I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard about hair slugging until my editor assigned this story to me. But after much googling, and hours spent scrolling through TikTok, I have finally learned as much as one can about this super popular hair trend, and want to share my wisdom with those of you who also never heard of, or have never actually tried hair slugging.

Hair slugging is similar to skin slugging, where you apply a thick layer of oil or conditioner all over your hair, securing it well within a shower cap or wrap overnight. The belief is that the increased heat under the tight wrap helps the product penetrate the scalp skin and hair cuticle.

But does hair slugging actually work? According to the experts, it does. In fact, the concept of hair slugging has been around in many cultures for years, specifically black and Asian cultures. The main point of slugging is to hydrate, which makes it ideal for dry or damaged hair.

What Are The Downsides? 

While there are many benefits to hair slugging, there are a few things to be aware of when trying it out at home. For one, hair slugging can cause product buildup if not removed properly, leading to breakouts along the hairline. A heavy coat of product combined with the heat that accumulates under the wrap, can clog the scalp’s skin pores and even cause small itchy pimples known as scalp folliculitis.

So be mindful not to leave the product on your hair for longer than eight hours, and making sure to rinse the oil out thoroughly to avoid clogging pores, causing more harm than good.

Is Hair Slugging For Everyone?

Although hair slugging can benefit all hair types, those with medium to thicker hair textures can slug more often with thicker oils (like castor or coconut oil) because of their thicker consistencies. On the other hand, those with finer hair should slug sparingly and look for a lighter oil (like grapeseed) which offers hydration without leaving strands looking limp.

How To Slug Your Hair At Home

Start with damp, cleansed hair and your hair oil of choice. Look for a hair oil or serum that is both lightweight and has both penetrative and coating abilities.

Apply the hair oil throughout your hair, adding more on the ends and less on the scalp. Don’t use a comb to distribute the product, instead run your fingers through, as hair tends to be weaker when soaked in oil, mask, or water, so combing can cause more breakage. Once your product is applied, tuck all of your hair into a cover, such as a hair wrap, or bonnet.

While hair slugging is an overnight treatment, an hour or two works just as well to hydrate without causing increased product buildup. And while the majority of TikTok videos involve styling the hair into a ponytail before securing everything into a sock, it’s best to opt for a loose bun into a silk wrap instead, as a ponytail can be too tight and damaging, and silk will allow your hair to absorb the product without transferring to the wrap like a cotton sock would.

Once you are done, be sure to shampoo your hair thoroughly afterwards. Try washing off the oil with lukewarm water followed by cold water as this will close the cuticles and seal the moisture into the hair strands. Happy slugging everyone!