Despite having undeniable benefits, hair masks are often accused of causing problems such as weighing down hair or overloading the hair fibre. We brush aside these misconceptions, which are often a result of incorrect application.
When you use a hair mask there are a few pitfalls to avoid, so that you can fully benefit from all of its properties. Here are just a few...
Unlike conditioners which are used for detangling hair, masks treat the hair fibre deep down. So you should choose one that suits your needs, based on how dry, weak or thick your hair is. For example, a mask which is very rich in shea could be too nourishing for hair fibres which are extremely fine. On the other hand, it is the perfect treatment for nourishing thick, damaged locks.
Very often, dull hair is the result of poorly rinsed-out hair. If you apply a mask on top of that, the hair will be weighed down even more and the main active ingredients in the mask may no longer be effective as they will be neutralised by those contained in the shampoo. So make sure you thoroughly rinse out your hair. This means rinsing until there are no more bubbles in the water. Dry your hair carefully to prevent the treatment from becoming diluted in water.
N.B.: if your hair slides between your fingers, it has most likely been poorly rinsed out. Repeat the rinsing process until the hair fibre clings slightly to your fingers.
Although it is generally more effective to apply a mask after washing your hair, particularly if your hair is very dry or weakened, this is not the case with extremely fine hair. This hair type does not need to be wet to absorb the main active ingredients and can just be slightly dampened with a spray. This will prevent your hair from being overly weighed down after washing.
There is no need to use half of the tube at a time. The product will not be any more effective and you will find it much harder to properly rinse out the treatment. This will weigh down your hair and make it look dull. That's often the last straw for those looking for floaty, shiny locks! You shouldn't need more than four squirts of the product, but this will depend on your hair's length and thickness.
N.B.: if your hair is coated with a white creamy film, you have applied too much product. It should just be thinly coated and look slightly shiny.
When you have chosen the right mask, it should have a specific purpose. It is either meant to target the lengths, in which case, it should be applied just to that area (from the mid-lengths to the tips), or it is for targeting the roots and scalp and again should only applied to this area.
N.B.: If you wish to address several problems at the same time, such as cleansing your scalp and nourishing dry tips, switch between hair masks (specifically designed to target these problems) from one week to the next. If applied all at once, the main active ingredients in your hair masks could overlap each another.
It is tempting to let a mask just soak in for 2 to 3 minutes. The immediate softening effect is due to the silicones that it contains. Although these treatments are ideal from time to time, they often end up weighing down the hair fibre. It is therefore preferable to use them as a stopgap fix and instead resort to "real" masks which should soak in for 20 to 30 minutes so that you can benefit from all the advantages that their main active ingredients have to offer. These are the only masks which can truly repair the hair fibre.
N.B.: If you are in a hurry, you can use heat to speed up the action of your mask. You just need to wrap your hair in cling film. You could also use a towel heated up in the microwave beforehand, making sure the towel isn't too hot before wrapping it around your hair. This will help the hair cuticles to open so the main active ingredients can penetrate more quickly.
Another common misconception is about not rinsing off the mask properly, so that its active ingredients stay on your hair. In fact, the only thing this is good for is attracting dust and residue more quickly! Therefore, like conditioner, you simply must rinse your mask off thoroughly. Some masks with a particularly stubborn consistency will require you to shampoo your hair for a second time to properly rinse them out.
If you avoid all of these pitfalls, you can get your dream hair by applying the right hair mask!