What is “slugging” and how can you do it right?

The latest skincare trend, “slugging,” is literally in everywhere in the internet. It involves covering your face with a petroleum-based product like Aquaphor or Vaseline at the end of your skincare process, hence the slimy name.

The idea is to build a barrier on the surface of your skin that seals in products and locks in extremely vital moisture, as sticky as that may seem. Don’t log off just yet if you have chronically dry skin, especially throughout the winter months; this gooey little trick might be a game changer.


While this trend may be at the top of everyone’s newsfeed right now, it’s nothing new.For generations, Indigenous nations and tribes have used the fat from buffalo, yak, and other animals to create a barrier on the skin that protects from excessive dryness and irritation. 

Petroleum products are frequently prescribed by dermatologists and estheticians to treat rough, scaly, and itchy skin. Water leaving through the skin barrier is the most common cause of dry skin. When you apply an oily jelly layer to your skin, it seals water inside, allowing the skin to organically repair and replenish itself. When you wake up, your skin will feel smoother and softer, thanks to this overnight treatment.

Who, how & when should you slug?

Like anything trendy in the beauty world, tread lightly! Slugging is a big NO NO if you tend to have clogged pores or acne prone skin. This hack works by trapping things in, and that’s not necessarily a good thing for existing breakouts. My oily skinned friends, put the tub of aquaphor down, your skin is already doing everything it can to fight water loss and keep you from going dry. 

So, repeat after me: slugging is only good for those with dry skin who don’t experience breakouts. Let’s talk about the different levels of slugging because yes, even something as simple as putting petroleum jelly on your face requires just a little bit of finesse. 

The different levels of slugging

Level One: The Optimizer (heavy slug)

Use a light moisturizer with no active ingredients (it might cause major irritation) and a thick coating of your favorite petroleum ointment all over your face after washing it. Make sure to exfoliate your skin before slugging for better hydration.

Level Two: The Slug Cocktail (medium slugging)

Want to elevate Vaseline or Aquaphor from the pharmacy to something even more opulent? You don’t like the concept of putting a thick layer of jelly on your face, but you don’t want to miss out on the benefits?

Mix equal parts Vaseline and Heal the Need Serum until a smooth texture is achieved, then apply a medium coating to your whole face, decollete, and chest. This is also wonderful for dry patches on your face that are isolated. When I slug, I do it this way. If you want to slug during the day, this drink is perfect (think ski trips or a dry desert hike climate).

Level Three: Can this even be called slugging? (light slugging)

Wash your face and apply a thin layer of Heal The Need over damp skin. Wait 5 minutes and apply another layer of oil. This for all of you who hate the feeling of heavy products on your face.

Oh and, one more thing –  I highly suggest covering your pillow with a protective case, preferably one you don’t care about. Happy slugging!

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