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

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

“Slugging” is the latest skincare trend coating the internet, literally. The slimy name is quite fitting, as it entails coating your face with a petroleum-based product like Aquaphor or Vaseline at the end of your skincare routine. As sticky as it sounds, the goal is to create a barrier on the surface of your skin that seals in products and locks in very valuable moisture. If you have chronically dry skin, especially during the winter months, don’t log off just yet – this gooey little hack may be a game changer. 

While this trend may currently be on the top of everyone’s feed, it’s really 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

Dermatologists and estheticians often prescribe petroleum products to treat rough, scaly, and itchy skin. Most of the time, dry skin is caused by water escaping through the skin barrier. When you lather on a layer of oily jelly, it traps water inside, helping the skin heal and hydrate itself naturally. Intended for overnight use, when you wake up you’ll find your skin feeling smoother and softer.


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 beneficial for dry skin types who don’t have issues with 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. 

Level One: The Optimizer (heavy slugging)

After washing your face, use a light moisturizer with no active ingredients (it can cause serious irritation) and apply a heavy layer of your favorite petroleum ointment all over your face. For enhanced hydration, be sure to exfoliate your skin before slugging.

(I recommend the Red Carpet Facial in a Box)

Level Two: The Slug Cocktail (medium slugging)

Want to turn drugstore Vaseline or Aquaphor into a much more luxurious product? Hate the idea of heavy coats of jelly on your face but don’t want to miss out on all the benefits? Take equal parts Vaseline and Heal the Need Serum, mix until it creates a smooth texture and apply a medium layer all of your face, décolleté, and chest. This is also great for isolated dry spots on your face. If I slug, this is how I do it. This cocktail is also great if you want to slug during the day (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 Serum 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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