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The 22 Best Hair Masks For the Softest Hair of Your Life

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

Hair masks are usually something you let yourself have just for a little while, as a treat. But why not really indulge by leaving a hair mask on for longer than you ever imagined possible. Instead of counting down to rinse-off during the prescribed five to ten minutes in the shower, wear it while on dry land. Braid, wrap, or pile coated hair into a bun and let your strands really marinate in the heavenly scented, nourishing goodness while you go down a shopping rabbit hole, give yourself a facial, or binge-watch things hours past a respectable bedtime.

If you still want to rescue your dry, damaged, or dull hair but don’t want to add an extra step to your wash day, apply your hair mask of choice instead of conditioner. Your hair still gets some extra TLC, and you’ll reduce your water footprint. Win-win. Ready for the softest, shiniest hair of your life? Here are 22 hair masks we recommend.

The One That Does Damage Control and Is an Amazon Favorite

If your hair feels brittle, broken, or just generally doomed due to the chemicals or heat you voluntarily subjected it to, this is the hair mask to call in for reinforcements. The treatment contains the brand’s patented bond-building technology that helps repair broken hair at the strand level, so you’re rebuilding things after a disaster, rather than putting on a fresh coat of shine to cover it up. It’s the best-reviewed hair mask on Amazon, with 96,000 five-star reviews.

The One That Supports Your Hair-Growth Journey

If you’re embarking on the painstaking journey of growing your hair longer, this tub of goodness makes for a supportive sidekick. Apple cider vinegar and peppermint will keep your scalp stimulated and clean while your hair sits in strengthening shea butter and Jamaican black castor oil, a recipe for less breakage and more length retention over time.

The One That Makes Hair Supersoft

This award-winning mask from the clean hair-care line has won over Cut staffers and a cool 3K or so Sephora reviewers alike. It’s also one of the most mentioned products in our “Auto-Refill” series. Its naturally derived ingredients — including B vitamins, rosehip oil, argan oil, collagen, and silk — transform hair into shiny, silky strands that are instantly softer to the touch after you step out of the shower.

The Nutritious One

If your hair feels weaker or more lackluster than usual, this nourishing, antioxidant-packed mask of vitamins E and C–rich tomato extract will help nurse it back to life, as if it’s been regularly popping its multivitamins.

The One That Makes Hair Super-Shiny

This mask is essentially a Good Hair Day in tube. The blend of moisturizing murumuru butter, hydrating snow mushroom extract, and four oils ranging from olive to pequi gets you sleek, frizz-free, extra-shiny hair that, as the name implies, is pretty much camera-ready, no Zoom filter needed.

The One That’s a Spa Day for Curls

Caring for delicate curls can become a chore, but taking a dip into this luxurious tub not only makes dry curls feel much more manageable, but also turns the often annoying process of moisturizing and moisturizing some more into a pampering process.

The One That Feels Like a Makeover

If you’re looking for a true treat-yo-self moment at home, this luxurious hair mask is like the icing on a self-care cake. Thanks to keratin and an amino-acid blend, your hair feels like new post-rinse and will waft the brand’s heavenly Melrose scent of rose, bergamot, and cedarwood long after. That combo alone is enough to make your hair feel like it went from a “before” picture to an “after,” worthy of slo-mo hair shake.

The One for Thick Hair

If you have thick hair and a lot of it, this rich hair mask will get the hydrating job done without you having to go through half of the tub. It’s packed with shea butter, reparative keratin protein, and the brand’s star ingredient (argan oil, of course) to make managing all that hair much easier when detangling or styling.

The One for Fine Hair

If you’ve shied away from hair masks because you don’t think your fine hair can handle the heaviness, consider this mask designed with weightlessness in mind. The formula’s hydration comes from nutrient- and mineral-rich deep-sea water rather than a thick emollient, and it aims to rebalance the natural oils already hanging out on your head instead of adding more into the mix, so limp hair feels more bouncy and enjoys a bit of a lift.

The One to Take on Vacation

This mask is packed with reparative monoi oil, a Tahitian beauty secret that has long been relied upon to undo and prevent damage from the sun and salty ocean water, making it a good pick if you tend to emerge from pools or other bodies of water with matted tangles and crispy strands. Another reason to leave this one on a little longer — the scent of the other star ingredients, Tahitian gardenia extract and coconut oil, will make you smell like you’re on a beach vacation regardless of where you actually are and what you’re actually doing.

The Sweet One

This hair mask is packed with honey, a natural humectant, and is a sweet-smelling treat for dry, brittle hair. The extra-thick formula works best for strands that are in dire need of some TLC, which is why the Strategist’s Rio Viera-Newton loves using it on bleached hair to help it literally bounce back.

The One You Can Comfortably Sleep In

If you want to wear your hair mask for upward of seven hours without worrying about it oozing onto your pillow, IGK’s innovative dry formula makes it a breeze. It goes on like a dry shampoo but is anything but — instead of soaking up oil, it distributes a time-release, bond-building formula that strengthens hair over time, preventing future damage, frizz, and the need to actually get in the shower.

The Starter Hair Mask

If you’re new to the world of hair masks (welcome) or can’t quite put your finger on a particular hair problem, Verb’s well-rounded hydrating mask is a good place to start. It’s a step up from your usual conditioner but not overly heavy, and leaves a light, lingering scent, making it good pick for any hair types that could use a little something-something.

The Trusty One You Can Always Rely On

Like it’s cult-favorite leave-in conditioner counterpart, this miracle mask is a reliable, no-frills treatment that has many abilities, including smoothing and softening overly heat-styled hair and even standing in for your regular post-shampoo conditioner when used in smaller doses.

The One You Can Share With Roommates

This well-rounded hair mask — packed with high-quality avocado oil, lemon extract, and olive-fruit oil — is a good staple to keep stocked in a shared bathroom. The nourishing blend benefits all hair types and has a fresh, subtle smell that will please all noses.

The One to Splurge On

Yes, the triple-digit price makes you do a double take, but it’s worth it if you want to really invest in your hair. The gloop-y goodness gets right down to nourishing business with a healthy serving of coconut oil and rarer nut oils like cupuaçu and manketti, plus shea butter for a transformative experience that’s like giving your hair the head equivalent of a fancy spa facial at home.

The One That Will Reset Your Color

When it comes caring for your colored hair, masks can be a life saver. The K18 leave-in mask has over 1,600 reviews on Amazon and is made to reverse hair damage from bleach, color, chemical services, and heat.

The One That Leaves Your Hair Smelling Amazing

The signature scent of Crown Affair products — a mix of bergamot, yuzu, and lemongrass — is reason enough to use this mask. If the idea of your hair smelling amazing isn’t enough to purchase, this mask is color-safe and will leave your hair smooth and hydrated.

The One That Focuses on Your Scalp

When it comes to scalp health, Act + Acre is the answer. The clean hair-care line founded by celebrity hair stylist Helen Reavy, who works with the likes of Harry Styles and Bella Hadid, is made reset your scalp and bring you hydrated locks. All you have to do is use once a week to get hair just like Harry Styles!

The Silky-Smooth One

Founded by Babba Rivera, Ceremonia is a clean hair-care brand influenced by Rivera’s Latinx heritage. One of its newest launches is the hydrating hair mask, made from Brazilian babassu and Mexican cupaçu butter, which leaves your hair feeling extremely soft.

The One With Vitamin C

You’ve probably heard about vitamin C for your face, but what about your hair? The vitamin C hair mask from Rizos Curls uses the natural ingredient to repair hair, improve manageability, and help shield hair from damage.

The Glossy One

This hydrating mask from Design.Me is a holy-grail item if you want glossy hair. Formulated with omega fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and E, the mask, attests our senior shopping editor Bianca Nieves, will give you thicker-feeling and glossier locks after just five minutes.

The 22 Best Hair Masks for the Softest Hair of Your Life