Is slugging the latest beauty revolution or just another gooey fad? In Colorado, where humidity often dips low, slugging isn’t merely a luxury—it’s essential for skin survival, says Molly Johnson, a licensed esthetician at Heyday, a skincare services shop with multiple locations in Denver. That’s because in the quest for flawless skin, hydration is key, but Colorado’s dry environment presents obvious obstacles. Enter slugging, a moisturizing technique that involves slathering the face with a thick layer of occlusive products, such as petroleum jelly or shea butter, as the last step of your nightly skincare routine. Some of Johnson’s favorite products for slugging include Naturopathica’s Gotu Kola Intense Repair Balm and One Love Organics’ Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm. This coating layer acts as a protective barrier to lock in moisture and prevent overnight water loss, keeping your skin hydrated, smooth, and supple. And it’s not limited to just your face; you can slug cracked fingers and flaky knees as well.
Johnson suggests slugging about two times a week, and always applying moisturizer, specifically one with hyaluronic acid, as the first step. This is because occlusive products generally don’t moisturize the skin on their own; they work by locking in preexisting moisture. “Using a hyaluronic acid serum assists your skin in pulling in moisture and retaining it,” Johnson explains. “It works like a sponge to plump and moisturize your skin.”
Like any beauty trend, there are caveats to slugging. If you’re prone to breakouts, be cautious, as the occlusive nature of these products can trap oil and lead to blemishes. Avoid active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, or retinoids when slugging, as they can intensify and produce unpredictable results under the occlusive layer. Johnson recommends sleeping on your back, which she shares is also the best practice for preventing wrinkles, and using silk or satin pillowcases that leach less moisture from your skin. And be sure to wash your pillowcase often.
To make the most of this hydration technique, Johnson recommends pairing it with monthly facials with a nano infusion, incorporating humidifiers in your room, and, of course, drinking plenty of water. While it might leave you feeling like a freshly glazed donut at night, waking up looking like a morning dewdrop makes it hard to argue with this slimy skincare sensation.