Should you apply hair masks to wet or dry hair?

to repair hair

These types of questions remind me of Hamlet’s existential crisis: “To be, or not to be”.

Before I get too philosophical, let me tell you that…

  • The rule is that hair masks are always applied to damp hair since you need to make sure that your hair is clean – that way the mask penetrates your hair’s cuticles.
  • The only cases where you’d apply a mask to dry hair is when you use some kind of oil, like argan or coconut, to deeply hydrate it.
  • The way you apply masks also changes, and I’ll talk about that in a few moments.


 Masks are like the last touch so that your hair is under control, smooth, and super hydrated. 

It’s like cleaning the floors.

I know, your hair is not the same as the floor, but stay with me.

What do you do first?


Don’t know? Maybe you should go ask your parents again, this is a life skill.

The first thing you do is sweep the floor before anything else. You sweep away any dust, dirt, dog or cat hair. If you skip this step, you’re just making it harder for yourself. That dirt will stay there, maybe stick to the floor even more than before. It definitely won’t be shiny and clean like you want.


It’s the same with your hair. If you don’t prepare it so that an intense nutritive or hydrating treatment will penetrate the hair cuticle, that treatment won’t do anything.

Because masks are intensive treatments to hydrate the hair. That’s why if you want them to be effective, keep reading, since I’ll tell you…

  • how to apply masks to damp hair
  • hair masks you should apply to dry hair
  • how often to apply hair masks


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How to apply masks to wet hair

Before I explain to you how you should apply the mask, you must understand why you should put it in wet hair.

First, when you wash your hair, you get rid of any impurities and oil there might be.


It doesn’t matter if you washed your hair yesterday. Think about all the pollution around you. Every time you go out, microscopic particles of dust, dirt, and other things get into your hair without you even noticing. We don’t see all of it in the air, but it gets on your body throughout the day.

Before you put on face lotion you wash your face to clean it after a long day, right?


It’s the same with hair.

What’s more, water will open pores, both in your skin and your hair. This allows hydrating agents in a mask to have better penetration.

 When you apply the hair mask on your damp hair, the hair fiber will quickly absorb all of the hydrating components of the mask. 


But there is still another important reason – the consistency of the mask. They tend to be quite creamy, having moist hair helps to untangle your hair if necessary while applying it, keeping your hair from breaking.

Now, let’s see how to apply these masks.



  • Once you have washed your hair with your usual shampoo, wrap it in a towel to get rid of the excess water.
  • Apply the hair mask from the root to the tips and leave it on for 20 minutes. It can also be 30 or 40 minutes, or however long an episode of your favorite Netflix show is. The more time, the better.
  • Rinse with warm water without using any other product.


Now, regarding intensive nutritive treatments, you might have some questions since there are a lot of different types and brands.



  • If your hair is very damaged by dyes or frequent use of tools like a hairdryer or flat iron, choose a hair mask with keratin because it will repair your hair.
  • If you have recently done a chemical treatment, such as a perm, use a mask with wax since it will make your hair soft and shiny.
  • If your hair is very fine and you see that it’s falling out a lot, you can go for a mask with proteins, because it will strengthen your hair.


But there are exceptions to the rule. Do you remember the rule I talked about earlier? Exactly! That we always apply masks to damp hair.

But the exception is when you use any kind of oil for an intensive nutritive treatment. Let’s see why.


What types of masks can you apply to dry hair?

apply it on the scalp

Coconut and argan oils are quintessential for moisturizing, but they should always be used in dry hair.

Because, after all, water and oil don’t mix, right?


 And that’s why pure oils are applied to dry hair, because if you put them on wet hair, the oil will be repelled, and you won’t achieve the hydrating result that you were looking for. 

If you apply coconut oil to damp hair, you’ll see how drops of oily water will come off your hair.

Now, when I say dry hair, I’m not talking about unwashed hair. Here, you should wash your hair with shampoo, and then either air dry it or use a blow dryer. But always clean, because any impurities can keep the oil from penetrating the hair fiber.



  • Wash your hair with your regular shampoo.
  • Dry your hair with a hair dryer or stick your head out the window for a little breeze. It takes a little more time, but the wind in your hair is a nice feeling!
  • Apply the coconut or argan oil from the middle of your hair to the ends, avoiding the roots. Why is that? Because the roots generate their oil on the scalp, so it’s not necessary.


Now, what oil should I choose?


The two oils will nourish your hair. Coconut oil will make it soft and shiny, and argan will hydrate it and get rid of frizz.


How often should I apply hair masks?

  • You can apply hair masks to damp hair once a week, though this will depend on what kind of damage you have in your hair and how much you need it.

If your hair is quite damaged, I recommend you apply it once a week. If your hair is only a little damaged, you can do it every two weeks.

Now, if you are looking to keep it hydrated, but it’s not damaged, you can use the mask once every four weeks.


  • However, for dry hair, the methods change completely. You can apply argan or coconut oil daily. Don’t forget to always wash and dry your hair before!

You can use these oils daily because since they are natural, they don’t have chemicals that can damage your hair. And if you’re worried about your hair being dyed, no problem because these also don’t remove dye.

However, I recommend that if your hair is very damaged, you can use either of these oils every two days. That should be enough.

Do you want to hear one last secret?


  • You can combine creamy masks with oils, especially if your hair is quite damaged.

Of course, never at the same time!

If one day you applied the mask to your damp hair, the next day you can apply coconut or argan oil to your dry hair.

That way your hair will recover much faster, and you’ll see it become stronger in only a few days.


What hair mask do you want to try today? For dry or damp hair?

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