How Long Should You Leave a Hair Mask on Hair?

It’s Friday night and you’ve just poured your glass of wine, applied a face mask, and now it’s time to treat your hair. Pampering yourself with a hair mask is indulgent, but it is also a great way to restore protein or moisture to heavily distressed hair. As modern people using hot tools and gobs of products, chances are we can all take advantage of a good hair mask.

But the question remains: how long should you leave your hair mask on your hair? How long is too long? Too much a good thing is a real phenomenon and luckily, we are here to clear away any doubts.


How Long Should I Leave My Hair Mask On?

Check out two sure-fire ways to guarantee that you don’t leave your hair mask on for too long below.

Read the Label 

hair mask label

If you’re trying out a hair mask you’ve purchased in a bottle or pot, then the best way to use a hair mask is to leave it on according to the directions on the label. Sometimes, however, the minutes they describe is the minimum amount of time you should leave it on to reap the hair restorative benefits.

As a general rule of thumb, all masks should be left on for 3-5 minutes but can be extended to 15-30 minutes to truly reap all of the benefits. Even if you make a natural mask at home using ingredients like egg whites, avocado, yogurt, or honey, capping out at around half an hour will deliver the best results.


Err on the Side of Caution 

applying hair mask

Some masks, including pre-poo coconut oil treatments, can be left on overnight. If your hair is truly distressed, doing so will only help. If your hair is in need of only a light treatment, however, then leaving it on your hair while you sleep may make hair too soft, especially if the hair was wet when you applied it, making hair a lot more porous.

If you are worried about this, then make a point to apply the hair mask, wait anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes, and then rinse it out. 


So, next time you whip your favorite restorative hair mask, take a look at the label and decide for yourself. If you feel like your hair could be softer, extend those few 5 minutes to 10 or 20 and enjoy beautiful, soft, and shiny hair. 

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