Learn How ‘Slugging’ Will Change Your Skincare Game Forever

Do you want glowing, smooth, hydrated skin that feels velvety to the touch?

Then you should try slugging.

No, not slugging in the sense of Aaron Judge breaking Maris’ single-season home run record.

I’m talking about slugging in the sense of slugging your face with oil and moisturizer.

Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Slugging is a combination of oiling and moisturizing, which not only nourishes and hydrates your skin but also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes.

Here’s what slugging is all about:

What exactly is slugging, and what will it do for your skin?

Slugging is a unique skincare routine made popular in South Korea and is now gaining traction in North America. It first took off on the subreddit /r/skincareaddiction, where users began sharing their results when slugging.

So what is it exactly?

Slugging is the process of applying a thin layer of an occlusive moisturizer on top of a moisturizer. The occlusive moisturizer acts as a protective barrier on your skin, sealing in moisture and preventing water loss. This layer of oil also prevents air and pollution from drying out your skin. Most people ‘slug’ overnight for most effective results.

With the combination of oil and moisturizer, your skin is hydrated and appears smoother and firmer – we’ll go over all the benefits in just a bit.

But first – let’s go over the proof that slugging works.

We went ahead and searched Reddit high and low for some before and after photos of people who have tried slugging. Needless to say, we were not disappointed.

Here’s what we found:

…and many more on the /r/SkincareAddiction subreddit.

Fun Fact:

Slugging got the name “slugging” because your skin will feel as though a slug has gone over it and left a slimy, wet trail.

What are the benefits of slugging?

man looking at himself in mirror

What’s so great about slugging is it’s not a one-dimensional skincare routine. Instead, it has many benefits that can help improve the overall health of your skin.

Slugging is great for hydration, especially during cold or windy days. It helps to keep the skin’s natural oils intact, making it supple and soft. It also helps seal in existing skin moisture and maintains a healthy barrier that prevents environmental pollutants.

Slugging also helps to retain extra moisture within the skin and protect it from potential damage due to water loss. And because of its protective layer, it allows the skin to be buffered from physical/mechanical damages such as from harsh winter air or from scrubbing too much.

Another great benefit of slugging is that it helps to reduce the appearance of blemishes and fine lines, giving you a brighter and smoother complexion.

Every guy can slug, but should he?

man smiling in a field

No, slugging is best for those only with dry to normal skin types. Some men with combination skin can also follow the approach. Still, it’s not recommended for oily/acne-prone skin because moisture and oil can aggravate breakouts resulting in excessive sebum production and blemishes – instead, you’ll just want to apply an oil-free moisturizer.

Lastly, men with eczema or xeroderma will also benefit from slugging because it helps to reduce the appearance of redness and irritation.

Of course, if you are on the fence about slugging, speak with your dermatologist to see if it’s right for you.

What products do you need to get slugging?

What’s great about slugging is that you don’t need many products. There is no barrier to entry here!

You’ll only need to have the following on hand:

  • A cleanser (nothing fancy – Cetaphil can be a great pick here)
  • A facial cream (one packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide is ideal)
  • An occlusive moisturizer such as Vaseline, Aquaphor, or CeraVe Healing Ointment

How to slug like a pro

Here’s everything you need to do to get slugging:

  • Step 1: It is important to cleanse your skin to remove dirt, oil, and other impurities that can build up on your face during the day. This helps to keep your face looking and feeling refreshed and clean, and it also helps to prevent breakouts and other skin issues.
  • Step 2: Apply a thin layer of moisturizer to your face as you normally would. This key step acts as a base for the occlusive moisturizer and provides many benefits of slugging. Be sure to use a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type.
  • Step 3: Wait just a minute and then apply a thin layer of an occlusive moisturizer on top of the moisturizer. Most men will find that a thumbnail-sized scoop is good to start with. You can always add more if you need to.
  • Step 4: Let the occlusive moisturizer set and then go to bed or continue your normal evening routine (may we suggest reading Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins?).

When you wake up in the morning, you should notice that your skin is soft, smooth, and hydrated. Therefore, it is okay to cleanse as you normally would and then go about your normal morning routine (shaving, showering, etc.).

Tips for Slugging

swath of lotion on a surface

After slugging a few times, you’ll find that you will probably need to make a few adjustments – and that’s okay! However, there were a few things we learned after trying slugging.

  • Start small. When you first start slugging, start with a thin layer of occlusive moisturizer and increase the amount as needed.
  • Only slug your face two or three times weekly. Over-slugging may have the opposite effect.
  • Get a good handle on how your skin is reacting to slugging. We strongly urge you to take before and after pictures to objectively look at your progress. If you find that slugging isn’t working for you, it might be a good sign to make adjustments.
  • You can also use slugging on your body! This is especially great for those with dry skin on their hands (goodbye bloody knuckles), arms, feet, and legs.
  • Your pillowcase will likely be stained when you wake up in the morning. So be sure to use a dedicated pillowcase each time you slug.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understandably, some guys have great skepticism when it comes to slugging. We get it – we’ve been there too. But we’ve also seen the results firsthand, and we can tell you that slugging works.

Here are a few common questions that other men have asked about slugging:

What is the difference between a moisturizer and a petroleum jelly when moisturizing the skin?

The main difference between a face cream and a petroleum jelly is that a moisturizer is designed to absorb into the skin and hydrate your moisture barrier. It also helps to improve your skin’s overall tone, texture, and appearance. On the other hand, petroleum jelly acts as a protective barrier on the skin and seals in moisture, and prevents water loss. It also helps to prevent air and pollution from drying out your skin. When applied to the skin, petroleum jelly can make for a sticky or gooey feeling.

Are there any side effects to slugging?

Slugging has some potential side effects, so it’s important to proceed cautiously and observe how your skin responds to the routine. This is why starting with a very thin layer of occlusive moisturizer is important and increasing the amount only if needed. Over-slugging may lead to breakouts and excessive oil production.


To sum it up, slugging is a skincare routine that combines oiling and moisturizing to hydrate and nourish your skin. It provides a protective barrier to lock in moisture and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes. It is best for those with dry or normal skin types and can be done two to three times a week.

Give slugging a try, and don’t forget to take before and after pictures. You’ll be amazed at how soft, smooth, and hydrated your skin will look and feel.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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