Conditioner Vs Hair Mask: What’s The Difference And When To Use Which

Written by Urvi DalalNov 30, 2023
Conditioner vs hair mask: What’s the difference and when to use which

In order to achieve healthy and strong hair, there are certain things you absolutely shouldn’t compromise on. Frequent trims, regular hair washing, cutting down on heat tools, eating right, and providing enough hydration are not just essential, but are also the building blocks of a solid hair care routine. While the others are pretty self-explanatory, a lot of us don’t do too well when it comes to moisturising and hydration. This leaves our hair dry, frizzy, more prone to breakage and simply lacking in shine. But this can easily be prevented by incorporating two essential products – a conditioner and a hair mask — into your routine.

If you have ever wondered whether to use a conditioner or a hair mask for your hair type, whether you even need both, and when you should use them, you’ve come to the right place. Scroll down for all the answers…


What is a hair conditioner?

When to use

A hair conditioner is a moisturising product that you apply to your hair post shampoo. Its primary role is to coat the uppermost layer of your hair, also known as the cuticle, and protect it against dust, dirt, pollution, sun damage, and prevent it from drying out. A lot of conditioners are formulated using different ingredients that help provide hydration and reduce problems such as frizz, breakage, making your hair soft, shiny, tangle-free and a lot more manageable.

Unlike shampoo, a conditioner should only be applied from the mid-length to the tips of your hair and be left on for at least a minute or more, depending on what’s mentioned on the bottle. A nourishing and rejuvenating formula like the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Conditioner is the perfect pick if you’re looking to bring your dull tresses back to life. This conditioner is enriched with nourishing argan oil and provides instant hydration to dry, tangled and frizzy hair.


What is a hair mask?

When to use

A hair mask is similar to a conditioner in the sense that it provides nourishment, hydration, prevents frizz and adds shine. But a hair mask does much more than just this. Formulated with a blend of nourishing oils, rich creams and various other hair-loving ingredients, a hair mask not only moisturises and conditions but also helps in repairing and restoring damage in the long run while delivering instant hydration.

Hair masks have a thicker formulation than a conditioner. They need to be left on for anywhere between 10 minutes to 30 minutes (some can even be left on overnight) for all the ingredients to be truly absorbed into your hair, leaving them visibly healthier. A hair mask we’re crushing over is the Dove Intense Damage Repair Hair Mask. This hair mask is formulated with keratin actives that repair damage and strengthen hair and 1/4th moisturising cream that deeply conditions dry and damaged tresses. If you have dry, frizzy and over-processed hair, this dove hair mask is definitely for you.


When to use

When to use

Now that you know the difference between conditioners and hair masks and that they serve two different yet important roles when it comes to hair care, it is clear why it is essential to use both products. As for when to use which, note this:

Conditioner: A conditioner should be used right after shampooing every time you wash your hair, which ideally is a few times a week. On days when you don’t shampoo your hair, you can still use conditioner to keep your strands smooth, shiny and tangle-free.

Hair mask: You don’t need to use a hair mask every day; you can use it once a week if you have really dry, damaged and frizzy hair. But if you have normal hair, then using it just once every two weeks is also enough. This is a great way to provide your hair with a deeply nourishing, pampering and rejuvenating spa-like experience in the comfort of your home.



Urvi Dalal

Written by

Writer, avid reader and hardcore beauty enthusiast is the best way to describe Urvi Dalal. With over 5 years of writing experience in the beauty industry, you can trust her to have the latest skin, hair and makeup tidbits on her fingertips. In her time working as a beauty writer, she has had the opportunity to interact and work closely with a string of dermatologists, makeup artists and hairstylists. All that knowledge exchange, coupled with her flair and love for writing make it possible for her to bring you some authentic yet fun beauty content. When Urvi isn’t working, you’d usually catch her curled up with a big, fat book, drinking a cup of tea or practising her makeup skills; there is no in-between!


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