Mask from Sebastian, are best applied to dry hair (this is because water repels oil).
  2. Check if your mask should be applied before shampooing or afterwards. Then make sure you evenly coat your hair and apply enough product.
  3. Don’t guess how long to leave it on – follow the instructions. Too short, and the mask won’t work to its full potential. While too long can lead to hair that looks oily and limp.
  4. Rinse off with lukewarm water (unless the instructions say otherwise).

“A hair mask is an intensive treatment, so there is no need to use one every time you wash your hair. Weekly or less frequently might be good for you,” explains Charlie.

We have a wide range of conditioners and hair masks for every hair type, so pop in for a consultation, and we can advise on which ones will suit your hair and your lifestyle and how often to use them.


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