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Hair Slugging: What Is This New Trend & Does It Really Work?

Internet trends are pretty common these days, for better or worse. If you’re seeking to improve the health of your hair, you may have seen hair-slugging videos on TikTok or YouTube. 

Hair slugging is soaking freshly-washed hair with a leave-in oil or serum, wrapping your hair in protective wrap, letting it soak overnight or for a few hours, and washing it out. This is supposed to seal in moisture, add shine, and help eliminate frizz.

The idea behind hair slugging is that these oils will penetrate and deeply moisturize your hair while you sleep, giving it the hydration it needs to flourish. But can something with so many benefits really work? Is hair slugging too good to be true?

Let’s take a look to see if this hair-slugging trend really is worth the hype.

What Is Hair Slugging?

Hair slugging is a way of treating hair that involves coating the strands with a combination of natural oils and water. To slug the hair, oils and water are mixed and applied to the hair and scalp. 

This treatment is a method of moisturizing the hair, reducing frizz, and adding shine. It can also help to protect the hair from heat styling with tools like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers.

Slugging typically uses a combination of natural oils like olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil. The oils are mixed together and then applied to the hair and scalp. 

The oil mixture is left on for several minutes and then rinsed out. The treatment aims to help improve your hair’s health and appearance in a restorative way.

When hair slugging is done correctly, it can be a great way to naturally add moisture and shine to your hair. It’s important to properly mix the oils and water and use the correct ratio. 

Additionally, it’s important to use natural oils that don’t contain additives or preservatives to prevent irritations or potentially unwanted side effects. One great way to achieve this nourished and moisturized feeling is by using other deeply nourishing products, rather than oil slugging. Our Butter Masques combine five plant-based butter-oil blends. 

Does Hair Slugging Really Work?

Hair slugging can support your hair's health with occasional, proper use. It is a method of deep conditioning that works by coating the hair strands with a layer of oils or Butter Masques that protects and nourishes the hair. 

This deep conditioning method can help to restore moisture, add shine, and calm breakage in dry and brittle hair. All of these are relatively positive benefits that can be attributed to hair slugging. 

As we age, our hair can suffer by becoming drier and prone to split ends and breakage. The promising results of hair slugging are not without their drawbacks, though. Turns out that sleeping with a sock over your hair or tied up in scrunchies can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. 

The sock can fall off, or the hair ties can leave indentations and creases in

your hair. Improper or frequent slugging can lead to issues such as scalp irritation. You’ll want to avoid clogging your pores with oil, which can cause breakouts. If any itching occurs, you can remove the oil with shampoo, though!

How Do I Slug My Hair?

Hair slugging is easy to do and can be done at home quickly, with only a few needed things on hand. If you want to give hair slugging a shot, here’s a step-by-step guide!

  1. Start by shampooing your hair with a volumizing shampoo, followed by a conditioner. We recommend our Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo and Wake Up Call Volumizing Conditioner for the job!

  2. Towel dry your hair by blotting it gently; make sure not to rub or be too aggressive. We want to keep some moisture in the hair strands, after all!

  3. Apply the oils liberally to your hair strands and very sparsely on the scalp. The strands don’t need to be drenched but rather coated in the oil and spread across with fingers.

  4. Slugging can be left overnight with a towel, scrunchies, or headwrap. Slugging can also be rinsed out after two to three hours with warm water and a light shampoo.

        How Often Should You Slug Your Hair?

        Hair slugging is a great way to keep your hair moisturized and help prevent breakage. It’s especially helpful for people with dry and brittle hair because it locks in moisture after a shower. 

        The use of conditioner is an important factor because using oil will lock in the moisture, meaning your choice of conditioner will make a big difference. It’s key to use a conditioner that is made for your hair type! Try our Better Hair Quiz to find out yours.

        The frequency of slugs depends on your hair type and the products you use on a day-to-day basis. Generally speaking, you can slug your hair every two to four weeks, depending on how much product you use and how often you shampoo your hair. 

        This way, your hair can absorb the oils it will hold onto without overdoing it. Frequent use of oils will result in an unwashed oily look and potentially clog the follicles on your scalp.

        The Dos and Don’ts of Hair Slugging

        Moisturizing your hair by slugging has some considerations to keep in mind! If you are considering giving hair slugging a try, you should know that there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”

        Do not over-slug your hair, which can lead to “hygral fatigue.” Hygral fatigue leads to the weakening of the hair in the long term, causing frequent breakage. And that’s the opposite of what we want!

        Hygral fatigue occurs when your hair becomes over-moisturized from being moisturized too often. When hair gets wet, it absorbs moisture and swells to a larger size. When our hair dries, that moisture is removed, and the hair shrinks back down to its original size. 

        When fluctuations between these sizes happen too often, your hair becomes weak, and breakages will likely occur. That’s why it is important to keep the hair slugging to a minimum: once a week at most. 

        You can tell if you’re over-moisturizing or over-slugging if your hair feels limp and mushy when wet. This is a good indicator that you should lay off the slugging!

        Now let’s consider the “dos” of hair slugging. To start your hair-slugging journey, you can choose from a variety of oils. You’ll want something that contains fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and proteins that help seal in moisture and promote healthy hair growth.

        The following oils have numerous advantages when it comes to hair health:

        • Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids.
        • Jojoba oil is full of natural moisturizers with antibacterial qualities.
        • Sunflower oil has oleic acid and anti-inflammatory properties.
        • Coconut oil has many fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for your hair.
        • Almond oil contains vitamin E, antioxidants, fatty acids, and magnesium.
        • Olive oil has protective and moisturizing characteristics.
        • Avocado oil is rich in fatty acids, minerals, and vitamin E.
        • Grapeseed oil has antioxidants, emollients, and other nutrients.

        Hair slugging can be beneficial for people of all hair types. Just be sure to use the right oils or

        serums with the correct application processes. For thinner hair, you’ll probably want to use

        lighter oils to avoid weighing down your hair too much. 

        Alternatively, for thicker hair, you might benefit from using heavier oils/serums to fully penetrate your hair.

        Conclusion

        Now that you know how to slug your hair and how this trend works, does it actually give you the amazing results you see on TikTok? Well, experiences and results vary from person to person. 

        While most experience positive results in the form of smoother, more hydrated hair, what you see online can be exaggerated. It’s important to manage expectations of viral beauty trends! Using masks like our Hair Redemption Butter Masque can certainly nourish and hydrate your hair when left on for a long period of time, and it might be more practical than slugging as you would only need to leave-in for four minutes.

        Having a healthy foundation for your hair can really boost the benefits of viral hair care trends. Prioritizing scalp health with scalp care products, using shampoos and conditioners specifically created with your hair type in mind, and using supplements to give your hair some extra love from the inside can all help you achieve shiny, healthy hair. 

        You may not even need to try hair slugging with a comprehensive and supportive hair care regimen, but if you do, your hair will see more advantages when you set yourself up for success from the get-go!

        Sources:

        Hair Shaft Damage from Heat | PMC

        Hair and Aging | PMC

        Acne Causes | American Academy of Dermatology

        Hair Oils: Indigenous Knowledge Revisited | PMC

        Secondary ion mass spectrometric investigation of penetration of coconut and mineral oils into human hair fibers: relevance to hair damage | PMC 

        Healthy Hair: What Is it? | ScienceDirect

        Jojoba Oil: An Updated Comprehensive Review | PMC

        Effect of Coconut Oil on Prevention of Hair Damage | PMC