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This is The Dry Skin Saving TikTok Trend That Dermatologists—and Beyoncé—Love


Vogue Arabia, January 2020. Photo: Yulia Gorbachenko

In the last two years, skincare has spiked in sales, with TikTok’s never ending feed of beauty tutorial content is partially to blame. From 17-step skincare routines to honest reviews about brands such as the Ordinary and Cerave, it’s safe to say that TikTok has made an impression on everyone’s skincare routines. Amongst the trends was a method known as ‘slugging’. The beauty technique which originated from K-beauty rituals before making its way to TikTok essentially locks in the skin’s natural moisture by adding petroleum jelly as a final skincare step. The term ‘slugging’ comes from petroleum jelly, which tends to give one’s complexion a gooey glow, with celebrities including Beyoncé and Lucy Liu known to be fans of the method.

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll says that “occlusive products lock in moisture as well as active hydrating ingredients in other creams after applying it lastly. This helps seal the skins natural moisture in.” On her Instagram page, Dr. Carroll explains how the term slugging may be new, but the technique is something dermatologists have been recommending for years.


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A post shared by Dr Julia Carroll MD FRCPC FAAD (@drjuliacarroll)

While it is a skincare hack best suited for drier complexions, slugging is safe for all skin types. However, especially if prone to irritation, slugging can help to reduce some of those issues and has been known to aid in improving conditions such as eczema.

Slugging is best paired with hydrating products such as hyaluronic acid, and it is advised to steer clear of active ingredient products – this means no retinols or BHAs. The popularized face treatment is recommended as part of a night-time routine. Once all serums and moisturizers have been applied, add a thick layer of petroleum jelly on afterwards to seal in the products.

Another reason behind the trending skincare hack is that occlusive products such as Vaseline act as a barrier between the skin and external environmental factors. This is ideal for Middle East residents with ongoing exposure with air-conditioning sapping moisture from the skin, and resulting in flakiness, itchy skin and extreme dryness. By applying an occlusive product before bed, the skin is protected from water loss. For oily or acne prone skin, slugging is best as a once a week treatment

How to slug: A step-by-step guide

Cleanse thoroughly
As slugging seals everything into the skin, there cannot be makeup residue left on the skin’s surface. Try double cleansing to remove all remaining debris.

Pack on the humectants
Apply any hydrating serums or oils to clean skin as usual.

After serums are applied, moisturize with a hydrating night cream. Double check the ingredients list as anything with active ingredients such as retinol can irritate beneath the occlusive.

Slather on the slug
Lastly, apply a thick layer of the petroleum jelly products to seal in the prior skincare products, creating a barrier.

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