Should You Really Use Lube to Create the Wet Hair Look?

Plus, how to create the wet hair look whether you want to douse your head in lube or not.

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TikTok Lube Hair
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If there's one thing #BeautyTok loves more than anything else, it's using an everyday item to create a flawless look (frozen cucumbers, anyone?). Usually, said items come from the kitchen or the bathroom, but TikTok user @EdelyDesigns went digging around ~the bedroom~ to recreate a popular hairstyle.

"Apparently celebrity hairstylist [sic] use LUBE for the wet hair look to last all night long!" the TikToker wrote over photos of Megan Fox rocking her sleek look from the 2021 VMAs. She then whipped out a bottle of lube — specifically, #LubeLife Water-Based Personal Lubricant (Buy It, $8, amazon.com) — and worked a generous amount of the stuff through her long hair, teasing it to create loose beach waves.

And, honestly, the effect was very Megan Fox-like.

The wet hair look has been super popular among celebs for a while — see: Kim Kardashian at the 2016 VMAs and her sister Kendall Jenner at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

But are celeb hairstylists really turning to intimate products to slick down their clients' hair? And is it really a good idea? Here, professional hairstylists share the low-down on this viral trend.

Can You Seriously Use Lube On Your Hair?

Unlike lots of other TikTok-inspired trends that are straight-up bad news (see: magic eraser tooth whitening and mucus fishing), if you're dying to recreate the wet hair look, using lube isn't the worst idea — and yes, it does actually work.

"After watching the video, [I] did try a water-based lube on the hair and it gave it the 'wet look' [I was] looking for," adds Marsona Horan, a hairstylist and owner of Marsona Horan Salon in Fairfield, Connecticut.

"It is entirely true that us celeb hairstylists use lube to create amazing wet hair looks," confirms Joabe Vidal, hairstylist at luxury salon Forbici Knightsbridge in London.

But why use lube when there are a million hair products out there? For one, "lube doesn't damage the hair at all and lasts an extremely long time, which is why celeb hairstylists use it," says Vidal.

Plus, "lube has similar consistency to frizz-fighting serums," adds Isobel Hinks, hairstylist at ARROJO in Brooklyn. "Many of them use silicone, which is what creates that shiny, smoothing effect. Lube will also help to set the hair into the curl." (FYI, TikTokers have also used lube as makeup primer on their faces.)

The Silicone Debate

That said, not everyone is on board with using lube — and especially the silicone variety.

"I don't think water-based lube would damage the hair, but some are silicone-based and I wouldn't recommend that due to buildup," says Horan. "It might require a lot of clarifying treatments to get rid of all of the buildup."

IDYCK, hair pros are somewhat divided over the use of silicones on hair. Silicone is a polymer (a plastic-like material that can be in liquid or solid form) and often functions as an emollient (working as a lubricator and sealing in moisture), Tonya Lane, cosmetic chemist and founder of CurlyChemistry, previously told Shape. That's exactly what makes them such a great choice for sex (they're super slippery and long-lasting) and also in some hair products (such as cult-favorite Olaplex Bonding Oil). However, lots of silicones are non-water soluble, which makes them difficult to rinse off the hair.

It can also get very crunchy and stiff. You might need to shampoo two or three times" and it "could weigh the hair down over time" if repeated too often, says Hicks.

"The amount of silicone would be a serious worry," says Jason Collier, hairstylist to Victoria Beckham and Laura Whitmore (so you won't be seeing Posh Spice rocking intimate products in her mane any time soon). "I'm pretty sure it would also create a coat over the hair shaft and suffocate the hair." Because silicone creates such an emollient layer around the hair, it can act like a shield, keeping all the moisturizing and nutrient-rich properties of other products out of your hair. So if you don't wash it off well, it can keep, say, your conditioner from being able to penetrate.

How to Get the Wet Look — with or Without Lube

Though experts clearly disagree on whether silicone lube is the best way to create the wet hair look, most of those referenced here agreed that lube in general would be pretty harmless and most likely create the desired effect. Water-based lube is likely the least risky choice, and you should probably only use silicone-based very occasionally (and if you're willing to go through the trouble of washing it out).

Not to mention, the wet look can be created in many different ways — whether that's with lube alone, lube and hair products, or no lube at all.

If you're willing to invest in a hair product specifically for this purpose (or you already have one on hand), you can likely create the wet hair look using that. "I think lube is an alternative in case you don't have the right product on hand, but I think there are a plethora of products out there that would achieve the same results," says Horan. For example, she's used KEVIN MURPHY ANTI.GRAVITY lotion (Buy It, $40, amazon.com), which is a gel-based product, along with their YOUNG.AGAIN oil (Buy It, $54, amazon.com) cocktailed together to create this look in the past, she says.

Meanwhile, to "create the best look," Vidal combines lube, gel, and conditioner, he says. Follow his steps to DIY the wet hair look yourself.

  1. Wet your hair. "You must always start off by spraying the hair with wet water, as this creates the base and primes the hair, and doing it on dry hair will not have the same effect or longevity," says Vidal.
  2. Lube it up. "After spraying the hair, I start off with putting the lube all over the hair," he says.
  3. Condition and coat. "Mix together the gel and conditioner," he says. Smooth the mixture onto the hair. "I always like to include the conditioner as I think it nourishes the hair and avoids a 'sticky' look," he says.
  4. Add shine. "I like to always finish off the look with a high shine spray, just to further add to the wet hair look," he says. (Try any of these pro picks.)
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