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How to Apply a Hair Mask

Urvashi Pokharna
In between your salon visits for a hair spa, your hair can suffer damage from the excess chemical buildup from all the hair products you have been using. I think I just heard them cry for vitality. It is economic and easy to opt for a good homemade hair mask.
Hair masks are an effective way to restore moisture to the hair. It can be a tricky situation to choose the correct method of applying it, especially if you are a newbie to the application routine at home. Your hair mask may be a bought from a convenience store or you may have made it at home. Every mask has diverse ingredients which react differently due to their chemical composition.

How To Apply a Hair Mask

You need to take preventive measures at all stages of applying a mask. Else you may end up with not very favorable results.

Before Application

✦ Make sure your hair is clean or the surface will not be able to absorb the nutrients due to build-up.
✦ Choose a mask according to your hair's need - dry, frizzy, damaged or dull.
✦ Make sure you brush your hair before applying a mask to untangle hair.
✦ You can even steam your hair before applying the mask. It helps the mask work better and faster.
✦ Don't use a conditioner after shampooing and before applying the mask.
✦ Refrigerate the mask for a few hours for a cooling effect on your scalp.
✦ Use a blender to mix ingredients equally in a homemade mask.
✦ It is important to remove excess water from wet hair before application.

During Application

✦ Generously massage your scalp with your fingertips while applying the mask.
✦ Apply dry masks on damp hair. For example, masks bought from outside are generally available in powder and solid forms.
✦ Hair tends to be healthier near the roots and damaged towards the ends.
✦ Use generous quantities and concentrate on these areas while applying. It helps nourish and protect the hair cuticle from further damage such as split-ends.
✦ Apply on the entire length.
✦ You can brush hair with a wide-toothed comb after applying the mask to ensure coverage. But since it can lead to wastage of the mask, I would recommend massaging the mask in to your hair for a long duration.
✦ Do not apply too much quantity near the roots as it can cause flat hair on the crown for up to 3 washes. For oily hair, it is especially not advisable.
✦ For excessively dry or damaged hair, apply two coats of the mask.

After Application

✦ For better results, rinse you hair with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in a mug of water after shampooing. It can transform oily hair into lustrous and voluminous hair.
✦Leave mask on for a minimum duration of 20 minutes. Recommended duration is an hour.
✦ You can wrap hair post-application in a plastic wrap or a warm towel. It improves conditioning. You can even use a blow dryer on low heat over the wrap for 10 minutes. It provides further heat and makes hair soft.
✦ After rinsing off, finish it off with a rinse under cold water for a minute. It seals the hair cuticle and makes them look glossy when dry.
✦ You can forgo shampooing your hair after rinsing off the mask to avoid excessive shampooing and to retain oils from the mask for a day or two.
✦ Always let your hair air dry. Do not rub with a towel or use a blow dryer unless necessary.
✦ Refrain from using any styling products on hair for another 24 hours to enjoy maximum benefits.

A Few Points to Remember

✦ Over application for more than once weekly can lead to greasy hair.
✦ Avoid lemon juice as a re-appearing ingredient in your weekly hair masks. Excessive use can dry out hair follicles. Absolutely avoid applying lemon to hair during winters.
✦ Use alternate masks every week.
✦ Some masks need to be left overnight. In such a case, apply it an hour before your bed-time so the mask has plenty time to dry out. Then wrap with a shower cap/plastic wrap followed by a towel. Do not forget to layer your bed linen with towels. Wash it off the first thing when you wake up in the morning.

Precautions While Applying the Following Hair Masks

Egg-white Hair Mask

Apply it on dry hair as it is already in the liquid form. Start from the roots and apply excess on the length of the hair. Do not forget to shampoo hair later. Do not use hot water to rinse else it will cook the egg yolk in your hair and make it difficult to wash off. You may add a few drops of lemon to counter the pungent smell of egg. Adding conditioner can give the mask some consistency. It may take you 2 hair washes to get rid of the smell. Egg white masks need to be applied for a very short duration. You can leave it in and wash off after 20 minutes.

Banana and Honey Hair Mask

This is a very sticky mask. Brush hair before applying it. Do not apply large quantities as it tends become thinner due to the scalp's heat. Start application from scalp and gradually move towards the ends spreading the excess quantities to the lengths of the hair. Wrap hair with a towel else the mask will keep dripping off your head. Rinse off with cold water. Also, you can freeze the banana overnight in the freezer before using it in your mask. This helps prevent it from becoming chunky during application.

Clay Mask

It is suitable for oily hair but pay attention during application and start applying on your hair at least 1 inch away from scalp. If the mixture is too thick, soak the mask in some water for 15 minutes before application. This mask may be used twice a week for very oily hair.
You only need to be careful while selecting an appropriate mask for your hair type. If you have frizzy hair, choose a hair pack that uses olive oil as its base. The extra oils will help moisturize and straighten out you hair cuticle. Using fat-rich ingredients in you mask will strengthen and moisturize hair.