beauty

I Tried ‘Slugging’ My Face For A Week And Here’s How It Affected My Skin

by Haley Henschel

As the proud owner of three nerites, I wasn’t super enthused about last year’s trend of letting snails crawl on your face for the sake of #beauty. (Once you catch a glimpse of a snail’s radula, or rasping tongue, as it scrapes algae off a tank wall, you’re deterred from ever letting a gastropod near your mug. Nothing personal, guys!)

When I first heard about a new skin care trend called “slugging,” then, I figured it involved literal slugs scooting (and secreting mucus) all over your face. Hard pass. The hardest of passes, in fact. As it turns out, however, “slugging” is just a memorable moniker for smearing a metric boatload of Vaseline on your face after you’ve finished your regular nighttime skin care routine. Simply apply your standard serums, creams, moisturizers, and/or oils, smear a thick layer of petroleum jelly on top to lock in the products — enough so that it looks as if a shell-less invertebrate just did a break dance all over your face — then hit the hay. According to some beauty gurus on Reddit who swear by the #sluglife, you’ll wake up with softer-than-ever skin.

I won’t lie: My current skin care regimen is my magnum opus. Having dealt with extremely sensitive skin my entire life, I put a lot of time and research into my daily lineup of products (soap, two to three serums, and a high SPF sunscreen, to be exact). That’s why I felt so conflicted about slugging when I first read about it. On the one hand, sealing in these tried-and-true products so that they can work even more magic while I slumber seems like a no-brainer. On the other hand, I’m terrified of introducing a new product to this routine that works so well already.

So what’s a gal to do? Try slugging, that’s what. Here’s what happened when I did it every night for a whole week straight.

For Reference

For Reference
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

If you see me out in the wild, this is how I normally look. My skin is generally pretty ~dewy~ and soft (“toot toot” — my horn), so when it comes to slugging, I’m mainly after those alleged “sealing in your products for clearer skin” benefits.

The Supplies

The Supplies
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Slugging seems ideal for skin care novices in that it’s both budget-friendly and accessible, requiring a single (and noncomedogenic!) product that most of us already have in our medicine cabinets: pure petroleum jelly.

I’ll be applying a couple of products prior to slugging as part of my standard nighttime skin care routine, including:

This is the aforementioned skin care routine that I swear by for its affordability and effectiveness. Fingers crossed that slugging only improves upon it.

Night 1: The Before

Night 1: The Before
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I’d give my preslugging skin a solid 8/10: Besides one red spot on my chin that might eventually turn into a pimple — thanks, hormones! — I’m fine with the way my bare face looks here.

Now comes the actual slugging — drumroll, please!

Night 1: The Aftermath

Night 1: The Aftermath
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Slimy yet satisfying? Hardly.

In a particularly dumb move, I didn’t think to put my hair up in a bun before slugging my face. By the time I had applied a few gobs of petroleum jelly to my skin, I had pieces of hair stuck to my forehead and cheeks and streaks of Vaseline sliming up my hairline. Bonus: After a minute or two, the petroleum jelly warmed up due to the heat of my body and started sliding off my face. Cute!

After securing an old towel around my pillow — there was no way a bare pillowcase was coming out of this experiment unscathed — I climbed into bed, closed my eyes, and tried not to think about the fact that I felt like Neo from The Matrix after he takes the red pill. Is the week over yet?

Night 1: The Results

Night 1: The Results
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I honestly can’t tell whether my skin actually absorbed the Vaseline while I was sleeping or if it just got wiped off by my pillow-towel, but either way, my face is no longer slimy!

I don’t think my face is any glowier than it was yesterday, but it definitely feels a bit softer. Besides the sprouting zit on my chin and some extra greasy hair, I don’t notice that much of a difference after Night 1 of slugging.

Night 2: Before/After

Night 2: Before/After
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I took a shower before the second night of slugging, which helped with the whole “my hair is a greaseball” thing but didn’t do anything for me complexion-wise. In fact, it almost looks as if the Vaseline has emphasized some of my old acne scars on my nose. Rude. What am I doing wrong? Which skin care deities have I angered?

Night 3: Before/After

Night 3: Before/After
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

My skin felt refreshed and lustrous after I did my nighttime skin care regimen, but things went south once I slugged and went to bed. I woke up with another zit-in-progress — this time on my nose — and some pretty pronounced bags under my eyes. (The latter probably aren’t related to slugging, but you never really know, you know?) Overall, my skin doesn’t feel all that magical — just as soft as it did after Night 1, which wasn’t that impressive in retrospect.

Night 4: Before/After

Night 4: Before/After
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

It doesn’t look like much from these pictures, but the zit on my nose appears to be growing into a sentient being, and its smaller cousins (i.e., whiteheads) have started forming on my hairline and chin. It’s like I made a crappy deal with an evil sea witch, trading my clear-ish skin for relative softness. What’s next? Discovering that my Prince Charming has fallen in love with that same evil sea witch in human form?

Night 5: Before/After

Night 5: Before/After
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Finally. This is the first day my skin actually feels OK — not good, definitely not great, but OK. I not only avoided breaking out overnight, but I’ve also noticed that my existing zits have been healing relatively fast — faster than blemishes on my face normally heal. Instead of slugging my entire face every night, maybe I should be spot-treating it — spot-slugging, if you will. (Copyright office, here I come.)

Night 6: Before/After

Night 6: Before/After
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

You know that one Elton John song? Well, the zits are back.

On the plus side, this is the first morning I’ve woken up to find my skin noticeably more glowy, although that could just be the result of Chicago hitting 90 degrees on a night when my air conditioner wasn’t running.

Night 7: Before/After

Night 7: Before/After
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Today is the day I finally give the people what they want: better lighting a patriotic wolf shirt.

In a weird (but welcome) twist, almost all of the blemishes that had emerged over the course of this slugging experiment have healed completely. My complexion looks relatively even, too. Those old acne scars that were resurrected around Night 2 have since faded, for the most part.

 

The Verdict

I’m definitely going to be adding regular Vaseline spot treatments (#spotslugging!) to my skin care routine when necessary. The protective and “sealing in” aspect of slugging seems to work best for me when applied solely to problematic skin patches, not my entire face.

But did I have fun slugging? No. Was the final result worth lubricating my face with petroleum jelly every night? Also no. I’ll be honest, though: I’ve gotten so used to going about my business with a slimed-up face that, upon further consideration, a spa treatment involving live invertebrates doesn’t sound all that bad.