The Best Masks For Your Hair (& Budget)

No matter the length, texture, or style of our hair, we’re always on the hunt for ways to make every last strand as lustrous as possible. But between monthly colorist appointments, an affinity for hot tools, and unpredictable weather conditions, this is no easy task. So to help repair the damage caused by chemicals, heat, Mother Nature, and genetics, there’s nothing better than a hair mask to get yours back into tip-top shape.

Not to be confused with your daily conditioner, a hair mask (or masque, if you prefer) is more intense, usually thicker, and should be left on for anywhere from three to 15 minutes — sometimes even overnight if your strands are in need of some extra TLC.

“Daily conditioners just touch the surface of the hair,” says Renee Pelc, expert colorist and owner of Gloss Salon in Chicago. “While your regular hydrator lowers the pH of your hair, which makes your hair appear smooth and shiny, it’s not doing anything to actually restructure the hair.”

Of course, one hair mask does not fit all hair types, so we rounded up a splurge and a bargain option for 10 different textures and styles, from curly to oily to fine. So, until we can crack the code on how to have perfect hair year-round, these secret weapons are the next best things.

Keep clicking to discover the mask that’s right for your hair and budget.

Curly Hair: Splurge

This mask eliminates frizz and hydrates curls for soft, happy hair. It might be pricey, but it lasts forever because you only need a small amount each time.

Kérastase Discipline Maskeratine Hair Mask, $59, available at Kérastase

Curly Hair: Bargain

This oil- and butter-rich formula is so luscious, we kind of want to slather it all over our bodies. But we’ve found that it really works wonders for taming unruly types that are prone to occasional — or regular — frizz and breakage.

Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage and Anti-Frizz Restoring Hair Mask, $12.6, available at TargetPhoto: Via Carol’s Daughter.

Long Hair: Splurge

Rich moisturizing masks can be a bit heavy for long hair, but this one never weighs ours down despite its oil-rich formula. It’s packed full of quinoa, sunflower seed oil, and rahua oil to hydrate and smooth dull hair.

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask, $58, available at Rahua

Long Hair: Bargain

A drugstore favorite, this mask claims to repair a year’s worth of damage in one use. Ceramides work to restore split ends, weak and rough cuticles, and thirsty tresses in need of a serious overhaul.

L’Oréal Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm, $5.99, available at TargetPhoto: Via L’Oréal.

Short Hair: Splurge

Drybar, the brand that brings you killer blowouts on demand, makes a lightweight mask that’s perfect for those with short locks, too. Moringa seed oil provides hydration without heaviness, while protein and yuzu oil add resiliency and shine that turns heads.

DryBar Mudslide Nourishing Hair Mask, $35, available at Nordstrom

Short Hair: Bargain

The name of this ingredient-packed magic mask says it all, working to transform your hair (you guessed it) 10 different ways. But, even though it’s overloaded with benefits, this formula won’t weigh down your ‘do.

It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask, $25.99, available at AmazonPhoto: Via It’a A 10.

Color-Treated: Splurge

The container alone could tell you this product is fancy, but it’s what’s inside that really counts. The wild mango butter, edelweiss flower extract, and keratin-packed formula keeps color-treated hair healthy and soft — even after your third touch-up this season.

Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color, $63, available at Amazon

Color-Treated: Bargain

Used at the famed Fekkai salons across the country, this luxe-for-less mask strengthens, repairs, and protects color-treated locks with pure grapeseed oil. Extra points for the dreamy rose fragrance.

Fekkai Technician Color Care Luxe Color Masque, $24.99, available at TargetPhoto: Via Fekkai.

Straight Hair: Splurge

This mask means serious business: Among restructuring ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin, this straight-hair savior also contains grape phytoceuticals, which are loaded with antioxidants — a must for city-dwellers barraged daily by urban pollution.

Davines Nourishing Vegetarian Miracle Conditioner, $34, available at Davines

Straight Hair: Bargain

This formula is technically meant to be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, but it’s also great as deep conditioner. It’s full of hydrating avocado, olive, and almond oils, which means it always leaves our hair feeling soft and looking shiny.

Burts Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, $8.99, available at Target

Dry Hair: Splurge

The term “intensive care” isn’t usually seen in the context of hair, but that’s exactly what this powerful mask promises: a reparative, rejuvenating experience that leaves dry, tired, compromised hair silky and transformed after a single use.

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil, $71, available at Christophe Robin

Dry Hair: Bargain

If you haven’t picked up Aussie’s products since you were in college, then it’s about time you revisit the purple kangaroo. In just three minutes, this deep-conditioning treatment hydrates dry and damaged ‘dos with good old-fashioned aloe and jojoba seed oil.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Treatment, $2.97, available at Target

Damaged/Sensitized: Splurge

This sulfate-, silicone-, and paraben-free mask can be used weekly to revive damaged or brittle hair. It’s loaded with rosehip oil, almond oil, vitamin B, and algae extract to enhance shine, control frizz, and soften.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, $36, available at Sephora

Damaged/Sensitized: Bargain

This buttery hair mask smells so good, it may as well be a body butter. Delicious scent aside, ingredients like sugar-cane extract, coconut oil, hydrolyzed soy protein, and lemon-peel extract undo the damage you inflicted at the salon. There’s no reason to stop booking those appointments as long as there’s a mask like this around.

Garnier Damage Eraser Strength Reconstructing Butter Hair Mask, $8.03, available at WalmartPhoto: Via Garnier.

Thick Hair: Splurge

You get what you pay for with this miracle worker. Alterna’s proprietary Enzymetherapy delivery system literally helps to pump up the formation of keratin in your thick head of hair. Add frankincense and French Champagne-quality grapeseed oil to the mix and this product is pure luxury.

Alterna Hair Masque, $55, available at AlternaPhoto: Via Alterna.

Thick Hair: Bargain

We know: Hearing the word “butter” combined with build-up on thick hair doesn’t sound like a magical duo, but it actually is. Although it’s deeply hydrating, the real magic is in how this mask buffs away product buildup at the root for a deep clean on even your most product-heavy hair day.

Not Your Mother’s Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom Butter Masque, $9, available at Not Your Mother’s

Fine Hair: Splurge

This lightweight mask is made with rose petals, lavender stem, and beta-carotene, which helps moisturize and strengthen strands without weighing them down.

Aesop Rose Hair & Scalp Moisturising Masque, $35, available at Nordstrom

Fine Hair: Bargain

Your hair is left silky sans the grease and is enriched with diamond dust to give it superior shine. Yes, this is our bargain suggestion.

Wella Brilliance Treatment for Fine To Normal Colored Hair, $13.9, available at Ulta BeautyPhoto: Via Wella.

Oily Hair: Splurge

Platinum, diamonds, luxurious volume: The benefits promised by the name of this formula alone are enough to make you want to hit that Add to Bag button. But go a little deeper, and you’ll find a list of ingredients that strengthen the case for spending $60 on a hair mask — and strengthen your hair, too. With lightweight hydrating oils, a blend of replenishing peptides, hydrolyzed keratin, and more, you’ve got everything you need to keep grease-prone hair happy, without making it greasier.

Miriam Quevedo Platinum & Diamonds Luxurious Volume Hair Mask, $60, available at Nordstrom

Oily Hair: Bargain
The keyword here is lightweight — anything too heavy will only make oily hair even oilier. This classic formula is the perfect balance between hydrating and weightless — and in this single-serving packet, it’s easier to use (and less expensive) than ever.

Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Intensely Hydrating Masque, $2.99, available at Target

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