When your hair is dry, damaged or generally unhappy, hair masks can often be the only thing to return your locks to their former glory. The downside? These treatments often involve lengthy shower stints, awkwardly sitting around with wet hair or a trip to your local salon. Luckily, overnight hair masks are here to save the day. Following in the footsteps of overnight face masks, the haircare equivalent is an ever-growing category. After all, who wouldn’t want to boost their beauty routine while maximizing their shut eye?
Intrigued? We quizzed the experts, and this is what you need to know.
Why should I use an overnight hair treatment?
Put simply, sleeping in your hair mask offers more intense results. “As the product has more time to penetrate the hair, it offers a deeper effect,” Jodie Shirley, colorist at John Frieda Salons, explained. Overnight treatments are an excellent way to smooth frizz, restore shine and nourish dry, brittle or colored hair.
Who can benefit from an overnight hair treatment?
Nearly all hair types can benefit from overnight hair masks, but some are in greater need of this deep nourishing treatment. “Thick or afro hair really benefits from this type of treatment because this hair type tends to be naturally dry,” Shirley said. Very fine or thinning hair types should be wary of some products. “Heavy treatments could weigh down this type of hair and result in a loss of natural volume,” she added.
How should I choose an overnight hair mask?
Increasingly, we are spoilt for choice for overnight hair options. In fact, as Belle Cannan, co-founder of Salon Sloane, tells us, the majority of hair masks (branded overnight or not) can be slept in. “The only hair masks I would avoid would be those that are protein-laced. When you put too much protein in the hair in one go, it can lead to breakages,” Cannan cautioned. “I would advise using a hydrating mask if you’re going to leave it in overnight,” she clarified.
When choosing your product, there are a number of ingredients to look out for. “Einkorn wheat extract adds strength and resistance from the root, linseed extract offers protection for the hair, shea oil smooths the cuticle, improves shine and limits dehydration, and ‘ceramide-like’ active ingredients will rebuild the hair fiber’s lipid structure and restore the cohesion of the cuticle,” Cannan says.
Overnight treatments are an excellent way to smooth frizz, restore shine and nourish dry, brittle or colored hair.
What is the best way to apply my mask?
Overnight hair masks are applied to wet hair following your normal hair washing routine. Normally a once-a-week treatment, those with very dry or damaged hair can use them more frequently if required. “Roughly dry your hair using a towel so that it isn’t dripping wet and then spread the product smoothly from root to tip using a wide-toothed comb,” Cannan advised. “Once you’ve ensured every strand is covered, cover your hair with a processing cap (a shower cap or hair scarf also work) to safeguard your pillow. You can also lay a towel over your pillow for additional protection,” she added.
“If you’re prone to tangles, brush your hair gently from bottom to top with a paddle brush after the initial combing. If restoring shine is your main concern, switch to a boar bristle brush.” In the morning, simply wash out the treatment and dry and style your hair as normal.
What else can I do to help my hair at night?
In between using overnight hair treatments, it is important to take good care of your hair while you sleep. “If you’re not applying a mask, don’t wash your hair just before you sleep. If you have to fit in a wash in the evening, make sure it’s completely dry otherwise it causes frizz,” Cannan told us.
“Avoid sleeping with your hair tied up, if possible. If you do tie it up, use gentle hairbands. Long hair can also benefit from loose braids at night whilst sleeping to stop it from tangling,” Shirley says. You might also want to invest in a silk pillowcase, too. “They’re great in reducing static and preventing both kinks and flyaways, making your hair much more manageable,” she adds.
Overnight Hair Masks to Try
Bumble and bumble While You Sleep Overnight Damage Repair Masque
Infused with evening primrose and camellia oils, this mask has a two-pronged approach: helping to repair past wear-and-tear and prevent against future damage.
Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair! Gel-to-Oil Overnight Repair Treatment
Harnessing the power of smart gel encapsulation technology, this product pumps out like a gel but releases its potent blend of nourishing oils — including rosehip, argan and coconut — on application. Leave in overnight and wake up with frizz-free and hydrated hair.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep Conditioning Treatment
This cult treatment, originally designed for Audrey Hepburn, can also be used overnight. The world’s first deep conditioning hair product, it contains castor oil and hydrolyzed elastin to strengthen, add bounce and restore shine.
IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond-Building Dry Hair Mask
This innovative spray-on mask contains a leave-in bond-building complex to repair the structure of the hair from the inside out. Simply spray on dry hair and brush through immediately before going to bed. Unlike other overnight products, there is no need to wash again in the morning – just comb and go.
Sachajuan Over Night Hair Repair
Containing the highest concentration of the brand’s signature Ocean Silk Technology, the product uses two types of algae (Rhodophycea and Chondrus Crispus) to strengthen, hydrate and add shine to the hair.
Pantene Pro-V Overnight Miracle Repair Serum
Technically a serum, this overnight treatment offers a more lightweight solution. The non-sticky cream feels weightless but packs an impressively restorative punch.