Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she’s held beauty roles at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and

Woman washing hair

Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy

January 3, 2023

Here’s a very short lesson in beauty budgeting: Certain habits cancel out your other steps, making whatever time or money you spent on them practically void. Allow me to provide some examples. 

You can spend hours in a colorist’s chair getting the most beautiful, high-end highlights (and spend a fortune doing so), but if you go home and use a stripping shampoo, you’re washing that rich-girl color down the drain. 


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You can use the most expensive retinol or vitamin C serum you can get your hands on, but if you’re not protecting your skin with sunscreen (a less expensive product, generally speaking), then you’re not going to get the full benefits of the ingredients. 

You can apply a luxe night mask every evening, but if you’re not actually getting those eight hours of quality rest—then it really means nothing come morning. 

And as one of our favorite hairstylists Matt Newman shared recently on his TikTok, if you’re making this very common hair care mistake, then you’re wasting money. 

How long should you wear a hair mask to get the full benefits & your money’s worth? 

As far as hair care goes, hair masks are definitely in the top-shelf product category. Hair masks are a treatment step, meant to really deliver results, so they’re packed with rich, nutrient-dense ingredients. This means they usually cost a lot—or at least way more than your standard conditioner. So, you really ought to use them properly to get the most out of the product. 

“If you’re not leaving your hair mask on for at least three to five minutes, you’re not getting the full benefits and you’re kinda wasting your money,” says Newman.  

See, a lot of folks make the mistake of applying them like a conditioner: Apply on the strands, work in for a bit, then rinse out. But in order for these hydrating ingredients to penetrate the hair fiber, they need time to actually do the work. 

If sitting in the shower for an extra five minutes seems wasteful to you (I get it, I’m trying to take shorter showers), then apply your mask on dry hair prior to getting in. A bonus: This will allow your hair to drink up the formula! 

The takeaway.

How you use a product, or how you build a routine around a product, matters just as much as the formula itself. If you want more tips on keeping hair hydrated, check our favorite tips


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