The bizarre viral 'slugging' trend TikTok's losing it over: 'I am reborn'

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A model with glowing skin and her dark curly hair tied back is seen in three-quarter profile with her eyes closed.
K-beauty popularised slugging, but it is again gaining attention online with millions of skincare lovers. Photo: Getty Images

Hundreds of viral skincare trends make their rounds on the internet.

From the early days of YouTube, to Reddit and now on TikTok, beauty and skincare trends live on through word of mouth and the power of a mouse.

What is 'slugging'?

The latest viral skincare fad to grace our screens is called "slugging", the act of lathering your pre-moisturized face with Vaseline or petroleum jelly to lock in moisture overnight.

It is said to improve irritated skin and even heal wounds!


Although slugging originated from K-Beauty, one Reddit user re-popularized it for the masses after trying the trend and sharing her results.

"My face has never been so soft," she said.

"I am reborn. I am a new woman.

I was not a slug; I was a caterpillar in the cocoon.

"I've emerged, a beautiful butterfly. No new breakouts. My skin is smooth and happy and bouncy: everything it should be and never was."

A dark-haired woman stands before a round mirror and applies skincare products. The mirror has a wooden frame and is hung on a terracotta coloured wall above a bench. The woman wears a white bathrobe.
Apply Vaseline as your final step in your nightly skincare routine. Photo: Getty Images

No wonder this fad has skyrocketed with claims it really makes a difference.

But is this trend meant for all skin types and does it really work?

Is slugging right for you?

Dermatologists have recommended Vaseline’s main ingredient, petrolatum, for decades.

Vaseline acts like barrier and skin protectant, helping prevent 99 per cent of transepidermal water loss.

If you use your favourite nightly moisturiser and a pea-size amount of Vaseline lathered on top, you will create a seal that locks the moisture in.

Pretty cool.

There is debate if this skin remedy is for everyone, but slugging can be used for all skin types.

Use in moderation if you have oilier skin but, for those with eczema dry, itchy or easily irritated skin, this could be your skin saviour.

It's important to remember not to mix retinols, retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, or beta-hydroxy acids with slugging, because you'll lock in strong ingredients on your skin, and slugging is all about moisturising, not exfoliating.

Close up portrait of beautiful young woman with perfect and clean skin. Model with hair flying looking at camera against blue background.
Unveil your best glowing and hydrated skin after a good night's sleep, thanks to the viral slugging trend. Photo: Getty Images

How to apply

Misinformation circulates online that you should scoop out a handful of Vaseline and smear a heavy layer across your skin before bed.

All you really need is a pea-sized amount to act as a skin barrier to lock in all the goodness of your nightly skincare routine.

Vaseline should be the final step.

Alternatives to slugging

If slugging doesn't sound right for you, mineral oil is a popular alternative that is essentially a by-product of petroleum and equally effective for skin.

Moisturizers like La Mer contain mineral oil.

However, if you'd like to stick with an affordable price point, then the Vaseline slug life is for you.

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