Hair Masques (2)

Treatment to keep long hair healthy
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Moisturizer (deep conditioner)
These are your standard deep conditioner treatments that usually contain humectants, fruit pectins, moisturizers, and any of a wide range of herbal and therapeutic ingredients. As expected, their purpose is to penetrate deep into the hair and restore moisture levels, giving the hair softness, shine, and a silky feeling.
When it comes to how often you should use these deep conditioners, it depends on your needs. If you do a lot of heat styling, or your hair is chemically processed, you may want to deep condition every few days (or every three shampoos), otherwise, you can stick to once a week or every 5-6 shampoos.
Smoothing (hair masque)
Smoothing masques are generally used by those who have hair that is prone to frizz or flyaway strands. Common ingredients are protein, fruit oils, and even silicone (for hardcore cases). The purpose of smoothing masques is to seal the cuticle layer and help it lie smooth against the hair shaft so that the hair appears healthy and manageable. It also makes the hair tangle-free and easy to comb through.
Smoothing masques are like deep conditioners in that they tend to be needed more often by those who use more-damaging styling techniques and should be used on a similar schedule.
Color Protection (hair masque)
Color protection masques are designed to do what it sounds like: help protect the color of the hair - specifically the chemically-induced color of the hair. Common ingredients are low pH conditioners, fruit acids, and silicone, which are intended to shrink and tighten the cuticle layer and seal in the color molecules to prevent the hair color from fading with shampooing and from sun and environmental exposure.
Treating long hair with a protective hair mask
Photo: Andrii Borodai/Canva
If your hair is color-treated, you should use a color protection masque at least once a week (or every 5-6 shampoos). You can increase the frequency if your hair is regularly colored or you have a color that is prone to fading (such as many shades of red).
Tips for Better Treatment Results
These treatments usually call for the formulas to be applied and left on the hair for anywhere from 10-30 minutes. However, there are a few tips that can help improve/maximize the results you can expect from your treatments.
TIP: Wrap the treated hair in a plastic cap and use a warm towel (fresh from the clothes dryer) or your blow dryer on a low heat setting to warm the hair, then wrap it with a towel to retain the warmth. Heat helps the cuticle to open up and allows the active ingredients to penetrate more deeply and work more effectively.
TIP: Moisturizing treatments like deep conditioners often work better the longer they are left on the hair. When possible, if you desire, you can apply your deep conditioner and wrap the hair in a turban or scarf that you don't mind getting stained and sleep on it, then rinse the hair in the morning. NOTE: This is not recommended for use with protein masques or those containing silicone-derived ingredients.
See also:
How to recognize damaged hair
How to repair split ends
How to tame frizzy hair
Quick fixes for common hair problems