Whether we have straight or curly hair, we all want our tresses to be soft and healthy. Women, especially with dry or damaged hair, go for a deep conditioner and hair mask. But some wonder if both the hair care products serve the same purpose or one is better than the other. Deep conditioner and hair mask are two types of hair treatments that offer additional hydration and nutrition, but they are not the same. Let us tell you more about the differences between a deep conditioner and hair mask.
Deep conditioner is a hair care product that is designed to offer a high level of moisturisation and nourishment to the hair. It is usually denser and more concentrated than regular conditioners and is applied to moisten dry, damaged or over-treated hair, says aesthetician and hair transplant surgeon Dr Aleena Rehman.
Deep conditioners often have components like oils, proteins, and vitamins in them that enter the hair shaft and make it stronger, more elastic, and healthier in general. This treatment is usually used after shampooing and left on for a few minutes.
Deep conditioner offers many benefits for hair:
A hair mask is also applied after shampooing and left on for a specific time before rinsing. It is typically richer and more potent than regular conditioners, and is formulated to deliver deep hydration, nutrition, and reconstruction to the hair, says the expert.
Like deep conditioners, hair masks also have a number of benefits:
Deep conditioner and hair mask can give your hydration and nutrition, but there are some key differences between the two.
The main difference between a deep conditioner and a hair mask is that the former is used to condition and soften the hair. On the other hand, hair mask is used to hydrate and restore damaged hair, says Dr Rehman.
Typically, a deep conditioner is applied after shampooing and is left on for a few minutes before rinsing. A hair mask is often left on for a longer period of time so that the nutrients can be absorbed by the hair shaft.
The lighter moisturising ingredients such as oils and humectants are often found in deep conditioners while hair masks usually have more concentrated and heavy ingredients like butter for deep treatment.
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Deep conditioners mainly focus on the cuticle, which is the outermost layer of the hair shaft. They make the cuticle smooth and give shine. Hair masks penetrate deeper, reaching the cortex, which is the inner layer that determines the strength and flexibility of hair, says the expert.
Deep conditioners are applied more often, for example once or twice a week, to maintain the necessary level of moisture. Hair masks are applied less often to provide more complete repair.
Deep conditioner gives the hair short term moisture and softness which makes it easier to manage. Hair masks, however, provide intensive repair, strengthening the hair and minimising damage over time, says the expert.
It depends on your hair needs when it comes to selecting a deep conditioner or a hair mask. A deep conditioner may be a better option if your hair is damaged, dry and frizzy because it gives an intense moisturisation and nourishment. However, if your hair is dull or shows signs of colour loss, a hair mask can help brighten up and offer other advantages such as strengthening or volumising. While making a decision, consider your hair type and concerns, as well as the results you would like to achieve.
But remember that excessive use of these treatments may result in product buildup and make the hair heavy. So, listen to your hair’s needs and choose accordingly.