You’ve heard about slugging in skincare – now get ready to slug your strands. Yup, that’s right, beauties. Hair slugging has arrived! TikTok videos dedicated to the trend have racked up 12 million views in the past few months. And if the smooth ‘n’ shiny results are anything to go by, we can’t see this slowing down any time soon.
But before you get busy with some hair oil and a fuzzy sock, take a few minutes to check out this article. We’ll give you the lowdown on all things hair slugging. From the things to consider if you have fine hair to the different ways to slug, depending on your hair goals. Read on.
What is hair slugging?
Whether face slugging or hair slugging, the goal is the same. To wake up with ultra-soft, hydrated and radiant skin, or in the latter case, locks. How? By applying hydrating products as the last step in your routine before bed. While in skincare the go-to is an occlusive like petroleum jelly, hair slugging focuses on hair oils or serums. With a fuzzy sock or silk hair wrap applied on top.
Guess what? It’s not new
Like many hot ‘new’ beauty trends, hair slugging’s been around for centuries. Women of colour were sleeping in silk wraps and bonnets long before the dawn of TikTok. While hair oiling has routinely been practised by South Asian women.
In India, the Ayurvedic tradition is passed down from generation to generation. Different handmade oil blends are used, and a pampering scalp and temple massage is part of the deal.
While that sounds heavenly (hello, head massage!), the current slugging trend tends towards lighter oils applied to your lengths and ends. While not as relaxing, this allows you to get up and go the next day without having to wash oily residue from your hair.
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What results does it promise?
According to TikTokers, hair slugging’s a total game-changer if you want ultra-soft, silky, shiny and moisturised strands. Hair experts give it the tick for dry and damaged hair. And after taking one look at the super-smooth, outrageously healthy-looking strands in the countless after shots, we’re sold!
Head to the comments section, and sluggers will also swear the hack has helped tame their frizz and banished split ends. By covering your hair as you sleep, fans like Monique Rapier also claim you’ll prevent damage caused by friction. As well as locking in all that precious moisture.
How to slug your hair
There are two ways you can approach hair slugging, and the most suitable method will depend on your hair type, texture and condition. As well as your lifestyle.
Method 1: For all hair types
The best bet for finer or oily-prone hair is to use a lightweight hair oil or serum. Like our Miracle Hair Elixir which contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and coconut oil – rich in lock-loving fatty acids. Apply the oil to your mid-lengths and ends only, using as much as needed to lightly coat (not drench) your strands. This will depend on your length, thickness and texture.
Comb the oil through with your fingers (some TikTokers use a wooden bristle brush for this step), then pull your hair into a pony, or plait – don’t use a hair tie yet. Cover your pony with a fuzzy sock, secure with a silk scrunchie and hit the sack. Remove in the morning and check out those silky strands!
Method 2: For thicker, drier, coarser hair
If your hair’s ultra-thirsty, you can use a heavier oil like castor oil. OR you can apply your regular hair oil, with a hair mask on top for more intensive moisturising and frizz-fighting action overnight.
If you’re not prone to oiliness, you can also apply your product sparingly to your scalp. After applying your oil (or oil and mask), cover your ponytail with a sock, as above, or wrap your hair in a silk scarf, bonnet or wrap. Not enough length for a ponytail? Go with the wrap option.
When you wake up, wash your hair thoroughly to avoid scalp irritation and weighed-down locks.
To sock or not to sock
While a sock is the go-to for hair slugging videos online, many hairdressers – and even some TikTok users – aren’t on board. According to Melbourne hairdresser Sofia Basile, “Hair slugging is a great idea, but I’d give the sock a miss as this will absorb moisture. Which is not much use.
“Instead, pop your hair in a loose bun or plait, and wrap your head in a silk scarf or wrap. This will help enhance absorption of your hair oil for soft, healthier-looking hair by morning.”
So, does hair slugging actually work?
First scalp scrubs, now hair slugging – we’re increasingly taking a skincare-esque approach to haircare. And we are HERE for it. But does this latest tress trend really work?
By all accounts, it gets a bit fat tick. But there are a few things to keep in mind. “Regular slugging with lightweight oils is fine, but if you’re using heavier products and masks, twice a week is more than enough,” says Basile. “And in this case always make sure you wash everything out in the morning to avoid product build-up and potential breakouts. Unless you have really dry hair, in which case you can get away without washing – but not if you slept in a mask. ”
She also points out that slugging is just part of the haircare picture and, while it might help smooth frizz and reduce future breakage, it’s not a cure-all. To her, the best way to prevent split ends is to be gentle with your strands and have 8-weekly trims. If you’re looking to avoid unwanted dryness, she recommends skipping shampoos with harsh, drying sulfates and always using a heat protectant when heat styling your hair!
Written By: Pip Jarvis
Edited by: Iris