The Best Hair Masks

Kérastase Nutridefense Masque
Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon
Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color
Leonor Greyl Oil
Moroccan Oil Hair Mask
Wen Re-Moist Hydrating Hair Mask in Sweet Almond Mint
Olive Oil

Happy Holidays Hair Mask Season, everyone. It’s the perfect time of year to take a much-needed break from the outside world (and perhaps a 20 minute break from your family) with a tried and tested hair treatment. We’ve already told you about a few of our favorites, but leave it to our Top Shelvers to make us want to run out and buy more. So from them to you, a curated selection of deep conditioners for every hair texture, color, and lifestyle choice...

For Seasonal (and Tangle) Stress: Kérastase masks were practically made for extreme weather conditions. ITG's Elizabeth recommends the Nutridefense Masque for keeping hair soft and strong in winter, noting that 10 to 15 minutes once a week will, “do wonders for dry hair.” Same goes for Harley Viera-Newton come summer, when her hair is, “super tangled and dry." And then there's Jeanette Lai Thomas, who uses the Nutrition Masque once a week as the ultimate detangler, no matter the season.

For Damage Control: Christophe Robin told us he created his hair care line because, "You can have beautiful color, but it’s not going to last for long if you don’t have a good base.” Which is exactly why the brand is trusted by color chameleons Sigrid Agren, Oh Land, and our newly blonde Emily. Topaz Page-Green called his Cleansing Mask with Lemon "the most stunning thing in the entire universe," because no matter the havoc you've wreaked with bleach and dye, it makes hair "feel incredible." It's one you can turn to as sparingly as Daphné Hezard, but hair mask virtuoso Virginie Courtin-Clarins lays it on thick weekly, keeping it on overnight under a shower cap.

For Curly Color CareOribe knows a thing or two about making hair touchable, Jennifer Lopez-scented, and, as he says, "attractive." Every Sunday, Carolyn Murphy sleeps with her hair coated in the Oribe Masque for Beautiful Color, because the model is "really into" how the blend of mango butter and keratin soothes and strengthens her bleached, curly hair. Added bonus: it comes in a travel size.

The French ImportLéa SeydouxLoulou RobertCaroline de Maigret, and Virginie Courtin-Clarins have more than a native tongue in common. All four francophones anoint their hair with Leonor Greyl Oil, to make it look, according to de Maigret, "brand new." While the oil doesn't soften as much as silicon-based products, Courtin-Clarins says, "It really nourishes the hair from deep within." Note that it also smells like the beach.

The Panacea: The Moroccan Oil Hair Mask is favorited across the hair texture specturum, entrusted to keep strands hydrated from Los Angeles (Camilla Blackett and Rumi Neely) to Lagos (Eku Edewor and Oroma Elewa). What's more, the argan oil treatment is religiously used by both Grace Mahary and Iman, who "swears by it."

The Naturalist: Wen is the mask that is—in a word—free. Free of sulfates, phthalates, triclosan, petrochemicals, and synthetic dyes, which is why beauty naturalists Phoebe Tonkin and Justyna Sroka line their tub ledges with the infomercial-turned-cult-beauty brand. Re-Moist Hydrating Hair Mask in Sweet Almond Mint is the ITG favorite for making your head tingle with minty freshness, and for hydrating without flattening. Tonkin likes it so much that she uses the Shea-butter-and-nut-oil cream three to four times a week while soaking in an Epsom salt bath.

The DIY: If the inclement weather is all too much for you to even leave the house (or go to your front door to retrieve online orders), you probably have everything you need in your kitchen for a dry-weather hair defensive play: olive oil. (Yogurt is also a worthy choice). Marina Muñoz and Colinne Michaelis suggest putting it on straight to get "a nice little glow," while Pheobe Tonkin brightens her EVOO with a twist of lemon. Rather than rinsing it out, Mavi Staiano keeps it in to achieve a decidedly more editorial wet-hair look. You can use any leftovers for cooking, as a hand and body lotion, in addition to your body lotion, or in the shower with sugar or salt for a moisturizing body scrub.

Photos by Mathea Millman.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Marjaneh

    Recently I've been using a mix of coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil and a few drops of rosemary oil and it has rescued my dry, damaged hair

    • Tinsley

      Do you just make the mix by eye or do you have a recipe you could share?

      • 1Alouette

        Not the OP, but the rule of thumb is to use 2 parts carrier oil (coconut oil and almond oil both are), one part oil again (of whichever one you didn't use as a carrier), and then you could go ahead and add rosemary oil (which is good for dry scalps in the winter and fortifying)....about 4 or more drops and you're good. I have done 2 cups coconut oil, 1 1/2 - 2 cups almond, and 4 drops rosemary. I'd even add tea tree for healing.

        • QC

          Oil blend for pre-shampoo treatment is the truth. Also mix 1 or 2 tbsp of any carrier oil (my favs are coconut or avocado) with regular conditioner to amp up the hydration and seal in moisture. Smooth tresses guaranteed.

  • Charlotte MacDonald-Gaunt

    I've been using the Lee Stafford Hair Growth treatment and L'Oréal's Ever Riche masque and they are both lovely and nourishing! Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

  • Jennifer Monforton

    I'm such a sucker for a good hair mask. That Christophe Robin option sounds lovely and oh so luxurious! xo

    • ITGMackenzie

      @JenniferMonforton:disqus I just tried it for the first time, and let me assure you, it IS. I applied it to dry hair and left it on for twenty minutes, adding water periodically. It was a process, but it rescued my parched hair and I woke up the next day with amazing texture.

  • Talia

    +1 for olive oil. It's especially handy for rubbing just a little on dry ends and letting it marinade all day.

  • Carina Stewart

    I've started using coconut oil in my hair over night before I was it. My hairs never been so soft and hydrated!


    • Tinsley

      Coconut oil is my holy grail for everything but hair! I tried it as an overnight mask a few times but every time I would wash it out my hair would feel super stiff and weighed down. Perhaps I wasn't doing a well enough scrub job but for some reason it just doesn't work for me ...

      Still my favourite moisturizer though!

      • Talia

        Use less of it. It's also good to shampoo twice to get it out and use a clarifying shampoo. Some oils do oxidize (harden) more than others giving hair a stiff feeling if it's not rinsed out well.

        Coconut oil is so good on chapped everything and I can use it to pop popcorn!

        Here is a list of comedogenic ratings for different ingredients, for the curious:

      • eastvillagesiren

        Coconut oil can actually penetrate into the hair's cortex, so it really does make hair stronger. I'm too lazy to look up research links, but had an article on it. And Talia's so right; use a lot less than you think you need, and shampoo twice. My hair usually looks better the second day after a coconut mask. I do also like the slippery feel of Kerastase masks, but coconut oil is my workday solution to winter hair.

  • Amanda Raponi

    Love the Kerastase mask! It is so buttery

  • Chloe

    Thanks so much for sharing! I gotta get to work on these!
    xx Chloe

  • melissa

    Carol's Daughter Manoi OIL Hair Mask smells BEYOND. Straight from Tahiti and it's proven to eliminate breakage by some high percentage.

  • Lionessa

    L'Oreal's Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm is my favorite mask. It's so creamy, luxurious & nurturing for chemically treated hair.

  • Zoe Cayetano

    Moroccan Oil hair mask is the bomb! I've been using it for a long time. Coconut oil, too, at times :) Great post!

    xoxo Zoe

  • Oana Lolos

    Light blond hair should be kept away from olive oil. Although brilliant for dark hair, olive oil changes the color of light blond dyed hair into a much deeper, browny version almost instantly. I would recommend any other oil, that completely lacks color, and is known to be effective (like coconut oil).

  • 1Alouette

    You guys are great! The pre-shampoo routine is especially important for naturals (so if you're rocking a 'fro keep that in mind ladies). I love the detail. I love coconut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, and creme masks. xx

  • Diana Fortuna

    My favorite: olive oil and rigth after honey to seal the oil.

  • Michelle

    another budg option: L'Oreal EverCreme Deep Nourishing Masque. I have long, super thick hair, and live in Colorado (dry, cold). I use this every time I wash my hair (2-3x week) and I likey/ luv.

  • Karen Fleischman

    Can you please do a post on heat protection sprays.I blow dry and use a straightening iron on my hair. I have used a couple of different ones and have never been able to achieve the straight ,shiny and smooth look that they promise. Thanks.

  • tanya

    aesop rose hair & scalp moisturizing masque
    + ouidad bay leaf exfoliating mask !

  • Rachel LC

    I am a coconut oil evangelist for skin and overnight hair masks, and I like Moroccan Oil Light or Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse after washing.

  • Andrea

    I swear by different hair masks and oils for my coarse Cuban/ Nica hair! I used to go to the Indian/Asian Market and grab a peppermint oil that felt fabulous on my scalp! Now I've been using a hair mask from Organix, and it smells awesome!

    Andrea Fer

  • Anna Maria V Turcato

    I make a hair mask with whipped coconut oil, jojoba oil and a few drops of ylang ylang essential oil: smells great and makes my hair soft and shiny :)

  • Anne Williams

    Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan oil hair mask!!!! Can't recommend it enough :) Amazing stuff if you have dry/colored/damaged hair

  • Hanna Jackson

    I recommend the pro naturals hair mask!


Kerastase Intensive Nutrition Masque
Christophe Robin
Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon
Leonor Greyl PARIS
Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme
Oribe Masque For Beautiful Color
Sur La Table
Lucero Ascolano Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Moroccanoil – Weightless Hydrating Mask (For Fine Dry Hair)