I Tried TikTok’s ‘Treatment Bun,’ and My Oily Hair Has Never Looked Better—Even 3 Days After Washing It

Photo: Getty Images/ Dmitry Ageev / EyeEm
When it comes to hair trends and treatments that promise soft, shiny strands, I tend to opt out. The oil glands on my scalp are hardworking and my washes tend to last an absolute maximum of three days—well, to be fair, I can make it four days, but I’d be wearing a naturally slicked-back bun (sans product) that final day. So when I heard about the "treatment buns" taking over TikTok, I was understandably skeptical about trying it out on my own hair. The trend involves applying a mask or treatment to your hair and slicking it back into a bun, letting the product fully absorb into the hair over the course of a day before rinsing it out.

But even a beauty editor like me isn’t immune to the power of virality. Could this possibly work on my oily scalp and strands? To find out, I called on some experts. “Everyone can benefit from the right treatment for their hair,” shares Adam Livermore, professional hairstylist and Oribe global educator. “You definitely want to know your ingredients. If you choose the wrong treatment for the situation, you may do some damage, but even if you don’t, you could be missing a great opportunity. You’ve got to know whether the hair needs moisture, repair, or both.”

Tatiana Ramos, hairstylist and national educator for Pureology, agrees with these sentiments, and has some great advice for those who are tentative to try out a treatment bun for themselves. “Test it out first on a day you have to clean your home or run a bunch of errands and wash it out thoroughly,” she suggests. “You don’t want to leave this in your hair for more than one day! It is unnecessary at that point.”

Based on my hair (oily at the scalp, color-treated with highlights, drier at the ends, and a lot of fine strands), both suggested looking for a mask or treatment that would protect and enhance color, strengthen and repair damage, and add smoothness and shine without weighing down my thin hair. While many people on TikTok opt for bond-repairing Olaplex formulas for their TikTok buns, I opted for the Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Deep Conditioning Mask ($41), which I knew fit the pros' recommendations.

@naomifullmer sleek bun six days a week #olaplextreatment #olaplexbun #slickedbackhair #slickback #hairtutorial #sleekbun ♬ pushin P (feat. Young Thug) - Gunna & Future


What happened when I tried a treatment bun

To start, I dampened my hair with a spray bottle and brushed through it to detangle. Then I applied about a quarter-sized amount of the Pureology mask from the mid-lengths to the end of my hair, where it felt the driest (I was very careful to avoid touching my roots, and kept the product at least two inches below the scalp). After gently combing the product in, I twisted my hair back into a low bun slightly below the nape of my neck and secured it with a silk scrunchy. (“I always recommend using a satin scrunchie or a very stretchy hair tie to keep the hair in place and not cause stress to the hair,” Ramos shares.)

Since I do tend to lean oilier, I kept on the mask for roughly 6 hours (on the slightly shorter side for treatment buns). I followed with a double shampoo (which I always do, treatment bun or not) and a small amount of my usual conditioner. Out of the shower, my hair felt silky smooth—but I still wasn’t completely sold; I had to wait and see how it dried and held up.

As I write this, three full days later, my hair has held up astonishingly well. Not only have my strands felt soft to the touch, nourished, and smooth, but my scalp also reacted surprisingly well—If anything, it’s felt less oily since the mask (perhaps that oiliness was a sign of some seriously dehydrated hair). My hair feels lightweight and still has some volume, but with the added benefit of a glossy shine I thought was simply impossible to achieve with hair like mine.

Both pros suggested doing a treatment bun once a week or so, but I think sticking to biweekly is ideal for me. Not only is the method highly effective, it’s also pretty chic, making it as wearable out in public as it is from the comfort of your own home.

“There's something really cool about a look like that sleek bun that works just as well for an evening event as for the sauna,” Livermore says. Happy masking!

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