What is slugging? The Tiktok hair and skin care trend explained

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No, it doesn’t involve snails

Move over, snail mucin. One of the hottest skin care trends of 2023 involved putting snail goo all over your face. And now, we have one of 2024’s first trends: slugging. Does it involve slugs, or other slimy critters? You’ll probably be happy to hear that it does not.

Slugging is a decades-old skin care hack that’s making the rounds on social media — and you’ll be happy to hear that this dermatologist-recommended trick can have real benefits for both your skin and hair. Best of all, you can do it at home.

Shop this article: Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum JellyAquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin ProtectantHandcraft Blends Fractionated Coconut Oil

What is slugging?

Slugging is the process of applying a heavy emollient, typically petroleum jelly, to your skin or hair, and leaving it there overnight. It gets its name from how it makes your skin look, like it’s covered in slug mucus.

The practice has been around for a long time — your grandma probably used petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, as a moisturizer when she was young. That’s because leaving an emollient on your skin overnight “helps to repair a damaged skin barrier, hydrates dry skin, fights sagging skin and wrinkles, increases water content and makes the skin plumper,” according to dermatologist Corey L. Hartman. 

How to slug at home

If you want to try slugging at home, go through your nightly skin care routine: Clean your skin and then prime it using toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer and any other products in your lineup. Avoid harsh products like acids or acne medications, because they can irritate your skin in conjunction with slugging.

Then, apply a thin layer of the slugging product and head to bed. That’s it!

To slug your hair, same thing: To clean, dry hair, apply a thin layer of your product, starting at the ends and working your way up. Avoid applying the product to the roots, which can weigh your hair down and make it look oily.

Products for your skin

Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly on white background

Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline is the original slugging product. There are no frills here. And as an added bonus, it’s affordable — you can get 26 ounces for under $16, which should last you a few years if you only use it for slugging.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment on white background

Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is great for slugging and can also be used for dry skin, wound care and more.

Vlue tube of CeraVe Healing Ointment on white background

CeraVe Healing Ointment

CeraVe Healing Ointment is developed by dermatologists and can be a good choice for people who want to try slugging, but who are acne prone or who tend to get oily skin.

Eclat Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

Eclat Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

Eclat’s Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum should go on before your emollient layer when you’re slugging, to give your skin an added boost of hydration.

Bottle of Cliganic USDA Organic Rosehip Seed Oil for Face next to product packaging on white background

Cliganic USDA Organic Rosehip Seed Oil for Face

This rosehip seed oil is moisturizing and has anti-wrinkle properties for younger-looking skin.

Products for your hair

Two bottles of Handcraft Blends Fractionated Coconut Oil

Handcraft Blends Fractionated Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is lightweight and helps promote hair growth and scalp health.

Several bottles of Cliganic Organic Jojoba Oil next to flowers on tan background

Cliganic Organic Jojoba Oil

Pure jojoba oil helps moisturize the hair and scalp. It’s lightweight and fast-absorbing.

PURA D'OR 16 Oz ORGANIC Sunflower Seed Oil in front of sunflowers on white background

PURA D’OR 16 Oz ORGANIC Sunflower Seed Oil

Organic sunflower seed oil doesn’t just moisturize hair. It also helps cleanse it naturally while thickening and enhancing shine.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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