Slugging Saved My Dry Winter Skin—Who Should Try It (& Who Shouldn’t)

Slugging Saved My Dry Winter Skin—Who Should Try It (& Who Shouldn’t)

There’s a not-so-new K-beauty trend making the waves on social media this winter. I’d never tried it before, but with my dry skin making me pretty miserable this year, I thought I’d finally try it. And boy, did it change my life.

I’ve said it before, but getting older + winter has turned my skin into a desert tundra. My normally oil/combination/acne-prone skin has been transformed into dry patches, fine lines, and signs of dehydration—you know, tightness and itchiness. It’s been driving me up a wall, to be quite honest. So, one day as I was scrolling TikTok (as one does these days), I came upon a video of a woman praising the results of this trend and just knew I had to try it. What is this mysterious trend you ask? Well, it’s called slugging.


What Is Slugging?

Slugging is a K-beauty technique that was popularized by Reddit. While the name might make you think of snails or slugs, you can rest assured that slugging does not involve mucus or any animals for that matter. Slugging is taking a thick emollient product, like Vaseline or Aquaphor, and slathering it all over your face, typically during your nighttime routine.

@erinduganjurchakHave you tried #slugging yet!?? Here’s my take…#skincare #vaseline #moisturizer #beauty #nighttime #skincareroutine♬ Jazz Background Vibes – Perfect Playlists

Occlusive (aka making a physical barrier) products like Vaseline, Aquaphor, and even that quintessential Nivea in the blue tin can all be used for slugging. Basically you want to look for a product that’s heavy on the petroleum jelly, the main ingredient in Aquaphor and Vaseline. These products give you a literal barrier or shield of protection on your skin, sealing in all of the moisture and hydration from your skin care, and preventing moisture and water loss. Vaseline (or whatever product you choose) protects your skin, allowing it to regenerate and heal itself as you sleep.


How to Slug

Slugging is pretty straightforward. You want to make sure you do your entire skin care routine, all the way until your last step. My routine looks something like this:

  1. Oil cleanse
  2. Gentle foam cleanser
  3. 7-layer toner method
  4. Sheet mask
  5. Serum/ampoule
  6. Lotion/emulsion
  7. Moisturizer
  8. Sleeping pack/mask
  9. Oil
  10. Slugging time

So after my oil step, I like to take a quarter-sized amount of Aquaphor (my emollient of choice) and slather it all over my skin. I like to make sure I’m doing my nighttime routine about an hour or two before I actually go to sleep so I don’t mess up my pillows.


The Benefits of Slugging

I started slugging and noticed a change the very first day. When I woke up, my skin looked and felt incredibly moisturized, and I had a dewy, lit-from-within glow. I almost didn’t want to wash my face because my skin looked so good! According to Dr. Mona Gahara, slugging can be good for those who are experiencing age-related skin issues. “With aging comes decreased barrier repair, decreased hydration, saggy skin, and more obvious wrinkles. Slugging essentially acts as a buoy to the barrier, keeping water locked in and the skin plumped.”

aging with grace


So, What Are the Caveats to Slugging?

Slugging, unfortunately, isn’t for everyone. Those with acne-prone oily skin or prone to skin congestion should probably stay away from the popular trend. Occlusive ingredients like petroleum can contribute to acne. Like I mentioned earlier, these ingredients form a barrier over the skin, which is great for dry skin since we want to prevent moisture loss, but it can cause clogged pores in those who are acne-prone. It’s also important to think about why you want to slug. For me, my dry skin was driving me crazy—those with acne-prone or oily skin probably don’t have this problem.

Also, you don’t want to slug all day long, as your skin does need to “breathe” to help it produce lipids on its own. As Dr. Angelo Landriscina explained, you do want to experience *some* water loss because it “acts as a signal that tells your skin to produce more intercellular lipids thereby repairing the skin barrier.” So basically, you don’t want to overdo it.

It’s also imperative that you wash your face thoroughly in the AM after slugging. I like to use a super gentle cleanser like the La Roche-Posay Hydrating Gentle Cleanser because it’s soap-free so it won’t strip all of the moisture from my skin.

Have you tried slugging? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!


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