My great-grandmother always had a jar of salve on her dressing table — she would slather it on her face before she went to sleep. This ritual was something she learned as an actress in Hollywood, a hundred years ago. Today, it’s been rebranded as the “slugging” trend that’s trending on TikTok. But can you slug without petrochemically derived products? In a word, YES! Try this inexpensive, all-natural vegan slugging solution.
How to start slugging.
Slugging is simple: At night, cleanse and moisturize your face as usual, then apply a layer of an occlusive ingredient. Occlusives don’t penetrate the skin — their molecular size is too big; instead, they form a barrier that prevents it from losing moisture.
In the morning, you may notice that your skin feels more hydrated and needs less moisturization to stay that way. At least, I do!
Should you slug every night?
Because slugging is designed to treat dry skin, how often you do it really depends on what your skin needs — and that’s often determined by environmental conditions.
Do you live in an arid climate — or are you spending a lot of near a heater? Your skin might feel more dry or even flaky. In that case, you could slug nightly. But if it’s humid where you live, try it once a week to start.
Is slugging for eczema or sensitive skin, too?
Absolutely. Slugging soothes the skin and protects it from irritants — including friction from fabrics. (Pro tip? Silk pillowcase. Totally worth the investment!)
Can you slug on top of other treatments?
Especially as we age, our skincare regimens start to include more intensive treatments, like alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids, or vitamin C serums. But most dermatologists warn against slugging on top of active ingredients like these, as it might increase efficacy and cause irritation.
However, you can add a humectant, which attracts water to the skin, before slugging. I like this three-step process:
1. Smooth on aloe vera.
2. Spritz on hydrating spray — try a DIY with filtered water and a drop of essential oil — and wait a few minutes for it to absorb.
3. Slug away!
Can you slug with acne?
Most skincare experts — which I am obviously not — recommend avoiding slugging if you have acne as it can increase oil production.
How much product should you use?
Again, this depends on the dryness of your skin. Start by spot treating: Apply to patches that feel flaky or tight. If you get good results, you can apply a thin layer all over your skin.
As a teenager and young adult, I had oily skin, but now that I’m older, my skin is dramatically more dry. I live the #sluglife a few times a week and apply to my face, neck, and décolletage — then use the opportunity to massage.
And now for the most important question…
Do you need to use petrochemicals or animal ingredients?
Although many influencers are positioning it this way, slugging absolutely does NOT depend on products derived from oil — like petroleum jelly, aka petrolatum, aka mineral oil. In fact, in Europe, unrefined petrolatum is banned for use in skincare, although the refined petrolatum used in products like Vaseline is considered safe. Nor do you have to use animal ingredients like lanolin, which is an ingredient in Aquaphor, another popular slugging product.
What are the best natural beauty vegan slugging solutions?
A great vegan alternative to petrochemically derived slugging ingredients are plant-based waxes like candelilla and those derived from nuts like shea butter or coconut oil.
Kosterina is my new vegan slugging favorite!
My favorite new discovery is the Extra Virgin Oil Balm from Kosterina, which sponsored this post. Founded by an olive oil sommelier who partnered with Greek farmers to develop a line of deliciously healthy cooking oils, Kosterina is now expanding into skincare powered by polyphenols — a naturally occurring antioxidant found in only the purest extra virgin olive oils.
Studies show that Kosterina oils have about 500 milligrams per kilo of naturally occurring polyphenols — most olive oils have just 55 milligrams per kilo. And all Kosterina products are certified to be free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, petrolatum, and paraffin.
Kosterina’s Extra Virgin Oil Balm contains candelilla wax and certified organic shea butter, as well as a combination of amazing essential oils, which combine to create a delicately beautiful natural perfume. And it retails for just $15!
As I’m demonstrating in the video, the stick form of Kosterina Extra Virgin Oil Balm makes it perfect for slugging — especially when you’re traveling. Just smooth on a thin layer and massage it in. You’ll thank me in the morning!
What’s your overnight routine?
What product or technique has truly changed the game for you, when it comes to your skincare routine? Please tell me about it in comments, below.