Can a Plastic Cap Help Moisturize Your Hair?

Imaan Hamman

 Victor Boyko / Getty Images

It goes by many names, but the method of covering your hair after using a moisturizing product is proven to work. 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. Here are our tips to help you get the most of this method.

Just for Your Ends

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.

Good moisturizers include 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.

Make sure the band is over the bag and not on your hair—you don't want the elastic tugging at your hair all night.

A variation on this process is the ponytail method, which you can use if you either don't have time to separate your hair into different sections or just prefer a simpler way to cover your hair. 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.

All-Over Moisture

Maybe you need an overall moisturizing treatment. The baggy method works for an entire head, too. Comb or finger comb through your hair well. Apply products listed above, but instead of only focusing on the ends, work them through your entire head of hair. Wrap your hair around your head; it doesn't need to look perfect.

Then, use a sheet of plastic wrap and place it firmly around your whole head. You can also use a cheap 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 or so.

Use It Sparingly

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 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 should 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.

shower cap
Wenettion Disposable Shower Cap $7
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This pack of 100 shower caps will last you nearly two years if you do a 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
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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, and petrolatum.

hair mask
Oribe Moisture & Control Deep Treatment Masque $63
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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 (Harry Josh Pro Tools makes a truly awesome one) to warm up the deep conditioner under your plastic shower cap. The heat helps your curls soak up the Polymer Complex, which adds shine and a blend of watermelon, lychee, and sunflower extract, leaving your curls bouncy and lush.

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