The 20 Best Hair Masks for Curly Hair in 2024

The 20 Best Hair Masks for Curly Hair in 2024
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a collage of hair masks for curly hair with a pink background and a woman applying product to her hairDasha Burobina/PureWow,

If you have curly hair, you know all too well how quickly your locks can turn from defined ringlets to frizzy strands. Thankfully, we found the best way to combat this: a hydrating hair mask. Whether you’re dealing with dryness, breakage or dullness, a hair mask can offer shiny, soft and healthier swirls. Need some recommendations? We compiled a list of 20 favorite hair masks for curly hair, according to editors, experts and customer reviews.

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The Best Hair Masks for Curly Hair at a Glance

1

Best for Dry Hair

TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask

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$19 At Ulta2

Best for Damaged Hair

Olaplex No 8 Bond Intense Moisture Hair Mask

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$30 At Sephora3

Most Hydrating

SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque

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$13; $11 At Amazon4

Best for Thin Hair

Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask

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$21 At Ulta5

Best for Type 4 Hair

Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner

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$15 At Ulta

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Meet the Experts

  • Kimberlee J. Blakley is a celebrity hairstylist, licensed trichologist and senior director of product development at MAV Beauty Brands. She has 15 years of experience working with brands such as L’Oréal, Moroccanoil and The Mane Choice.
  • Sabrina Porsche is a celebrity hairstylist and brand ambassador for Not Your Mother’s. She previously went to cosmetology school and worked in a few salons before becoming a full-time stylist in 2017. Her previous clients include Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Adrienne Bailon.
  • Michelle O’Connor is a hairstylist, global artistic director at Matrix and pro team member for Ulta Beauty. She is a five-time North American Hairstyling Awards winner and has two decades of experience in the industry. With skills in cutting, coloring and styling all hair textures, O’Connor is often tapped to work with brands such as Victoria’s Secret and J.Crew.
  • Rogerio Cavalcante is a hairstylist and owner of The Second Floor Salon in Soho. He has 17 years of experience, starting his career in Brazil before making his way to New York City in 2007. Since then, he has collaborated with brands such as L’Oréal Paris, perfecting his own dry cutting technique and working with publications such as Vogue and Elle Magazine.

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How We Chose the Best Hair Masks for Curly Hair

Associate editor Chelsea Candelario is our resident curly gal. She tests products for a living and enjoys trying hair masks for her curly hair. A few of her picks are featured on this list, including Briogeo, Mielle Organics and Pattern Beauty. We also chatted with four hairstylists and looked through countless customer reviews from retailers like Amazon, Ulta and Sephora. For each mask, we looked closely at their ingredients and key benefits (i.e., definition, hydration and shine). Keep reading to find the top hair masks for curly hair.

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,hair masks for curly hair tginUlta

Best for Dry Hair

1. TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask

What We Like

  • creamy formula
  • safe for color-treated hair
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • strong scent

TGIN

Curly hair is often more prone to dryness, which is why we lean on this TGIN pick to nourish our curls. The honey and olive oil combo is the perfect recipe to improve shine, reduce breakage and manage unruly curls.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 12.0 oz
  • Key Ingredients: honey, olive oil

$19 At Ulta$19 at sally beauty,hair masks for curly hair olaplexSephora

Best for Damaged Hair

2. Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Hair Mask

What We Like

  • helps with frizz and dryness
  • great for all hair types

What We Don't Like

  • small jar
  • pricey

Olaplex

You know your curls are going to get extra care if ‘intense moisture’ is in the name. In our initial review, we found the hair mask offered a boost of hydration to our dry, damaged locks, while improving shine and reducing frizz throughout. Formulated with Olaplex’s signature bond building technology, the hair mask aims to repair and condition strands for stronger, healthier curls.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 3.3 oz
  • Key Ingredients: bis-aminopropyl diglycol diamaleate

$30 At Sephora$30 At Ulta,hair masks for curly hair sheamoistureAmazon

Most Hydrating

3. SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque

What We Like

  • moisturizing ingredients
  • creamy texture

What We Don't Like

  • might be greasy for some hair types
  • scent

SheaMoisture

Every curly gal knows that frizz is unavoidable. Enter this deep conditioner that will hydrate, define and soften curls. Formulated with shea butter, honey, mafura and baobab oils, the hair mask restores and locks in moisture. Leave it on for up to 30 minutes, and believe us, you’ll notice a big difference in definition.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 11.05 oz
  • Key Ingredients: shea butter, honey, mafura, baobab oils

$13; $11 At Amazon$15; $11 At Amazon,hair masks for curly hair camille roseUlta

Best for Thin Hair

4. Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • softens curls
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • not great for thick hair

Camille Rose

This treatment is no joke when it comes to strengthening thin or brittle strands. The mango butter and blue green algae formula works to repair, restore and replenish curls in about 10 to 20 minutes. Shoppers say they notice a huge difference and a little goes a long way to get the job done. Plus, the minty scent is a nice touch on wash day.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 0.8 oz
  • Key Ingredients: cocoa butter, mango butter, blue green algae

$21 At Ulta$19 At Amazon,hair masks for curly hair mielleUlta

Best for Type 4 Hair

5. Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • detangles strands well
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • small jar

Mielle Organics

While all hair types can try this deep conditioner, type 4 curls can benefit the most for its rich ingredients. A key player is babassu oil, which is packed with antioxidants and fatty acids to moisturize your hair without weighing it down. The formula also claims to repair strands and reduce frizz. Whether you have very dry or damaged hair, let this pick be the intense treatment you turn to.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8.0 oz
  • Key Ingredients: babassu oil

$15 At Ulta$13 At Amazon,hair masks for curly hair pattern maskUlta

Best for Definition

6. Pattern Treatment Mask

What We Like

  • softens and defines hair
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • might be drying for some hair types
  • strong scent

Pattern Beauty

This treatment mask gets the green light from our experts and 500 5-star reviewers. Designed specifically for curls and coils, it works to define, soften and moisturize hair. It’s infused with rice water ferment and moringa seed extract to help show off your natural curl pattern.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 15.0 oz
  • Key Ingredients: rice water ferment, morginga seed extract

$28 At Ulta$28 at sephora,hair masks for curly hair mizaniUlta

Best for 4C Hair

7. Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Mask

What We Like

  • great for thick hair
  • softens and detangles hair

What We Don't Like

  • not great for 3C curls

Mizani

This hair treatment is a coily gal’s favorite. Its moisturizing blend of moroccan lava clay, marula oil and olive oil aims to soften, smooth and strengthen strands. Once applied on the hair, the formula works to reduce dryness and frizz, while improving manageability. Not convinced? One editor stands by its claims. “It works well with a heating cap or steamer, and a little of this goes a long way on my 4C coils. It leaves my hair soft and moisturized every single time,” says Nakeisha Campbell, associate editor of News and Entertainment.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 16.9 0z
  • Key Ingredients: morroccan lava clay, marula oil, olive oil

$42 at sephora$42 at amazon,hair masks for curly hair briogeoSephora

Best Vegan Formula

8. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

What We Like

  • detangles and softens hair
  • creamy texture
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • strong scent

Briogeo

We have this hair mask in our top ten—along with over 2,000 5-star reviewers on Sephora. When rosehip oil, vitamin B and algae extract are involved, expect your locks to be taken care of. The vegan formula improves breakage, restores shine and boosts moisture in your curls. Every time we use this mask, we step out of our showers with tangle-free, moisturized locks.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8 oz
  • Key Ingredients: rosehip oil, algae extract, vitamin B

$39 At Sephora$39 AT ULTA,hair masks for curly hair curlsUlta

Best Scent

9. Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • softens curls
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • small jar
  • weighs down wavy hair

CURLS

Yes, it checks off all the boxes for leaving our strands hydrated, detangled and soft. But can we talk about the scent for a second? Thanks to its fruity blend of organic blueberry extract, chamomile extract and aloe leaf juice, our hair looks good and smells good, too.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8.0 oz
  • Key Ingredients: blueberry extract, chamomile extra, aloe leaf juice

$16 At Ulta$16; $14 at amazon,hair masks for curly hair coco and eveUlta

Best for Brittle Hair

10. Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Hair Masque

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • comes with detangler

What We Don't Like

  • pricey
  • heavy on some hair types

Coco & Eve

Whether you’re dealing with split ends, very dry strands or pesky flyaways, this hair masque is ready to transform your curls. This 5-in-1 treatment promises to repair and restore your hair by way of its core ingredients (virgin coconut, fig and shea butter). Plus, with a little help from their tangle tamer (which comes with the masque), your curl pattern will be defined in no time.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 7.1 oz
  • Key Ingredients: virgin coconut, fig, shea butter

$39 At Ulta$39 at coco & eye,hair masks for curly hair as i am hair maskAmazon

Best Deep Treatment

11. As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • softens and detangles hair

What We Don't Like

  • not great for low porosity hair

Sally Beauty

Get ready for your hair to receive the salon treatment. Seriously, it’s called an intensive conditioner for a reason. The coconut, shea butter and vitamin E blend penetrates the scalp and roots to moisturize and strengthen your curls. We appreciate how it detangles and conditions our strands, so we’re left with defined locks after rinsing. Just leave it on for 30 minutes and you’re good to go.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8 oz
  • Key Ingredients: coconut, sugar cane, green tea, apple and lemon, shea butter, vitamin E

$10 At Amazon$16 at sally beauty,hair masks for curly maui moisture hair maskAmazon

Best for Coarse Hair

12. Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate Hair Mask

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • creamy texture

What We Don't Like

  • not great for color-treated hair

Maui Moisture

If your curls are on the coarser side (or you have low porosity locks), here’s a hair mask to keep them more defined and moisturized. The shea butter, coconut oil and macadamia oil blend aims to repair and soften curls, while reducing frizz and preventing future split ends. Plus, the 2-in-1 doubles as a deep conditioner and a leave-in whenever you need it.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 12 oz
  • Key Ingredients: shea butter, coconut oil, macadamia oil, aloe juice

$11; $9 At Amazon$11 at ulta,hair masks for curly hair eva nyc hair maskUlta

Best for Dull Hair

13. Eva Nyc Therapy Session Hair Mask

What We Like

  • softens and detangles hair
  • great for dry and damaged hair

What We Don't Like

  • heavy for some hair types

Eva Nyc

Are you locks lacking luster and volume? This hair mask promises to improve shine, smooth strands and reduce the appearance of breakage after one use. The main ingredient is argan oil (which is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins) to ensure maximum shine to your locks. Add this as a weekly treatment and you’ll see a noticeable difference in your curls after five minutes.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 16.9 oz
  • Key Ingredients: argan oil, plant protein

$17 At Ulta $16 At Amazon,hair masks for curly hair ouaiSephora

Best for Thick Hair

14. Ouai Treatment Mask

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • softens hair

What We Don't Like

  • pricey

Ouai

This hair mask is specifically made for thick, luscious locks. The creamy formula features shea butter and a blend of almond, olive and macadamia oil, which hydrates and conditions curls. It also contains keratin and protein to prevent breakage and reduce frizz. Shoppers say the hair mask continuously softens and smooths down their poofy, thick locks, making this a must on our list.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8 oz
  • Key Ingredients: shea butter, almond oil, olive oil, macadamia oil, keratin

$38 At Sephora$38 at amazon,hair masks for curly hair the mane choiceAmazon

Best for Dry Hair

15. The Mane Choice Tropical Moringa Endless Moisture Mask

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • great for low porosity hair

What We Don't Like

  • small jar

The Mane Choice

Formulated with morgina oleifera seed oil and honey, the mask deeply penetrates the scalp and delivers nutrients and vitamins throughout dry hair. The formula also features biotin, a B vitamin that supports and encourages healthy hair growth. If you need more assurance that it’s the real deal, Blakely highly recommends this hair mask to her clients as well.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8 oz
  • Key Ingredients: moringa oleigera seed oil, honey, biotin

$15 At Amazon$10 At Walmart,hair masks for curly hair not your mothersUlta

Best Budget

16. Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Bonding Mask

What We Like

  • safe for color-treated hair
  • softens and detangles hair
  • pleasant scent

What We Don't Like

  • heavy on fine hair

Not Your Mother’s

Formulated with a Triple Action Curl Power Complex—a combination of rice amino acids, a natural bond multiplier and a moisture-lock ingredient—this hair mask aims to strengthen and improve moisture retention in under $10. FYI, we tried this mask ourselves (and loved it!) and it even gets a stamp of approval from one of our celebrity hairstylists. “This hair mask can strengthen and protect curls against breakage. It also helps to repair stressed cuticles and amplify softness,” shares Porsche. “[With rice amino acids,] it has all the essential ingredients you need to help penetrate each strand and add much needed moisture.”

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8.0 oz
  • Key Ingredients: rice amino acids

$9 At Ulta$11 At Walmart,hair masks for curly hair matrixUlta

Best Splurge

17. Matrix Food for Soft Hydrating Treatment Mask

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • large jar
  • non-greasy formula

What We Don't Like

  • pricey

Matrix

Porous hair is also prone to being the driest, so how about adding this moisturizing mask to your routine? Infused with avocado oil and hyaluronic acid, the blend hydrates, softens and smoothes strands. “The hair mask aids in frizz control, addresses scalp dryness and overall maintains hair health. It also deeply moisturizes and helps the hair retain moisture,” adds O’Connor.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 16.9 oz
  • Key Ingredients: avocado oil, hyaluronic acid

$42 At Ulta$42 at amazon,hair masks for curly hair aunt jackie'sAmazon

Best Oil Blend

18. Aunt Jackie’s Rescued! Recovery Conditioner

What We Like

  • pleasant scent
  • improves shine and softness

What We Don't Like

  • might be drying for some hair types

Aunt Jackie’s

The moisturizing ingredients in this hair mask are on another level. Featuring a blend of grapeseed, castor and tamanu oils, the formula promises to soften, smooth and hydrate thirsty strands. The mask also works to strengthen and repair curls, while encouraging new growth and combatting hair loss. Upon testing, it left our curls feeling soft and defined without weighing them down.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 18 oz
  • Key Ingredients: grapeseed oil, castor oil, tamanu oil

$20; $12 At Amazon$9 At Walmart,hair masks for curly hair breadSephora

Best for Scalp

19. Bread Beauty Mud Mask

What We Like

  • great for dry scalps
  • detoxifies scalp
  • Black-owned

What We Don't Like

  • short shelf life

Bread Beauty

Scalp care is the best care, which is why this mask by Bread Beauty should be in your cart. Whether you’re dealing with a flaky or dry scalp, this pre-wash treatment can help with its clay, quartz, broccoli extract and matcha tea leaf extract formula. As Cavalcante shares, it’s also a hit for his clients. “We gave this mask a try at the salon and were quite happy with the results. It left the scalp feeling clean and refreshed, maintaining the natural oils. Plus, it has ingredients that enhance curls, which is a nice added feature,” he says.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8.3 oz
  • Key Ingredients: clay, quartz, broccoli extract, matcha tea leaf extract

$34 At Sephora$34 at ulta,hair masks for curly hair curlsmithUlta

Most Soothing

20. Curlsmith Hydro Creme Soothing Mask

What We Like

  • soothing formula
  • softens hair

What We Don't Like

  • small jar
  • not a ton of slip

Curlsmith

This expert-approved pick promises to moisturize strands and soothe the scalp in one sitting. It’s formulated with shea butter and hyaluronic acid to add moisturize without feeling heavy on curls. Meanwhile the blend of green tea, lavender, thyme, witch hazel, amla and cedarwood clears the scalp and makes way for shiny, soft locks. “This hydrating mask works wonders by not only providing moisture but also visibly enhancing the natural curls. The result is hair that feels remarkably soft and has a lively, bouncy texture,” says Cavalcante.

Fast Facts

  • Size: 8 oz
  • Key Ingredients: shea butter, hyaluronic acid, green tea, lavender, thyme, witch hazel, amla, cedarwood

$29 At Ulta$29 AT SEPHORA,

Frequently Asked Questions

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What to Look for in a Hair Mask for Curly Hair

When shopping for the best hair mask for curly hair, narrow down your search by considering these three things.

  • Ingredients: Look for formulas with oils, butters and humectants that can lock in moisture. Some examples include shea butter, castor oil, coconut oil and honey. Also check out hair masks with amino acids, keratin and proteins. On that note, Blakely says be mindful how much protein you’re adding to your hair. “When using a mask formulated with protein, I recommend using it every other week. Adding too much protein to the hair can fortify the hair too much and may cause breakage,” she says.
  • Hair Type: Consider a hair mask that caters to your specific needs. Is it dryness? Breakage? Frizz? Do you have fine locks or color-treated hair? These questions can play a huge role in selecting the right hair mask.
  • Miscellaneous Features: Factor in scent, size and even price point. Ask yourself, do you want a fruity fragrance to take over your shower or do you prefer a subtle aroma on your curls? Maybe you don’t have space for large tubs and therefore need a smaller jar. These finer details can help you weed out products.

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What Are the Benefits of Using a Hair Mask for Curly Hair?

All our experts say the main benefit of using a hair mask is that it delivers intense moisture to dry locks. As Porsche explains, “It adds moisture back into the hair to help hydrate, de-frizz and strengthen damaged and/or processed curly hair, while also adding body and shine.”

According to Blakley, a hair mask can also strengthen and repair locks. “Curls can be compromised through various styling techniques. There’s mechanical damage caused by constant brushing and styling, heat damaged from using hot tools (i.e., blow dryers, flat irons, diffusers) and chemical damage caused by coloring or relaxers. Whenever curls are damaged, you can lose definition, curl uniformity, bounce and shine.” A hair mask can work to improve shine, frizz, elasticity, softness and definition in the long run.

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Can I Skip Conditioner and Just Use a Hair Mask?

The short answer is no. The experts say that ideally you should use both in your routine. “Hair masks are designed to work on the internal structure of the hair, focusing on bonding and repairing the cuticle layers. Conditioners contain moisturizing agents, but their primary purpose is to seal the cuticle,” explains Cavalcante. “Therefore, using a hair mask allows for deeper penetration and repair, while a conditioner helps lock in those benefits and provide a protective seal.”

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How Often Should You Use a Hair Mask for Curly Hair?

It’s recommended to use a hair mask once or twice a week depending on your hair needs. Blakely notes that those with finer locks can scale back to masking once a month, as creamier formulas can weigh hair down. On the flip side, if you have thicker hair, you should consider implementing a mask into your routine more frequently to replenish moisture.

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How Long Should You Leave a Hair Mask On?

It depends on your hair density and porosity. The experts recommend leaving a mask on for five minutes before rinsing and continuing your haircare routine. However, if you have super dry strands, consider leaving it on for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also wrap your hair in a shower cap (or a hooded dryer) to taking things up a notch and really ensure the mask penetrates through the scalp and hair.

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