Can I Just Use Conditioner as A Hair Mask?

In the interest of saving money and time, people everywhere are searching for opportunities to cut products out of their regimen or use a single product for multiple things. To this effect, many are wondering whether they can use their regular rinse-out conditioner as a hair mask. The answer may surprise you - we’ll jump right into it in this article. 

Conditioners Don’t Double as Hair Masks 

In the vast majority of cases, rinse-out conditioners don’t double as hair masks. They are designed to sit on the outermost layers of the hair shaft and provide superficial moisture, smoothing, and shine to the hair. This does not compare to what a hair mask can do - hair masks are able to go beyond the surface of the hair and give it a more substantial treatment than a conditioner can. So, if you want a “real” penetrative conditioning session, you need a hair mask. 

What Happens if You Use a Conditioner as a Hair Mask?

For those who might be curious, leaving a rinse-out conditioner in your hair for longer than instructed on the packaging could increase its benefits a bit. But it’s not likely to give you the level of conditioning you’d expect from a hair mask. So, if your hair is in not-so-good condition, skip out on experimenting with conditioner and use a hair mask instead. 

How to Get the Most Out Of your Hair Mask Treatment

In addition to using an actual hair mask, it’s essential to use the product correctly to get the best possible results. Here’s how to use a hair mask for max hair repair and hydration: 

  1. Wash your hair with a shampoo of your choice. Your best bet for a super-effective treatment is to use a clarifying shampoo. It’s stronger than normal shampoos and gets rid of all the gunk so the mask can penetrate deeply. 

  2. Separate your hair into at least two sections. If your hair is of type 3 or 4, you may want to part it into four sections. The point of this step is to make your hair easier to work with and aid in product distribution. 

  3. Slather your chosen hair mask onto your hair section by section. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently distribute the product through each section. 

  4. Put on a plastic cap and wait for the amount of time indicated on the packaging. 

  5. Rinse the hair mask out thoroughly with lukewarm water. 

As for how often to use a hair mask, we recommend once a week. If that frequency turns out to be too much, reduce it to a few times a month. Let the condition of your hair be your guide. 

So, there you have it - it’s not the best idea to use conditioner as a hair mask. Take our advice and get your hands on an actual hair mask to reap the benefits. Thankfully, you can find a hair mask easily at your local beauty supply store, department store, or online. And if you’re up for it, you can DIY your hair mask with a few things from your pantry or refrigerator. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best as you research the best ways to care for your natural hair. 




Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.