The harsh elements of summer (think: chlorine, saltwater, and long days in the sun) can take its toll on any hair type—especially if you add hot tools to the mix. If your everyday conditioner just isn’t cutting it, try adding a restorative hair mask to your weekly routine.
“A regular conditioner will go so far as to keep the hair manageable and smooth, whereas a mask is like giving your hair a facial,” Ray Symons, master hairstylist at Mizu in New York City, tells InStyle. “It feeds your hair with ceramides, lipids, vitamins, and other essential moisture and proteins that penetrate down to the cortex of the hair and seals down the cuticle, giving your hair repair, elasticity and luster.”
The best way to use a mask, he says, is to apply it to towel-dried hair after shampooing. Massage the product into the scalp and comb it all the way through to the ends, allowing it to penetrate for at least 20 minutes. Relaxing in a sauna or steam room can also help your strands absorb the treatment, says Symons. “Place a plastic cap on your hair and let it sit. When you're ready to rinse do so thoroughly and that's it.”
Here, he recommends four miracle-working hair masks to get you through the warm weather season.
For Fragile Hair
For strands in need of moisture and repair, the pro recommends Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque (above, $62; oribe.com). “This rebuilds each fiber, improving elasticity and strengthening the hair from the inside out,” Symons tells us.
For Lackluster Hair
For those looking to restore shine and hydration, Symons suggests Living Proof’s Restore Mask Treatment ($42; sephora.com) for his clients. “This has the Living Proof patented molecules to help prevent breakage and restore the moisture in the hair.”
For Over-Processed Hair
To nurse fine, brittle hair back to health, go with Kerastase’s Masque Force Architecture ($63; kerastase-usa.com). “The lightweight formula repairs stressed out broken hair,” he says.
For Extra Dry Hair
If your hair is especially thirsty, try Shu Uemura’s Moisture Velvet Nourishing Hair Masque ($68; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com). “It helps restore the lipid balance to the hair shaft by giving the hair more moisture,” he says. "Camelia oil is the ingredient that protects the hair from drying out.”