Of all the things we have to do in a day, hydrating and protecting our hair is not always top of the list. However, given the wear and tear from things like heat styling, colouring and weather changes, proper hair care really should move right on up it.
To best protect your hair you must first understand its type and porosity. Between the two, porosity is a bit more important in terms of knowing the moisture levels your hair likes and the products you should use.
If you want to test your hair porosity or to learn more about it, check out our hair porosity blog.
A great way to prioritise hair protection is to add hair masks or deep conditioners to your weekly hair routine. With these, you can help your hair stay hydrated, promote growth, repair damage or all of the above, depending on the type of mask or conditioner you use.
Now, we do appreciate that hair care can get costly. So, we have found a few DIY masks to help you step up your hair care game, but first, let’s get to know the differences between masks and deep conditioners.
HAIR MASKS VS DEEP CONDITIONERS
Hair masks and deep conditioners can be applied at different stages of your wash routine, depending on your preference. However, masks are usually applied pre-shampoo whereas deep conditioners are recommended on freshly washed hair.
Both products are similar, but have slightly varied benefits and can target different hair concerns.
Usually, deep conditioners are made to soften hair and ease detangling, whereas hair masks strive to nourish and fortify hair.
Knowing when to use a hair mask vs a deep conditioner will depend on the state of your hair. For instance, if your hair is relatively healthy, but may appear dry due to the weather or lack of moisture, a deep conditioner will easily help you get the lustre back.
Although the frequency of applications of the two will vary by hair type, generally hair masks should be applied about once a week, whilst a deep conditioner can be applied more often.
Many people with type 3 and 4 hair apply some sort of deep conditioning treatment every time they wash their hair.
There are three types of conditioners: rinse-out conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner. All three can be used in tangent with each other or by itself, depending on the wash day.
Deep conditioners are used as an additional product to moisturise and repair hair follicles. They should be applied thoroughly and left in your hair anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight.
The harder it is for your hair to retain moisture, the more often you should deep condition your hair.
If your hair is prone to producing a lot of natural oils, you don’t need to deep condition it as frequently.
If you have bleached, relaxed, or otherwise damaged hair, a mask alone, or a mask in conjunction with a deep conditioner will be more beneficial for you.
DIY HAIR CARE
There are many DIY hair masks and deep conditioners that people have concocted. They vary in benefits: repair hair damage, add moisture to dry hair, treat coloured hair or even promote growth.
Our goal is to give you a plethora of DIY masks to try out that won’t break the budget. We’ll break them down by what problems they each aid with.
The type of hair mask that you choose to make will depend on what results you are looking for. Many masks use a variation of the same products.
Protein Treatment Mask
Protein treatments should only be incorporated into your wash routine on a needs-must basis. Protein is essential for hair, nails, and skin. It is used to build tissue cells that help keep hair healthy and growing. However, because protein naturally occurs in our hair, (called keratin in this form), too much protein can cause more harm than good.
If your hair is mostly healthy, you should only consider getting a protein treatment only every few months. If you are unsure, the best way to know is to perform a hair strand test.
The egg hair mask is one of the oldest DIY hair care rituals. To do an egg mask, you simply take one egg, whip it and apply to your hair and scalp.
Let it sit for half an hour and then wash it out with a mild shampoo. It is simple and cost-effective because eggs are rich in fat, protein and good for moisturising the scalp.
A Mask to Repair Split Ends
No matter how well you condition your locks, split ends are inevitable thanks to damaging heat tools, colouring and the environment. The only way to truly get rid of split ends is to get regular trims, however, a protein treatment can aid in the appearance of them between trims.
An Avocado Protein Mask will work. Avocados contain protein and are rich in vitamins A, D, E and B6 as well as magnesium, folic acid, amino acids, copper and iron. All of which can help with both hair growth and nourishment. This recipe calls for:
1 avocado, 1 egg, and a little bit of olive oil
Smash the avocado and mix it with the egg. Add olive oil until the consistency is thicker than your average conditioner. For extra moisture, add a banana to the mask mixture. Apply it throughout your hair and leave it on for about 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
A Mask to Repair Damaged Hair
If you ever have an overripe banana lingering on your kitchen counter, use it in a mask instead of throwing it out. This recipe is simple and only calls for:
1 banana, olive oil
Combine the two ingredients in a bowl and apply to wet hair. Banana is said to help repair damage from chemicals, UV exposure, styling tools and even chlorine. This duo will also help transform dull hair and boost shine as well as control split ends.
A Mask to Promote Growth
Aloe vera is a popular product used by women with all hair types, but especially types 3 and 4. It’s the first ingredient in some store-bought hair products. Aloe vera promotes hair growth, prevents itchy scalp, reduces dandruff, improves blood circulation in the scalp, and strengthens hair follicles.
This recipe calls for aloe straight from the aloe vera plant or store-bought gel if you have it on-hand. Increase measurements if you have long hair.
2 tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
Combine the aloe with ground cinnamon (which acts as a stimulant). Apply the mask throughout your hair, but focus on your scalp. You may feel a tingling sensation. Cover your head for 10-15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with the shampoo of your choice.
A Mask for Low Porosity Hair
Did you know that low porosity hair needs heat for the cuticles to lift and for water and products to penetrate?
Using steamers or heating caps for 15-30 minutes allows the hair cuticles to open so that the benefits of the conditioner can get into the hair strands.
Hot oil treatments make a great choice for deep conditioning low porosity hair. Some oils that are good for this type of treatment include grapeseed, jojoba, argan, and coconut.
You should apply oil treatments to clean hair - damp or dry.
Simply mix your oils of choice in a heat-safe bowl. Create a bain marie by adding about an inch of water to a small pot or saucepan, then placing your bowl on top. Heat the oil until it is warm to the touch. Be careful not to overheat the oils as it could burn your scalp.
Test a small amount on your wrist to make sure it's not too hot. Then work the oil into your scalp and all the way down to your ends. Cover your hair for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
Finally, wash out the oils thoroughly by shampooing twice.
A Mask for High Porosity Hair
People with high porosity hair have a harder time retaining moisture. If your hair is always dry, or you have hair damage from excessive use of hot tools, hair dyes, chemical relaxers, sun exposure, you can have a heightened porosity of the hair. A mask that nourishes your hair and replenishes moisture is the key to revitalising your locks.
A simple two-part mask is a yoghurt and honey mask. The fat from yoghurt acts as a moisturising and cleansing agent while raw honey seals in moisture which will help reduce breakage.
Raw Honey, greek yoghurt, coconut oil, lemon juice, lavender essential oil, and tea tree essential oil.
As usual, how much of each ingredient you’ll need will depend on the length and thickness of your hair.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Apply thoroughly from the roots to ends. Leave in for about half an hour. Rinse and style as usual.
You’re a DIY Expert
Choosing the right DIY mask depends on the hair goals you are working towards. And, once you’ve tried one, you’re pretty much an expert at all the other ones - they are that easy.
So, keep your hair high on your priority list and don’t break the bank while doing so with simple but effective DIY masks easily added to your hair care routine.
Have any other questions about your hair care? Feel free to reach out to one of our advisors and they would be happy to help in any way they can.