skip to main content

up to 23% OFF* select cold weather favorites! prices as marked. ends 2.6 | DETAILS

Skin Care Slugging: Petrolatum vs. Moisturizer

Skin Care Slugging: Petrolatum vs. Moisturizer


Curious about skin slugging? Tik Tok may have made the concept go viral, but the truth is this moisturizing technique has been around for years. But what is skin slugging? Does slugging work? And what is the best product to use for slugging?

What is skin slugging?

A k-beauty favorite, slugging is a technique of applying an occlusive product all over the face, in order to deliver deep moisturization. An “occlusive” product is any formula that forms a protective layer on the skin’s surface, and forms a barrier to prevent moisture loss. Initially, skin-sluggers used petrolatum-based products (think: Vaseline) because of their occlusive ability to help heal and prevent diaper rash as well as skin scrapes or burns.

Today, face slugging has gained traction as a popular way to lock moisture into the skin and prevent transepidermal water loss.


Does slugging work?

The good news: Slugging works. Especially for dehydrated skin that requires much-needed moisture - since it forces the hydrating agent to pull much-needed moisture to the area and prevent water loss.  

The not-so-good news: For those with oily or acne-prone skin, petrolatum can be too occlusive – causing breakouts or excess oil. For all other skin types, petrolatum may simply feel too heavy, and can make the skin look greasy and somewhat slimy, resembling the secretions of a slug.

Is there a better slugging option?

Yes! Skin scientists know that petrolatum isn't the only ingredient to use as a slugging method. Rather than slathering petrolatum all over the face (and looking like a slug), try a clinical, emollient moisturizer that also boasts good-for-your-skin benefits—you'll experience the same benefits with less slime on the skin.

One option is Bioelements Barrier Fix Daily Hydrator, a clinical moisturizing treatment that strengthens the skin barrier. A whipped blend of moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid and Chinese silver ear mushroom, which holds up to 500 times its weight in water, pushes hydration deep within the skin to help restore barrier damage. This moisturizer is also great for those with redness, thanks to natural ceramides and glucosides, which dimmish signs of overactive skin. Anti-inflammatory and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acid-rich hemp seed oil restores skin elasticity, while beta-glucan works wonders to reduce transepidermal water loss and decrease dryness and roughness.

If your skin is very dry (especially in the winter), a great choice is Bioelements Really Rich Moisturizer, which replenishes lost moisture and calms dry, tight, uncomfortable skin. Unlike petrolatum, this emollient-rich cream contains extreme hydrating agents like olive, safflower, and jojoba oils to saturate the skin in moisture and even improve flaking due to dry skin. Plus, it helps smoothes the skin to blur fine lines and wrinkles—something Vaseline doesn't do.


How to slug your skin:

Simply cleanse and tone your skin, then apply a layer of your selected slugging product, and make sure it's the last product applied to the skin at the end of your routine. Slugging as the last step helps the cream or occlusive act as a barrier and prevent moisture from seeping out while also supporting all the other active ingredients on your skin penetrate well. You skin will drink up the formula’s benefits, and you'll see the visible effects.

Happy slugging!

are you an esthetician?

Register on our professional site and learn more about our professional products and treatments.

have any questions?

Leave a comment below or email us at We're here to help!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now