Protect your hair from split ends and breakage with our roundup of the most intensive hair treatments to buy
Frizzy, dull or dry hair is never a good look, and often a sign that your hair is crying out for some TLC. And if you’ve found that your hair is breaking or thinning, then it’s definitely time for some action. Whether it’s a hair mask, hair oil or intensive conditioning treatment, with the help of a concentrated formula you’ll soon be able to turn those lifeless locks into terrific-looking tresses, sometimes as quickly as overnight.
But which intensive hair treatment should you go for? We’re here to help with the pick of the best products for your hair type, as well as guiding you through the basics of hair treatments so you can achieve super-shiny locks that will be the envy of all your friends.
How to choose the best hair treatment for you
Why do I need a hair treatment?
Cold and windy weather, prolonged periods in the sun, colour treatments, central heating, blow-drying and over-using hair tools – all can have a detrimental effect on our hair follicles. The result is fragile, dry hair that’s prone to split ends and breakage.
Other causes of hair losing its shine and shape include regularly scraping your hair into a high pony-tail, swimming in chlorinated pools and vigorously brushing wet hair.
What are the main types of hair treatment?
Hair masks: these have active ingredients to nourish, hydrate and soften your hair. They also encourage healthy hair growth that will be less prone to future damage. Most are all-rounders, but some hair masks target specific problems – for example, moisturising hair that’s been frazzled in the sun, or repairing the damage done by colouring or bleaching.
Hair oils: these are a great way of adding shine and moisture to hair, making it look instantly more healthy. There are different oils to combat different issues – for example, argan oil contains fatty acids and vitamin E, making it ideal for conditioning and adding texture to dry or frizzy hair; coconut oil is full of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates to strengthen hair and prevent fragility.
Deep conditioner: this is an SOS hair conditioner, ideal for use when your regular one no longer seems up to the job. It’s basically a more intense version of your day-to-day hair conditioner.
How can I find the right hair treatment for my hair type?
Oil-based formulas can give thicker or curlier hair the extra moisture it needs, as well as making it more manageable. For finer hair, as well as hair that’s prone to being greasy, look for treatments with a high quantity of proteins to strengthen and bolster the hair cuticles without weighing your locks down.
What else can I do to help repair damaged hair?
Trim hair regularly to get rid of split ends and encourage healthy growth of hair. Reduce the use of heated tools, and if you must use them then opt for quality tools from top brands and use a thermal protector spray or cream first. Also consider a deep conditioning treatment at a hair salon – your hairdresser can recommend the right one for your hair.
Alterna Caviar Repair Fill and Fix Treatment Masque: Best hair treatment for very damaged hair
Price: £27.49 | Buy now from Amazon
Regardless of the cause – over-use of heated tools, sun damage or colour treatments – a pot of this should be just the therapy for your damaged hair. Containing water-activated micro-beads that release proteins to strengthen and repair, surely it contains a miracle ingredient – this product seems to do the job where other masks, oils and intensive conditioners don’t even touch the sides. Once you’ve cleansed hair, squeeze out any excess water then apply the mask, leaving it on for a few minutes to work its magic. Be prepared to use it regularly if your hair is a really bad way – even daily, for hair that’s super-distressed. With no sulphates, parabens or colouring, this masque is completely natural and leaves hair looking significantly softer, glossier and fuller.
Key specs – Quantity: 150ml; Type: hair mask
ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud: Best hair treatment for dry hair
Price: £34 | Buy now from ESPA
You’ll be hard-pushed to find a beauty editor who doesn’t “ooh” and “ahh” at the mere mention of this product. Containing red clays, watercress and apricot oil, ESPA’s Pink Hair and Scalp Mud has built up a loyal following from those in the know. It works hard at hydrating, soothing and strengthening hair, all the while feeling like the kind of treatment you’d get at a top hair salon. It’s good for the scalp, too, tackling inflammation and dry skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes, or overnight if possible, and your hair will certainly thank you. Particularly good for dry hair, split ends or if you’re a regular swimmer.
Key specs – Quantity: 180ml; Type: hair mask
KTC Almond Hair Oil: Best budget hair treatment oil
Price: £1.49 | Buy now from Superdrug
This is a steal for £1.49. It’s lighter than other hair oils, but is the perfect cocktail – including antioxidants, fatty acids, protein, magnesium and vitamin E – for healing hair of all types. Those with thinning hair will love it because it helps stop hair breakage and encourages new hair growth. Sufferers of dandruff can massage the oil into their scalp to stop those unwelcome snowy white flakes appearing, and it will also help to relieve redness and irritation. Those with coloured hair can use it to help maintain colour for longer, and those with curly afro hair will see hair feeling softer and more manageable. Hydrating and nourishing for all hair types – this is a real winner.
Key specs – Quantity: 200ml; Type: hair oil
John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Conditioner: Best hair treatment for curly hair
Price: £6.99 | Buy now from Superdrug
Curly hair can be a nightmare to manage, what with all that detangling and trying to control annoying flyaways. It can be prone to looking more dry and frizzy than other hair types, too. John Frieda’s Frizz Ease range is a saviour (and an affordable one, at that) for such locks and this is the crème de la crème. Key ingredient Abyssinian oil adds shine and control without weighing hair down, ultimately resulting in curls that look defined, soft and glossy – even when you use a hairdryer. Use it as you would a regular conditioner, leaving it on for a few minutes, before you wash it out. For those with super-frizzy hair, be mindful that you might need a few applications before you see best results.
Key specs – Quantity: 150ml; Type: deep conditioner
MoroccanOil Treatment: Best hair treatment oil that you can buy
Price: £32.84 | Buy now from Amazon
When it comes to oil for dry, coarse or unruly hair, we don’t think it gets better than this. And customers seem to agree, with more than 1,400 reviews on Amazon, of which 92% give it four or five stars. This oil smells exotic, it’s easy to apply, feels luxurious, is completely natural and – most important of all – it makes hair less frizzy and far softer in one go, largely thanks to the fatty acids and vitamin E it contains. Following a super-hot summer, it can be a godsend for bringing dry tresses back to life, giving locks some serious shine – although don’t use too much of it. There are different schools of thought with regards to when it’s best to apply, but we think it works best on freshly washed, wet hair. It’s great for dealing with fly-aways, too.
Key specs – Quantity: 100ml; Type: hair oil
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Treatment: Best hair treatment for static hair
Price: £3 | Buy now from Amazon
No wonder people prone to static hair often dread the winter – all those hoods, hats and central heating can make your hair stand on end, sometimes with comical effect. Time to invest in this moisturising treatment, which will put an instant stop to unruly locks, smoothing hair down without pulling it down. Containing Australian macadamia, jojoba and avocado oil, it takes only three minutes to work its magic, leaving hair looking silky and shiny. For the price, it’s a remarkable product – a big thumbs up from us.
Key specs – Quantity: 250ml; Type: deep conditioner
Percy & Reed Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery: Best overnight hair treatment
Price: £20 | Buy now from John Lewis
This is a seriously low-maintenance product. Simply slap it onto dry (yes, really) hair before you hit the sack, and it promises to nourish and condition your hair while you’re in the land of nod. When morning arrives, just wash your hair as usual with shampoo. You don’t have to follow up with conditioner, as you covered that bit while you were sleeping, saving you some vital minutes of a hectic morning. Jam-packed with natural proteins, Percy & Reed’s formula gives hair just the moisture boost it needs, so you can say farewell to frizz and hello to shine. Genius.
Key specs – Quantity: 150ml; Type: hair mask
Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Pre-Shampoo Mask: Best hair treatment for fighting frizz
Price: £35 | Buy now from Bumble and Bumble
This restorative mask is best used on dry hair before you shampoo. Leave it on for around 20 minutes to allow all the oils to work into your locks, then follow your usual hair wash routine. The result? Shinier, softer and more hydrated hair. Particularly good at battling unwanted frizz, this mask is also a stand-out for those with curlier hair. Bumble and bumble suggests using it weekly – and we’d agree that any more might weigh hair down. With argan, macadamia nut, safflower seed and sweet almond oils, it will leave your locks looking super shiny. Consistency is more balm-like, which means you’ll need to warm the product between your hands before applying.
Key specs – Quantity: 100ml; Type: hair mask
Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon: Best hair treatment for coloured hair or hair that is prone to looking dirty
Price: £37 | Buy now from Look Fantastic
This mask – which doubles up as a shampoo – is mainly for two types of hair. First, for regularly coloured, bleached or highlighted hair. And second, for locks that always seems to feel in need of a wash, either because they’re prone to greasiness, or because styling products has left hair in need of a deep clean. In both instances, this formula, with lemon zest extract to exfoliate and purify, is fabulous.
You wet hair, apply the mask, rub it in and then rinse (take your time with this last bit, since it’s easy to leave some product behind by mistake). Job done. We were surprised by just how clean and moisturised hair felt after just one application – a world away from some masks that make grand promises they don’t live up to. Note, though, it doesn’t lather as easily as some other products, but spreads through the hair easily enough.
Key specs – Quantity: 250ml; Type: hair mask