Slugging Skin Care: A Complete Guide To Skin Hydration

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Does your skin become dry and flaky in the winter despite all the effort you put into your skin care routine? Dry skin is one of the most common skin problems faced by people across the globe. Often, the issue persists despite using a variety of skin creams and moisturizers. Here is where DIY methods like slugging skin care come to the rescue! Slugging is a new K-beauty trend that promises to give you glowing, dewy skin by locking in the moisture. Let us check out what this technique is all about.

What Is Slugging?

Do not let the unsavory name put you off this brilliant beauty technique. We assure you, slugging skin care has got nothing to do with actual slugs sliding across your face. Slugging is simply a K-beauty skin care trend that is exploding in popularity these days owing to its promise of giving your skin a deeply hydrated and dewy look. It involves slathering your face in a layer of petrolatum-based ointment or petroleum jelly as the last step of your nighttime skin care routine to repair the skin overnight. The thick, slimy texture of the jelly or ointment could be compared to the mucus of a slug, and that is how the name of this process came to be.

Slugging helps lock in the moisture of the other products applied before it. It also provides an extra layer of skin barrier protection. Even though this method has been around for a few years now, it has gained a recent resurgence in popularity thanks to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Now, let’s take a look at the various benefits of slugging.

Four Amazing Benefits Of Slugging

One of the most obvious benefits of slugging is the intense moisturization it provides to your skin. There are a few other benefits as well. However, keep in mind that no scientific research has been conducted on slugging and its reported benefits. These benefits are only based on anecdotal evidence.

1. Forms A Protective Barrier

When slugging, a thin protective layer of petroleum jelly or ointment is slathered on the skin after moisturizing. This layer acts as a protective barrier that locks in the moisture and prevents it from escaping. It also keeps external elements like dust from coming in direct contact with the skin.

2. Promotes Skin Repair

Applying creams and serums with nourishing ingredients just before slathering a layer of petroleum jelly can promote skin repair. Locking in the nutrients gives them ample time to penetrate and work on your skin while you sleep, and you wake up with well-nourished, refreshed skin.

3. Offers Intense Hydration

Those who struggle with dry skin, flakiness, and eczema can benefit greatly from slugging. The process not only gives your skin an instant boost of hydration but also helps your skin stay moisturized for a long time. It promotes moisture retention by preventing excessive transepidermal water loss.

4. Delays The Signs Of Aging

Dry skin is susceptible to premature aging and the early appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Maintaining optimum water content in the skin cells is essential to achieve a smooth, plump look. The intense hydration provided by slugging keep the signs of aging at bay and lets you enjoy firm, youthful skin longer.

Slugging skin care is an awesome step for anyone to include in their nighttime routine. However, there are a few skin types for which slugging is especially beneficial. Is your skin type one of these? Find out below!

Three Skin Types That Should Not Skip Slugging

While slugging suits most skin types, and anyone can enjoy the benefits of this super hydrating routine, there are certain skin types that stand to get the most out of this method. People with these three skin types should never skip slugging:

1. Mature Skin

With age, your skin becomes thinner and more prone to damage. People with mature skin should make slugging a part of their nighttime routine to retain moisture and promote skin repair. It helps protect your skin from further damage by forming a protective layer and shielding it against external elements.

2. Dry Skin

Does your skin tend to dry out quickly, especially in the colder months? It is time for you to add slugging to your skin care routine. By giving your skin a boost of hydration, slugging helps replenish lost moisture and makes your skin visibly plump and soft.

3. Skin With Inflammatory Conditions Like Eczema

Inflammatory skin conditions can leave your skin looking dull, damaged, and scaly. Regular slugging can help with the healing process and help your skin recover its lost moisture. Make sure you apply a deep moisturizer or a nourishing cream on your face before slathering on a layer of petroleum jelly.

Now we know that most of us can enjoy great-looking skin with a dose of slugging. For the best results, it is important to follow a proper process. Here is how to incorporate slugging into your daily skin care routine.

Try Slugging This Way For The Best Results

In order to get the best results, slugging needs to be done the right way. If done improperly, it can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. But when you do it do properly, you wake up with plump, velvety smooth skin. Here is how to do it in seven simple steps:

1. Remove Your Makeup

If you have been wearing sunscreen and makeup all day long, the first step in your night skin care routine should be makeup removal. Use a gentle cleansing lotion or micellar water to remove all traces of makeup from your face. You can use an oil-based cleanser to remove waterproof mascara, eyeliner, and liquid lipstick.

2. Wash Your Face

Wash your face with cool water and a gentle facewash that will not strip your skin of its natural oils or disrupt the microbiome of your skin. Always use a facial cleanser developed for your specific skin type.

3. Use A Toner

Toning removes the last traces of makeup and tightens your pores. If you have oily skin, it is a good idea to use an alcohol-free toner after washing your face.

4. Apply A Serum

The serum is often the most nutrient-rich component of your skin care routine. Depending on the needs of your skin, you can choose from a range of serums enriched with different nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin A, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. Your options include calming serums, hydrating serums, serums for repairing damaged skin, anti-aging serums, and anti-acne serums. Apply the serum and leave it on for at least a minute for it to soak into your skin before moisturizing.

5. Moisturize Your Skin

Moisturizing your skin with a nourishing lotion helps promote skin rejuvenation as you sleep. Use a lotion or a cream that suits your skin type. Those with dry skin can go for richer creams, while a water-based lotion or gel would be the best bet for those with normal to oily skin.

6. Apply An Eye Cream

Some people tend to skip this important part of a nighttime routine, but you should not. The area around your eyes is very delicate and needs special care. The first signs of aging – like fine lines and wrinkles – tend to show up around your eyes. Make it a point to apply an overnight eye cream or eye serum every night.

7. Apply A Layer Of Petroleum Jelly

While your skin is still damp from the moisturizer, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over all your face. Be careful not to apply a thick layer as it may end up clogging your pores.

Once you are done with your skin care routine, you can go to sleep and wake up to glowing, glass-like skin after slugging from the previous night!

While slugging has the potential to give you gorgeous skin if done right, you might not have the time or energy to go through all these steps regularly. This is where the short-cut method comes into play as a quick-fix solution for those who want to try slugging but do not have the time.

Short-Cut Slugging Method

Do not have the time for a lengthy slugging routine? Do not worry! We have got you covered with this short-cut version with fewer steps.

1. Remove Makeup

In the evening, remove your makeup with micellar water or a cleansing lotion. Make sure you remove all the traces of stubborn makeup like mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick.

2. Wash Your Face

Wash your face with cool water and a mild cleanser. Ensure you use a face wash suited for your skin type. Pat your face dry.

3. Apply Petroleum Jelly

When your skin is still a little damp, coat your face in a thin layer of petroleum jelly. Leave it on for a couple of hours.

4. Wash Your Face

After a couple of hours, wash your face with cool water. Do not use a face wash.

5. Moisturize

Apply a serum with a hydrating ingredient like hyaluronic acid. Finish off your routine by applying your regular moisturizer.
While the short-cut method may not be as effective as the regular method, it still gives your skin a plump and hydrated look.

How Often Should You Slug Your Skin?

It is recommended that you slug your skin once or twice a week, depending on the condition of your skin. Those with extremely dry skin can slug two to three days in a row and give it a break for two to three days before repeating the process. However, irrespective of how dry your skin is, daily slugging is not recommended for anyone.

Now, let’s answer the most important question.

Does Slugging Have Any Cons?

While many people could benefit from slugging once in a while, it is not suitable for everyone. Those with oily skin can experience breakouts after slugging as it traps in dead skin cells and increases skin oiliness. Slugging can also be messy and may stain your pillow covers. The thumb rule is that people with oily or acne-prone skin should avoid slugging.


Like many K-beauty trends, slugging is currently creating waves in beauty circles. It is an overnight skin care technique that promises intense hydration and skin barrier repair. It is a must-try for those with dry or compromised skin. However, the treatment could be overly hydrating and not suitable for people with oily skin. If you have normal to dry skin and could do with a boost of hydration, go ahead and give this technique a try to wake up with dewy, supple, and glass-like skin. However, remember that no scientific research has been done to establish its benefits.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How is skin slugging different from regular moisturizing?

Slugging involves applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly after you moisturize your skin.

Is petroleum jelly safe for the skin?

Yes, cosmetic-grade petroleum jelly is considered safe for the skin if used in moderation.

Is slugging bad for acne?

Yes, it is better to avoid slugging if you have acne-prone skin.

Should you wash your face after slugging?

No, go to sleep right after slugging and wash your face in the morning.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).