Damage Control: The Best and Worst Hair Treatments For Winter

As someone who doesn’t even know what color her real hair is anymore, I’ve spent a lot of time messing around with hair masks. I used to do them at least once a week, but now I’ve gotten lazier. Leaving my conditioner on for an extra five minutes is now an action I equate with doing a hair mask, though in reality it’s just a reason to postpone the point at which I have to leave the steamy confines of the shower.

Matters are further complicated by the fact that I just got a new roommate who is a dude. Said dude does not fully comprehend the restorative beauty benefits to me walking around the apartment with my hair piled on my head, secured with bobby pins and a plastic bag from the bodega, and finished off with a saggy old beanie for further heat-penetrating power.

But this is no excuse for committing hair neglect during the colder months. This is when your hair needs your TLC the most, so throw on your favorite jeggings, pump up the Christmas classic remixes, and use that leave-on time to give yourself a tacky new manicure. There’s no time like the holidays for looking like a total doofus, and people will be shocked for all the right reasons when they see your shiny new hair.

Which mask you choose depends on the condition of your tresses. Do they move when you swing your head? Do they mostly stay attached to your head when you shower? Can you tie them up without having a ponytail crease until the next time you wash it? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, congratulations for not being an idiot and trying to go from dark red to white blonde in your own bathroom. If you answered in the negative, you might be interested in my tried-and-tested products below.


1. Sachajuan Over Night Hair Repair ($60)
I was really psyched to give this a go. Mainly because it came with a $60 price tag and a mini instruction manual. It also came buried inside a Russian nesting doll-esque arrangement of boxes, which is great if you love opening presents. Not so great if you are the environment. The manual (I’m serious) says to slather it on after your nighttime shower, and either wash it off in the morning or leave it on. I don’t like being given this option because I feel like it is the job of the hair scientists to know which method is more effective. However, I chose the leaving on method. My hair felt a little stronger (maybe?) but also super-greasy, which is a think that NEVER happens when you’ve been bleaching your hair for over a decade.


2. It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask ($20.49 online price)
I tried this mask when I was traveling last summer, because I was unable to find a Sephora in Tunica, Mississippi. But I was surprised at a) how much this cost for a goddamn Rite Aid purchase in Mississippi and b) how well it worked. It doesn’t contain any protein but rather just a whole bunch of super-moisturizing stuff, so you can leave it on as long as you like (proteins can dry out your hair). I like to do the plastic bag + beanie thing then sleep in it.


3. Organix Reparing Awapuhi Ginger Instant Recovery Mask ($7.99)
This is another cheapie I started using when I was in Australia, where it is a law that all beauty products must be marked up five million percent. I’m usually of the mindset give me all of the powerful chemicals, so I’m not sure why, other than price, I chose to go with something formulated with upscale ginger. But it WORKS. I still use this stuff on the regular and swear it’s improving the strength of my hair thanks to its masterful combination of fancy ginger and keratin protein. It’s also a pretty pink color, which is another selling point.


4. Redken Extreme CAT Protein Reconstructing Treatment ($15.50)
I was suggested this product by a pushy salon salesperson, and probably would ┬áhave asserted myself more strongly if it wasn’t named after my favorite animal. The consistency is thin and clear (I usually prefer thicker, masquey masks) and you can’t really tell where you’re putting it. I wasn’t sure if it was really doing anything, and when I went to my hairdresser (this is before I moved to NYC and could still afford a hairdresser) she said the proteins were indeed drying out my hair even further. Use sparingly — and only if you really need it.


5. Moroccanoil ($39)
This is not a mask in any way, shape, or form, but does anyone else get consistently amazing results with Moroccanoil? My super-dry hair is super dry and still only needs the tiniest drop of this, so if your hair isn’t quite as bristly, just smelling or looking at it might be enough. A++


Do you have any miracle hair care products I need to know about?

Related links:
Backstage Beauty: Christian Siriano Embraces Russian Winter
Fontainebleau’s Spa Guru Shares DIY Tricks to Fight Summer Damage
The Beauty Pills That Will Solve All Your Winter Skin Conundrums

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