Skincare Slugging: Should You Try It?

This internet skincare trend is everywhere at the moment - and no, it doesn't have to do with snail skincare! Slugging is a beauty technique, not a type of skincare product.


Slugging sounds too deceptively simple to benefit skin - plus, it often involves Vaseline. Isn't Vaseline supposed to be bad for your skin? The truth about this skincare tip might surprise you! Here's our guide to slugging in skincare and if it genuinely brings any benefit to your skin. 

Try Before You Buy

What Does Slugging Mean?

Supposedly coined from Reddit's passionate skincare community, skincare slugging is simply using an ointment as the very last step in your skincare routine. It could be Vaseline, Papaw Ointment, or anything similar with a thick texture.

It's called 'slugging' in skincare is that your skin is left super shiny and dewy, thanks to the Vaseline – leaving you looking a little bit like a slug. However, it's not true that this is just a recent trend! 

The idea of using a thick, moisturising occlusive at the end of your skincare routine isn't new. Fans of slugging in skincare noted that this was a tip that their grandmas and many older women in their families use. For some, they believe it's what's responsible for their glowing, relatively wrinkle-free skin. But is it true?

This thick, protective balm seals in hydration for glowing, healthy skin.

Slugging Skincare Benefits: What Are They?

So, why go through the effort of slugging in the first place? Skincare slugging has a few noticeable effects on your skin. 

Thick ointments and balm moisturisers only include occlusive skincare ingredients. According to dermatologists, this type of skincare benefits the skin by: 

  • Locking in existing moisture and hydration 
  • Shielding skin from external dryness  
  • Supporting a healthy moisture barrier 
  • Prevents skin dehydration 

Anecdotally, those giving this trend a shot report that their skin feels smoother, softer, and more moisturised when they wake up in the morning. Long-term benefits such as wrinkle-fighting powers are yet to be proven. However, it's thought that keeping skin well-moisturised ensures that it's in the best condition to prevent wrinkles. 

A powerful natural occlusive, Shea Butter locks in essential hydration to replenish and repair dry skin.

How To Do Slugging: Skincare Tips

So, you want to start skincare slugging? This beauty hack is straightforward to do! All it involves is using a thick balm moisturiser or ointment as the very last step of your nighttime skincare routine.  

Take a chick pea-sized amount, and melt it down between your palms. Then gently press and massage it into your skin. Doing so creates a barrier that locks in that all-important hydration and protects your skin from a drying environment, such as cold winter weather or office air conditioning.  

Water escaping from the uppermost layer of your skin is called transepidermal water loss, also known as TEWL. Slugging prevents this and keeps that essential hydration where it needs to be – in your skin! However, when it comes to skincare slugging, there are some essential tips to keep in mind: 

Formulated to keep hydration in and protect skin from external stressors, this balm from Dermalogica is perfect as the last step of your skincare routine.

1. Don't Apply Too Much

    Like all other skincare, it's tempting to apply a lot to get faster results. You're better off sticking to a chickpea-sized amount as a rule of thumb. Why? Well, using too much of a thick ointment can feel uncomfortable for some, and you only need a thin layer to reap the benefits. Plus, having too much on could ruin your pillowcases! 

    2. Don't Forget to Layer Your Skincare

      In drier climates, your skin needs a little bit of help holding onto hydration provided by fantastic humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Using an occlusive over these hydrating ingredients makes sure that they're able to work to their most full effect – deeply hydrating your skin. 

      3. Wash Your Face Well the Next Morning 

        Because of the shielding abilities of occlusives, it's essential to make sure you rinse away every last trace before starting your morning skincare routine. Suppose you're applying your fabulous serums over the top of any lingering balm moisturiser or occlusive. 

        In that case, it might not be able to make its way to where it's needed on your skin – as your slugging product could still be in the way! So be sure to thoroughly – yet gently – cleanse your skin in the morning after every slugging session. 

        Packed full of humectants, this serum is perfect for layering underneath your chosen occlusive for hydrated, healthy skin.

        Is Skincare Slugging Good for Everyone? 

        It's okay if you don't like slugging or don't seem to find that it works for your skin! The truth is, it's not something that suits everyone's skin type and skin goals.

        Slugging is a skincare technique that is especially effective for those who have normal or dry skin or are trying to repair a compromised moisture barrier and reduce sensitivity. It locks in hydrating skincare ingredients that nourish these skin types and concerns.

        While most emollients are non-comedogenic and won't cause breakouts, slugging can feel uncomfortable for those with oily skin and prone to breakouts.  

        Nourishing facial oils like this one from Grown Alchemist are a fantastic alternative to slugging - and bring their own beauty benefits to skin.

        Slugging Skincare Alternatives

        Suppose you have combination or oily skin and want to get the benefits of locking in hydration without the heaviness. In that case, a facial oil might be the way to go. Multiple facial oils are perfect for oilier skin types, such as rosehip oil and squalane. 

        Facial oils also have occlusive benefits for skin, locking in that all-important hydration without feeling heavy or sticky on your skin like balms can do. They also bring unique benefits such as fading hyperpigmentation or lending a bit of antioxidant protection. 

        By comparison, most occlusives have the single advantage of locking in hydration. While this isn't a con per se, I think that the more your skincare does, the better! 

        This potent facial oil is a nourishing option for those who want to lock in hydration without a thick, heavy texture on their skin.

        Slugging in Skincare: The Bottom Line

        Skincare slugging is a helpful technique for locking in extra hydration for skin that needs it. If you're dry, dehydrated, or nursing a damaged moisture barrier back to health, it's an essential tip that will have your skin glowing in no time! 

        Those with oilier skin types might want to pass on this skincare trend or opt for facial oils instead.

        Want to know if this skincare tip will help you reach your skin goals? Try our skin analysis - you’ll get a detailed result of your skin type and product suggestions to get your beauty affairs in order!

        Beauty Affairs Skin Analysis

        Products Mentioned:

      1. GA-DE Sense 5 Intensive Nourishing Balm
      2. L’Occitane Organic Shea Butter
      3. Declaré Hydro Ocean's Best Hyaluron Triple Booster Serum
      4. Dermalogica Barrier Repair
      5. Grown Alchemist Antioxidant+ Facial Oil
      6. Minenssey Rejuvenating Superfood Facial Elixir
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