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A deep dive into deep conditioner and why we’re obsessed.

HAIR MASKS - THE ALL-INCLUSIVE HAIR CARE GUIDE

Everything you need to know for your hair routine.

If you have ever sat in our salon chairs you too have been convinced that more conditioner is more. Period. (Less is never more.)

We've all been told to follow the famous curly girl method to condition and saturate our strands with love, skip shampoo, swish, scrunch in styling products, air-dry, diffuse dry.. You're probably thinking, " It's all very diffusing..I mean confusing. Sounds really good but where do I start? How do I choose the right product?"


Simple answer is :

For textured hair Hydration = Curls.

Complex Answer is:

Discovering which absorbency type you have x the weather in your region and the water quality you have. Then cross reference the amount of product needed by your thickness and voila! Curly hair math for professionals. After reading this article you will have tools to choose the right ingredients for your lifestyle. since there is no such thing as "Normal hair" especially since most of us are culturally so mixed and multiple textured on one head.


But let's go back to the basics:

A hair mask treatment will penetrate hair structure more deeply than a regular conditioner. Conditioners generally only work with the surface of your hair to coat your cuticle layer for a smooth and shiny effect. They should be used after a mask in order to maximise the payoff, as they can lock in all the good stuff that’s just been worked into your hair. On the other hand, a hair mask provides a more intensive, nutrient-rich treatment. This is why masks are supposed to be left in your hair for longer than regular conditioners- so your hair has more time to properly absorb all the nutrients.

 

A hair mask of good quality will also benefit scalp health. A lot of products will contain oils or ingredients for moisture and hydration, that also nourish your scalp. Oil-based hair masks, depending on the oil, are also really beneficial for stimulating the hair follicles and blood circulation.


Hair masks are a complete game-changer, and what’s even better about them is how little time they add to your routine. How often they should be applied definitely depends on hair type; easily weighed down hair may not be able to handle more than once or twice a week, while three or more times a week can really benefit hair that’s prone to drying out. But at no point is it necessary- or even recommended- to use one every day. The concentration of ingredients in a hair mask means that it should be used a lot more sparingly than your average shampoo and conditioner, but you’ll still see big results after consistent usage.


This type of intensity is why it’s important to use high-quality masks. Now, the important thing to note is that high-quality doesn’t necessarily entail brand, but rather the ingredients and how they are going to work for you. Everyone’s hair is unique and while there are certain things you should always be looking for, there are always going to be products that work better for one person than another. You should always be buying or making products that help balance your composition out and give you nutrients that you need. A protein mask might change everything for your friend, but could overload your own hair and be counter-intuitive if it isn’t something you lacked in the first place.

Hair masks are going to be of three main components, with different ratios to tackle different problems. Proteins, emollients, and humectants all play different roles in hair health. Our hair is literally made of proteins, and is mostly a combination of amino acid chains and keratin. Damaged hair may need a boost of these proteins in order to repair itself. Protein also improves elasticity and prevents breakage. Keratin masks are very popular for this reason, as they’re great for strengthening. If you’re wanting a protein-heavy hair mask and want to test out something else, try looking for cysteine (which makes up a good chunk in the chemical composition of keratin), methionine, or lysine as listed ingredients, as they tend to be the most prevalent amino acids within hair care products.


Emollients are basically any oils or fats, and are great for softening hair as well as UV protection. Masks focusing on this type of substance shouldn’t be used as often as the other mask types, as they do build up on oil and greasiness if used in excess. They don’t directly moisturise your locks but rather stop them from drying out afterwards- humectants will focus on hydration whereas emollients will help with retention. Common emollients include lanolin and fatty acids.


Humectants are hydrators- they attract moisture from the environment. When using them in an environment of high moisture, such as in the shower, they pull water molecules out of the air. The excess water is then absorbed by the hair. This is important information, because using masks with a high concentration of humectants means understanding when they can be used. They shouldn’t be left in your hair overnight or for an extended period of time, because in low-humidity situations the substances will begin to instead draw water out of your strands. The biggest ones you’ll find in the industry are panthenol and glycerine, with honey and agave as the big home alternatives.


Other common, and important, ingredients to look for in commercial hair masks are vitamins and biotin (another type of vitamin, but this is the name you’ll find on the label). Here are some recommendations:


Curl Spa Hydra Mask

Curl Spa Aloe Vera Gel


Of course, if you’re looking for a more holistic approach, you can always go in the DIY direction!


While it’s becoming easier and easier in this day and age to find options without sulfates and parabens, there are still other less-than-optimal components such as artificial fragrances and formaldehyde. Making your own concoction means you’re going to know exactly what you’re putting on your head! This is a big bonus if you have sensitive skin or want to go the green route. While a lot of things these days aren’t very eco-friendly, using natural ingredients is always going to be better than chemical mixtures (which wind up being washed down the drain into the water system).


They can also be a lot cheaper in the long run, especially if you’re making a mask that has minimal ingredients. A lot of our suggestions down below may come to around the same price as a regular mask, if not much lower, but will be of a much larger quantity that you can keep and store. The process of making your own products can also be really fun! It can be a really therapeutic and wholesome activity if you have the time to spare, and involves very little complication.


There are downsides to this approach- some ingredients can be straight up gross. Mayonnaise has been said to be really good for locking in moisture and strengthening your follicles, but the thought of putting dollops of condiment into one’s hair is definitely a little less than attractive. Using fresh ingredients also means a shorter time on the shelf- almost all of these alternatives aren’t going to be able to go the distance compared to your professional options, and definitely won’t survive past a few weeks (let alone months, if you’re really wanting to push it).


You should also be doing a lot of research if you plan on concocting your own little recipe. This approach can reap the most benefits- your own custom formula can contain everything your hair needs and omit anything it doesn’t- but it also comes with some risks. Make sure that anything you put in your hair for an extended period of time isn’t going to damage your hair, scalp, or otherwise. Know your ingredients, their purpose, and their maximum allowed time for visitation!


I’ve listed below some natural ingredients that have various benefits, and work well as basic starting points. Below that, you can find a list of combinations that have grown quite popular over time!


INGREDIENTS:


  • Aloe vera is incredible for encouraging hair growth- and proportionately, preventing hair loss. It contains a ton of vitamins: A, C, E and B12 are all found in the gel along with fatty acids and even amino acids. It’s also great for any oily hair-types since it carries certain enzymes which break down any excess grease or build-up. (See our DIY aloe treatment recipe)


  • Baking soda is a go-to ingredient for any product build-up in your hair. Frankly, it’s a miracle for almost anything and therefore shouldn’t surprise anyone by being on this list. It also makes your hair shiny (yay)! However, it has a pH of 9, compared to the scalp having a pH of a tad more than 7. While this can benefit you with a pH reset (often products in your hair will pull the pH over to the more acidic side), this means it shouldn’t stay on your head for too long, nor should it be in large quantities, lest it throws off the balance in the complete opposite direction. One part baking soda is usually accompanied by three-four parts water. If you plan on mixing it with other ingredients, look into whether any reactions might take place!


  • Egg yolk is another great way to give your hair a boost in shine and moisture. It’s composed mostly of healthy fats, making it a great emollient, and also contains vitamins A, E, and B9 (otherwise known as folate). Leave this in for up to 15-20 minutes- much longer is ill-advised, considering that it’s raw egg. This should also be washed out with cold water- hot water may partially cook it and leave you with curdled egg or small clumps in your hair. Eggs can be super beneficial for your hair, so don’t let these precautions scare you off! Simply following these small tips will keep you safe from any unexpected twists, and let you pamper your tresses with little worry.


  • Banana

  • Honey

  • Mayo

  • Avocado oil / olive oil

  • Green tea

  • Lemon

  • Shea butter

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Sugar (exfoliant)

  • Coconut oil

  • Avocado

  • Egg white



GENERAL MASK COMBOS:

  1. Green tea (great for scalp and has antioxidants)

  2. Chamomile (shine and brightness especially on blonds)


GREASY/OILY HAIR


  1. Egg white and lemon (lemon can also lighten hair in the sun, especially combined with honey)

  2. Baking soda mixture

3. Peppermint tea


DRY HAIR


  1. Coconut oil

  2. Banana and olive oil

  3. Avocado

  4. Henna Cassia powder /Amla oil/ Olive Oil mixture


CURLY HAIR/Not for COLOURED HAIR


  1. Apple cider vinegar detox (be careful bc it can also dry out hair, balance w honey or oil)

2.


DAMAGED


Avocado, honey, olive oil


Honey and milk (for best results warm up)


Egg yolk (IMPORTANT: rinse with cold water unless you want half cooked egg in hair)


We would love your comments and feedback to any of the above methods ! Post below.


Wishing you Happy Hair!

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