Slugging isn’t a new idea if you’re familiar with TikTok beauty trends. The method, which was adapted from Korean skincare, calls for slathering your skin in a moisture-retaining occlusive—typically petroleum jelly—and letting it absorb as you sleep. People have been able to find relief from issues like excessive exfoliation, product sensitivity, and seasonal dry skin thanks to this viral trend. However, a new variation of slugging has recently gained popularity on social media. Slugging fans have customized this popular TikTok hack for their individual strands. But before you soak your hair, we contacted professionals for their opinions on the practice.
What is “hair slugging”?
Hair slugging, like its equivalent in the world of skincare, is not a novel concept. It is a fancy new name for a typical severe hydration treatment that dates back centuries and was adapted from the practices of African and Indian cultures. After applying oils or other hydrating substances to wet or dry hair, it is then wrapped in silk or satin and left to soak in for the night, preferably the night before it is washed (think pre-poo). The following day, strands are given a quick wash with tap water, followed by their regularly scheduled conditioning treatment.
What does it actually do?
Slugging one’s hair can contribute to greater overall hair health. The strands grow more malleable and silky while also increasing in strength. In addition, the amount of frizz and breakage that occurs when styling is reduced, which helps to maintain length and luster. Even though the technique will not permanently cure split ends (ignore the claims made by the TikTokers regarding this matter; only trims and haircuts are capable of doing so), it will keep split ends from occurring in the future.
Is it worth the effort?
Absolutely. Our hair will always benefit from efforts made to hydrate, protect it from friction, and nourish it. Sealing in moisture is especially important. Curly and coily textures are often dry by nature because the spiral structures of these hair types impede the movement of natural oils from the root to the ends of the hair. These curl varieties stand to benefit the most because hair slugging gives them more time to become saturated with and take in the much-needed water.
Are there any downsides to hair slugging?
Even though there are a lot of advantages to using a hair slug, professionals caution that there are a few things you need to watch out for if you want to attempt it at home. To begin, if the product is not removed properly, hair slumping can produce a buildup of product, which can then lead to breakouts around the hairline. “A thick layer of product, in addition to the heat that builds up under the sock, can block the skin pores of the scalp, which can even produce a condition known as scalp folliculitis, which is characterized by itchy, little pimples. It is recommended that you should not leave the oils on your hair for more than eight hours at a time, and that you make sure to rinse the oil off completely in order to prevent pores from becoming clogged.
Ways to slug your hair
There are two methods for hair slugging, the most appropriate of which will depend on your hair type, texture, and condition. Including your lifestyle.
Method 1: For all hair types
The usage of a lightweight hair oil or serum is your best bet if you have finer hair or hair that tends to become oily easily. You should only apply the oil to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, and you should only use as much as is necessary to give your strands a light coating rather than a complete soaking. This is something that will depend on the length, thickness, and texture of your hair. After working the oil into your hair with your fingers (some TikTokers prefer to use a brush with wooden bristles for this stage), pull your hair into a ponytail or a plait without using a hair tie just yet. After you have wrapped your pony in a fuzzy sock and secured it with a silk scrunchie, you can go ahead and hit the sack. When you wake up in the morning, remove the product, and take a look at those smooth strands!
Method 2: For thicker, drier, coarser hair
You might try a thicker oil like castor oil if your hair is extremely parched for moisture. OR you can use your usual hair oil, and then on top of that, apply a repair hair mask for a more intense moisturizing and frizz-fighting action that takes place as you sleep. You can also apply your product to your scalp in a more sparing manner if you do not have a tendency toward oiliness. Following the application of your oil (or oil and mask), cover your ponytail with a sock, as described above, or wrap your hair in a silk scarf, hat, or wrap. Alternatively, you can braid your hair. You don’t have enough hair for a ponytail, do you? Choose the option that involves wrapping. If you want to minimize scalp discomfort and weighed-down locks, you should wash your hair properly as soon as you wake up.
Can all hair types do hair slugging?
Although hair slugging is beneficial for all hair kinds, lengths, and textures, you will need to adapt the sorts of products that you use and the frequency with which you apply them appropriately. Textures ranging from medium to thick can slug more frequently when combined with thicker oils. Because of their more viscous qualities, castor oil and coconut oil are the two oils most commonly advised for slugging. On the other hand, those with finer hair should use a smaller amount of product and search for a lighter oil, such as grapeseed oil, which will hydrate the strands without making them appear limp.
Does hair slugging actually work?
It started with scalp cleanses, and now we’re slugging our hair; it seems that our approach to hair care is becoming more like that of skincare. But is the most recent trend in tress really effective? It seems to have a bit of a tick on the fat side. On the other hand, there are a few factors that should be kept in mind. “Regular slugging with lightweight oils is good, but if you’re using heavier treatments and masks, twice a week is more than enough,” the dermatologist advised. Also, in this particular scenario, you should always make sure that you wash everything out first thing in the morning to prevent the accumulation of product and the possibility of outbreaks. Unless your hair is really dry, in which case you can skip washing it altogether; however, if you slept in a mask, you will need to wash it.
It is essential to keep in mind that slugging is only one component of proper hair care, and despite the fact that it may help to tame frizz and cut down on future breakage, it is not a panacea. Being gentle with your strands and getting trims every eight weeks is the most effective strategy to prevent split ends. If you want to keep your hair from becoming unnecessarily dry, it is best to steer clear of shampoos that include harsh, drying sulfates and to always use a heat protectant whenever you use heat styling tools on your hair.
When it comes to any type of beauty hack, there is no universal solution. It is important to have realistic expectations because the outcomes may differ based on the type of hair, its current state, and the products that are utilized. In spite of this, it’s still worth giving hair slugging a try because there are so few potential drawbacks.
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