Understanding Slugging | Pros & Cons | Sundae School - Sundae Body

Understanding Slugging: A Deep Dive Into The Overnight Skincare Trend

skincare slugging

What is slugging in skincare?

Yep, it’s a pretty eyebrow-raising name for a skincare trend, but ‘slugging’ simply refers to applying an occlusive-like petroleum product to the face (and sometimes body) before bedtime. The skincare trend gets its name from the “slug-like” sheen it leaves on the skin after applying your occlusive product of choice – which is a fancy way of saying a thick moisturizer that works by creating a physical, water-resistant barrier on top of the skin.

How to get started slugging

You can get started with your slugging skincare routine about 30 minutes before bed to allow the products to sink into the skin. Here’s what to do:

  1. If applying just to the face, cleanse and exfoliate your face. If applying to the body, head into the shower and complete your usual body care routine.

  2. Ensure the products you are applying are formulated to provide moisture. Look for those that contain glycerin, a humectant that allows the skin to retain moisture, increases skin hydration and helps with dryness. It is also an emollient, so it’s best applied on freshly showered skin for that uber-soft afterfeel. Shea butter is also a body moisturizer MVP, working as a powerful emollient that keeps water from evaporating into the skin. (Nice!). 

  3. Apply the occlusive product.

  4. If you are slugging your face, protect your pillow from any stains by placing a towel over it and protecting your hair with a headband or sleeping cap.

The benefits of slugging

If you have dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin, then slugging could be a good technique to try as the final step of your nighttime skincare routine. This is because slugging helps to support the skin’s moisture barrier, locking in moisture and improving hydration, leaving your skin looking and feeling fresh when you wake up. Plus, good news for your savings account, ‘cause slugging is super cost-effective – in other words, you don't need a laundry list of best-selling products to see results.

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What skin types is slugging not suited for?

Petrolatum-based products are non-comedogenic, so the process of slugging in skincare technically shouldn’t clog pores for those with oily skin, mild acne-prone skin or back acne (aka bacne). However, this all depends on what products you apply to the skin before this occlusive layer. For example, if you are applying an oil-based serum or a comedogenic product, that may end up clogging pores and causing skin sensitivities for those with oily skin. 

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No skincare product is ever a one-size-fits-all approach, in that much of it is trial and error (and a whole lot of patch-testing to ensure everything sits right with your skin!) Some ingredients in occlusive products might not be suitable for your skin type, so if you experience skin sensitivities after slugging, it’s best to discontinue use. Additionally, if you’re prone to breakouts, slugging might not be the one for you.

If you’re not sold, just stick to one lightweight layer body moisturizer, and nod off to the best solo slumber party ever). Fresh, deliciously scented skin, who? 

Happy Sundae x

Written By: Lizzie Waley (Sundae Co-Founder & Body Care Enthusiast) | LinkedIn

Fact Checked: Charnnie Frimpong (Sundae Content Marketing Manager) | Linkedin