Should I Put a Hair Mask on Before or After the Shower?


Incorporating hair masks into your regimen often means reworking your shower routine. If you’re new to hair masks, it can be difficult to decide where exactly the hair mask fits in - should it be before or after the shower? That’s what we’ll address in this article. Let’s get right into it!

You Should Apply Your Hair Mask During Your Shower 

The best way to get your hair mask session done right is to do it during your shower – not before, not after. The thing that you need to understand about hair masks is that they should be applied to clean, damp hair and rinsed out afterward. So, you’ll need to hop in the shower and wash your hair before applying the hair mask. While you’re still in the shower after having rinsed the shampoo out, you’ll go ahead and apply your hair mask. 

As your hair mask is processing, feel free to meditate, shave, wash your body - whatever you’d like. After the hair mask is done processing, rinse it out in the shower. If your hair mask isn’t the most moisturizing product in the world, follow that up with your normal conditioner. Then you’re ready to get out of the shower and move on with the rest of your day. 

Why Hair Masks Should Be Used on Damp or Wet Hair 

If you’re wondering why hair masks should not be used on dry hair, the answer is simple. When your hair is dry, your hair cuticles (the outermost layer of the hair strands) lie flat. This means that the goodness from the hair mask may not be able to penetrate the hair very well. But when your hair is wet or damp, the hair cuticles lift up a bit, making your strands more receptive to the hair mask’s moisture and nutrients. It’s for this reason that it’s better to apply your hair mask to damp or wet hair. 

Why Your Hair Should Be Clean Before Applying a Hair Mask 

Did you think that you could apply your hair mask to dirty hair? That’s not the best thing to do for your hair. The hair mask won’t be able to penetrate your hair if there’s a layer or more of dirt, grime, and gunk on your strands. So, it’s best to hop in the shower first and wash with your normal shampoo or clarifying shampoo to give your hair a clean slate. 

Do You Need to Wash Your Hair After a Hair Mask?

Most store-bought hair masks are formulated with ingredients that you won’t need to wash out afterward with shampoo. But if you made your own hair mask at home and it contains smelly or sticky ingredients, like eggs, onions, or honey, you will need to break out the shampoo after your hair mask. In this case, here’s how the process will go: 

  1. Wash your hair with your normal shampoo or a clarifying shampoo. 

  2. Apply your hair mask, wait for it to process, and rinse it out. 

  3. Shampoo your hair to remove any stickiness, smell, or residue, and rinse again. 

  4. Condition to lock in the moisture and stave off dryness. 

All of this may be done in the shower unless you prefer to complete any or all of the steps in your sink. 

So, there you have it - you’ll apply your hair mask while you’re in the shower. We hope that you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best with your 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.