Haircare doesn’t receive as much attention as skincare and it is a shame as the state of your hair, your general hairstyle and even the way you choose to wear your hair with certain looks can make a huge difference.
I always looked for nutritious shampoos and conditioners and did my usual “I’m a chemist on the lookout for ingredients” thing but admittedly, beyond that, haircare wasn’t huge for me, at least not to the level that I take my skincare at.
It’s really a shame as hair is also a part of our body that many of us don’t appreciate enough until we start loosing it with age. I haven’t gone through that process yet but I have grown my hair really long (and gosh does it need a lot of attention) and have decided to consciously take better care of it.
So today I wanted to write about one of the hair masks that actually made a difference to my thick hair, as I find that many of them tend to be just glorified conditioners (at least for my unruly hair). The Redken Heatcure hair mask has been working for me but it’s by not means perfect.
Let’s have a detailed look.
The Redken Heatcure mask comes in individual satchels, 4 per box.
The 4 masks come with an outer cardboard package that is black and has minimal design. Perhaps it’s because of the simplicity of the black and white colouring or even the little window at the front of the packaging that let’s you peek through, but it looks nice.
The masks come in individual aluminium satchels. They also follow the black and white design and colouring but look quite unique. They have a Heatcure sticker at the front that you are meant to pull off for the mask to start heating up and a rip off point on the side to open the product when it is ready.
This product stands out to me and looks professional. It is packaged differently from other masks and I love that each satchel is single use, avoiding product oxidation and contamination.
HOW TO USE this hair mask according to Redken
- “Peel: Before showering, peel open front to expose to air and start the self-heating.
- Heat: Wait 3-4 minutes to allow the contents to warm. While heating, do not place under water.
- Treat: After shampooing, open the pouch by tearing the perforation. Squeeze the pouch to dispense the formula into your hand. Distribute formula through hair. Leave on 5-10 minutes. Rinse.”
A package of the Heatcure masks comes with 4 single use masks inside. It retails for £25 but you can often find them on discounts. I purchased mine from Look Fantastic for £16 so it might be worth keeping an eye on them for a while if you don’t need them asap.
If you purchase for the full retail price of £25, then each mask is worth £6.25. It’s not as cheap as other masks but also not as expensive.
The Heatcure mask doesn’t smell of much. It has a subtle conditioner type of scent that you might not even notice.
This hair mask contains fragrance.
Texture and Colour
The Heatcure hair mask looks like a white creamy conditioner. It feels nice and it’s easy to use and spread on the hair. It doesn’t foam up a lot but you can feel where on your hair you’ve placed it.
This product is suitable for colour treated hair.
I have thick unruly hair (not coloured) and it worked really well for me.
Practicality of use/user experience
I personally really like that the masks come in individual one-use satchels. There are downsides of course, like for example it’s not very green and it makes the product more expensive, as well as it is very annoying to open a satchel with wet hands while in the shower. However, on the plus side the product is untouched, not oxidised and not contaminated so it has the best potential to work at it’s best. Not to mention that you also get a pre-assigned amount of how much you need to use so you don’t go under or overboard with it.
On that note, I should mention that I have long hair at the moment, it’s down to my waist, and the amount inside the satchel was enough to cover it all from the bottom of my head (where the scalp ends and the neck begins) all the way down the ends. I didn’t have enough to cover the entire top head but that was ok for me, as I find masks and conditioners make my hair look too oily or without any natural volume, if I put the product all over my scalp.
The product was easy to spread and put on the hair and I liked that I could feel where I placed it and where I didn’t, without having to use a mirror.
The biggest drawback for me was the wait. This is literally the reason why I avoid hair masks to begin with, because I get very bored and cold, waiting for 5-15 minutes in the shower. I wish hair masks came with a puzzle or some game to play in the shower and a timer!
The other drawback is how slippery the shower gets when you remove a hair mask. I’ve definitely had a few occasions when the floor because so slippery I was scared that I was going to fall but the Heatcure hair mask wasn’t that bad.
Overall, the mask was easy to use. You have to let it heat up first for a couple of minutes before using, so remember to do that while you are still shampooing etc. Multi-tasking!
How to safely dispose this product
Another drawback is the fact that this mask has to be disposed in an environmentally acceptable way because it is toxic to aquatic organisms. This might initially sound really bad however, it’s the same story like the medicinal drugs we use. You also shouldn’t be throwing those in your normal trash either but rather disposing them according to your local authorities. This sort of waste usually gets incinerated instead of dumped in a field. I was initially planning to give my chemistry advice on how to dispose this safely but decided against it, as my readers are from all over the world and each country and water provider has different procedures, so please ask them. Your city council or water provider should know.
It is important to note that it’s not the mask’s ingredients that are toxic, but the actual heating element inside the packaging. So you don’t have to worry about the mask going into water or being used on yourself, it’s only the used satchel that needs special attention.
How HEATCURE works
When you rip off the front of the satchel the mask heats up, probably due to oxidation of the metal that is inside. You can actually feel and sometimes even see the shape of a rectangular metal/card. This metal reacts with oxygen, heats up and in turn warms up the mask product. This can have a couple of effects:
(a) It can make the product less solid-like and more creamy-liquid so that it becomes easier to use. However from feeling the mask when it’s cold this doesn’t seem to be the case here as it is pretty creamy and easy to use already.
(b) Heat is a form of energy which in turn can initiate a reaction. This means that the heat can promote a reaction between two or more ingredients and in a way “activate” or even create the real product, by producing the compounds that actually do something to your hair.
(c) Using the product while slightly warm or even at room temperature can increase it’s effectiveness on your hair, as there is more energy available for the ingredients to react/interact with your hair. This might not work for all products so please don’t try to heat anything up.
It’s likely than both (b) and (c) are taking place here and from the naming, HEATCURE, it’s almost implied that (b) is taking place.
It’s definitely not great that this mask is not environmentally friendly and for that I wouldn’t recommend using it often. However, if you know how to dispose it correctly, it can be a nice treat for those couple of important times during the year when you want your hair at it’s best but cannot afford or don’t have time for the hairdresser.
The Heatcure mask didn’t change my hair texture, volume or style. It just made my hair be at it’s best. No frizzing, no crazy volumes (even if it’s raining) and no unruliness. I can’t say that this masks does miracles but it almost gave my thick and unruly hair, some rules. It’s still my hair but at it’s best.
This product does not specify how long it lasts.
Here’s what Redken says about this product:
“After just one application, the intense at-home, self-heating mask restores appearance of shine, conditioning and softness, and has 99% consumer satisfaction!* Use the mask on its own or in between your Heatcure Professional Services.
*Based on a consumer test conducted with 50 women with dry/damaged/color-treated hair
Not sure if this product is right for you? Take the Hair Diagnostics Quiz!”
This hair mask contains 26 ingredients of which 16 will offer you some benefit, 1 potential negative and 9 irritants.
Overall, the ingredients in this mask are much less impressive than the actual result, which nicely illustrates that sometimes it’s all about the formulation and not about a long list of fancy ingredients. Additionally, a lot of the ingredients have more known skincare than haircare benefits, which means that they might or might not be as nourishing for the hair. We simply don’t know.
This product contains irritating ingredients so do not use if you have broken skin and avoid the eyes. Additionally, this product contains ingredients that are very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects, so please dispose in a container in an environmentally acceptable manner. Contact your local authorities for more information about your area’s methods of disposal.
DO NOT heat this product (it heats up on its own) in the microwave and if you feel that it has gotten too hot DO NOT use it. The metal strip that causes the product to heat up can explode and/or catch fire in the microwave!
To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin/hair nourishing or skin/hair positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of these products’ ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.
Also bear in mind that the analysis below covers the ingredients as stated on the ingredient section. I am not taking into account any reactions and products formed during the heating process.
- Aqua/Water Based formulation.
- Behentrimonium chloride – An anti-static and conditioning agent.
- Amodimethicone – A hair conditioner.
- Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin but also a very good hair conditioner. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
- Octyldodecanol – Can act as a lubricant.
- Caprylyl Glycol– Skin conditioner and anti-microbial agent.
- Sodium PCA – Skin conditioner and naturally occurring humectant.
- Sodium Cocoyl Amino Acids – A cleaning agent.
- Cetrimonium Chloride – An anti-static agent that can cleanse but also has anti-microbial properties.
- Potassium Dimethicone PEG-7 Panthenyl Phosphate – A hair and skin conditioner.
- Propylene Glycol – A skin conditioner and humectant.
- Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil – Also known as Argan oil and is a mixture of compounds including vitamin E and fatty acids. Essential for healthy skin. Skin conditioner but also an anti-frizz agent for hair.
- Arginine– A natural amino acid that can act as a skin conditioner, anti-oxidant and hair conditioner.
- Hydrolysed Soy Protein – Skin conditioner, humectant, soother, anti-oxidant and a hair conditioner.
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol – A hair and skin conditioner.
- Tetrasodium EDTA – Can counteract the effect of hard water by binding with metal ions and therefore, stopping them from interacting with our skin and hair.
- Parfum/Fragrance– This ingredient represents an undisclosed mixture of compounds that give the product scent. There’re more than 3000 molecules that fall under this category and I personally do not like that there are some ingredients that are undisclosed and hidden under this general name. Fragrance also does not offer any skin care benefit, in fact there is some evidence that it can damage the skin.
Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:
This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.
If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.
The following compounds present in this hair mask have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Behentrimonium Chloride, Octyldodecanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzoic Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol.
Full list of ingredients:
Aqua/Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Glycerin, Octyldodecanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance, Sodium PCA, Benzoic Acid, Trideceth-6, Sodium Cocoyl Amino Acids, Cetrimonium Chloride, Potassium Dimethicone PEG-7 Panthenyl Phosphate, Sodium Sarcosinate, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Arginine, Hydrolysed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate.
This mask is definitely not perfect. It can be expensive if you use it often and it has to be disposed in an special way. However, once you figure out how to do that (ask your local authorities) it can be a nice mask to have in mind on those couple of times a year when you want your hair to be at it’s best without visiting a salon.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
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