Shoppers with Damaged Hair Saw Significant Results from Both a $9 and $52 Hair Mask — Which Is Best for You?

Reviewers with severely damaged hair saw significant results from each.

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Save vs Splurge Hair Masks Lead

Amazon/Rene Furterer

Staying happy with your hair can feel like an impossible balancing act. Heat styling and chemical treatments like bleach can make a serious difference in the appearance of your mane. However, these confidence boosters also wreak havoc on the health of your strands, producing issues like dryness, split ends, and breakage, which ultimately impact the length and thickness. For those who consider their hair to be an integral part of their personal style, eliminating these practices is less than ideal, and consequently, many turn to repairing masks as an alternative line of defense.

“Think of a hair mask as an at-home nourishing treatment for your strands, just like we can apply face masks weekly," celebrity stylist Irinel de León previously told Shape. While typically made from a blend of moisturizing oils and strengthening ingredients, the formula of hair masks vary widely — making it somewhat difficult to select the best product for your budget and needs. To help you sort through the chaos, we’ve compared one $9 treatment and one $52 treatment that shoppers swear by for mending damaged strands. 

Save: Marc Anthony Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

Marc Anthony Deep Conditioning Hair Mask


Buy It: $9,

Key Features:

Main Ingredient: Vitamin E is an ultra-hydrating antioxidant that softens coarse texture, increases shine, and even boasts some growth-promoting capabilities thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Other Ingredients: Caffeine, another ingredient proven to spur new growth, increases the flow of nutrients from blood to follicles, and grapeseed oil eliminates frizz and strengthens hair against breakage.

How to Use: After using shampoo and conditioner, apply the mask evenly from the root to the tip while hair is wet . After three to five minutes, rinse the product out completely. 

What We Love:

This Amazon favorite has over 7,000 perfect ratings on the site, and fans say that the quality far exceeds the price point. One reviewer even went as far as to say that it erased “a decade’s worth” of hair damage “in two days.” Another added that they have “significantly less split ends” after incorporating the product into their routine. While the brand recommends using a “generous amount,” the large 10.4-ounce container will have you set for weeks. Plus, the whole process only adds a few extra minutes to your shower time.

Keep in Mind: 

This mask contains isopropyl alcohol, an antiseptic ingredient that some experts recommend avoiding because of its potentially drying and irritating effects on the scalp. 

Splurge: René Furterer Absolue Kératine Ultimate Repairing Mask


Rene Furterer

Buy It: $52,

Main Ingredient: Considered a vegan alternative to keratin, hydrolyzed keratin is derived from plant protein and repairs damage by filling in cracks along the shaft of your hair. In addition to strengthening the overall structure, it leaves your mane feeling silkier and less frizzy.

Other Ingredients: Hemp seed oil soothes and hydrates irritated scalps and dry strands, and might be linked to hair growth. Meanwhile, soybean extract improves moisture retention and elasticity over time. 

How to Use: Evenly apply a small amount to clean, damp hair and leave in for three to five minutes before rinsing. For severe breakage, the brand recommends repeating this nightly for up to six weeks. 

What We Love:

This mask was designed with fine, damaged hair in mind, and consequently is light enough to fully condition strands without weighing them down. One shopper over 45 says their mane has “regained strength and body” thanks to the treatment. “My family cannot believe how fluffy and full it looks,” they raved. A second noted that their “very dry and damaged” bleached-blonde strands are “smooth and shiny” after just two uses. 

Keep in Mind:

This container holds 6.3 ounces, which (while still being too much to bring on a plane) will probably not be enough to last the four to six month use period recommended for repairing severe breakage.

In Conclusion:

Both of these formulas contain ingredients actually believed to improve hair health, which is likely why reviewers have seen noticeable results using each. The Marc Anthony Deep Conditioning Mask delivers so much for its price point, but shoppers who are prone to dandruff and melasma should think twice, as drying isopropyl alcohol is high up on the ingredient list. In contrast, René Furterer (a brand used by long-hair queen Dakota Johnson) created a luxury formula with a luxury price point to match. The benefits are huge thanks to its breakage-mending capabilities, but a purchase like this isn’t a necessity for someone dealing with minor dryness and a few split ends.

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