Protect your hair from the cold

Fotograf: Tobias Regell


When it gets colder outside and we at the same time turn up the heat indoors, the air becomes drier and the hair loses essential moisture. Due to this, many people experience problems with dry and static hair during the wintertime. When the moisture level drops, it becomes even more important to use nourishing hair masks, but what do hair masks actually do and how do they differ from other products such as conditioners? Johan Hellström, owner and CEO of Björn Axén, explains this by answering questions about hair masks and how we use them in the best way.

What effects do hair masks have on the hair and how does it work?

To me, hair masks are magical! There are many different types of hair masks but what they all have in common is that they care for and moisturize the hair. When you shampoo your hair, you open up the hair's outer layer and hair masks work in such a way that they help the hair to close it again, but very slowly. The slow process allows the moisture in the hair mask to deeply penetrate the hair, right into the core of the strand so that the fibers there become hydrated and are able to stay strong.

Why should you use hair mask and what happens if you don't?

When the hair is damaged, the outer layer of the hair is affected, a good hair mask works in such a way that it repairs this through strengthening the hair. If you don’t use hair masks, the hair can instead crack and break, leaving the strand open all the way into the protein chains in the core of the hair. If you just leave it like that the hair won’t have the opportunity to repair or moisturize, drying it out which will eventually lead to the hair breaking and falling off. Therefore, it’s important that you regularly take care of your hair by making sure that you add moisture and nutrition, by doing so the hair will stay in perfect condition.


What is the difference between hair masks and conditioners/leave-in products?

Hair masks have a more deep-acting effect on your hair than for example conditioners because the hair masks close the hair’s outer layer more slowly. This gives the product more time to penetrate even deeper. A conditioner works much faster, which is why you quickly get a silky smooth result when using such a product. The quick effect indicates that the ingredients don’t have time to penetrate deep, and therefore conditioners are more active on the surface, primarily giving the hair a nice feeling.

Leave-in products are great because they are effective and protect the hair for a longer time as they aren’t rinsed out. There are many different types of leave-in products, but what many have in common is that they both moisturize and strengthen the hair. If you use a protective leave-in product together with hot styling tools, the product will have an effect similar to a hair mask because it’s allowed to penetrate deeper due to the heat. Therefore, I think you should always include a good leave-in product in your hair care routine.


How do I use a hair mask in the best way?

You should use a hair mask immediately after shampooing. The best way to use it is by distributing the product evenly throughout your entire hair, including your scalp. I then recommend you to put your hair up in a knot and that you let the product sit for a while, preferably in heat. The heat makes the hair mask more effective, so letting it sit in a sauna for example will help you get a better effect. There’s no time limit for how long you can leave it in, and you can actually let it sit for as long as you like, but at least 3–5 minutes.


How often should I use a hair mask?

Many people only use hair masks a few times a year, which is far too infrequent. If you don’t have particularly damaged hair, I recommend that you use the product about every two weeks. But if it's really cold outside, you can even use it once a week. On the other hand, I recommend people with dry and damaged hair to use hair masks about 1-2 times a week, depending on how often they wash their hair. Although, if you still don’t notice enough effect, you can replace your conditioner with a hair mask and use it every time you wash your hair.


How do I know which hair mask to choose?

It entirely depends on your needs. My tip is to check the product because it usually says what it does, if it for instance repairs, moisturizes, removes frizz or preserves your hair color. After that, you can decide what’s most important to you. Your hair mask should be a complement to your hair care routine, so you should always base your choice on your needs and which other hair care products you use. If you for instance have colored hair that’s also dry, you can use color preserving shampoo and conditioner, which you then complement with a moisturizing hair mask. You must look at all aspects and not just at what effect a product has alone, it’s exactly the same principle as with your skincare routine.


Which is your favorite hair mask?

It's a difficult question, but I would probably say that my favorite is the Deep Conditioning Repair Hair Mask. It's amazing because it does wonders for the hair without weighing it down and it also contains so many great ingredients that deeply hydrates, strengthens and repairs the hair. It’s a product that suits everyone, regardless of hair type.

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