Hair Slugging May Be the Solution for Shinier, Healthier Hair

Experts explain the benefits of this popular practice, plus how to choose the best oil for your hair.

woman applying coconut oil on her hair inside rectangle against oil texture background
Photo: Adobe Stock - Design: Alex Sandoval

If you're a beauty enthusiast, chances are you've heard of skin-care slugging by this point. The practice is popular in K-beauty circles, and while it isn't new, it recently saw a resurgence on TikTok for its ability to restore dry, uncomfortable skin. The method requires slathering your face in a petroleum-based product (think: Vaseline) as the last step in your nighttime skin-care routine and leaving it on overnight to lock in moisture. Now, some people have extended the same principles of skin slugging to dry hair.

Introducing hair slugging, TikTok's latest obsession for getting shiny, hydrated, and silky hair. Hair slugging, like its skin-care counterpart, isn't a new beauty trend and has long been used by Black people and people of color.However, it's one of the latest topics to take over TikTok, where users have been raving about the hack. The hashtag #hairslugging has over three million views on the app.

Ahead, learn more about hair slugging, its benefits, and how to try it.

What Is Hair Slugging?

Essentially, hair slugging is a fancy new name for coating your dry hair in oil as an overnight treatment. In one TikTok video with over 600,000 likes, TikTok user @moniquemrapier shows themselves practicing hair slugging by coating the mid-length to ends of their hair in the Ouai Hair Oil (Buy it, $28, sephora.com) and wrapping it in a fuzzy sock. In the clip, @moniquemrapier says they've been slugging for a year and has noticed their strands are "shinier, healthier, and more silky." (

Buzz from @moniquemrapier's video and others led to a wave of people trying out the method at home. Some users lather their hair in a hair oil product, others are trying coconut oil in their hair, which is what's used in traditional Ayurvedic practices. It's slightly different from the slugging you may already know and love — aka skin slugging. With skin slugging, Vaseline is always applied over other face products or dampened skin, since its function is to form a layer on top of skin that locks in moisture. With hair slugging, you can apply the oil to dry hair as most hair oils are lightweight enough to penetrate hair to help seal in existing moisture.

What Are the Benefits of Hair Slugging?

"Where there is a concerted effort to nourish, lock moisture in the hair, and prevent friction, it's always going to contribute to better hair health," says Michelle O'Connor, a professional hairstylist, Ulta Beauty professional team member, and Matrix global artistic director. Hair slugging can help prevent split ends, which can result from loss of moisture, she explains. "Oils and serums help lock in moisture, so while it won't permanently repair split ends, it will prevent future ones," she says. "Adding a lightweight oil to the mid-shaft and ends, then concealing or covering the hair to avoid friction allows the hair to absorb nourishment and maintain some moisture within the hair." (

Another benefit is increased shine, says Drew Schaefering, a master hairstylist at Rob Peetoom Salon in Williamsburg New York. "I love the benefits of oils in hair both as a leave-in treatment or styling aid and for a deep conditioning treatment," he adds. "Leaving the oils in your hair overnight also gives more time for the oil to saturate and absorb while you catch your beauty rest."

How to Try Hair Slugging

"[Hair] slugging can be done a few nights a week or as needed," says O'Connor. Start by applying three to four pumps of oil and add more as needed until the ends of your hair are saturated, says Schaefering.

The most important part is to choose the right oil for your hair type. "For example, fine hair would do well with a serum or a lightweight oil such as the Matrix A Curl Can Dream Oil," (Buy it, $24, ulta.com) says O'Connor. Other lightweight oils to consider are those with jojoba, sunflower seed, or sweet almond oil, she adds. "Coarser and or even curlier hair types can use thicker [i.e. heavier] oils." Heavier oils to consider trying or looking for in hair products include marula, coconut, avocado, and grapeseed oils, says Schaefering. For instance, the Olaplex Hair Bonding Oil (Buy it, $28, sephora.com) is made with grapeseed oil and fermented green tea oil to repair, strengthen, and hydrate hair.

"The heavier the oil, though, the less you'll be able to restyle your hair the next day as the hair may [feel] weighed down," warns O'Connor. In that case, you might find you'll need to wash your hair the next morning.

"If you have an oily or greasy hair type, you may not need to partake in [hair slugging]," adds Schaefering. "However, people with oily hair tend to wash it more, and if you have longer hair, that could mean that your ends need some moisture and replenishment, so it very well could apply."

Another thing to consider is how you wrap your hair. While Schaefering admits @moniquemrapier's fuzzy sock is clever, O'Connor says you might experience better results if you sleep on silk. "I could see where the sock idea comes into play as it contains the hair in one isolated area as opposed to rubbing off all over the pillow," she says. "In most instances, many people are still sleeping on cotton pillowcases, which can draw moisture out of the hair. Ideally, something like a singular braid with a silk bonnet would do the trick. You can also opt for a silk pillowcase if hair bonnets are not your thing."

With any beauty tip or trick, it's best to manage expectations, says Schaefering. "Of course not everything is one size fits all, so there will be a wide range of results depending on hair type, condition, and the type of oils and products used," he says. That said, considering the minimal downsides, hair slugging is worth giving a shot if you're into it.

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