Skin Slugging: The Ultimate Guide

The Benefits of Slugging for your Skin | Space NK
By now, you’ve probably heard about slugging, the K-beauty skincare trend that went viral on TikTok a few years back when skincare expert Charlotte Palermino gave us the lowdown on her slugging skincare routine. Like clockwork, the trend comes back around every winter when a lot of people tend to deal with dry skin. If you haven't heard of slugging, read on to get the lowdown and see if this could fit into your winter skincare routine.

If you like the dewy, glass skin look or struggle to keep your skin hydrated, this could be the technique for you. Those with dry skin are the main contender for this skin trend, but it can work for almost everyone, as long as you’re doing it right. Some people have seen amazing results, so it’s of course, we wanted to give you the debrief on everything you need to know before you try slugging for yourself.

What is Slugging in Skincare?

No, slugging is not about putting slugs on your face, although this could sound like a skin treatment you can get. In skincare, slugging means applying an occlusive at the end of your evening routine – in other words, using a thick cream or balm that will create a barrier between your skin and the outside world to prevent hydration loss. This will result in your skin looking shiny and glossy like a glazed doughnut, and you will really get all the benefits from your skincare actives. It's all about looking after your skin barrier, especially during the cold winter months.

Slugging in skincare actually started way before it was trend, because it was recommended to anyone who was following a treatment for acne that could lead to extremely dry skin. This method allowed their skin to retain moisture.

What are the Benefits of Slugging?

The main reason slugging has gone viral is because it prevents water loss. We don’t necessarily realise how much water our skin loses, depending on our daily habits and our environment. A lack of hydration can prevent our skin from looking its best and also hinder the effectiveness of our skincare products. If you have dry skin and are struggling to keep your skin hydrated, this method could be worth a try. Slugging can also help your skincare work better. In the evening, you can apply different hydrating serums and actives to work overnight but sometimes their efficacy is not optimal because of the contact with air. Slugging your face not only prevents water loss but helps your skin lock in active ingredients as your barrier is much stronger.

How to do Slugging on your Face

On the nights you choose to do slugging, choose a hydrating approach to maximise results. If you've been skin cycling, this is a great routine to do on your recovery days to really boost your skin barrier. Experts recommend staying away from stronger actives like retinol and keep those ingredients for other evening routines.

Step 1: Cleanse

Start with double cleansing your face to make sure all SPF, makeup and impurities that might have accumulated during the day have been removed. A clean face is the always the perfect base for a successful night time skincare routine, especially if you're going to layer your skincare.



Step 2: Tone and Apply your Serums

Slugging is all about making your hydrating skincare work harder, so now is the time to pack on the layers of hydration. If you've heard of skin flooding, this is the part where you want your serums to work extra hard. We like to reach for formulas that contain potent hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides, products like The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, £ 17,30 to really support your skin barrier.



Step 3: Moisturise

Using a moisturiser will help hydrate your skin and it’s also a good first step to lock in the serums you used prior and their benefits. Since you're applying a thicker texture afterwards, you can go in with a lighter texture like the Tatcha The Water Cream, £ 24,00 or the Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer, £ 45,00.



Step 4: Seal in with occlusive

This is when the magic happens, after your moisturiser, you want to use an occlusive, whether it’s a really thick moisturiser or an overnight mask to lock in all the products you used before. Something like the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, £ 26,00 works well for this step, no need to overdo it, you just need to apply a think layer and let it do its magic.



Step 5: Wake up with dewy skin

The next morning, you should be able to tell that your skin is far more hydrated and has soaked in all the benefits of your evening skincare routine. To start off your morning skincare, wash off the excess with just water or use gentle cleanser like the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, £ 15,00 and your skin will be ready for your morning skincare.

The Best Products for Slugging

A lot of people have been using petrolatum-based products for their slugging routine, but you can really use any hydrating face mask that you already have in your skincare arsenal. The key is to focus on hydration and sticking to gentle formulas that will work to hydrate and calm your skin. Some of our favourites include:

How Often Should you do Slugging?

This completely depends on your skin type, concerns and where you are on your journey. For those who have a compromised skin barrier, we’d recommend slugging daily to speed up your skin’s recovery process. If you have dry skin, this can also be something you do daily and if you feel like your skin could use a break, take it.

Is Slugging Bad for Acne/Oily Skin?

Slugging is not recommended for those with oily, acne prone skin. When it comes to slugging your face, applying an occlusive can keep the oils from escaping your skin, which can cause pore clogging and lead to break outs. The desired effect of this skincare practice is to boost radiance and not cause breakout or cause inflammation.

Our Final Thoughts on Slugging

The slugging skincare trend is here to stay, especially for those who struggle with dry skin or a compromised skin barrier. The trend has now expanded to hand slugging and hair slugging (using hair oils overnight on your tresses). The skincare method might be the solution for those with dry, flaky skin who struggle to keep their skin hydrated. Slugging has the potential to help you achieve that daily dewy skin glow you’ve been striving for and is definitely worth a go in my opinion.

Read More

Everything You Need To Know About Skin Cycling
Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream Review
The Benefits of Milk in Skincare
Everything you Need to Know about Collagen
The Benefits of Peptides
Posted: Monday, 04 December 2023

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