With so many beauty trends making the rounds, one stands out as the most renowned among dermatologists and beauty aficionados alike. If you’ve ever coveted the look of “glass skin” or wanted to resemble a “glazed donut,” then consider slugging. This skincare technique promises to be a soothing salve for a glowing and smooth complexion while being affordable for everyone to include in their skincare ritual.
The best part? Any age group can partake in the balmy benefits. If you have parched skin or are in need of a hydration hack, then find out more about the glistening beauty of slugging.
What Is Slugging?
Slugging is a simple technique of applying a thin layer of an occlusive product like petroleum jelly as the last step of a nighttime routine. It can be slippery; however, slugging seals in moisture, as well as the other products you've used in your nighttime routine. The slick texture resembles a slug, hence the name "slugging.” It’s fantastic for preserving water retention, leaving skin plump and smooth when you wake up.
The origins of this beauty ritual are in the midst of a revival. While the term has recently gone viral, the technique is anything but new. It’s been a beauty secret within the African American community for generations. You’ll also find petroleum jelly as a topical cure-all in many households. The technique has more recently been popular in Korean beauty and pop culture for its glossy effect.
Benefits of Slugging Skin
While you sleep, the final layer locks in hydration, and you’ll wake up from your slumber with dewier and plump skin. Immediate benefits aside, here are the cumulative skin-deep benefits that make slugging a worthy part of your skincare.
It can help your skin maintain its hydration. Occlusives sit on the surface of your skin and seal in your water-based hydration underneath. This layer helps prevent transepidermal water loss or water evaporating out of your skin. As you age, your skin barrier weakens, allowing for more water loss and drier skin. Slugging can help your skin stay dewy.
A Layer of Protection
It protects your skin from harsh everyday elements like heat, cold, sun, wind, pollution, and abrasive skincare.
It rejuvenates skin lipids, your skin’s natural fats, which are key to the structure and function of your epidermis. Our skin needs a balance of water and naturally occurring lipids to maintain elasticity and your skin barrier. Slugging helps seal in all of these layers and protects the barrier.
The Science Behind Why Slugging Works
Lipids keep your stratum corneum, or outermost layer of skin, intact. Without the lipids, your skin is compromised. When the lipids in your skin are depleted, your protective barrier lets out water, giving you dehydrated skin. It's crucial to support your skin barrier for healthy, vibrant, and radiant skin.
First, you want to start with clean skin. Try Tru Alchemy’s deeply purifying Celestial Cleanser with gentle kaolin clay and calming cucumber extract. Generally, it’s advised against using active ingredients, such as alpha-hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, or retinoids when slugging at night. When trapped, these can intensify and become too strong. Slugging is best paired with hydrating ingredients that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe vera onto damp skin. Humectants hold and retain hydration, therefore giving parched skin a drink of water. Slugging itself isn’t hydrating. Rather, it keeps the moisturizing products you’ve applied from seeping out.
Next, apply a soothing moisturizer that will drench your skin in rich moisture like Tru Alchemy’s Quench Crème. It has a blend of botanical lipids, rice protein to support your skin’s normal collagen production, and polyglutamic acid that locks in water retention. The final step is your occlusive of choice.
Petrolatum is considered safe enough for babies. In the U.S., petroleum products are considered over-the-counter (OTC) skin protectants like sunscreen and hand sanitizer and are subject to FDA regulation, which conducts routine checkups with factories.
However, if you would rather not use petroleum products, there are more naturally derived alternatives that contain beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil.
If you’d like to address skin dryness or just up your glow, slugging is a great way to immerse your skin in luxurious moisture while you sleep. You may want to have designated pillows for the nights you slug. If you want to be extra indulgent, try an organic silk pillowcase. Silk is known to be less absorbent with your skincare and is breathable. Overall, for those of us with dry skin, slugging just may be our favorite way to catch our beauty sleep.