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What is Slugging Skincare? Here is Everything You Need to Know

A blonde woman moisturizing her face

If your skin is looking dry and dull these days — whether it be from stress, a lack of sleep or maybe how you’re washing your face — it could be time to add a new step to your skincare routine to give you the hydrated, glowy skin of your dreams. Enter: slugging, the popular new skincare trend that leans on moisturizers like petroleum jelly to give you quenched, glassy skin.

What is slugging in skincare?

If your mind immediately goes to snails and, well, slugs when you hear slugging, no need to fear — this trend, luckily, does not involve any living gastropods. Slugging skincare (or just slugging) refers to using a ton — no, seriously, a ton— of moisturizer to lock moisture into your skin barrier. It involves applying an extra layer of moisturizer with a petrolatum base (think: Vaseline or any product that includes petroleum jelly) before bed, to keep your skin hydrated.

Using a product that includes petrolatum is key because petrolatum creates a barrier that traps water prevents it from evaporating from the skin. According to dermatologist Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, who spoke with Cosmopolitan: “Slugging, which comes from the K-beauty world and then went viral on Reddit, involves putting a thin layer of Vaseline on your face to help prevent water loss.”

Related: 10 tricks for dry and itchy winter skin.

A smiling woman moisturizing her face
Getty Images

How do you slug your skin?

Slugging works best when done at nighttime — your skin loses the most moisture when you sleep is when (thanks overnight water loss!). After completing your nighttime skincare routine, apply a thick moisturizer, such as Vaseline, as the very last step after you’ve used your regular moisturizer. Depending on what your skin likes, you can use Vaseline, or a healing ointment with petroleum jelly — the more occlusive (read: acts as a barrier to trap moisture), the better.

Apply a layer of your chosen product all over your face. If you think you look greasy or like a glazed donut, congratulations, you’re slugging correctly!


See also: Perfect your routine: the correct way to layer skincare.

Who should use slugging?

Slugging can be for anyone, but pay attention to what products work well for your skin. If your skin is sensitive, or drier than the Sahara, slugging could be a great way to replenish and heal any chapping or peeling. If your skin is acne-prone, there’s a chance slugging could be too heavy for you and break you out, but that’s not the case for everyone. If your skin is oily, slugging could work actually help reduce oiliness, since oily skin still requires moisture.

Related: Why face oils should still be part of your beauty regimen.

What are the best products for slugging?

Stick to products with petroleum jelly, to fully seal the moisture into your skin. Vaseline is probably the most tried-and-true product when it comes to slugging, so pull it out of your bathroom cabinet or buy a tub ASAP.

A tub of vaseline

Vaseline, Amazon, $4

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