You’ve probably heard of skin slugging, the K-beauty skincare trend that uses petrolatum or Vaseline to cover the face, all to lock in hydration and get dewier skin. But there’s another type of slugging that’s been taking TikTok by a storm, and it’s for hair instead.
Hair slugging, like skin slugging, involves coating the tresses in a layer of… not Vaseline, but hair oil. Before going to bed, users on TikTok are applying lightweight hair oil to their hair, and then wrapping their hair up in a sock to protect it from friction as they sleep.
The results? Jaw-droppingly silky tresses.
In fact, the results of hair slugging looked so wonderful that we had to try it for ourselves. We share everything you need to know about this curious TikTok hair trend, plus our experience with hair slugging!
What is hair slugging?
Hair slugging has two important steps: coating the hair with hair oil, and keeping your hair covered or wrapped as you sleep.
Coating the hair with oil moisturises the strands while wrapping the hair reduces friction between the tresses and the pillowcase, thereby protecting hair from damage.
If you find hair slugging strange, it’s likely because it involves wrapping the hair in a piece of clothing that’s used for the feet. However, look past the socks for a moment, and you’ll realise that hair slugging draws inspiration from long-time, tried-and-true practices for taking care of the hair.
Black women, for example, wrap their hair in bonnets or silk scarves to keep their natural oils intact and tresses moisturised as they sleep.
And when it comes to coating the hair with oils, Indian women are no strangers to the practice, since they’ve done hair-oiling for centuries. They regularly comb a concoction of oils through their hair to keep it soft and strong.
While wrapping the hair with a sock is not nearly the same as using a silk bonnet, the same concepts of haircare apply, which is why hair slugging is likely to be effective for achieving silkier strands.
Still, since we’re fans of trying beauty techniques out for ourselves, we decided to put “hair slugging” to the test on our own tresses!
I tried hair slugging for 6 days
Following the advice of users on TikTok, I grabbed a bottle of lightweight hair oil from my dressing table, riffled around in the sock drawer for a suitable pair, and snagged a large scrunchie from the drawer.
The process was easy enough. After washing and drying my hair, I pumped a generous amount of L’Oréal Paris Elseve Extraordinary Hair Oil Pink onto my palm.
I rubbed my hands together, and then applied the oil from the mid-lengths to the ends of my hair, spreading the remaining oil over the top section of my tresses too.
While TikTokers also go for heavier hair oils, I wanted a hair oil that would moisturise my tresses without being greasy, since I wouldn’t have time to wash it out the next morning.
My hair was covered in a lot more hair oil than I normally would apply – but that was the point: to coat them evenly with oil.
Quickly and easily, I put my hand through the sock and gathered my hair into a ponytail. Then, I pulled my tresses into place, securing everything with the scrunchie.
Voilà! I had a sock-ponytail and was ready for a good night’s rest.
My hair slugging verdict
I have to admit that I wasn’t really convinced that hair slugging would do anything much for my tresses. But when pulled off the sock in the morning and ran my fingers through my hair, my strands were a lot softer and silkier than usual.
Surprisingly, my hair was wavier too, probably because my hair was nourished and protected enough to maintain its natural waves.
Hair slugging really did work – I was convinced. But the not-so-great part about it was that the scrunchie got in the way as I slept, prodding at my neck and making it difficult to lie on my back comfortably.
When I tried hair slugging for the next five days, I used a smaller rubber band so that it would be more comfortable when I slept. However, the sock and rubber band fell off all four days, and only on one day did I wake up with the sock still (barely) wrapped around my tresses.
My conclusion? Hair slugging works, but using a sock and rubber band? Not such a great idea.
Best tips for hair slugging
We did more research on how to do hair slugging in a way that works best, and these are the tips that we have for you.
Braid rather than tie into a ponytail
Most TikTokers wrap their hair into a low “sock-ponytail” for hair slugging, but some of them gather their tresses into a loose braid instead.
Doing so will cause less strain on the scalp, and the braid will also less likely get in the way as you sleep. That’s right, no more uncomfortable sock-ponytails for me.
Use a silk bonnet instead of a sock
Instead of a sock, it’s also best that you use a silk bonnet to wrap your hair with at night. Silk is a low absorbency fabric, which means that it won’t remove the hair oils from your hair as you sleep – unlike a cotton sock that will remove more of the hair oils.
Since silk is also breathable, your scalp will also be able to breathe at night, making it comfortable and healthier for your hair and scalp.
Besides, a silk bonnet goes over all your hair, as a shower cap might. That means you won’t have to secure your tresses (and sock) with a rubber band that’ll get in the way as you snooze.
If you realise that securing your hair as you sleep isn’t for you, you can also protect your strands by switching to a silk pillowcase instead. Smooth to the touch, silk will reduce friction and damage to your hair as you snooze.
Shop LilySilk Silk Night Sleep Cap with Flounce for S$44.99 online.
Choose a hair oil according to your hair type
The hair oil that you choose for slugging should depend on your hair type.
Thicker, coarser manes may benefit from heavier hair oils such as castor, coconut, and olive oil, whereas thin to medium tresses do better with lightweight hair oils. These include grapeseed oil and rosehip seed oil.
An oil that lies somewhere in between is argan oil, which is high in vitamin E and antioxidants, thus great for treating damaged, frizzy tresses!
Hask Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shine Oil
People with thick, curly, and frizzy hair can try the Hask Monoi Coconut Oil for hair slugging. Coconut oil will deeply condition your hair, and Hask’s ones smell great too.
NOW Solutions Grapeseed Oil
If you have thinner hair, or prefer a more lightweight alternative when conditioning your tresses, then go for NOW Solutions’ Grapeseed Oil.
NOW Solution’s Grapeseed Oil is 100% pure, is odourless, and is light on the hair. Because of its generous size, the brand’s hair oil is also perfect for use as a hair treatment. Coat your hair generously with the oil when you’re doing your hair slugging routine!
Shop NOW Solutions Grapeseed Oil for S$15.91 on iHerb.
OGX Renewing+ Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Penetrating Oil
OGX’s Renewing+ Argan Oil of Morocco isn’t 100% pure argan oil, but rather, is a hair treatment that is infused with argan oil to deeply nourish and moisturise dry and damaged strands.
It doesn’t matter that it’s not 100% argan oil – you can use this powerful oil blend just the same when you’re prepping your hair for slugging. Leave it on overnight, and your hair will feel softer and more hydrated the next day!
Featured image credit: @abbeyyung, @theaussierapunzel/TikTok