What is a hair mask or hair masque? Why does natural and curly hair need hair masks and how are they different from deep conditioners? These are common questions as many newly naturals are trying to understand what their hair needs whether they do the big chop or long-term transition.
Natural and curly hair has specific needs and special conditioning is at the top of the list along with moisturizing and keeping healthy. When you are newly natural you may be suffering from damage and both the hair mask/masque and deep conditioners will help get your hair back to a healthy status. Let's learn about what a hair mask is, along with what makes it different from a deep conditioner.
What is the difference between a Mask/Masque and a Deep Conditioner?
Masques and deep conditioners are similar in many aspects, one of them being that they each work to improve the overall health and condition of your hair and another being they can penetrate the hair shaft.
Contrary to popular belief, masks and deep conditioners actually serve their own specific purposes. For example, edge control and edge treatment are two different products that are used in the same manner, but yield different results. With that being said, what exactly is the difference between masques and deep conditioners? Let's learn more about the hair mask/masque.
What is a Hair Mask / Hair Masque?
Hair masques are typically formulated to be much thicker than traditional deep conditioners. A heavy dosage of conditioning ingredients such as butters, oils, quats (quaternium-; detangling agents) and silicones are combined to create a masque with ultra-hydrating and reparative properties. These products can be used interchangeably with deep conditioners, but they shouldn’t be used as frequently. That's a good thing because they can be more expensive but according to Rita Hazan, celebrity hair colorist and owner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York. “It costs more to use good ingredients, so the difference between luxury and mass market products will be the amount of ingredients within the formula." That basically means spend more for a good mask but use less often and the cost will be completely worth it.
Masques tend to be used solely to repair and reconstruct damaged hair, especially if the hair has been chemically treated. Always follow the instructions on the container, as the high concentration of these products could lead to hygral fatigue or protein overload if left in the hair too long. The conditioning agents in masques can cause build up and leave hair feeling limp and greasy if used too often, so they should only be used when necessary.
Now that you have a better understanding on when and how to use a hair masque/mask, want to learn more about deep conditioners? Check out my in-depth post on Friday on deep conditioners.