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Photo courtesy of Nikki Cruz

A Clean Twist on Slugging Your Skin

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!

  1. Super thick


    Surya Balancing Collagen Cream, goop, $185

    Surya
    Balancing
    Collagen Cream

    goop, $185

    SHOP NOW

  2. Light and silky


    
            Furtuna Skin Due Alberi Biphase Moisturizing Oil, goop, $225

    Furtuna Skin
    Due Alberi Biphase
    Moisturizing Oil

    goop, $225

    SHOP NOW

  3. Made with sea buckthorn, carrot, and tomato-seed oil


    OKOKO Sublime Balm, goop, $83

    Okoko
    Sublime Balm
    goop, $83

    SHOP NOW

  4. Rich—yet okay
    for oily skin


    Tamara Dutta Rosehip Smoothie Balm, goop, $150

    Tamara Dutta
    Rosehip Smoothie Balm
    goop, $150

    SHOP NOW

  5. Ultrasoothing


    de Mamiel Skin Recovery Blend, goop, $168

    de Mamiel
    Skin Recovery Blend
    goop, $168

    SHOP NOW

  6. Targets wrinkles
    and firmness


    goop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream, goop, $98/$86 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGENES All-in-One
    Nourishing Face Cream

    goop, $98/$86 with subscription

    SHOP NOW

  1. Plumps and smooths


    The Organic Pharmacy Rose Diamond Face Cream, goop, $418

    The Organic Pharmacy
    Rose Diamond Face Cream
    goop, $418

    SHOP NOW

  2. Moisturizing oil


    Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil, goop, $72

    Le Prunier
    Plum Beauty Oil
    goop, $72

    SHOP 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.

  1. Cleanse first.


    MACRENE Actives High Performance Cleanser, goop, $95

    MACRENE actives
    High Performance Cleanser
    goop, $95

    SHOP NOW

  2. Then swipe.


    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid Overnight Glow Peel, goop, $125/$112 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid
    Overnight Glow Peel

    goop, $125/$112 with subscription

    SHOP NOW

  3. 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 subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator
    goop, $125/$112 with subscription

    SHOP NOW

Slugging Night

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.

1. Cleanse

Get your skin ready for the layers of hydration.

  1. Exfoliating


    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Cloudberry Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser, $28/$25 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Cloudberry
    Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser

    goop, $28/$25 with subscription

    SHOP NOW

  2. Moisturizing


    Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, goop, $86

    Tata Harper
    Nourishing Oil Cleanser
    goop, $86

    SHOP NOW

2. Tone

Clear away any remaining dead skin cells, dirt, or makeup, and deposit a first layer of nutrients and hydration.

  1. Gently exfoliating for every skin type


    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Flower Acids Resurfacing Toner, goop, $45/$40 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Flower Acids Resurfacing Toner
    goop, $45/$40 with subscription

    SHOP NOW

3. Treat

Apply a layer of serum or oil, depending on your skin; it will really sink in after all your exfoliating.

  1. Pure moisture


    Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, goop, $300

    Dr. Barbara Sturm
    Hyaluronic Serum
    goop, $300

    SHOP NOW

  2. For firmer skin and fewer visible wrinkles


    goop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil, goop, $98/$89 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGENES All-in-One
    Super Nutrient Face Oil

    goop, $98/$89 with subscription

    SHOP NOW

  3. To restore skin


    Augustinus Bader The Serum, goop, $375

    Augustinus Bader
    The Serum
    goop, $375

    SHOP NOW

4. Add more moisture (only if you need it)

If you (and your skin) really love layering, you can add a moisturizer here.

  1. Squalane + hyaluronic acid


    Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer, goop, $60

    Alpyn Beauty
    PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer
    goop, $60

    SHOP NOW

  2. Peptides + bakuchiol


    Beautycounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream, goop, $98

    Beautycounter
    Countertime Tetrapeptide
    Supreme Cream

    goop, $98

    SHOP NOW

  3. Vitamin C + kakadu plum


    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Glow Lotion, goop, $58/$52 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Glow Lotion
    goop, $58/$52 with subscription

    SHOP 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.



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