Redken Extreme Mega Mask Helped Me Grow Out My Hair

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Best of Beauty
  • Best of Beauty
  • 2017

TL;DR:

A deep-conditioning mask for dry, damaged hair that also helps prevent split ends

My husband: "Wow, your hair has gotten so long, you practically don’t need to wear a bikini top." My mom: "I can’t remember the last time your hair was this long." Stranger on the street: "How long did it take to grow your hair?"

You get the point. I’m no Crystal Gayle, but my waves fall well past my shoulders. That wasn’t always the case. For years I’d have my ends trimmed every six weeks to keep them healthy. But no matter how little I asked the hairstylist to remove, it always ended up being at least an inch of damage that came off. And with my hair growing about half an inch between those “dustings,” well, you do the math. I was stuck in long-hair limbo. So I decided to skip a trim. And then I skipped a second trim. It wasn’t pretty: My ends split like crazy, felt like straw, and eventually started snapping off. At my next appointment, almost two inches had to be cut.

And then this mask entered my life. I’ve used all types of conditioners before. Sometimes layering multiple formulas at once. I’ve applied conditioning oil on my ends before I shower, and I’ve spritzed the lengths with leave-ins after I step out. My shower shelf is lined with bottles and tubs of creamy custards promising to mend, heal, and basically revirginize my split ends. Many of them work just fine. But this Redken formula — which is so thick, you really have to give the tube a good squeeze to get it out — is the only one that has actually made my hair stronger. It contains ceramides and proteins to shore up weakened strands. The idea is not to temporarily fuse split ends but actually to prevent them from breaking in the first place. The scent isn't my absolute favorite — a little Jolly Rancher fruity — but it doesn't stick around.

So, yes, my hair is a little longer. And much stronger. It took about eight weeks of using the mask to get me here. I am not planning to break up with my stylist because I'm no country-singing legend — and I still dig those face-framing layers.