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Haircare Dirty Secrets #5 - Masks Unmasked

October 30, 2021

Haircare Dirty Secrets #5 - Masks Unmasked

Okay, I’m know I may upset a few people, but here goes.

Masks. It always puzzled me how this marketing wheeze caught on. I guess on the back of a successful word for facial treatments. An area where the word 'mask' transfers easily. We are now hearing ‘hair Botox’ would you believe. The term ‘hair mask’ started a few decades ago and is now firmly established in beauty parlance.

But what does it really mean? When I hear the word mask, I think of a disguise, something that hides what you don’t want to reveal - like the Phantom of the Opera. Something that sits on the surface of something else. I also can’t read mask without thinking of the words cover, pretend, fake or hide.

Hair masks are sold as deeper treatments for hair at many times the price of conditioners. But the fact is, something that goes on the hair after a shampoo and needs rinsing is like a conditioner. Call it a ‘mask’ and you double the price.

Romanticise it with ‘masque’ (so much sounds better in French) and you can triple the price. And this is essentially what’s happened. LifeSaver is £29. But would we charge more for Sauveur de Vie? 🤫 Je ne sais pas, but it sure has a continental twist.

Masks are glorified conditioners which have to go on after the shampoo because they just sit on the surface of the hair and would get washed off otherwise. Like the majority of conditioners, most are laced with silicone to give a shiny effect. None I’ve come across noticeably improve hair-quality over a conditioner across a six-month period. Masks are more cosmetic than deep treatment.

Pre-wash v Masks

A Pre-wash is something different. These rare creatures come from the stables of hair-doctors (trichologists) as do ours, not marketing departments.

Our Pre-wash drives goodness deep into the hair shaft to repair broken bonds, fill voids and properly hydrate the hair. Because it goes deep it isn’t removed by the shampooing that comes after. The effect isn’t superficial. It isn’t a mask. Transformations to hair quality over 3-9 months can be astonishing.

Michael Van Clarke





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