My grandmother is in her eighties and has some of the most supple and moisturized skin I have ever seen in my entire life. And it’s all credit to the large tub of Vaseline that she keeps by her bedside table. Now thanks to Tik Tok, Reddit and beauty influencers, my grandmothers’ nighttime skincare routine has become a viral skincare trend. Young beauty gurus are slathering Aquaphor, Cerave, or Vaseline over their carefully curated skincare routines. The name of this method? Slugging.
Slugging’s origins are rooted in Korean beauty regimens. The purpose of slugging is to rebuild your moisture barrier by locking in your oils and moisturizer with a thin layer of petrolatum — a chemical substance used as a lubricating agent and found in Vaseline. Done right before bed, this allows your skincare products to fully absorb while you get your beauty sleep. Your skin soaks in all the serums and moisturizer, and you wake up with smooth and bouncy skin that is ready to take on another day.
I adopted my grandmother’s method about a year ago and have noticed the difference in my skin. I wake up with hydrated skin that makes my morning makeup routine that much simpler and does the work of hiding all of my fine lines and wrinkles. The only downside is that I tend to wake up with Aquaphor all over my pillows.
It’s the perfect method for anyone that suffers from dry skin, and it can help you to restore the lipids that make up your skin’s natural protective barrier. According to FACILE dermatology + boutique’s Medical Aesthetician Caroline Godsick, lipids, or natural fats, are essential components of the skin that “play a crucial role in maintaining the strength of the skin’s protective barrier, which holds moisture, protects the skin from damage and keeps dirt and impurities out. They also aid the skin’s natural repair process.”
If your lipids are depleted, it leads to water loss, less moisturized skin, wrinkles, among other skin concerns. In short, less moisture means more wrinkles.
But before you run to your nearest pharmacy for some petrolatum, it’s important to know that slugging isn’t for everyone. Those with oily, acne-prone skin, or fungal acne are more likely to develop breakouts through slugging. Since these products work as a barrier over your skin, they trap in sweat and could lead to clogged pores. Godsick recommends that those who are unable to slug their face can instead slug their neck and “should focus on using hyaluronic acid, lightweight moisturisers, and gentle cleansers to replenish their skin.”
It’s also important that you to use only non-comedogenic products if you are going to slug before bed. Comedogenic products — like beeswax and almond oil — are known to clog pores and lead to acne, so avoiding them will allow your pores to breathe and absorb the moisture from your routine.
If you do plan on slugging, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin before, and do a spot test before covering your face. I never realized how much my skin needed an extra boost of moisture until I began to include my grandmother’s method into my nighttime skincare routine. Now whenever my skin is feeling a little dry, I bring out the Aquaphor to save the day.