What Is Hair Slugging? Everything You Need to Know About The TikTok Viral Trend

Young girl enjoys hair care in a beauty salon. The hairdresser washes the clients girls hair, applies a moisturizing oil mask and combs the hair with a comb. The process of hair care at hairdresser
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If you’re on TikTok, then you probably already know about the Korean Beauty hack known as skin slugging. Everyone seems obsessed with it, so we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve tried it out for yourself (we did, explained here). 

But are you aware that there’s also something called hair slugging? Hold on though, before you grab your petroleum jelly and apply it to your locks! Although they are similar to a degree, hair slugging is completely different.

So, what is hair slugging?

It’s a technique to hydrate the hair overnight, typically using a sock and a hair oil or serum. I’ll explain below.


What Is Hair Slugging?

Just like skin slugging (where you give yourself a petroleum jelly facial to help seal moisture before going to bed), with hair slugging the aim is to also lock moisture into strands and provide deep hydration to the hair.

However, that’s where the similarity ends. 

Instead of petroleum jelly (which let’s face it, would leave your tresses in a very sticky mess), with hair slugging, natural oils are used to coat your strands while you sleep with a sock on. Doing this crucial step helps to lock in the moisture so that you wake up with hair that feels hydrated and healthier.

And just like skin slugging, hair slugging is really nothing new.

Instead of petroleum jelly (which let’s face it, would leave your tresses in a very sticky mess), with hair slugging, natural oils are used to coat your strands while you sleep with a sock on.

In fact, it’s similar to what your mother used to call a hot oil treatment. And she would probably use saran wrap and a hot towel to wrap her hair in before sitting under the hood of a hair dryer or having a good night’s sleep.

In addition, this method of keeping your hair moisturized is nothing new to those who have curly and natural Afro hairstyles, and is commonly used by Black women with locs. These styles tend to become dry more easily, due to the curvature of the hair strands not allowing the scalp’s natural oils to work their way to the ends.

However, hair oiling is actually an ancient Ayurvedic tradition from India that has been around for centuries, where the oil is massaged into the scalp and hair as a hair mask. This provides calming and soothing stimulation of the scalp and activates the hair follicles.

Besides the relaxation that this process provides, it is believed that it also encourages the hair to grow faster, due to the stimulation of the hair’s follicles, and also helps to make the hair strands much stronger, reduces frizz, and restores damaged hair.

But it seems we’re calling this ancient process slugging now because… TikTok.

So let’s get on with it!


Should I Slug My Hair Every Night?

Although it might seem after your first slugging experience that it is the miracle cure to your hair care woes, you should only really do it once a week — or twice at the very most. 

And your slugging rhythm will depend on the thickness of your hair’s texture, which also affects the type of oil that you use, which I’ll discuss later in this article.

Unlike a proper hot oil treatment, where you oil the hair after shampooing and wrap it before sitting under a heated hood, hair slugging is done on dry hair. 

And even though you don’t have to wash it out (especially if you have really curly hair), it is advised that you give your hair a good wash in the morning to avoid the product building up on your strands.

So, although it may be tempting to slug your hair every night, especially if you shampoo daily, you will only run the risk of unbalancing and stripping your hair’s natural oils.

This will make it even drier in the long run.

By adding a slugging session every week or so into your normal hair care routine, you will be doing enough to improve hydration. And you can also wave goodbye to split ends developing!

Slug Life

Not all hair is created equal. This means that you shouldn’t just grab your favorite oil, and start slugging your hair.

For example, if you have finer hair, or hair that is thinning, only use a lightweight oil applied to the ends of your hair, which you can then brush through. If you apply the oil to your scalp, then it will only weigh your hair down, which can eventually even cause it to break off.

On the other hand, if you have very dry, brittle, curly, or thick hair, then you can use a heavier oil, which you can apply starting from the roots to your ends. 

You can even give your scalp a nice massage with your fingers before brushing the oil through your hair. A massage will cause your tresses to become coated with the oil, which will ensure better penetration overall and deep hydration.

Then, all you have to do is create a hair wrap with a sock or bonnet and get a good night’s sleep. In the morning you’ll wake up to a healthier, shinier, and hydrated mane.

What Kind Of Sock For Hair Slugging Is Best?

Once you’ve applied oil to your scalp and coated your strands, all you need to do is slick your hair back into a bun or ponytail, securing it with a silky scrunchie. Don’t use a cotton or velvet scrunchie to do this, because it will draw the oil away from your hair.

When it comes to securing your hair for bed, all you need is a long fuzzy, fluffy sock — like a clean gym sock . Pull your hair into it. You then secure the bundle with your silk scrunchie. 

Then all you need to do is let it moisturize and have a good night’s sleep.

Yes, it’s as easy as that! 

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What’s The Best Oil for Hair Slugging?

When it comes to hair slugging, your hair type will determine which oil is best to use for your locks. 

If you have thin, fine, or low-porosity hair, use a lightweight oil that will rinse out easily. Lightweight oils include:

  • Jojoba oil
  • Argan oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Rosehip seed oil
  • Sweet almond oil

These oils will easily penetrate the outer cuticle of your hair strands.

If your hair is brittle, thicker, curly, or high porosity, then a heavier oil will work wonders for your hair-slugging experience.

Heavier natural plant oils that work best for slugging very dry, brittle, high porosity, thick and/or curly hair include:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Hempseed Oil
  • Jamaican Black Castor Seed Oil

These thicker oils will also help to tackle frizziness when used for these hair types.


Slugging It Out

What is hair slugging? Well, just like skin slugging, it’s a viral hair care trend that promises to give you healthier, softer, and silkier hair just by using some natural oil and an old sock. 

We all love a good beauty hack, so if your hair is in need of some tender loving care, then hair slugging is definitely one that you should try out!

Written by Cecilia Torres