A Complete Guide to Slugging – what it is, how to do it right, what products to use and more

Slugging is a viral skincare hack that can actually work for your skin’s health if done right.

person with glowing skin due to slugging
Slugging can give you glowing skin if done right – source

Unlike the skin icing hack, which can lead to dehydration and ruptured vessels, this h hack can help you get healthy glowing skin overnight.

Learn everything you need to know about slugging today. The answers to questions such as “what is slugging?”, “what product to use with slugging?”, “how often should I slug?”, “does slugging cause breakouts?”, and much more!

What is Slugging?

Slugging, while recently becoming popular online, has been a staple in k beauty routines for years. 

It is the act of covering your face with an occlusion barrier, like petroleum jelly, before going to bed, as the last or only step in your skincare routine. In theory, this will help you retain moisture and wake up with glowing skin! 

In actuality? It does just that when done right.

What are the Benefits of Slugging

If done right, this hack can be very beneficial to skin health. Petroleum based products prevent 99% of water loss from the skin.

Formulas in a petroleum base tend to be more effective in general when compared to gels, lotions, and creams. 

This means slugging increases the effectiveness of the products used underneath it! Which is great for activities and serums, helping to increase benefits.

What are the Risks of Slugging

Since petroleum increases product effectiveness, you should not use it with strong ingredients like retinoids or exfoliating actives as this can cause irritation or even damage the skin.

Slugging without cleaning your face or hands may trap bacteria between the layers, which is where breakouts may occur, so ensure you have clean hands, only using a pea-sized amount.

What are the Best Slugging Products?

Vaseline, CeraVe Healing Ointment, and Aquaphor are the most popular products used. Check out the pros and cons to each below.


Aquaphor is 41% petroleum, mineral oil, Parthenon (vitamin B), and glycerin, but it has lanolin. Lanolin comes from wool, which may be irritating as an allergen to some people, but many people can tolerate it just fine and it is a very moisturizing ingredient!


CeraVe Healing Ointment is 46.5% petroleum and has supporting ingredients like mineral oil, dimethicone, ceramides, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, Parthenon (vitamin B), and many more great ingredients. It is less hydrating than Aquaphor, but less likely to cause irritation.


Vaseline is 100% petroleum. It is the least irritating, least allergenic, and most occlusive of all of them. The downside is that it does not provide hydration, so you should use a moisturizer before it.

Slugging Routine – How to do it effectively

After steps in your skincare routine, take a small amount of your chosen petroleum ointment and apply it over the face and neck.

So the order should be at night:

1. Cleanse – use a nice cleanser that is pH balanced and gentle.

2. Serum – apply serum if needed with good actives that do not irritate.

3. Moisturize – moisturize with a good product that supports skin health.

4. Slug – apply a pea-sized amount of your petroleum product.

Super simple, and super effective! 

Introducing the Reverse Slug

To protect the skin, try the reverse slug hack. Put your petroleum-based product on sensitive areas, such as your under eyes, before putting on irritating ingredients to protect sensitive areas.

Common Slugging Questions

Here are the top slugging questions answered!

Does Slugging Cause Breakouts?

No. As long as you have clean hands and have been applying any other products with clean hands you will be fine!

How Often to Use Slugging?

Slugging is usually done to repair the skin barrier, so you should use it as needed. Dry skin may benefit from daily slugging, whereas oily skin may want to try it once a week at first.

Do I have to use So Much Ointment to Slug?

Absolutely not! Whenever you see someone slather on a thick petroleum base, that’s just for video aesthetics online. 

In actuality, you should only use a pea-sized amount for your entire face.

Can I Slug Even Though I Have Oily Skin?

Yup! Slug with less frequency of course but slugging can still be beneficial to oily skin, and may even help the skin stop producing so much oil.

The Takeaway 

Slugging is an awesome skincare trend that can have a lot of benefits if done right.

It can make products work better, restore the skin barrier, and increase hydration!

It is an amazing way to support the skin barrier and ensure skin health stays high. You can try it if you have oily or dry skin, as it will help the skin regardless, but start off slow.

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