Hair Slugging: Who should be trying this!

Megan Dominion

Hair slugging is akin to face slugging, which is aimed at moisturizing dry hair follicles to bring back shine, strength, and silkiness to your hair. If you have curly, dry, or frizzy hair, then hair slugging can help resolve some of the moisture loss these types of hair are often so prone to.

Washing curly hair

Where did hair slugging come from?

Much like the popular facial skin slugging, there has been a trend on social media called ‘hair slugging’ recently. Hair slugging originated from a Korean skincare trend back in 2021, although it was mostly referred to as hair oiling. This practice was already done for centuries in South Asia, and it involves drenching the hair in Petroleum Jelly or any product that promotes moisture, such as oil, conditioner, etc.

 

Hair Slugging vs Face Slugging

Compared to face slugging, hair slugging involves your hair, but the concept is virtually the same. You are focussing on bringing back moisture and repairing strength.

Face slugging is perfect for people with dry skin since it traps in moisture overnight, keeping the skin moisturized and helps to create a protective barrier. However, face slugging has disadvantages for people with oily skin prone to acne breakouts, as this could contribute to its worsening.

Similarly hair slugging can be done to any hair type, but it isn’t recommended for oily or limp, over moisturized hair. Hair slugging involves lathering every part of your hair with moisturizing products that are safe for your hair, and letting it sit for 2-3 hours. It is said to promote smoother, silkier, and stronger hair while combating frizz and split ends.

What Are the Benefits of Hair Slugging?

Healthy hair needs a good balance of both protein and moisture. Hair slugging is said to be an effective way to add in a lot of moisture to dry hair very quickly. This is great for hair types that tend to lose a lot of moisture such as type 4 hair.

Some things to think about before Hair Slugging

While hair slugging can be a quick and effective way to add moisture to your hair, the results can often be said to be quite mixed. The following are a few things we recommend you think about before trying this trending hair tip:

1. There could be an ingredient in one of your hair products that is contributing to your dry hair, so it’s worth investigating what you are putting in your hair that could be drying it out, instead of spending money on additional products to counteract this. Look out for drying alcohol or too much protein.

2. You could have silicone build up, which may be drying out your hair, and no matter how long you leave a moisturizing product on your hair, the moisturizing properties may not be reaching your hair follicles. Remember to regularly clarify your hair. We think this is rule number 1 to healthy hair and scalp.

woman-standing-in-trees

3. Frequently slugging your hair tends to strip it of its natural oils and can lead to hygral fatigue, which can sometimes pose as dry hair in that your hair may be extra frizzy, but it can in fact be a symptom of too much moisture. If you are keen to try out this hair trend, it’s generally only recommended to be done as a treatment every so often. 

4. We will generally always recommend following the instructions on the product container, if it says leave in for 10 minutes, you could leave it in for a few more minutes, but those recommended 10 minutes is generally how long it would take for that product to penetrate your hair, and leaving it in at best won’t have any further benefits, and at worst can have a negative reaction such as reactions to any harsh chemicals, damaging your hair, or deteriorate the quality of the new hair that grows on your scalp or lead to hair loss.

What To Use For Hair Slugging

If you want to join in on this trend and test it out yourself, try using one of the following to slug your hair:

  1. Conditioner or moisturizing treatment – There are plenty of these on the market! Use the conditioner you already like, or a moisturizing treatment formulated for your type of hair.
  2. Oils – Use an oil recommended for your specific hair type to get the best results. Oils like coconut, castor, and olive may benefit thick, coarse hair. But oils like grapeseed and rosehip seed oil are betterl for fine hair. Argan oil, rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants and excellent for healing damaged hair, and is an attractive middle ground option. Or blend your own!

 

Can you use Vaseline to slug  your hair?

Nope! We wouldn’t recommend slathering your hair in vaseline. While vaseline is used on the face to create a protective barrier and lock in moisture on the skin, it’s not quite the same deal with hair. If not properly removed it can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and to properly remove it you’d need to use a clarifying shampoo, baking soda, or activated charcoal. Do you see where I’m going? You’d just be stripping moisture from your hair straight after trying to put it in.

How to Slug Your Hair

We’ve mentioned the downsides to hair slugging already, and it’s good to remember that improper hair slugging could lead to damaged hair follicles. Here’s how we would go about it:

1. Ensure that your scalp is clean

Get a mild clarifying shampoo and give your hair a good wash. Perkins suggests using a product with apple cider vinegar as an alternative to a clarifying shampoo. This will prepare the hair for the oil, allowing it to penetrate more deeply and work more effectively as you would be removing any product build up from your other hair products.

2. Blow dry your hair until it’s damp

Before you start slugging your hair, whether air drying or using a blow dryer, make sure it’s at least 85 percent dry.

3. Massage the oil or treatment gently into your strands

Applying oil from the ends to your roots, as your ends are usually drier. The oil or treatment shouldn’t be streaming down your hair after you’re done, but you should make sure each strand is coated.

4. Gather your hair and wrap it

After you’ve oiled up, a loose scrunchie or shower cap will do the trick for keeping your hair out of your face. A silk scrunchie can provide hold without causing damage to your hair. 

5. Wash your hair well!

After 2 hours or less, use lukewarm water and wash off the oil or treatment from your hair to remove it entirely. Then wash with shampoo, and condition, carrying on with your usual hair routine.

Top tip: we do not recommend hair slugging overnight as this could damage your hair!

Hair slugging basically being a deep moisturizing treatment, you could try adding hair slugging into your routine once or twice a month, to see if and how it helps.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.