Slugging is not a new concept — in fact the skin slugging trend is still going strong on TikTok. If you don’t already know, the beloved Korean skin care technique involves finishing up your nightly skin care routine with a last step of petroleum jelly (or another occlusive balm) and letting it sink in overnight. But thanks to the power of social media, the moisture-trapping trend has evolved once more, this time in the form of hair slugging.
Similar to the version for your face, hair slugging is based on the principles of sealing your strands for a period of hours. However, instead of a petrolatum-based product, it’s a hair oil of sorts. “Covering the hair during a treatment can often be helpful for sealing in moisture [and] I like that it encourages extra conditioning practices,” says celebrity hairstylist Jeremy Tardo who works with Miley Cyrus and Jared Leto.
The #hairslugging hashtag has already racked up over three million views on the app and continues to garner love online because of the results promised. With just one overnight treatment shiny, hydrated hair can be yours — no matter your hair type. But not so fast, there are a few notes to consider before hopping on the bandwagon.
The good part is every hair type can benefit from a surge of hydration. “The main thing for different hair types is to use the oil or masque that works best for you,” says Tardo. In many cases that means using a product you likely already have. “For women with kinkier, textured hair, you may want to consider using a bonnet that covers the full head of hair so that the hydration can get to the top and throughout the hair,” says Kiyah Wright who works with Ciara and Tyra Banks. Wright also suggests doubling up for maximum penetration. “For extra benefits with hair slugging, try wrapping your braid or ponytail in plastic wrap before using the microfiber cover; this creates insulation and helps to seal in moisture,” agrees Tardo.
In one video that has over six million views, user moniquemrapier gives a step-by-step rundown of the process. What you’ll need: a sock (yes you read that right) and a hair oil or mask of your choosing (she’s using one from Ouai). After applying the oil, she turns the sock inside out and tightly gathers a low ponytail. One secure, she flips the sock right side up and uses a hair tie to secure the sock in place at the base of her neck. “[It] protects your hair from friction caused by pillowcases, sheets, etc., prevents hair breakage and split ends, locks in moisture, protects from damage, [and gives] the most silky hair ever,” reads the text in the clip.
“Be sure to use the products on wet or damp hair before going to sleep [and] apply product from root to tip,” says Wright. “Some hair oils can be used directly on dry hair as well, but applying to damp hair will actually give better distribution and less possibility of product buildup on your hair,” adds Tardo. He also suggests using a wet brush or a wide toothed comb to work the product in. “Just using your hands can be less thorough and a bit like applying an SPF spray to your skin without rubbing it in,” he adds.
And although this is lauded as an overnight method, one or two hours works as well, says Tardo. Regardless, once you remove you will need to at least rinse your hair thoroughly. “If you feel that there is excess heaviness after rinsing, a light shampoo and conditioning can also be done,” explains Tardo. From there, style as usual to reveal silky, rejuvenated strands.
For maintenance, the pros advise adding this method into your routine once weekly for best results.