Beauty tips

What is slugging? We explain the latest Korean beauty trend


Many beauty addicts swear by K-Beauty (Korean beauty) techniques ever since they burst onto the skincare scene a few years ago. Now, from the creators of the double cleanse, 10-step routines and the Dolphin Skin effect, comes the latest viral beauty trend, Slugging.

“Slugging”, at its core, involves applying an occlusive product (usually Vaseline/petroleum jelly) as a mask as the final step in your routine before going to bed. The theory is that this will prevent transepidermal water loss and make your skincare products penetrate deeper so that you wake up with fresh, radiant skin the day afterwards. But as with many of the latest beauty hacks, there are little to no studies that back the results. We, therefore, decided to take a look for ourselves and share what we found, so you can decide if it is for you or if it is just another passing skincare fad to avoid.

What we discovered…

  1. When you understand the origins of slugging, it is easy to see why it would become a popular moisturising technique. Sub-zero temperatures are commonplace in Korea at this time of year, so the idea of applying a thick layer of humectants at night helps to restore skin. However, when trying to decide whether slugging is for you or not, we believe it is important to take into consideration where you live and the current climate/season.
  2. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) is an inert ingredient derived from fossil fuels. According to the European Union, it is safe to use at the dosage they indicate. That being said, it is pretty much condemned in natural skincare circles for simply being synthetic, hence its bad rep.
  3. Many dermatologists agree that the main aim of slugging is to hydrate and protect the skin.
  4. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) is classed as a filmogenic agent in the skincare world, which means it coats skin with an oily film that prevents water from evaporating.
  5. In theory, slugging is suitable for all skin types. However, rather than focus on skin types, we believe it is more beneficial to listen to your skin and answer its needs. For example, after being out in a cold wind, or during very low temperatures, your skin may very well need extra hydration.
  6. Every single product you apply to your face influences its skin health. When layering your skincare, we recommend using a mixture of soothing ingredients such as mallow or bisabolol, combined with restorative actives, such as ceramides and unsaponifiable oils.
  7. Slugging might be beneficial if your beauty routine consists of very lightweight formulas. Applying a layer of Vaseline on top of a classic skincare regime comprising of serum, oil and cream is somewhat excessive in our opinion.
  8. Some studies confirm that using many oil-laden products together can harm skin’s sebaceous gland function. Hence why slugging should be considered a sporadic treatment rather than a part of your daily facial routine.
  9. If you are curious about the possible benefits it may have for your skin, then by all means try it. Just remember to leave a few days between treatments so you can fully observe the results.
  10. Some natural alternatives to petroleum jelly are plant-based squalene (derived from olive oil and classed as a hydrocarbon) and grapeseed oil. Even ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or mallow flower exact have the ability to create a protective film on skin. Other ingredients to consider are safflower oil, castor oil, moringa oil, pullulan, and even rice starch.


Using your Twelve faves to achieve the slugging-effect

If you are looking to get the same benefits that slugging proposes but using your Twelve Beauty arsenal, we recommend combining Intelligent Frontier Facial Oil with either, Ideal Moisture Level Serum or Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum. The potent combo of our facial oil and serum provides skin with the key components it needs to maintain its hydrolipidic film in optimal condition. Combined, both formulas form a permeable protective film on skin, which not only prevents transepidermal water loss but also protects your complexion from external stressors.

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