Can a Plastic Cap Help Moisturize Your Hair?

plastic cap
Design by Zackary Angeline.

It goes by many names, but the method of covering your hair after using a moisturizing product is beloved by many. Some call it the "baggy method," others simply refer to it as "using a plastic cap." Some even opt for plastic wrap. The goal of the baggy method is to keep your hair moisturized and prevent breakage of delicate ends. If long hair is your ultimate aim, you may want to try this on a regular basis—at least once a week.

You can choose to treat your ends to some extra hydration or douse your whole head with the product. Either way, your hair is sure to look healthier and softer after adding this moisturizing treatment into your haircare routine. Keep reading to learn how using a plastic cap overnight can help keep your natural curls moisturized and healthy.

Meet the Expert

Pat G. Williams is an award-winning hairstylist and a Revlon brand educator.

What Is the “Baggy Method?” 

We've all used a plastic cap post-wash to deep condition our coils under the dryer. In this case, you don't have to wash or even wet your hair. You simply apply a moisturizer to your hair, cover it in plastic, which can be baggy, plastic cap, or saran wrap, and you let it sit overnight. Many naturals swear by this method to encourage hair growth and moisture retention.

How to Moisturize Ends Overnight?

If you're suffering from extremely dry, crispy ends, it might take a while to notice a difference. But, persistence is key in fighting dry hair, and the baggy method is an excellent way to do this. At night, comb or finger comb through your hair, dividing it into several sections. Apply a moisturizing agent on your hair's ends, working it in with your hands or a comb so that your hair is saturated.

Next, pull hair into a loose ponytail and moisturize your ends. Apply a bag to the ends and secure. Cover your hair as you normally would for nighttime protection and remove the bags in the morning.

If you're curious about which moisturizer is best for ends. Try plain olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and sweet almond oil. However, if you have a commercial product that works at keeping your hair soft and supple, use that. You may also want to use a leave-in conditioner first and apply oil on top. After applying your product, place a plastic bag (sandwich size or smaller is suitable) over your ends and secure the bag with a rubber band.

How to Get All-Over Moisture Overnight?

"The easiest and best way to moisturize hair overnight is using a leave-in conditioner," says Williams, who recommends applying your leave-in to clean wet hair, but the baggy method can be done without cleansing or wetting the hair. "[Focus on] the ends where there is usually the most damaged hair, split ends, hair knots, [and] moisture loss."

Then, use a sheet of plastic wrap and place it firmly around your whole head. You can also use a plastic cap and secure it with a big elastic headband. Leave the cap and treatment on overnight. Unlike "baggying" the ends, which many women do nightly, you may just want to do the whole-head method once a week to try to prevent buildup on the hair and scalp.

How Often Should I Baggy My Hair?

While constant moisture may seem like the dream, it can also be damaging to keep your hair wet for extended periods. This method is fine for overnight use, but hair needs to breathe and dry itself out. It's not healthy for hair to be constantly wet or damp. Unfortunately, some people get caught up in "hair growth challenges" and walk around with wet ponytails or buns all day long. Let your hair air dry and breathe regularly. It will likely be much healthier as a result.

You'll still reap the protective benefits of the baggy method, even if you don't do it every night. Use it as needed, and over time, your hair may feel better and suffer less breakage. As with any routine, consistency is key for making it work and seeing results. Ahead is a roundup of our favorite products for executing the baggy method at home.

Even when adding the baggy method to your haircare routine, don't forget your traditional conditioning treatments. "Applying conditioners to wet, clean hair and allowing it to remain on the hair with a plastic or thermal cap to penetrate into the inner layer of the hair for intensive conditioning is used in salons and highly recommended for at-home conditioning," says Williams.

In addition to regular moisturizing treatments, trim your hair every three months to help ensure your ends stay healthy.

Our Fave Natural Hair Moisturizing Products

shower cap
Wenettion Disposable Shower Cap $6.00

This pack of 100 shower caps will last you nearly two years if you do weekly baggy method treatments. Not bad for less than $10, if we say so ourselves.

leave in conditioner
Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Detangling Leave-In Conditioner $13.00

Your hair will soak up the almond and avocado oils, coconut milk, and shea butter found in this leave-in conditioner with ease, so no need to worry about dehydrated strands. Plus, it doesn't contain any problematic ingredients like parabens, paraffin, or petrolatum.

hair mask
Oribe Moisture & Control Deep Treatment Masque $63.00

Treat your strands to the ultimate deep conditioner. Oribe's thirst-quenching hair treatment was made with 4A to 4C curls and coils in-mind. If you don't have a hooded dryer to sit under, then use a blowdryer (We love the Pro Dryer 2000 by Harry Josh Pro Tools) to warm up the deep conditioner under your plastic shower cap. The heat helps your curls soak up the conditioner, adding shine and bounce with a blend of watermelon, lychee, and sunflower extract.

Argan Oil Perfect 7-In-1 Leave-In Treatment
Creme Of Nature Argan Oil Perfect 7-In-1 Leave-In Treatment $9.00

We love a hair product that can multitask. This 7-in-1 packed with argan oil, pro-vitamin B5, and silk amino acids, promises to moisturize, heat protect, fight frizz, and prevent split ends.

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