Just what is slugging? The slugging skincare trend involves slathering on an occlusive—like petroleum jelly onto your face as the last step in your evening moisturizing routine. The term “slugging” is often attributed to Korean beauty skincare trends, but the ritual itself can be traced back decades, with roots in the Black community. Slugging gets its name from the shiny sheen it leaves on your face, just like that of a slug. The goal of face slugging is to promote dewy, fresh, and young-looking skin that appears plump and hydrated. In the winter months where we have a lot more dry heat inside the homes and buildings being pushed out through heater systems, it can help with rough, dry, chapped skin.
How does slugging work in skincare? Thicker compounds composed of oils and waxes are similar to thick pantyhose or socks versus thinner ones. They work by creating a barrier on top of your skin, sealing in moisture and preventing transepidermal water loss. Research suggests that oil and waxy based moisturizers are the most effective occlusives, helping to reduce water loss through your epidermis by almost 99%.
In other words, occlusives used in slugging help create an impermeable wall that seals your skin off. They help support skin repair and keep moisture from evaporating off your skin while you sleep. The theory behind slugging is that applying an occlusive on your face before bed will lock in not only moisture, but also any beneficial you applied leading up to your “slug,” making them even more potent as a result.
Can all skin types try slugging? Petrolatum, which is usually the primary in products used for slugging, won’t clog pores, and is classified as a skin protectant by. It has many uses, such as soothing skin on the eyelids or lips, and is often used as a skin protectant in baby skin products for the management of diaper rash and eczema. However, this doesn’t mean that slugging is necessarily suited for all skin types. As always, when in doubt, consult your health care practitioner.
All that’s required to finish off the night time routine with slugging is to apply the face slugging product at the end of one's usual nighttime skincare routine, after all other steps have been completed, including, cleanser, eye cream, prescription treatments and night time moisturizer.
As far as how often one should use this technique, this will depend on the individual skin type and complexion concerns. For most skin types, completely sealing the skin barrier every night isn’t necessary. One may may alternate slugging days with some “non-slug” days.
I want to hear from you and your experience with this trend. How often and with what products do you use slugging?