Have You Tried the Weird New Moisturizing Trick, ‘Slugging?’

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Photo: Courtesy of @natascha.lindemann

Have you noticed that as the days turn colder and winter makes itself felt, that your skin has started to feel dry and dull? If you’re longing to get the glow back in your complexion, there’s a technique skincare junkies are raving about that claims to deliver dewy, hydrated skin.

It’s called ‘slugging’, and all it takes is one very affordable product you may well already have in your bathroom.

What Is Slugging?

Reportedly inspired by Korean beauty regimes, slugging involves applying a thin layer of Vaseline (or any other type of petroleum jelly) over your face at the end of your evening skincare routine. It’s left on while you sleep, then washed off with a cleanser in the morning.

Like an overnight face mask, the petroleum jelly is said to form a kind of seal over the skin, preventing moisture loss and leaving you with, advocates say, a deeply moisturized complexion the following morning.

The name is derived from the slimy excretions of slugs, which are not unlike Vaseline. Don’t forget, snail ‘mucin’ is commonly used in Korean skincare.

Dove Cameron Slugging
Photo: Courtesy of @dovecameron

Are There Any Risks Associated With Slugging?

Slathering on a well-known skincare product sounds simple enough, but are there any side effects? Is it really wise to leave a thick, unctuous goop on your face while you sleep?

“As an occlusive, Vaseline has been shown to help those with a skin barrier issue caused either by a wound or in some cases of extremely dry, inflamed or sensitive skin types. On the whole, it doesn’t add moisture to the skin but will [help] seal existing moisture into the skin,” says Abi Cleeve, MD at Ultrasun UK and founder of SkinSense.

“It’s really all about how necessary a strong occlusive seal is needed. When it’s not necessary, it can potentially cause irritation by sealing the skin when it would benefit from good skin actives, in a moisturizer or serum suited to skin type, not focused solely on occlusives.”

Photo: Courtesy of natascha.lindemann

How Can You Decide if Slugging Is Right for You?

“Slugging does have some drawbacks,” says Holland & Barrett beauty specialist Romi Olley. “One being that, although it does in fact seal in moisture on your skin, it’s important to remember that as well as moisture, it can also seal in any dirt that is on your face too, which could lead to a breakout.”

Cleeve says it’s important to know your own skin type and recommends, “if you are experiencing inflammation, extreme dryness or irritation, to discuss the cause with a qualified dermatologist before deciding on the best course of action.

“If your skin does not feel acutely dry or inflamed, there are a variety of hydrating options out there mixing occlusives, humectants, and emollients in formulations less extreme than the full ‘sealing’ solution of slugging.”

She recommends looking for night creams or masks containing actives such as hyaluronic or lactic acids, for their hydrating and brightening properties.

“Slugging won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that is completely fine, as there are alternative ways to help keep our skin moisturized and hydrated,” Olley adds, suggesting that a two-step approach might be more suitable, starting with a lightweight serum after you have cleansed your skin.

“Serums often have a slight gel or water type texture and the actives are best applied onto dry or slightly damp skin, and oil may act as a slight barrier for the actives. You could also then follow this with a nourishing moisturizer, to help lock in that moisture overnight.”

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