Slugging skin: What it means and how to try it

In simpler words, slugging is applying an oily or waxy product like petroleum jelly over your face before sleeping. It is normally considered the last step of the day's skincare routine. The process is not always preferable for all skin types. In other words, the slugging technique in the skincare world is not a new invention but a comeback of an old tradition.

In this article, you will learn the pros and cons of skin slugging and how to integrate it into your skincare regime.

What is slugging?

Slugging is smearing a thin layer of an occlusive product like petroleum jelly over your face before sleeping. This is usually done at the end of a nightcare regime. This technique aims to lock the hydration within the skin cells. The name derives from the 'slug-like' sheen and shine it provides to the face after the application. This slugging method got back on trend after it became a viral beauty trend on TikTok.

What are the benefits of slugging?

Slugging is enjoying quite some popularity because, as an age-old tradition, it has proven beneficial in achieving glowing and hydrating skin. Let us look at some of the skin benefits it offers us.

  • Skin barrier

The most beneficial factor of slugging is that it works as a skin barrier that helps with the better absorption of nutrients. This process helps mineral and essential components penetrate deep into the skin's pores and work their miracles.

  • Healing

As the product is occlusive, it helps form a protective layer over the skin, which helps in an unhindered healing process. The reason behind leaving the product overnight is that as we sleep, the body begins its healing duties; this occlusive layer accelerates the overall healing procedure.

  • Hydration

Since the product is oily, it traps the moisture and nutrients from other skincare products within the skin cells and thus prevents them from evaporating. This helps in achieving hydrated, radiant, and glowing skin.

Also read: What Is Skin Hydration & How to Hydrate Skin

  • Anti-Ageing

As it helps retain the necessary nutrients in the skin, it helps the anti-ageing products fight the free radicals effectively. This promotes the efficiency of the anti-ageing process and eliminates fine lines and wrinkles.

What are the downsides of slugging?

This approach has its share of disadvantages as well. Some of these are

  • It tends to clog pores and thus give rise to breakouts like acne.
  • The process can cause irritation, itchiness, and red patches in sensitive skin. In some cases, it might also cause allergic reactions.
  • If it is not performed properly, it might lead to overhydration, resulting in skin rashes and breakouts.

Overnight slugging routine

This is the classic way of performing the entire routine. Before using this method, there are things to remember: firstly, you must perform the whole process appropriately to avoid skin disorders; secondly, it is better to try it out on a smaller skin surface to confirm if the treatment is right for your skin. Let us guide you through the consecutive steps.

  • Cleansing

Cleanse your face with a cleanser to remove all the layers of makeup from it. Next, double-clean your face with a hydrating face wash for deep cleaning. This will help in getting rid of even a speck of dirt. Pat dry or wait for it to dry, but do not rub with a towel.

  • Moisturising

In this step, you can apply your usual skincare products like serums, lotions, exfoliating masks, etc. But make sure to moisturise your skin properly, or the effect of slugging will be hindered. You can use the Waterlight Gel Moisturiser 72-Hour Hydration before skin slugging for the best results.

  • Slugging

Choose a heavily occlusive product like Vaseline, cold creams, ointments, etc., to slather your face. Depending upon the quotient of dryness, you can decide on the amount. Also, generous amounts should be applied to the dry areas; however, if your skin is oily, try applying a thin layer of lightweight occlusive products.

  • Sleeping

Leave the product overnight and go to sleep. The skin will absorb the required nutrients from the product. Moreover, it will also quicken the skin's healing process.

  • Rinsing

Wash off the product with a mild cleanser the following morning. It is best to use lukewarm water while cleaning your face. Hot water is not advisable as it can wash off the face's natural oils.

Short-contact slugging routine

According to the age-old process, the product should be left overnight. However, the present one is a bit improvised and is termed short-contact slugging. The steps for conducting the following method are,

  • Cleanse your face with a face wash or cleanser.
  • Apply your usual products like serum or moisturiser
  • After the complete absorption, apply a very fine layer of Vaseline
  • Leave it for thirty minutes and then wash it off
  • Wait for an hour or two before going to bed.

How often should you do slugging?

The frequency of slugging varies with the varying skin type. For oily skin, slugging once or twice a week is enough. Moreover, choosing lightweight and non-comedogenic products for slugging is important for people with oily skin. It is the ideal technique for dry skin to retain moisture and hydration and thus achieve glowing skin. They can repeat it five times a week.

For acne-prone, it is best to avoid this approach. However, they can slug their skin once a week. If you have sensitive skin at first, try the product on a smaller surface; if all goes well, you can repeat it one to two times a week. Remember to choose lighter products for slugging.

Who should avoid slugging?

Slugging is usually an ideal process for those suffering from dry skin. Slugging helps to increase the oil content level of the skin, which usually works behind the glow in the face. However, slugging skincare might not be your best option for those suffering from acne or too prone to inflammation-associated skin disorders. However, if you indulge in the process, washing your face with an acne-specific face wash like Clearing & Calming Acne Face Wash the next morning would be the best decision.


The effects of slugging cannot be generalised. It reacts differently with different skin types. Hence, trying it out on a smaller scale before fully indulging in it is necessary. However, while choosing the associated products, opting for reputed companies for the best products is essential.


  • What is the best time for skin slugging?

Slugging your skin at night before bed is the best option

  • How long should you leave the slugging on?

Usually, it is left overnight, but you can also leave it for thirty minutes and wash it off before sleeping.

  • Can only slugging give me glowing skin?

No, only slugging will not help. Layering it up with moisturisers and serums is required.

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