Forget your face, here's why hair masks are the new frontier

When it comes to celebrity hair heroes, Jennifer Aniston ranks at the top of our list. Her silky strands always look radiant, smooth and just plain healthy. But without her budget or favorite hairstylist Chris McMillan by our side, how could we commoners ever compete?

Now, she claims that we can. Living Proof, the hair care line partially owned by Aniston and developed by MIT scientists, has an overnight hair mask called "Night Cap." It's just one of many versions of this trendy beauty treatment, which experts confirm works to repair damaged hair.

David Livingston / Getty Images Contributor
Jennifer Aniston at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 22.

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“Hair masks are intense conditioners that have more fatty acids and lipids in them which can return moisture to the hair and help protect it,” said James Corbett, celebrity hairstylist of James Corbett Studio in New York City and color director for Clairol. “When the hair is healthy, the cuticle stays closed, which means less frizz and your color looks better because light reflects off your hair. Masks can help repair what styling and the environment takes out.”

But which should you buy? For that, we turned to Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé’s “mane” woman Rita Hazan, celebrity hair colorist and owner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York. “It costs more to use good ingredients, so the difference between luxury and mass market products will be the amount of ingredients within the formula,” Hazan said. “One percent Argan oil is cheaper than a high concentration, so spend a little more for maximum benefit.”

Pinned on Pinterest.

Ready to mask away? Here are some favorite hair masks to fit every conceivable hair type, problem and budget:

The three-minute solution

Aussie Three-Minute Miracle Conditioning Treatments, $3 - $6,

How It Works: What started as a cult favorite lifesaver for immediate nourishment has turned into a complete line of speedy recovery for a whole host of hair problems. From moisture to color conditioning to smoothing, strengthening and shine, these fast hair healers have you covered.

RELATED: See Jennifer Aniston's hair evolution, from 'The Rachel' to her signature 'do

If you could turn back time

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Masque, $42, Ulta

How It Works: The effects of decades of hairstyles and hair color are dry, dull, lifeless hair. This is like time travel in a jar. Packed with nourishing and sun protecting ingredients, it will revitalize over-processed hair and leave it silky and bouncy as if flat irons were never invented.

The ultimate frizz fighter

John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Deep Conditioner, $8, Ulta

How It Works: If your hair poufs up like a basketball at the very thought of humidity, this repairing hair mask (from the people who brought you other essential frizz-fighting products) will become your new best friend. Packed with essential nutrients and their Amino Repair Complex, it reconstructs the fatty structure of the hair, leaving it feeling and looking healthier than ever.

You are what you eat

Clairol Hair Food Moisture Hair Mask, $12, Target


How It Works: If you’re trying to eat for better overall health, why not consider a mask packed with nutrients that can hydrate and strengthen you strands from the inside out? Infused with honey and apricot fragrance, it will lock in moisture and restore manageability in no time flat.

RELATED: Say goodbye to knots and tangles! 19 easy ways to detangle hair

The DIY salon treatment

Kérastase Créme Chronologiste, $65, Kérastase

Kerastase USA

How It Works: The groundbreaking, in-salon treatment was designed to reverse the damage wrought on your hair and is turning heads at Kérastase salons worldwide. Get similarly mind-blowing results with this at-home treatment packed with a record number of ingredients to smooth and restore lost moisture and shine. Your overworked strands will thank you.

Right your hair wrongs

Klorane Mask with Desert Date, $26, Birchbox

How It Works: We have no intention of putting down our blow dryers or flat irons anytime soon, so we need a weekly treatment to put back what all that heat styling takes out. This rich, luxurious treatment is absorbed instantly and replenishes lost moisture and elasticity in mere minutes.

RELATED: Fight the frizz! 9 dos and don'ts for smooth and shiny hair

Pump your hair muscles

Pureology Strength Cure Restorative Masque, $51, Ulta

How It Works: Every time you color or style your hair, you create little micro-tears that can cause loss of color and eventually breakage. This miraculous mask helps repair those tiny weak spots while boosting strength and protecting your color. If you invest in hair color, protect it weekly with this product.

Blondes have more ... hair damage

Redken Blonde Idol Mask, $21, Ulta

How It Works: Trying to maintain the perfect blonde means treating your hair with tender loving care. This lightweight, weekly treatment does just that. Using a system that targets and strengthens weak spots while brightening and clarifying color, it’s the saving grace for those with blonde ambition.

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Treat yo' self

Oribe Signature Moisture Masque, $62, Neiman Marcus


How It Works: If you’re looking to treat yourself, this super lavish hair masque is a must. It repairs damage, replaces lost moisture, and feels and smells like a luxurious Fifth Avenue salon experience right in your own home. If you’ve ever wanted Hollywood red carpet hair, this is the mask that delivers it.

Get under control

Smoothing Mask, $75, MoroccanOil


How it works: Let’s say your hair is unruly, frizzy, and/or out of control. Gals with curls or hair that seems to rebel at every turn will love this rich argan butter hair mask that will calm your strands and restore flexibility and incredible softness.

RELATED: 37 drugstore summer beauty picks celebrity experts adore

The drugstore wunderkind

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask, $6, Walmart


How It Works: A drugstore favorite for years, this intensive treatment works quickly to soothe and revive parched, damaged hair, leaving it hydrated and stronger after each use. If you have extra dry hair or have damaged it, this product could make all the difference in how you deal with your hair.

This story was originally published on March 18, 2015.

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