We all wash our hair and have asked ourselves this question at least one time in our lives. It may seem silly to ask, especially if you already know the answer, but you’ll be surprised at how many people aren’t too sure about if a hair mask should go before the shampoo phase or after. Some people also think a hair mask and a conditioner are the same. So many questions can be asked but in actuality they are different and one way for you to figure this out is by looking at the thickness of the product or by rinsing it out with water and seeing what happens. When you apply a hair mask to your hair, it’s very difficult to just rinse it out with water similar to a conditioner. You’ll notice that your hair will often look white as a result of the oils that the hair mask contains. Plus you’ll notice that your hair still feels product heavy or weighed down. These two items are applied during different phases of your wash day routine. So let’s get started.
Now What’s a Hair Mask
Hair Masks are like super treatments for the hair. Meaning, instead of improving only the hair’s surface, by smoothing it out, similar to a conditioner. A Hair mask will nourish the hair from the inside out. It will also work to strengthen the hair, add shine, detangle the hair, soften the hair, enable the hair to become more manageable, and will often hydrate the hair.
However, if you thought that was it, then you are sadly mistaken because depending on if you try a protein/keratin mask, or a humectant mask, the effects the hair mask will provide to your hair will differ. This is because a protein/ keratin mask is set to prevent breakage, and helps to strengthen/ repair brittle, dull, and damaged hair. Not only that it works to protect the strands and provides an outer layer that will help to fight against exposure to harsh environments. However, a humectant mask, the sole purpose is to allow the hair to retain moisture and absorb water.
So What Are Some Natural Products That Can Be Used to Create Your Own DIY Hair Mask
Some examples of natural products that can be used to create a DIY protein/ keratin treatment are avocados, eggs, bananas, chia seeds, and mayonnaise. Please note the items mentioned can be mixed together to create a super protein mask or can be mixed separately to create separate DIY mask recipes. For instance, you can do 1 avocado, 1 egg, some carrier oils like almond oil, olive oil, or castor oil, then blend it together before applying it to sections of your hair. Another recipe can be mixing 1 egg, 1/2 cup of yogurt, and 2 bananas together with some carrier oils like grape seed oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. In addition to that, you can also try taking one cup of filtered water with 4 cups of chia seeds. However, instead of straining the chia seeds with a stocking, after 10 minutes of stirring it, you can blend the mixture until it becomes a gel. Take the gel and mix it with honey, with any carrier oil of your choice like rosehip oil, sesame oil, jojoba oil, with essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, or thyme. Then take that blend and apply it to sections of your hair prior to washing. The possibilities are endless. However for those you who would like to know more about humectants. Then check out our post called Can Agave be a Substitute for Honey and check out our social media page to find out what items can be categorized as humectants. The link to the page featuring humectant posts is above.
Now When Should You Apply A Hair Mask
A hair mask should be applied during the pre-shampoo phase. All of the recipes mentioned above need to be washed out with shampoo. Think about it, the chia seed mask will still have small fragments of seeds within it. So you don’t want to walk outside and have the birds feel like your hair is dinner because that would just be tragic.
So How Long Should You Leave a Hair Mask within your hair
I personally use a hair mask every time I wash my hair. This is because I usually wash my hair about 2 to 3 times a month, depending on the style I have in and if I’ve used a lot of product during the week. Plus it doesn’t help when your hair has a personality of its own and tends to want to do its own thing when you are trying to have a peaceful wash day. However, applying the hair mask to sections of my hair and leaving it in for about 30 minutes prior to washing it out with shampoo, then later applying the conditioner, makes all of the difference with my hair texture. When it comes to how long you should keep the hair mask within your hair, the typical time is usually between 15-30 minutes. However, if you are like me and tend to create your own DIY hair masks or you purchase natural product masks, then you can leave the mask within your hair for an hour or 2. I like to say the time frame depends on your hair type and texture. But if you are someone who uses store-bought products, then I would insist on following their instructions for the time frame.
Now What’s A Conditioner
A Conditioner works to help the hair’s outer layer. Meaning, it helps the hair to feel soft, improve its appearance and it allows for the friction between your brush and comb to be reduced during the detangling phase. As we know there are four different types of conditioners, which are:
- Deep Conditioning Treatment
- Regular Conditioner
- Leave-in Conditioner
- Dry Conditioner
You’re probably asking what are the differences between all four conditioners. Well, a deep conditioning treatment is similar to a hair mask. A regular conditioner is a product that needs to be rinsed out and is typically added after the shampoo phase to restore some type of moisture back into the hair. A leave-in conditioner is a no-rinse, post-wash treatment that will help to hydrate, nourish, style, detangle and define your curls. Lastly, dry conditioner normally comes in the form of a spray, and what this does is help your hair fight against frizz and adds shine. This form of conditioner doesn’t need to be washed out as well and will help to refresh your curls without having to apply water.
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