I'm obsessed with hair masks. Give me a deep conditioner, a tub of treatment, or anything that promises to repair dry ends, and I'll have it on my hair before you can say Schwarzkopf.
Recently, I went through a phase of using a deep-conditioning mask on my hair every time I washed it (which is every two to three days) in an effort to keep my blond balayage healthy. Although it did make my hair shiny and smooth, I also found my hair was much greasier than normal. This had me wondering if I was overmasking and if that was even possible. I reached out to hair experts to find out if overmasking could do more harm than good for the hair and to find out once and for all how to use a hair mask correctly for the best results.
Can people overmask the hair?
Kerluxe celebrity stylist Earl Simms says you can absolutely overmask the hair. "Conditioners and masks coat the hair, and if you use them too often, it causes a buildup of product," he explained. David Felstead, director of the Daniel Galvin Hair and Scalp Clinic, explained that "as both conditioners and masks are concentrated products, less really is more." Apparently, using too much product is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to conditioning and using masks on their hair. Oops.
What can the consequences be?
We've established that some of us are overmasking, but what could this lead to? These hair professionals both say that it could leave the hair looking limp and lifeless. This is due to the "buildup of product, which can really weight the hair down," said Simms, and Felstead also explained that "it may even become greasier quicker." So much for trying to make the hair glossy and voluminous.
How often should someone use hair masks?
"For coarser hair types, use Kerluxe Resplendisse Hair Mask once a week, and for finer hair, Kerluxe Luminage Mask once a fortnight," said Simms. Felstead noted that another great option is having an in-salon treatment, "where mist steamers can be used to open up the hair cuticle, allowing for better product penetration."
What else can people do to maintain the overall health of their hair?
"Treat your hair as if it were your favourite cashmere sweater!" are the wise words from Felstead — and probably my new life motto. Although both experts recommend using a mask once a week at the most, this doesn't mean leaving out conditioner altogether. Felstead explained that conditioning will not only keep it in good health and make it easier to comb, but it also apparently helps to smooth the hair cuticle and make it less static, which means it won't attract dirt and pollution. His favourite masks are the Kiehl's Sunflower Color Preserving Conditioner ($55) for a lightweight option and Kerastase Aura Botanica Soin Fondamental ($50). Simms also advised against washing the hair too frequently. Reducing how often you wash your hair can maintain good condition, particularly for people living in cities and those with hard water, as constant shampooing can dry the hair out.
Next time you go to slather on that hair mask, try washing your hair less often, only masking once a week, but ensuring you use a good-quality conditioner in-between washes to maintain the health and shine of your ends.