Tips on Using Hair Masks in a Sauna or Steam Room

Tips on Using Hair Masks in a Sauna or Steam Room Many women have an elaborate sauna or steam room routine for the skin of their face and body, which includes various masks, scrubs, and body wraps. But do you know that your hair can also benefit from your visit to a Finnish sauna, Russian banya or Turkish hammam? Here are a few tips on using hair masks in a sauna or steam room to make your hair thicker, stronger, and shinier.

A visit to a steam room or sauna is not just a way to cleanse and relax; it can also be a luxurious beauty ritual. In some cultures it is customary for women to take care of their skin there because high temperature and steam make the pores open naturally, helping all the active ingredients from cosmetic products to penetrate deeper into the skin.

For the same reason, hair masks are especially effective in a steam room or sauna. They can be used to nourish and moisturise the scalp, to reduce hair loss and boost hair growth, to strengthen the hair from root to tip, to prevent breakage and split ends, etc. Of course, the use of hair masks in a steam room has its own rules and nuances, which you should be aware of.

First of all, you should protect your hair from rapid changes of temperature and dehydration by wearing a special hat or wrapping it in a towel. If you have long hair, it is also recommended that you apply some kind of oil to the tips to keep the moisture in and prevent split ends.

Before applying the mask, you should thoroughly wash your hair with a gentle shampoo to remove sweat, excess sebum and various impurities, otherwise the active ingredients of the mask simply won’t be able to penetrate deep into the hair and scalp. It is advisable to use warm water in order not to expose your hair to temperature stress.

As a rule, people stay in the sauna or steam room for no more than 10-15 minutes at a time, taking breaks between sessions. Hair masks will be most effective if applied before the final session, when the scalp is well steamed and all toxins have been sweated out of your body.

Apply the mask of your choice to clean, damp hair and spread it from root to tip. Then put on a shower cap and wrap your hair in a towel to protect it from the heat and to enhance the effect of the mask. Then go to the steam room/sauna and let the mask work its magic on your hair.

After the session, wait for another 10–20 minutes before rinsing the mask off so that total exposure time is 30–40 minutes. You can rinse it off with warm water, an herbal infusion, or even warm beer (it is believed that beer can make the hair shinier and more manageable). If you’ve used an oil-based mask, you will have to shampoo your hair, using a sulphate-free shampoo with a mild formula (your hair is especially vulnerable after exposure to high temperatures and steam, so harsh surfactants are a big no-no).

It is highly desirable to let your hair dry naturally instead of using a blow dryer after applying hair mask in the sauna or steam room. If you don’t have enough time, try to remove as much moisture from your hair as possible by blotting it with a soft towel, and then blow-dry using the lowest setting.

If you follow all the rules and precautions, a visit to a steam room or sauna can be really beneficial for your hair. However, a few more words should be said about choosing the right hair mask. The thing is, some mass market hair products contain synthetic ingredients that may cause undesirable reactions in high temperatures or humidity. In addition, even natural ingredients in home-made masks may not “behave” as expected due to the high temperature in the steam room. Therefore, it is important to peruse the composition of the product you’re going to use to make sure it is suitable for use in a steam room or sauna.

For example, if you’ve opted for a DIY hair mask, choose recipes that do not include egg whites and be very careful with essential oils. Egg white protein may coagulate and it will be extremely difficult to rinse is out of your hair, while essential oils in high doses may cause skin irritation or even chemical burns, nausea, or dizziness. If you’ve chosen an off-the-shelf mask, make sure it contains no potential irritants, such as synthetic dyes, preservatives and fragrances, and conduct a sensitivity test before use.

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