Skincare Slugging 101: Your Guide to K-Beauty’s Slugging Skincare Trend

Have you ever slathered on moisturizer only to wake up the next morning with still dry or itchy skin? Are you prone to dryness or tightness of the face, or find yourself particularly scaly in the wintertime? 

You might benefit from slugging, a viral trend sweeping the skincare world. Some love it, others hate it, but one thing is certain — everyone wants that radiant, dewy, “woke-up-like-this” glow. 

So…what is slugging in skincare? 

Slugging skin involves lathering up the face with petrolatum — commonly using occlusive products Vaseline, CeraVe, or Aquaphor — to lock in moisture and hydration in the skin overnight. 

The concept of slugging isn’t super new; in fact, before it was a viral trend, coating skin in an occlusive like Vaseline had roots in both the Black community and in Korean skin care. 

Recently, TikTok, Reddit, and Instagram re-introduced slugging to new audiences and skincare enthusiasts all over the globe. 

Slugging can help prevent transepidermal water loss, which is what happens when your skin’s protective barrier is damaged and moisture from the skin evaporates instead of soaking into skin. 

Slugging skincare benefits include: 

  • Prevents transepidermal water loss, helping to maintain a healthy skin barrier 
  • Acts as an occlusive, locking in the good ingredients from your nightly routine  
  • Can help achieve that dewy “glass skin” or “glazed donut” skin look  

How do I slug my face? 

Slugging should happen at the end of your nightly skincare routine — post-cleanser, serum, and moisturizer. 

As a final step in your routine, simply dispense a pea-sized amount of petrolatum or petroleum jelly product of your choice (Vaseline, Aquaphor, etc.) into your hand. Rub hands gently together to warm the product, then apply a thin layer to the face. “Thin layer” is the operative phrase here. After all, you don’t want to go to bed feeling slicker than an oil rig! 

Watch self-described skincare “fairy godmother” Charlotte Palermino goes into detail on slugging below.



How often should I be slugging?

Slugging doesn’t have to be a nightly or year-round tool in your skincare arsenal. In fact, it might not be right for you to slug every night, especially if you like to use actives like retinoids, BHAs, or chemical exfoliants. 

Think of skin slugging as a wintertime ritual to help with changing seasons and cold temps, especially if you suffer from dry skin. 

What products do I need for slugging skin? 

At Covey, we’re big fans of building an essentials-only skincare routine that lasts you through ever-changing skincare trends and seasons. 

Putting your products on in the right order can make a world of difference, upping your radiance and leaving skin smoother and softer. Following a minimalist routine like Covey includes just three products and tells you exactly what order to use them in. 

We believe these 3 products are the cornerstones of a successful skincare routine:  

  1. A cleanser to gently scrub away impurities, makeup, and prep your beautiful canvas for the rest of your routine
  2. A Vitamin C serum to brighten the skin with antioxidants, boost collagen production, and reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation 
  3. A daily moisturizer to calm, soothe, and hydrate with nourishing ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid 

So, if you want to try skin slugging, your final step after moisturizing would be slugging with Aquaphor, Vaseline, or the occlusive of your choice! 

Some like to let their product soak in for a few minutes before going to bed to avoid getting any traces of the occlusive on their pillow, but it’s totally up to preference. 

Putting it all together 

Slugging is here to stay and can be especially helpful for dry skin types. For oily skin types or those who are acne-prone, slugging might not be for you. But that’s okay! The beauty of the skincare world is that you (or your derm!) get to decide what’s best for your unique skin type. 

Ready to ditch the 10-step skincare dance? Need a gentle, derm-approved, and simple skincare solution? Check out the Covey routine!

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