When someone says they’re baggying, that might sound confusing, if not scandalous, but it’s all about hair treatment. The baggy method refers to a very straightforward practice that requires you put a plastic bag or shower cap over your hair to moisturize tresses and stimulate growth. But because this simple hair concept can soon get tangled, here are some tips from Curlynikki.com on how and when to bag up those tresses.

The baggy method is easy. Simply cover your hair with a shower cap or other plastic wrap. You can also baggy just your ponytail. The whole idea is to trap moisture so it won’t escape the plastic lining. This concentrates moisture close to your mane and allows dry hair to re-hydrate. In turn, this helps your strands retain length because well-hydrated ends don’t dry out, split and break. Makes sense, right? But here are some key additional details:

The full-head baggy: moisturizing/conditioner vs. the “greenhouse effect.” These two different strategies involve placing a shower cap or a plastic bag over the entire hair-covered surface of your head; it is secured by an elastic headband to keep moisture in. The “greenhouse effect” version channels body heat from your head to recycle the oils and moisture your hair naturally secretes. (Many natural-hair purists prefer this method.) The full-baggy method uses the identical steps, but before the baggy is placed on hair, tresses are treated to a conditioner or plant-based moisturizer such as argan oil. Use this method for any length of hair. (Just make sure the baggy is big enough and the elastic headband isn’t too tight.)

Ponytail-only baggying. For those who already enjoy long tresses, this method might be all you need to ensure hair ends retain moisture. Instead of placing the baggy over the entire head of hair, moisturize only your ends and then enclose them in a bag.

Don’t overdo baggying. Leaving tresses bagged for too long—the right amount time varies for each person, but an hour is a good place to start—can mean soggy, mushy sometimes tangled strands. Not good. So keep an eye on your locks’ health to avoid this disaster.

Try alternative hair care regimens that work for you. Sorry, a one-time baggying treatment won’t solve dry hair woes. Best to create a weekly maintenance practice that’s easy to follow. (Suggestion: Try deep moisturizing hair treatments routinely in place of the baggy method.)

Click here to read about how to grow out your tresses.