'I tried TikTok's slugging skincare trend – Here are my honest thoughts' – msnNOW

Between the shiny, millennial-centric brands delivering fresh drops through your letter box, the more established, cult buys and the indie outfits selling a fine line in ‘natural and organic’ products, the beauty landscape has never felt more cluttered.
To help you to navigate this brave new world of retinol, AHAs, jade rollers and double cleansing, WH beauty editor, Perdita Nouril, is here to try and test the new drops that are making their way into her (very full) bathroom, via her column, Beauty Dispatch.
Every month, she’ll share the freshly released heroes that she loves, ready to let you know where to spend your skin and hair care cash.
This month: Slugging. The K-beauty-inspired TikTok skincare trend that promises smooth skin should you choose to smother your face in Vaseline. So, does it work IRL?
We have to hand it to the creators of TikTok for coming up with some pretty wonderful (and sometimes very weird) beauty hacks. From ‘vampire facials’, which see your own blood applied to your face in a bid to stimulate cell turnover, to bee sting therapy (yes, it’s a real thing), when it comes to finding a treatment for a smoother complexion, there’s no shortage of ‘out-there’ options.
One that really did the rounds this year was slugging, which racked up a cool 673.4 million views and was only beaten by Skin Cycling.
The good news about ‘slugging,’ is that it doesn’t involve needles or insect venom. Instead, all you need to try this one out is a jar of that household staple, Vaseline.
Originating in Korean beauty circles, slugging was first popularised on social platform Reddit before finding fame on Gen Z app of choice, TikTok. So are the greasy pillow stains (because there will be some) worth the faff? Here’s everything you need to know before you give it a go…
This trend is simple: apply your usual skincare overnight products, from your fave serums to your retinol, then seal them in with a layer of Vaseline all over your face.
The theory goes that, come morning, you’ll be radiant – thanks to Vaseline’s ability to lock in moisture, reinforce your skin barrier and create a protective layer that allows your main products to be better absorbed.
Fans report that slugging can transform your skin, leaving it soft and supple. So, what does an expert say? London-based consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk says that there are some benefits to lathering your face in Vaseline at night, though more because of the hydration benefits, rather than the ‘locking in’ of your skincare routine.
‘UV rays, city pollution and other environmental factors can weaken or damage our skin barrier leading to irritation, dryness, flaking and sensitivity, so applying emollients [such as Vaseline] to the skin helps restore the integrity of the skin barrier if it is weakened or damaged, thereby reducing water loss and keeping the skin smooth and hydrated’.
‘Richer creams and ointments contain a higher ratio of oil to water than lighter lotions or gels, and are frequently recommended by dermatologists if you have a dry skin condition like psoriasis or eczema,’ she adds.
It’s a fair enough question given you’re debating covering your face in a thick emollient.
Dr Kluk offers the following thoughts. ‘My concern with slugging is that whilst products like this do form a water-tight seal to lock in moisture and are therefore useful for chapped lips, rough skin or cracked heels, they are also extremely occlusive meaning that they are likely to block pores on the face and there is a real risk of triggering or exacerbating breakouts.’
‘Dermatologists already know that people who use greasy hair waxes or gels tend to breakout more along the hairline, so it is highly likely that slugging would do the same to the whole face,’ she adds.
I was dubious about slugging, mainly because my skincare routine works perfectly well, so as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, then don’t bother fixing it. But in the name of beauty research, I was willing to see if there was any truth to this trend.
From the get-go the smell was really off-putting. Vaseline isn’t exactly known for its signature scent, after all. Secondly, once I climbed into bed and tried to go to sleep I found I had to peel my face from my pillow each time I wanted to turn over. I was hyper-aware of something on my skin and, in all honesty, it felt pretty gross.
Come morning, I was amazed at how much was a) on my pillow, and b) still on my face. I think I initially put way too much on and vow to repeat another night with a thinner layer.
Removing the Vaseline, once I was in the shower, wasn’t exactly effortless. I had to really go to town with my cleanser, which felt like a chore for someone who usually just splashes their face with water.
However, once my skin was clean and dry I was pleasantly surprised with the results. There wasn’t a spot in sight and my skin really did feel super soft and smooth. Would I do it again? If my skin was going through a particularly dry or flakey phase then yes. Is it worth the faff? Personally no, I’d much rather stick to a well-formulated facial oil that doesn’t ruin my pillows.
'I tried slugging: The viral TikTok's trend' ‘I tried slugging: The viral TikTok’s trend’
Want to maximise your night-time skincare routine and to give your complexion a hydrating, pluming boost? Dr Kluk shares her top tips that don’t involve Vaseline…
‘If you want plump, well-hydrated facial skin and you haven’t specifically been advised by a doctor to apply a thick ointment to your face, I would avoid slugging in favour of a non-comedogenic moisturiser (formulated to not cause blocked pores) coupled with a hydrating serum beforehand for an extra moisture boost. Try Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 or La Roche Posay Hyalu B5’.
‘In the longer run, active skincare ingredients such as glycolic acid or retinol are important to incorporate into your evening routine for a brighter, smoother and more radiant complexion by increasing cell turnover, shedding dead skin cells that dull the skin surface and preventing fine lines and wrinkles.’


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