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Whether your curls are feeling dry or your highlights looking a little dull, a hair mask can very well be the solution — they restore moisture and softness and even brightness to your locks. Consider a skin-care analogy: If daily conditioner is akin to your lighter-weight, water-based body lotions, hair masks are more of a body butter, explains Ash Fritzler, master stylist at the Bird House salon in Gowanus. They are “like a richer version of your regular lotion,” and often a critical part of your broader hair-care routine.

To find the best masks for all kinds of hair types, we talked to seven experts, including salon owners, stylists, and a founder of the new Crown Affair line. Although, according to Shirley Hagel, an advanced creative stylist at Parlor Hair Salon, “hair type” isn’t always the most important guiding factor in this context. “For me, choosing a mask isn’t so much about whether hair is thick or thin,” she says. Rather, her most important consideration is “what the hair needs” — whether that be hydration, damage-repair, nutrient replenishment, etc. And before we dive into the specific brands that Hagel and our other experts turn to for those varying needs, here is some general advice that emerged from the group: Aim to use a mask about one to two times a week (in place of your usual conditioner), leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes, and rinse with cold water to enhance shine.

Kreyòl Essence Haitian Black Castor Oil ” So Deep “Repair Hair Mask

“The cool thing about this mask is that it includes castor oil, which promotes hair growth,” says Louis, adding that castor oil isn’t only said to help hair grow; it can also protect the hair you already have as it grows: “It’s like you’re getting a two-for-one: long and softer hair.” Like many of the masks on the list, this one is paraben-free, which Louis says is important for helping hair retain moisture. It’s a thicker mask, making it ideal for those who want to make dry, curly, or damaged hair less tangly, and/or with softer curls. (Those with thinner or less curly textures may want to skip this one and choose a lighter mask instead.)


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