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Beauty trend: what is slugging?

Trends in skincare come and go. However, among all the different trends, our attention has been drawn to a trend called "slugging". Slugging is the new South Korean beauty trend. Let's delve deeper into this trend in this article.

The Slugging Method: What Does It Involve?

Originating from South Korea, slugging is a method that involves smearing your entire face with a layer of pure Vaseline as the final step in your evening skincare routine and leaving it on overnight like a mask. The term "slugging" comes from the English word "slug", suggestive of the thick layer and the oily and sticky texture that Vaseline provides.

What is the benefit of slugging?

It would serve to reduce transepidermal water loss (perspiration) by creating a protective and occlusive barrier in order to seal the skin's hydration overnight. Indeed, skin that is not sufficiently hydrated will appear duller and with more pronounced wrinkles. Slugging could also help toimprove the penetration of active ingredients from products applied beforehand on clean skin, by trapping them under an occlusive film, thereby amplifying their effects. Particularly popular in Asia, the aim of this technique would be to soothe skin discomforts, quickly restore hydrated skin, reduce dehydration fine lines and brighten one's complexion.

What are the steps of slugging?

Here is the protocol to follow to reap the benefits of slugging.

  1. The first step is to thoroughly cleanse your face to remove all traces of impurities. Indeed, poorly cleansed skin can trap dirt and bacteria under the vaseline all night, potentially leading to spots;

  2. Continue with the application of your usual skincare products (serums, eye contour, etc...), as well as your moisturising cream ;

  3. Finish by spreading a thick layer of petroleum jelly all over the face to seal everything in before going to bed;

  4. The following day, wash your face with a suitable cleanser.

Note : On the evening of slugging, avoid applying certain active ingredients, such as retinoids, AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, etc...) and BHAs (salicylic acid), which can have their effect increased when trapped under the layer of petroleum jelly, and cause irritations and redness.

Small tip: Consider tying your hair back and using a headband while sleeping, as well as covering your pillowcase with a towel to avoid staining it.

Who is slugging intended for?

Slugging holds particular interest during a specific season of the year and for a specific skin type. Indeed, it is more suited to individuals with very dry skin, normally dry skin or sensitive skin with a compromised skin barrier. This trend is particularly recommended during the winter months, when the epidermis is weakened, dehydrated and tight due to negative temperatures, humidity and the dry air from heating.

Why Vaseline?

Highly viscous, vaseline (INCI: Petrolatum) belongs to the family of mineral oils derived from petroleum, as opposed to vegetable oils. Mineral oils are widely used in cosmetics for their occlusive nature, conferred by their chemical structure. Compared to vegetable oils, which are made up of various molecules (unsaturated and aromatic groups), mineral oils are a complex mixture of linear saturated hydrocarbons. The alignment of these straight chains forms a "tight palisade" that prevents the passage of other molecules.

Does this technique pose a risk?

Contrary to popular belief, there would be no health risks associated with trying slugging. Both petroleum jelly and mineral oils are non-comedogenic, meaning they do not prevent the natural elimination of sebum and do not cause the appearance of spots. Indeed, a study has shown in subjects suffering from acne that the daily application of petroleum jelly led to a decrease in the number of acne lesions, particularly due to its occlusive properties.

Another point to consider: petroleum jelly has been accused of being carcinogenic. However, the petroleum jelly used in cosmetic applications is free from all substances with carcinogenic potential, specifically referring to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Indeed, the manufacturing process is designed to exclude these compounds, which are inevitably present in the raw mineral oil used as a starting point, through various refining stages (distillation, extraction and crystallisation) followed by a purification step involving acid treatment and/or catalytic hydrogenation. Similarly, a study evaluated the skin penetration potential of mineral oils and waxes and revealed that petroleum jelly is primarily adsorbed onto the stratum corneum, with a minor fraction reaching the epidermis and dermis and no absorption into the bloodstream. Finally, petroleum jelly also has the property of being inert on the skin, meaning it is non-irritating.

Indeed, the 'slugging' technique does not provide deep hydration as petroleum jelly is not absorbed by the deeper layers of the skin, remaining only on the surface. It primarily acts as a protective barrier that prevents dehydration. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, petroleum jelly is derived from the residues of a non-renewable fossil fuel (petroleum), it is non-biodegradable and produced through a polluting process. Therefore, due to its environmental impact, we exclude it from our formulations.

As a result, we recommend that you opt for products with more subtle formulas, which include occlusives that will remain on the surface to prevent water loss (for example : mineral oils, vegetable butters/oils, mineral waxes, vegetable waxes, silicones, polyglutamic acid...), but also humectants that have a strong affinity with water and will draw water from the deeper layers of the skin to the upper layers (for example : hyaluronic acid, glycerine, sugars, amino acids, panthenol...), and emollients to strengthen the skin barrier and limit water loss as the application progresses (for example : ceramides, squalane, cholesterol, fatty acids and fatty acid esters...), whereas petroleum jelly has an effect at a specific point in time.

We present to you the relipidating balm which contains all these elements simultaneously to hydrate the skin in every possible way, in addition to having a superior sensory experience, being less greasy and less sticky than petroleum jelly.

List of Ingredients :

Aqua (Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (shea butter), Glycerin (glycerine), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil (camelina oil), Glucose, Sorbitan Olivate, Methylheptyl Glycerin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Carrageenan, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (calendula macerate), Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Ceramide NP (ceramides), Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract (AD-Resyl), Tocopherol, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride.


  • LOMBARD K. J. & al. A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2012).

  • TEICHERT T. & al. Review of data on the dermal penetration of mineral oils and waxes used in cosmetic applications. Toxicology Letters (2017).


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