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"Slugging" is trending on TikTok. Here's everything we know about this new skincare trend

How far would you go for glowing, hydrated skin? Slugging is one of the newest beauty trends taking TikTok by storm, and while it doesn’t involve putting actual slugs on your skin, it might make you feel as if you did. It leaves you with a layer of slimy goo coating your face, thus giving it the name “slugging.”

While this fad was recently made famous in South Korea, it’s actually an old beauty secret that’s finally been given a cute yet slightly gross name. If slugging is the reason why strangers are constantly complimenting our grandmothers on their soft skin, maybe it’s worth giving this slimy trend a try. For those who are curious and wondering if it’s right for you, here’s everything you know about this new skincare trend.

What is slugging?

Slugging is the process of slathering an occlusive cream or balm all over your face as the last step of your skincare routine. Occlusive skincare products like petroleum jelly form a protective barrier over your skin to stop moisture from escaping. Unfortunately, our skin loses moisture at night, so slugging is designed to physically block up to 99% of that naturally occurring transepidermal water loss. 

While the thought of slugging may conjure up pictures of thick layers of petroleum jelly, a pea-sized amount is all that’s needed to receive the benefits. You don’t want to seal off your skin completely, as that 1% water loss signals your skin to produce more lipids. However, that thin layer will still leave your face slightly sticky and slimy since it doesn’t sink into your skin. It’s also important not to slug every night and to thoroughly wash it off in the morning. 

Benefits of slugging

The main benefit of slugging is to prevent transepidermal water loss throughout the night. With an occlusive layer on our face, that moisture has nowhere to go and instead stays put. Dry skin is known to cause fine lines, flaking or peeling and dull skin. Keeping the skin hydrated results in dewy, youthful-looking skin.

However, slugging also has reparative benefits as well. For example, if your cheeks are chapped from the cold and wind, slugging will help repair that damage. It’s the same reason Vaseline is beneficial for chapped lips, along with occlusive lip balms

Who should add slugging to their skincare routine?

While those with dry skin will benefit the most from slugging, it’s safe and effective for most skin types, including those with mature or sensitive skin. Petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. As a result, it’s also beneficial for normal and oily skin types and those with eczema or psoriasis.

Who should avoid slugging?

Slugging is not recommended for everyone and may do more harm than good on acne-prone skin. Even though petroleum jelly won’t clog pores, it can trap oils and dead skin cells, leading to more acne breakouts. 

Those who use active ingredients, such as retinoids or beta-hydroxy acids, should also avoid slugging as it can increase the efficacy of those products to highly concentrated levels. Petroleum jelly isn’t a hydrating skincare product but rather a way to keep products and moisture from escaping. However, slugging is okay on the nights you’re not using products with active ingredients.

Best products for slugging

Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly

One of the most popular products used for slugging is the tried and true Vaseline. Since it’s made of 100% petroleum jelly, it’s the most occlusive product you can use for slugging.

Sold by Amazon


Aquaphor Healing Ointment

While the main ingredient is 41% petroleum jelly, it also contains a mixture of mineral oils and waxes, including glycerin, which is a hydrating ingredient. Since it’s preservative and fragrance-free, it’s also ideal for sensitive skin.

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CeraVe Healing Ointment

In addition to petroleum, CeraVe contains ceramides to restore the skin’s moisture barrier and hyaluronic acid to attract and retain moisture. It’s also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.

Sold by Ulta

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 


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