No one wants another fad beauty trend that doesn’t work. Luckily, slugging isn’t your average fly-by-night TikTok sensation. People have been “slugging” long before the term was coined over 8 years ago by the K-beauty industry. In fact, this is something your grandma probably is familiar with.
“Slugging” comes from your skin’s appearance after slathering a healthy amount of Vaseline on your face. It looks like, well, slug juice. While that might not sound appealing, the technique answers all your prayers to the skincare gods and is perfect for anyone with dry or combination skin.
If you struggle with flaky, dry, or cracked skin (especially when seasons are changing), then you should give slugging a look.
What is slugging?
Slugging is applying petrolatum (Vaseline) over your daily moisturizer in order to trap the hydration next to the skin. You should not apply makeup over the petroleum jelly layer, so unless you want that fresh-faced dewy look, you’re better off slugging at bedtime.
That’s how we use the product now, but its origins date way back. Applying petrolatum for topical treatments dates back to Pennsylvania’s crude oil fields in the 1800s. Workers applied a sticky drilling by-product to burns and scrapes. This was the first generation of petroleum jelly.
Once the formula was perfected into a smooth, amber salve in 1870, one jar of petroleum jelly was sold every minute in the U.S.
It’s been a staple in medicine cabinets for a long time since. But it could have been a lost wisdom if it wasn’t for K-beauty and TikTok giving it new life. So although it fell out of fashion for a while, it’s had a major comeback.
What is slugging used for?
Slugging keeps your skin hydrated. It is important to note, however, that petrolatum itself doesn’t contain any moisturizing properties. Instead, it is an occlusive meaning it acts as a barrier or seal on your skin. During the slugging process, you apply face lotion first and then petroleum jelly. That locks in the moisture making any hydration regimen more effective.
Also, despite its thick consistency, it doesn’t clog pores. Its molecules are simply too big for that. Great news if you’re blemish-prone.
On that note, slugging isn’t for everyone. If you already have oily skin, you don’t need to slug. Even those with combination skin shouldn’t apply it all over the face. Vaseline or other brands of petrolatum should only be applied to dry areas.
There are plenty of TikToks showing creators’ glistening faces who’ve just slugged. However, you can slug all over your body. After showering, use a simple-formula body lotion followed by Vaseline. This could cause clothes to cling or even stain, so this is great if you’ve got time to lounge in your robe for a while. (Nightime is perfect.)
There are also considerations around the moisturizer you use before slugging. To minimize irritation, the best moisturizer for slugging is an everyday, standard moisturizer. Avoid formulas with retinol or Vitamin C. More on ingredients to avoid when slugging here.
For a professional’s opinion, book an appointment to talk products and regimens.
Vaseline for slugging
Vaseline is the most recognizable brand name for petroleum jelly. It’s also a 100% petrolatum formula. In other words, it’s the real deal. However, you don’t have to use 100% petroleum jelly to see fantastic results.
You can find other products on the market that include a percentage of petrolatum and other valuable ingredients. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a great example.
The wonderful thing about Vaseline, or petroleum jelly in general, is that it is considered extremely safe. Pediatricians even recommend slathering infants in it after bathtime so their delicate skin doesn’t dry out. You can also pair it sparingly with light exfoliation (about 1-2 times a week). Read more about microdermabrasion on this blog.
Here’s the thing about slugging: dermatologists love it, pediatricians love it, aestheticians love it, and beauty gurus love it. If you haven’t already made it part of your routine, it’s time to dig your jar out of storage. It’s a fabulous DIY treatment.
However, if you’re in the mood for a more personalized regimen, partner with your local aesthetician. They can take into consideration your exact skin type, the changing seasons, product preferences, and your personal skincare routine to make sure you have the best products in your medicine cabinet.
Want an all-in-one solution? Or maybe you’re craving a little luxury and want specialized products? Your Booksy provider can help you shortlist the best options. You can book an appointment or opt for a virtual consult–whatever your preference, we’re here for you.