With almost 150 million views on TikTok, everyone is talking about “slugging.” What is it? Where did it come from? And most importantly, is it suitable for you?
What is Slugging?
Slugging is a trend that involves finishing your nighttime skincare routine with a thick layer of occlusive petrolatum jelly. This layer traps moisture against your skin, preventing transepidermal water loss overnight. Like so many skincare trends, slugging originates from Korean Beauty. So while it’s a trending topic online, it is not a brand new technique!
A common misconception in slugging is that it is used in place of serums and moisturizers. Quite the opposite, slugging is a finishing step to lock in the moisture. This is because the product used is occlusive. Occlusives are moisturizing agents. They form a protective layer on the surface of your skin and create a barrier to prevent moisture loss! Slugging is therefore not about adding moisturizer, it’s about not losing it!
Fun fact: The term “slugging” comes from the slimy appearance the skin gets when jelly is applied, not from a particular product or ingredient involving snail mucin (although this is also a powerful skincare ingredient)!
Is Slugging for Me?
As fun as it is to try new skincare trends, it is also important to assess whether it's right for your skin. Slugging has amazing benefits, but skincare is never one size fits all.
Do you wake up feeling like you forgot your nighttime moisturizer, even when diligently applied?
If you feel like your moisturizer disappears overnight, leaving the skin dry, then slugging is a great option to make the most of your nighttime routine. It will lock in the moisture applied and help with dry, flaky skin – especially in cold winter months!
Are you using active ingredients in your skincare?
Exercise caution if you use retinoids or similar actives. While petrolatum isn’t inherently irritating, it can enhance the potency of actives when layered on top, increasing irritation of the skin.
Are you acne prone, have oily skin, or prone to clogged pores?
There is a potential for breakouts because while slugging locks in moisture, it can also lock in bacteria against your skin all night long. Make sure to clean your skin thoroughly and avoid slugging areas with blackheads and flare-ups!
Our thoughts on slugging.
The Kana Team and skin experts hopped on the trend and tried slugging.
Here are our thoughts on it:
“My grandma did this back in Korea! I do not like the stickiness even if it is just one thin layer of Aquaphor. The viscosity is way too thick for acne prone and sensitive skin like mine! Did not feel good. I prefer to use thin layers of cream or LIT as the final step to lock in moisture.” – Janice
“I have normal-to-dry skin so I occasionally slug my cheeks. I don’t prefer petroleum jelly because it feels like my skin is suffocating. I like slugging with natural oils because they won’t exasperate the skin! For thick oils, I like vitamin E, tamanu, and castor. For light oils, I like LIT facial oil! Pro tip: If an oil is too thick, you can always thin it down for application by mixing it in with a moisturizer or sleeping mask!” – Lisa
“It’s something my family has done for forever. But I think it's better done when you have to leave the house on a brutally cold day or maybe after you've done a peel!” – Elyse, esthetician & makeup artist