Hair Slugging Isn’t New, But Here’s What You Need To Know! † blog

We’d be *totally* shocked if you still hadn’t heard of slugging, the snail-inspired skincare hack where you slather a layer of thick, occlusive moisturizer over your face before going to bed, waking up to gloriously plump, hydrated and glowing skin.

However, hair loss is an entirely different thing, and this DIY hair treatment — which has actually been around for ages — is getting plenty of attention RN, thanks in large part to TikTok. We reached out to a number of professional hairstylists who were happy to explain what “hair slugging” actually is, all about its cultural origins, and how to cut your own locks.

The history of “hair snails”

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While the term “hair snails” may be completely new to you, the treatment has been around for centuries. “Hair slugging has actually been a common practice in African, African American, and Indian cultures for centuries,” explains hairstylist Philesha Stern, a natural hair specialist and founder of Boujee Curls in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

“Similar practices go all the way back to the ancient African women of Chad, who used ‘Chebe powder’ as a deep moisture treatment.” The hair slugging technique is also widely used in Asian cultures and the Caribbean.

What is Hair Slugging?

At the end of the day, hair slugging is a deeply moisturizing hair treatment (like a pre-poo) where you coat your locks with a lightweight oil—ideally the night before wash day—then wrap your mane snugly so it hydrates while you sleep. Stern was kind enough to give us the full hair slugging how-to.

“On damp to dry hair, apply a small amount of oil in palms and gently squeeze and smooth oil onto strands until evenly coated,” she says. “Using a soft blended sock, place the freshly oiled hair in it, making sure the ends are tucked in well. Finally, wrap a satin or silk headband around the base of the sock to secure the sock while you sleep.

One important caveat is that you shouldn’t wrap your hair too tightly, adds hairstylist Nubia Rëzo, founder of Rëzo Haircare. She says, “This creates tension in the hair and can cause damage or breakage in the front.”

If the idea of ​​hair loss while you sleep doesn’t appeal to you (we hear you, picky sleepers), Stern has an effective alternative. Start by saturating your locks with a deep conditioner and then apply a thin layer of oil. Then, apply a shower cap over your hair and let your slug sit on your hair for 15 to 45 minutes before jumping in the shower to wash, condition, and style your hair as usual.

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Rëzo adds that whichever method you choose, you should focus on the dots, as this is the oldest – and probably most damaged – part of your mane. She says, “Getting too close to the root can lead to product build-up later.” It can also weigh down your hair or lead to an oil imbalance on the scalp.

How often do you need hairspray?

Closing hair really hydrates your tresses and considers it more of an “occasional” treat than a daily practice. You can feel at any time that your locks need a Super Big Gulp dose of hydration. Maybe that’s after an intense whitening session or after a weekend in the sun and salt water. Or it could be a bi-weekly or monthly TLC treatment for healthy hair maintenance.

While hair slugging is super bubbly right now, keep in mind that it’s not necessarily a win for everyone. In general, thicker and more porous hair textures are likely to respond better to hair sticking. People with fine hair may find that it contains too much moisture and end up weighing down their mane.

The best products for hair loss

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If you’d like to try this pre-shampoo technique, you can use the most beloved classic oil that has literally been used for ages, aka the good old coconut oil; we recommend a cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil like this one. The stylists we spoke to also love these goodies:

Deep Conditioners:

1. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Hair Mask$38

2. Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque, $40

3. Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Moisturizing Balm$16


1. PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross argan oil mix$25

2. OUAI Hair Oil, $28

3. BREAD BEAUTY OFFER Hair oil everyday shine$24

4. OLAPLEX No. 7 Fixing Oil, $28

Hair caps:

1. KITSCH Satin Nightcap in Blush, $14

2. ALEXANDER PRODUCTS Satin Padded Sleeping Cap Adjustable Bonnet Slouchy Beanie Natural Curly Hair Womens, $15

3. PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross Satin Cap, $22

4. The Vintage Cosmetic Company Cherry Print Shower Cap, $9″

You’re clearly a hair person, boo! Check out this genius TikTok hair hack that costs practically nothing. We are obsessed!

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editors. While some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission when you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.

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