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Our Guide To Hair Masks| Philip Kingsley


Everything you need to know about Hair Masks

One of the best ways to transform a dry, frazzled mane is by making a pre-shampoo hair mask a regular fixture within your regime. Here we bring you our complete guide to this healthy hair staple, as well as our top tips on getting the most out of yours.

What is a hair mask?

A hair mask is an essential part of an all-encompassing hair care routine. Akin to a face mask that rejuvenates and takes care of the skin, a hair mask intensely conditions and hydrates the hair with a much-needed injection of moisture (in the case of Elasticizer) or bond repairing actives (in the case of Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment). An effective hair mask improves hair health by NOURISHING dry, thirsty strands or STRENGTHENING and REPAIRING damage — providing an indulgent hair treatment at home. We recommend all hair textures utilise a hair mask regularly, but especially those with a damaged or dry and frizzy ‘do.
Typically, a ready-made hair mask contains a combination of highly hydrating oils (like Elasticizer), or hair strengtheners and softeners (like Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment).

However, for best results, we advise opting for a hair mask comprising of ingredients proven to transform strands. Try our bestselling pre-shampoo mask Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment., formulated with hydrating Hydrolyzed Elastin, Castor and Olive Oils, plus Glycerin to deeply nourish dry hair and bring your locks back to life. For super-nourished, stronger strands, alternate this with our intensely reparative Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment. It's packed with Advanced Bond Rebuilding Technology which protects, strengthens and repairs damaged hair, plus Panthenol, which provides long-lasting moisture, improving your mane's lustre.


What does a pre-shampoo hair mask do?

Usually applied to damp hair, pre-shampoo hair masks are designed to target dry, damaged locks with a concentrated, supercharged surge of active ingredients. Restoring hair health and revealing softer, shinier, stronger strands, they are especially beneficial for frizzy hair that breaks easily.

Elasticizer delivers a rush of moisture into the hair's cuticle to help add elasticity and restore the hair’s stretchability and in turn strength, for healthy, shiny, easy-to-manage hair. Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment repairs and reconnects broken bonds inside the hair caused by chemical processing, colour-treating, heated styling tools and heavy-handed brushing. It leaves hair 3X more resistant against damage* and able to retain moisture for longer.


What is the difference between a hair mask and a conditioner? Do I need both?

Absolutely! A conditioner (like our Moisture Balancing Combination Conditioner) and a hair mask both have their rightful places within your hair care routine; the main contrast lies within the timing of the application. A conditioner delivers shine and eases tangles on the surface of the hair, and is rinsed out straightaway, whereas a mask should be left on the hair for a longer period of time (anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight) to allow the active ingredients to deeply nourish and penetrate.

A conditioner is applied in the shower and closes the cuticle raised in shampooing. It helps the hair retain water and reflect light, while hair masks go deeper with richer, more concentrated quantities of ingredients like oils. A conditioner should be used every time you wash your hair (ideally daily) while a hair mask is used just once or twice a week.


What are the benefits of using a hair mask?

Hair masks bestow a bountiful list of benefits! Formulated to intensely nourish, condition and strengthen hair, with prolonged use you’ll notice added bounce, softness and shine in your mane, as well as less frizz and breakage.

What is Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer?

Elasticizer is our hero product for all hair textures. It is a deeply conditioning pre-shampoo mask that revives dry, thirsty strands in as little as 20 minutes. Just as its moniker suggests, Elasticizer adds elasticity to strands, improving hair’s stretch and therefore strength against everyday breakage caused by brushing, styling and heated tools. The mask plumps strands with moisture and seals the outer cuticle with Castor and Olive Oils, but, as a pre-shampoo treatment, the excess residue is shampooed away, meaning it won’t weigh down even the finest of hair. Battling frizz, dryness and dullness in one fell swoop, it’s lauded for its instant and ongoing results, with one sold every minute*.

*Based on annual global sales data

What makes Elasticizer different from other hair masks?

As a pre-shampoo treatment, when applied to wet hair our mighty mask’s ingredients are absorbed directly into the hair cuticle, with any residue rinsed away with shampoo. The benefit? It won’t weigh strands down and is suitable for even the finest of hair textures. Most traditional hair masks are intended for use as ‘leave-in’ treatments, meaning the product simply sits on top of the hair, resulting in limp, lank locks.

Unlike homemade hair masks, our iconic remedy contains a cocktail of highly concentrated, conditioning ingredients, proven to deeply condition and combat dry hair

  • Hydrolyzed Elastin: This protein penetrates the hair shaft, increasing elasticity. Elastin is a flexible protein found naturally in the building blocks of the hair and is what gives strands an elastic effect to help them stretch and prevent breakage, for stronger hair.

  • Castor Oil: Helps to lock in moisture, improving hair health.

  • Olive Oil: High in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids which intensely moisturise and make hair look super-shiny and healthy.

  • Glycerin: Helps hair to retain moisture, making Elasticizer’s benefits last longer.

In fact, its proven that the more you use it the better the results, as shown in our Independent User Trials. 92% said hair felt deeply moisturised and 80% agreed hair felt more elastic after four weeks weekly use. But the difference is instant too – 88% said hair felt silkier and moisturised, while 87% said tresses looked shinier after just one use.

What is the difference between Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment and Elasticizer?

Elasticizer treats dry, thirsty hair, while Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment targets damage. Elasticizer adds moisture to the hair and locks this in with emulsified oils, which temporarily seal the cuticle, whereas Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment repairs damaged bonds within the hair shaft, allowing strands to retain the moisture they need for longer. Alternate between both treatments to effectively tackle dryness and damage, for super-strong, nourished hair. 

What does a pre-shampoo hair mask do?

As well as hydration, hair masks can also treat damage too. Our Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment reconnects bonds broken by chemical processing and heat styling to rebuild damaged hair from the inside out. It leaves hair stronger and more resistant against damage, now and in the future, restoring hair back to its former glory!

How do I use a hair mask?

The amount of product you’ll need depends on the length of your locks. Start with a small amount in the palm of your hand, and keep coating the hair until the mid-lengths to ends (where moisture is needed most) are completely saturated.

Check out our handy guide on how to apply our pre-shampoo masks below:

  • Before shampooing, thoroughly wet hair and apply in sections
  • Work into mid-lengths and ends of hair with fingertips
    Elasticizer tip: If the product is instantly soaked into the hair, it must be thirsty, so keep applying more until a white coating rests on top of the hair
  • For Elasticizer, cover with a shower cap or microfibre towel (this will generate warmth and enable the hair cuticle to open, so it can properly absorb the treatment’s wonder ingredients) and leave on for 10-20 minutes (the longer the better!)
  • Rinse well and follow with the appropriate Philip Kingsley shampoo and conditioner for your hair texture — finer hair should double-shampoo to remove all product

How will a pre-shampoo mask fit into my existing hair care regimen?

Our pre-shampoo treatments mark the very first step in your regime before shampooing and conditioning. Apply liberally to damp hair and allow the mask to work its magic while indulging in a spot of well-deserved me time — whether that be reading a book, working out, watching a film, taking a bath or perhaps applying skin care.

Elevate this moment further still by multi-masking — pair Elasticizer or Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment with a face mask and one of our scalp masks, (such as our Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Weekly Mask) to treat your scalp as well as your strands. Our scalp solutions address all scalp issues and are exfoliating, stimulating and soothing, leaving your scalp feeling calm and refreshed. Used regularly, they encourage a healthy scalp environment and strong, lustrous hair.

Our transformative treatments fit effortlessly into your busy, day-to-day schedule too, empowering you to multi-task and mask. Our team have been known to embrace #MondayMasking as we work from home or complete a spot of housework too!

If you are time-poor or prefer to shampoo in the morning, you might find it more convenient to apply your Elasticizer before bed. Be sure to wrap hair in a microfibre towel overnight to keep heat contained (and your pillow residue-free!). Come morning, rinse well, then shampoo (or double shampoo if you have fine hair) and condition as normal.


    How often should hair masks be used?

    To achieve the best possible results, we recommend treating tresses to a hair mask once weekly.

    As an intensive treatment, there is no need to use it every day, and this would likely cause build-up and heaviness on the hair. We recommend using our Elasticizer once, or twice a week if strands are particularly parched. 

    What happens if I leave it on too long?

    Don’t worry, you can’t leave a hair mask on for too long. Your hair will simply absorb all the nutrients it needs, and any remaining residue will be cleansed away as you shampoo.

    Experience the Elasticizer Effect for yourself

    Find out more about Elasticizer