How to Use a Hair Mask - Our 5 Minute Guide

The secret to beautiful, healthy hair might be as simple as introducing a hair mask into your hair care routine. 

Hair masks are concentrated conditioning treatments that offer many benefits—from added moisture and reduced breakage to a healthier scalp and stronger hair.

In this quick guide, you will learn how to apply a hair mask correctly, how frequently you should use a hair mask based on the type of hair you have, how to maximise the advantages, and common mistakes to avoid.

How to use a hair mask

What is a Hair Mask and What Are the Benefits?

A hair mask is a nourishing conditioner loaded with natural oils and other beneficial ingredients designed to improve the condition and health of your hair. They can also be referred to as deep conditioning treatments or intensive hair conditioners.

Unlike instant conditioners, which you rinse out almost immediately, hair masks are more concentrated and designed to be left on your hair for an extended period. This longer interaction with your hair allows for deeper penetration of nutrients.

At Josh Wood Colour our Miracle Mask is also vegan and cruelty free, so not only can you get all the benefits - you also can feel confident that no animal products have been used and that there has been no animal testing.

The Benefits of Using a Hair Mask

  • Shinier, softer hair
  • Added moisture
  • Reduced hair breakage and damage
  • Less frizz
  • A healthier scalp
  • Stronger hair
  • Less environmental and product damage

Coloured Hair and Hair Masks - The Perfect Match

Hair health is incredibly important to ensure you get the best results and longevity from your hair colour. Masks and deeply conditioning glosses are an essential part of your hair care routine for the best colour results.

The best masks for coloured hair include UV filters, special ingredients to promote hair health and are sulphate free. Our team designed our Miracle Mask to fit this exact criteria so you can be confident in using them to maximise the longevity of your hair colour.

Miracle Mask

How to Use a Hair Mask - Step by Step

Although applying a hair mask seems simple, a few techniques can improve the process and ensure maximum benefit.

Step 1: Read the Directions Carefully

Before you even open the mask, take a moment to read the instructions. Different masks have varying directions for how long and often they should be used.

Stick to the recommended guidelines for the best results.

Step 2: Dress for the Occasion

Wear an old t-shirt or towel over your shoulders before applying the mask or better still consider applying in the shower. Hair masks can get messy, and you wouldn't want to ruin your favourite outfit.

Step 3: Wash and Towel Dry Your Hair

For the mask to work its magic, it needs a clean canvas. Wash your hair as usual, and then towel-dry it so it's damp but not too wet.

A slightly damp scalp and strands will absorb the mask better.

Step 4: Separate Your Hair Into Sections

Divide your hair into manageable sections to ensure the mask is applied evenly. You can use hair clips to keep the sections in place.

Step 5: Apply the Mask from Roots to Tips

Start by massaging the mask into your scalp, working your way down to the tips of your hair.

Be generous with the amount you use, especially towards the ends, which often require extra attention due to dryness.

Step 6: Comb Through

With the mask applied, use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair. This ensures that every strand benefits from the nourishing ingredients.

Step 7: Rinse and Condition

The time you need to leave the mask on will depend on its specific instructions; it could be anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight.

Once the time is up, rinse your hair using lukewarm water. Optionally, follow up with a conditioner to lock in the benefits.

How Often Should You Use a Hair Mask and For How Long?

Deciding how often to treat your hair with a mask and the duration for each application can be tricky. It largely depends on your hair type and the mask you're using:


Generally, once a week is a good starting point for most hair types. However, applying a hair mask too often could risk making your hair oily or overloaded with protein.

There are some exceptions:

  • If your hair is extremely dry and damaged, you might find that a hydrating mask used two or three times a week offers better results.
  • For those with greasy or fine hair, it might be best to stick to once a week or even less.
  • If you have very straight or thick hair, you might need to use a mask more frequently to keep it manageable and hydrated.


The length of time you leave a hair mask on also varies:

  • Moisturising and hydrating masks generally require at least 5 minutes to penetrate deeply into the hair strands.
  • Protein-based masks are a different story; leaving them on for too long could make your hair stiff or brittle. Stick to the manufacturer's guidelines for these.
  • Oil-based masks take longer to absorb, especially when applied to wet hair. Consider sleeping in an oil-based mask for maximum effectiveness.

Maximise the Effects of Your Hair Mask

Want to reap the most benefits from your hair mask treatment? With these tips, you can improve your experience and get salon-quality results at home.

Pick the Right Mask

Your hair type and specific concerns should dictate your choice of mask. Whether you're looking for hydration, repair, or added shine, the ingredients list can be a good clue for targeting your needs.

Josh Wood Colour’s Miracle Mask is specially formulated with ingredients to promote hair health, maximise colour longevity. We don’t use sulphates and the mask is vegan and certified cruelty free.

Prepare with a Clarifying Shampoo

A clarifying shampoo before applying your hair mask can make a significant difference. It helps to remove any build-up or residue, allowing the mask to fully penetrate your hair strands.

Apply Heat

Applying heat after putting on the mask can enhance its effectiveness. You can use a hair dryer, a hot towel wrapped around your head, or even a shower cap to trap in body heat.

Rinse with Cold Water

After you've given the mask time to work its magic, rinse it out with cold water. This helps to seal the hair cuticles, locking in the moisture and nutrients from the mask.

Finish with Leave-In Products

A leave-in conditioner or serum can be the cherry on your hair care routine. It adds an extra layer of protection against environmental factors and helps prolong the effects of the mask.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I use a hair mask on dry or wet hair?

Damp hair is ideal for the application of a hair mask. Your hair should not be completely dry or soaking wet for best results.

Should I use a conditioner before or after a hair mask?

Conditioner should be applied after using a hair mask to seal in the benefits and balance your hair's pH level.

Do I need a conditioner after a hair mask?

Using a conditioner after a hair mask is not strictly required but can be beneficial for extra smoothness and protection.

Can I use a conditioner as a hair mask?

While conditioners and hair masks serve similar purposes, they are different. Hair masks are usually more concentrated and designed to be left on for longer.

Using a conditioner instead of a hair mask won't offer the same level of deep treatment.

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