A Clean Twist on Slugging Your Skin
Written by: the Editors of goop
Updated: April 26, 2022
Photo courtesy of Nikki Cruz
There’s a skin-routine hack on TikTok that we love in theory—the idea is an extra, occlusive layer that goes on last in a skin-care routine, sealing in all the benefits and delivering additional moisture at the same time. It’s called slugging, and it can be a great technique, particularly when done with a few clean beauty tweaks.
The viral trend involves slathering skin with petroleum jelly as a final step in a nighttime skin-care routine. But while petroleum jelly is moisturizing, it can be supremely pore clogging. It’s also a by-product of crude oil production (it collects on oil rig machinery), and unrefined petroleum jelly can contain potentially dangerous contaminants, including a group of carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, according to the Environmental Working Group.
The goop version of slugging starts with rich balms or oils rather than petroleum jelly. An advantage they have over petroleum jelly (beyond being clean and petrochemical-free) is that they deliver skin-boosting nutrients—from bakuchiol and other antioxidants to nourishing botanicals—to help smooth skin texture, firm, and increase glow.
The Best Balms, Creams, and Oils for Slugging
Slather these on just before bed over all the other nighttime skin essentials you swear by. If you have very dry skin, you might do this daily, or if you’re oily or acne prone or even have pretty normal skin, maybe keep it to every few nights.
The most important part: Listen to your skin!
Super thickSurya Balancing
Collagen Cream goop, $185SHOP NOW
Light and silkyFurtuna Skin Due Alberi Biphase
Moisturizing Oil goop, $225SHOP NOW
Made with sea buckthorn, carrot, and tomato-seed oilOkoko Sublime Balm goop, $83SHOP NOW
for oily skinTamara Dutta Rosehip Smoothie Balm goop, $150SHOP NOW
Ultrasoothingde Mamiel Skin Recovery Blend goop, $168SHOP NOW
and firmnessgoop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One
Nourishing Face Cream goop, $98/$86 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Plumps and smoothsThe Organic Pharmacy Rose Diamond Face Cream goop, $418SHOP NOW
Moisturizing oilLe Prunier Plum Beauty Oil goop, $72SHOP NOW
Supercharge “the Slug” with an Exfoliation Night
For the dewiest and most luminous-looking skin, exfoliate (a lot) before you slug. If you can, start the night before with a 15 percent glycolic acid overnight peel pad. You’ll notice the glow right away the next morning, but the morning after that—post–ultramoisturizing slugging step—you just will not believe your skin.
Start by cleansing away makeup and dirt—but let your skin dry fully before the exfoliating step.
Cleanse first.MACRENE actives High Performance Cleanser goop, $95SHOP NOW
Then swipe.goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid
Overnight Glow Peel goop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
And if your skin’s too sensitive for a peel, exfoliate with Microderm—gentler but absolutely effective—the night before.goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator goop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
After a night of exfoliation, you’re ready for the ultimate hydration. If you’ve got a good routine already, simply top it off with one of the great balms or creams above. Or customize the routine below.
Get your skin ready for the layers of hydration.
Exfoliatinggoop Beauty GOOPGLOW Cloudberry
Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser goop, $28/$25 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
MoisturizingTata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser goop, $86SHOP NOW
Clear away any remaining dead skin cells, dirt, or makeup, and deposit a first layer of nutrients and hydration.
Gently exfoliating for every skin typegoop Beauty GOOPGLOW Flower Acids Resurfacing Toner goop, $45/$40 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Apply a layer of serum or oil, depending on your skin; it will really sink in after all your exfoliating.
Pure moistureDr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum goop, $300SHOP NOW
For firmer skin and fewer visible wrinklesgoop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One
Super Nutrient Face Oil goop, $98/$89 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
To restore skinAugustinus Bader The Serum goop, $375SHOP NOW
4. Add more moisture (only if you need it)
If you (and your skin) really love layering, you can add a moisturizer here.
Squalane + hyaluronic acidAlpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer goop, $60SHOP NOW
Peptides + bakuchiolBeautycounter Countertime Tetrapeptide
Supreme Cream goop, $98SHOP NOW
Vitamin C + kakadu plumgoop Beauty GOOPGLOW Glow Lotion goop, $58/$52 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
5. Top it off with the slug
Once everything has sunk in properly, seal it all in with a balm, oil,
or cream from the list at the top of this article.