This K-beauty trend promises glowing skin, but it could do more harm than good

‘Slugging’, a K-beauty skincare technique, is doing the rounds on TikTok. But what is it and does it actually help dry skin?

TikTok has been the source of many beauty trends and hacks. From the five-step foundation routine for a flawless finish and heatless curls to the dry shampoo trend and how to get a fringe without cutting your hair, there’s a lot to learn from scrolling through those 60-second videos. Now, a new trend has emerged from the social media platform and it has caught our eye after being credited to Korea, the home of innovative skincare. Enter: slugging.

OK, so the name may not sound particularly appealing but stay with us. ‘Slugging’ is a K-beauty skincare trend that involves coating your face in petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline, before bedtime. This is meant to help seal moisture in your skin and prevent transepidermal water loss. Thanks to TikTok, the trend has gone global (according to LookFantastic’s new trend report, Google searches are up 319% over the last year) with key names like Skincare by Hyram praising it for those with dry, dehydrated skin – but it has created a clear divide within the skincare world.

Yes, it doesn’t sound particularly comfortable – and let’s not get started on what it’ll do to your pillowcases – but does it actually help your skin?

“I think there is some merit in slugging due to the fact that petroleum jelly is an occlusive, which is known to prevent water loss from the skin’s barrier,” explains Maree Kinder, founder of Beauty & Seoul. “However, I would always opt for other products containing occlusives such as shea butter or facial oils. Facial oils give you the benefit of an occlusive but are formulated in a way that allows your skin to still breathe.”

Kinder adds that slugging is a method that only those with very dry or dehydrated skin should try it. “It could cause congestion issues for some and I wouldn’t recommend it for those with sensitive skin,” she adds. This is because petroleum jelly isn’t absorbed by skin. Instead, it sits on the top layer of skin which can lead to breakouts.

“Personally, to combat my dry skin in winter, I like to use a mixture of occlusives to help prevent water loss from my skin barrier but also humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, to draw moisture to the surface of the skin,” she explains.

Kinder also suggests layering your moisturiser at night or mixing a few drops of facial oil in with your moisturiser for an extra hydrating boost, if your skin needs it. She adds: “If your skincare routine consists of hydrating products, such as a hyaluronic acid serum or a good quality sleeping mask or night cream, there really shouldn’t be any reason to slap petroleum jelly all over your face.”

Sounds like you’re better off scooping up your moisturiser…

Main image: Getty

Originally published on 1 February 2021.

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