I had my hair colored last week, which obviously adds a little damage to my locks. Having spent four days afterward in the hot Mexican sun didn’t help much either. I felt that my hair (already on the dry side), needed some hair medicine, so I made a quick trip to Sephora to discover Phyto Phytokarite Ultra Nourishing Mask.

I was going in blindly, suppressing everything I know about hair products and letting the Sephora employee pick out a great hair mask for me. She narrowed it down to two (I was pretty certain Phyto was going to be a contender). While I was looking over the ingredients of both masks she selected, a customer who happened to be in the hair aisle told me that Phyto Ultra Nourishing Mask was the better choice. Two personalized recommendations… not a bad start, though it amplified my expectations.

Phyto is a brand from Paris containing mostly natural ingredients. It’s one of the more “luxury” brands you’ll find in the hair aisle, used by celebrities, in top salons and, well, customers who can afford it. The Phyto Ultra Nourishing Mask contains no parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals or phthalates and is packed with beneficial ingredients for moisture-starved hair. The top ingredient used is althaea officinalis (marsh mallow) root extract. This extract is known to attract and hold water, so hydrating is its top priority. There’s also the naturally rich shea butter, which is completely nourishing for the hair. I was happy to see cashew oil as an active ingredient as well, as it also provides the nourishment your hair needs. In fact, both shea butter and cashew oil are both loaded with essential fatty acids to nourish the hair from within. (FYI: Cashew oil in general is a great source of copper, among other minerals. Break down the copper as an essential component of many enzymes and physiological processes like the production of hair pigment melanin, which prevents the greying of hair, and you’ve got a bonus in this product). Wood cellulose is also an interesting ingredient and like the marsh mallow helps retain moisture and provides detangling.

When I applied as directed (a quarter-size in palm, warm with hands until it has a light texture), I left it in my hair for about ten minutes. I even wore a shower cap to retain the heat (obsessed, I know). After the two recommendations and reading the ingredients, I was disappointed that my hair (after rinsing out) was quite tangled with a warped texture. When dried, it just looked overly conditioned. Ugh, I thought. Not what I wanted.

However, it wasn’t until the morning that I saw the difference. I guess I literally had to sleep on it overnight. My hair was healthy and “repaired” from the damage caused earlier that week. It was soft, felt nourished and I was completely surprised at how natural it looked and felt, the hair follicles strengthened and deeply rejuvinated. Three days later and it’s still soft and shiny. So it definitely did its job. What’s also a perk is that although Phyto Nourishing Mask is on the pricey side ($38), it comes in a 7 ounce jar. You only need about a quarter size per application, so I can see this product lasting me for quite some time. Bang for the buck, and a great restorative treatment for the hair.

Cetearyl Alcohol (Botanical Origin), Ceteareth 33 (Botanical Origin), Glyceryl Stearate (Botanical Origin), Water Aqua, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Distearyldimonium Chloride (Botanical Origin), Acetamide MEA (Botanical Origin), Dipalmitoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate (Botanical Origin), Ceteareth 20 (Botanical Origin), Stearic Acid (Botanical Origin), Stearyl Alcohol (Botanical Origin), Behenyl PG Trimonium Chloride (Botanical Origin), Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Isolaureth 6, Cyclomethicone, Octoxynol 40, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit (Botanical Origin), Lanolin Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Anacardium Occidentale (Cashew) Seed Oil (Botanical Origin), Isatis Tinctoria Seed Oil (Botanical Origin), Polyquaternium 10 (Botanical Origin), Hydrolyzed Keratin, Panthenol, Diazolidinyl Urea (Preservative), Butylparaben (Preservative), Fragrance (Parfum), Tocopherol (Botanical Origin)