Should I Use Both a Leave-in Conditioner and Hair Mask?

Are you lost in a sea of hair care products you’re not sure you need? You’re not alone. Figuring out whether to use certain products in tandem can be perplexing, even for DIYers who have been caring for their own hair for a while. The main two products people are unsure about combining are leave-in conditioners and hair masks. We’ll clear up any confusion in this article. In it, we’ll tell you for sure whether you should use both a leave-in conditioner and a hair mask. Let’s get right into it! 

You Can Use Both a Leave-in Conditioner and Hair Mask

There’s no need to prolong things - you can definitely use both a leave-in conditioner and a hair mask. To understand why, you need to understand the purposes of each of these products. 

Leave-in conditioners are lightweight hydrating and conditioning treatments that give your hair a quick dose of nourishment throughout the day. They aren’t meant to provide long-term hydration, but they work beautifully as stylers, being that they smooth the hair and help curls clump together. They are meant to be applied as often as needed.

Hair masks also condition the hair, but they do so much more substantially than leave-in conditioners. They bypass the hair shaft to provide heavy duty nourishment and repair, especially to damaged and color-treated hair. Hair masks are generally used twice a week to once a month, depending on your hair care routine and the condition of your hair. 

Leave-in Conditioners and Hair Masks are Used Differently

Both leave-in conditioners and hair masks condition the hair, but they are used very differently. 

Hair masks are only applied to freshly washed hair in place of your regular rinse-out conditioner. After applying the mask to your hair, you’ll wait while the product does its magic. To maximize the absorption of the product, you can cover your head with a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer for a few minutes. 

You can apply leave-in conditioner to clean or dirty hair whenever your hair needs a little extra moisture or is looking dry, frizzy, or unruly. This may be as often as every day. But if your hair is chronically dry or is showing signs of damage, leave-in conditioner only acts as a band-aid. You’ll need to look deeper into your hair regimen to figure out what your hair really needs in this case. 

Use Your Leave-in Conditioner and Hair Mask on the Same Day

If you want to use a hair mask and a leave-in conditioner on the same day, you can. Many people do this to double up on moisture and prep the hair for styling. But it’s essential to use the products in the right order. The hair mask comes first, after your shampoo. Once you rinse the hair mask out, apply your leave-in conditioner. If you apply the products in the wrong order, you’ll just end up rinsing out the leave-in conditioner along with your hair mask. 

Should You Use Both a Leave-in and Hair Mask? 

To answer the million-dollar question, “Should you use both a leave-in and hair mask?” The answer is that it depends on the condition of your hair. Some people can get away with using just a hair mask because it gives their hair all the smoothness, manageability, moisture, and nutrients their hair needs in between washes. But, more often than not, people need a product they can use between wash days to bring moisture back into their hair and aid in detangling and styling- that’s where a leave-in shines. So, you’ll have to decide whether you need both of these products. 

So, there you have it! We hope you found all the information you needed in this article, 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.

1 comment


Thank you for the information I needed it to understand and learn to love my own hair

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