What To Do In The Morning After Slugging – Expert Advice!

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Slugging is a monster TikTok beauty trend that has become an obsession for many. Sleeping with Aquaphor or another petroleum jelly on your face is a powerful way for many to hydrate and moisturize.

But what are the next steps? Are you wondering what to do in the morning after slugging?

After slugging at night, the first thing that you do to your face in the morning is to wash it with your facial wash. That will remove the petroleum jelly layer on your skin. 

I’ve surveyed the experts and have put together this article to explain the details.

Washing the layer of petroleum jelly is very important because if it’s not done, you are at risk of having acne breakouts and more.

I’ll explain it all below.


Meet the Experts

  • Dr Elizabeth Hawkes – Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon
  • Dr. Enrizza Factor MD, Dermatologist at My Eczema Team
  • Harman Awal – Beauty Expert @ YourGirlKnows
  • Suyud Issa – Certified Aesthetician and the co-founder of All Skin Care Talk
  • Dr. HariKiran Cheruki – certified skin specialist (dermatologist), hair transplant expert, cosmetic surgeon, and medical head of ClinicSpots

Slugging 101

When the environment is cold and/or dry, the moisture content of your skin tends to decline. Covering your skin with a thin layer of petroleum jelly before bed will trap moisture so that you won’t have dry skin in the morning. The layer of petroleum jelly acts as a barrier that prevents moisture from getting out of your skin. 

Slugging can leave the skin moisturized, supple, and with fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Great!

It is typically the last step in your nighttime skincare routine. As Dr. Enrizza Factor tells us, “Slugging should be the last step in your night-time skincare routine, so save it for after cleansing, using treatments like serums and applying your usual moisturizer. 

But you need to know what you’re doing. There are potential downsides to slugging, and you need to be aware of how to counteract them.

What To Do In The Morning After Slugging

After slugging at night, you need to wash your face with a facial wash the next morning. It can be tempting to just use water, as that might be your routine when you weren’t slugging. But that’s not enough. 

You need to use a cleanser to make sure all that jelly is gone.

Beauty Expert Harman Awal explains “the first step is to wash your face in the morning to remove any excess product from the night before. Make sure that whatever cleanser you use is gentle and won’t strip away all of your skin’s natural oils. You can also use a soft cloth or facial sponge if you like. Just make sure it’s not too rough on your delicate skin!”

Aesthetician Suyud Issa tells us to double up our morning cleanse. She suggests that sluggards “use an oil-based cleanser to break down and remove residual petroleum jelly, followed by a water-based cleanser to clear away impurities that build up from the night before that can cause breakouts, irritation, and premature aging.”

Use an oil-based cleanser to break down and remove residual petroleum jelly, followed by a water-based cleanser to clear away impurities that build up from the night before that can cause breakouts, irritation, and premature aging.

Aesthetician Suyud Issa

Why does it matter how we cleanse our skin?


Suyud explains, “Slathering on a thick layer of petroleum jelly before bed creates a barrier that – yes, seals moisture in – but also traps dead skin cells, oil, and sweat and encourages bacterial overgrowth on the skin’s surface, which can leave your skin feeling greasy and heavy and clogs pores which worsens breakouts.”

Dr. Enrizza Factor reminds us to keep the layer thin! As she states, “Be careful not to apply a thick layer as it may end up clogging your pores. Once you are done with your skincare routine, you can go to sleep and wake up to glowing, glass-like skin after slugging from the previous night.”

Why Should You Wash Your Face In The Morning After Slugging

As you might have already known, slugging helps keep your skin moisturized by preventing surface water loss. This is done by creating a layer over the skin with petroleum jelly. 

If this creates a layer that helps prevent moisture loss, then why would you want to wash it off? Well, although it is good at creating a barrier that keeps the moisture in, having that barrier in place for prolonged periods is not good. 

Aside from trapping the moisture on your skin, the skin cells that naturally shed off will get trapped in that barrier. The topmost layer of the skin naturally sheds constantly, even if we don’t readily see it with our eyes. 

If these skin cells don’t fall off and aren’t removed, they can potentially block your pores. That may then lead you to have acne breakouts. 

When slugging, some people leave the layer of petroleum jelly overnight. However, some only leave them for a few hours to help keep their skin feeling soft and smooth.

Whenever you do slugging, don’t forget to wash your face not only with water but also with your facial wash the morning after. Then, you can proceed with your morning skincare routine to further help make sure that your skin is in good condition. 

Can Slugging Clog Your Pores?

acne breakout

Slugging employs petroleum jelly as a skin barrier. Many people think that petroleum jelly clogs the pores and causes issues in the skin. 

The truth is, petroleum jelly doesn’t clog the pores directly – it is a non-comedogenic product. However, the pores can get clogged when you use petroleum jelly.


As Harman Awal explains, “Petroleum jelly traps dead skin cells, oil, and dirt on the surface of your skin which can clog pores.”

Petroleum jelly traps dead skin cells, oil, and dirt on the surface of your skin which can clog pores.

Beauty Expert Harman Awal

Petroleum jelly is the last layer that you put on your face after going through your skincare routine. Your pores can get clogged depending on the products that you use before using petroleum jelly, or if you don’t wash off the petroleum jelly layer completely in the morning. 

Are You Sure You Want to Hop on the Slugging Trend?

Dr. Factor tells us that not everyone should try slugging their face. She particularly discourages those with oily skin from trying it.

As she explains, ” I don’t recommend slugging for oily or acne-prone skin. Although petroleum jelly products are non-comedogenic, they can trap bacteria and dead skin cells worsening acne.”

Although petroleum jelly products are non-comedogenic, they can trap bacteria and dead skin cells worsening acne.

Dr. Enrizza Factor

Slugging Under the Eyes

Dr. Elizabeth Hawkes reminds us that just because some TikTokers promote a beauty hack, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing! She advises against slugging the under-eye area to remove wrinkles. There can be downsides.

As she explains, “The idea is to lock in moisture and prevent dehydration. While this does make sense and your skin may feel smoother, the under-eye area is extremely delicate and slugging can cause milia, which are small white bumps that appear when keratin, a protein that your body produces naturally, gets trapped beneath the skin’s surface. Milia is more common with people using a heavy product around the eye area.”

Products To Avoid When Slugging

You should take note of some of the products that you might want to avoid when you are planning to do slugging. Time your slugging for when you’re not using acids, retinol, and the like.

Dr. Factor mentions a few products to avoid when slugging. “Never slug when using active ingredients such as retinoids, salicylic, glycolic, or lactic acids.”

The reason for that is that those products could also be trapped in the layer of petroleum jelly that you apply. That could potentially increase the strength of those active ingredients. 

Those products were formulated to be used without getting trapped on the skin by a layer of jelly. See Slugging With Retinol for more information.

Your skin’s reaction to the trapped active ingredients will be unpredictable and could cause issues or irritation. 

If there are products to avoid slugging, there are products that are best used with it. Among them are hydrating ingredients like those that have aloe vera or honey. 

And no skincare article would be complete without reminding you to apply your sunscreen! As Harman Awal encourages, “If you’re going out into the sun, be sure to apply sunscreen as well so that all of that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!”

Final Thoughts

Slugging doesn’t hydrate the skin directly, it only prevents the moisture from escaping the skin so you still have to make sure that your skin is properly moisturized before applying the layer of petroleum jelly. 

If you want to see results, it is best to pair slugging with hydrating and moisturizing products from your skincare routine, and thoroughly wash any petroleum jelly products off your skin in the morning after slugging.

As Dr. HariKan Cheruki sums it up, “Just remember – moisturize, cleanse, protect
with sunscreen, and watch out for any reactions!”

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).