A woman standing in front of a bathroom mirror applying an overnight hair mask. Share on Pinterest

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Hair masks are known for their ability to soften, condition, and soothe most hair types. If you’re already in love with what hair masks can do for your hair, you might be ready to take it to the next level with an overnight hair mask treatment.

It’s important to remember, though, that not every hair mask formula is designed to be used as an overnight treatment. In fact, some recipes and ingredients can even make hair heavy, limp, or prone to breakage if it stays on your hair too long.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits and safety of hair masks. And if you want some easy DIY recipes and product recommendations, we’ve got those for you, too.

Overnight hair masks can be used for a wide range of hair ailments. According to hair care experts, an overnight hair mask may help:

Hair masks are generally safe to use for most people, with a few caveats:

  • Hair masks that contain protein ingredients shouldn’t be used overnight. Protein treatments are great if you’re only using them on your hair for 20 minutes or so, but keeping protein on your hair for several hours can make your hair too heavy. It could even result in breakage.
  • Apple cider vinegar is another ingredient to avoid in an overnight mask. It can strip your hair of protein if left on your hair too long.
  • Egg is a popular ingredient in many hair masks. But leaving egg on your hair overnight could produce a bad smell and collect bacteria. It’s also loaded with protein, which isn’t recommended for an overnight mask.

Before making or buying a hair mask, be sure that the ingredients are well suited to your hair issue or hair type.

Once you know what type of mask you want to use and have the ingredients ready (see below for details), follow these steps to apply the mask to your hair:

  1. Wash your hair the way you usually would. Use a hair turban or towel to wring out moisture before you apply the mask.
  2. To make your hair more manageable, you can divide it into sections using large hair clips.
  3. Starting at the root of your hair, massage the mask treatment into your scalp. Work your way down with your fingers, making sure to coat your hair from the root to the ends as well as you can.
  4. Once the mask has been applied all over your head, run a wide-toothed comb through your hair to make sure the mask is equally distributed through your hair.
  5. If your hair is long, gently wrap it around your head and secure with a few bobby pins.
  6. Cover your head with a shower cap or a processing cap.
  7. Place a towel on your pillow for extra protection. While the shower cap should keep the mask on your hair, there might be moisture or product that leaks out during the night.
  8. The next morning, rinse your hair with a jet of cool or lukewarm water. You may need to rinse your hair several times to remove all the ingredients.

For hair that’s dry and prone to frizz, you’ll want a mask that’s deeply hydrating and restorative. If you want to add moisture to your hair, banana and honey are two ingredients that work well in an overnight hair mask.

Why are these ingredients a good choice?

Bananas contain silica, a mineral that may help make your hair stronger, thicker, and less prone to frizz. Bananas also have antimicrobial properties that can heal a dry, flaky scalp.

According to 2013 research, honey is rich in antioxidants that can condition your scalp, while the vitamins and minerals in honey may help moisturize your hair and restore shine.

What you’ll need

  • 1/2–1 tbsp. honey, depending on the length of your hair (manuka honey or raw, organic honey is best)
  • 1–2 ripe bananas, depending on the length of your hair

How to make a DIY mask for dry hair

  1. Peel a banana and then mash it by using a fork or putting it in a blender. Use two bananas if you have long hair.
  2. Once the banana is well mashed, add the honey.
  3. Mix the banana and honey together until it creates a mixture that’s an even texture and consistency.
  4. Apply the hair mask with your fingers, paying special attention to your scalp and the roots of your hair.

Ready-made mask options for dry hair

If you’d prefer a store-bought option, the following hair masks may work well for dry, frizzy hair:

  • Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Treatment Masque. Blended with hydrating oils and raw shea butter, this mask is formulated to moisturize dry hair. Find it online.
  • Coco and Eve Like a Virgin Hair Masque. If you’re looking for a 100 percent vegan hair mask that’s filled with super-hydrating ingredients, this one may be worth the extra price. Shop for it online.

Between heat styling, chemical treatments, and blow-drying, your hair can become damaged over time. Fortunately, with the right treatment and ingredients like coconut oil and aloe vera, you can help protect your hair and restore some of that damage.

Why are these ingredients a good choice?

Studies have shown that coconut oil can reduce protein loss when used as a pre- and post-wash grooming product. Also, due to its low molecular weight, it can be absorbed into the hair shaft more easily, compared to other types of oils.

According to 2008 research, aloe vera is rich in many vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, fatty acids, and other compounds.

Although there’s little research that has specifically looked at the benefits of aloe vera for hair, anecdotal evidence suggests that it works well to moisturize and strengthen hair.

What you’ll need

  • 2 tbsp. fresh or store-bought aloe vera gel
  • 2 tbsp. organic, unrefined coconut oil

How to make a DIY mask for hair repair

  1. Add 2 tbsp. of coconut oil to a small pot, and gently heat the oil on the stove until it’s melted and warm, but not hot.
  2. Remove from the stove and test the temperature by stirring the oil with a spoon. Then, see if the spoon is warm to the touch. Don’t test the oil with your finger.
  3. If the oil is warm, but not hot, pour it into a mixing bowl and add the aloe vera gel.
  4. Stir the oil and aloe vera together until they form a smooth, blended paste.
  5. Then, apply the mask evenly over your damp hair.

Ready-made mask options for hair repair

If you’d prefer a store-bought option, the following hair masks may be good choices for damaged hair:

  • Arvazallia Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner. This popular hair mask uses argan oil as its main ingredient, which works extremely well on overprocessed, damaged hair. Find it online.
  • Bumble and Bumble While You Sleep Damage Repair Masque. The camellia oil and evening primrose oil in this product have fatty acids and antioxidants that may help prevent damage and breakage over time. Shop for it online.

  • Dry or damaged hair. As a general rule, you may want to use a hair mask, including an overnight hair mask, once or twice a week.
  • Oily hair. Oilier hair may benefit from a “less is more” approach with treatments once every 2 weeks.

If you’re using overnight hair masks regularly, and not seeing an improvement in the condition of your hair, talk with your hairstylist or dermatologist.

They may have advice on the best types of ingredients to use for your hair type. Or they may know of products that could help boost the condition of your hair.

Overnight hair masks can be used to treat many hair issues. They can moisturize dry strands, add a glossy shine to hair that’s dull, tame fly-away frizzes, and help repair damaged hair.

Many types of hair masks can be used as overnight treatments. It’s best not to use mask treatments that contain a lot of protein, apple cider vinegar, or egg, but most other ingredients work well, especially if they’re well suited to your hair type.

You can easily make your own overnight hair mask at home using a few simple ingredients, or you can buy a ready-made product at your local beauty store, drugstore, or online.