Great news: Slugging might just be the best anti-aging method for mature skin out there. It’s easy and affordable, and it works wonders for women over the age of 50. But what does it mean, and how do you start? The viral sensation is simple: “Slugging” means to slather your skin or hair with a thick layer of a deeply moisturizing cream, oil, or lotion before bedtime.
“This forms a barrier that locks in hydration and prevents moisture loss,” says New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. “And since cells regenerate to repair damaged skin and hair while we sleep, slugging overnight helps products better penetrate to maximize the benefits.” Read on to learn how you can use these six slugging products to repair cracked skin, erase wrinkles, reverse thinning hair, and more! (Caveat: If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you might want to avoid slugging on the face as it may clog pores and lead to breakouts.)
Smooth crow’s feet with petroleum jelly.
The jelly’s petrolatum creates a film that traps moisture in the upper layers of the skin’s surface to plump and “fill in” creases around the eyes. To do: Dab a pea-size amount of petroleum jelly onto skin around the eyes after applying skin care (the jelly helps active ingredients sink deeply into skin); rinse in the morning.
Soften cracked heels with cocoa butter.
The high fatty-acid content in cocoa butter soaks into skin overnight to rehydrate and mend dry, rough heels. And mixing it with antiseptic tea tree oil (it helps repair rigid, cracked skin) speeds results. To do: Mix 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter and 2 drops of tea tree essential oil. Rub all over dry heels, slip on a pair of socks, then rinse skin in the morning.
Nix nail ridges by layering oil, cream, and ointment.
To reduce the grooves that nails develop with age, first get a cuticle oil, like California Mango Magic Cuticle Oil (Buy from SallyBeauty.com, $4.39), which contains antioxidants that strengthen nails. Apply the cuticle oil all over nail beds, then apply a layer of hand cream onto hands and nails (it hydrates to make ridges less noticeable). Seal in the moisturizing products by applying a nickel-size amount of an ointment, like (Aquaphor Healing Ointment, buy from Amazon, $11.17) on top; cover with cotton gloves overnight.
Reverse thinning hair with grapeseed oil.
Grapeseed oil’s linoleic acid replenishes moisture within hair follicles to thwart brittleness and boost elasticity in strands so they’re less prone to breakage. Plus, it stimulates hair growth by putting follicles in an active growth phase when rubbed onto the scalp. Even better? The oil has antimicrobial properties that prevent follicle-weakening dandruff. To do: Massage 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil onto scalp and hair before bed. Sleep with a towel on top of your pillow; rinse with shampoo in the a.m.
Repair chapped lips with a lanolin balm.
A naturally derived wax that holds 200 percent of its weight in moisture, lanolin provides extreme hydration to dry, cracked lips. Tip: Look for a lanolin cream that’s infused with sunflower seed and coconut oils to boost new, healthy skin-cell growth. One we like? Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm (Buy from Amazon, $16.95).
Lighten age spots and fade fine lines with mucin.
A trending ingredient in anti-aging skin care: mucin, the slimy secretion made by actual slugs and snails. It’s full of glycolic acid, which boosts cell turnover to lighten age spots and spur the production of skin-firming collagen to fade fine lines. To get the beautifying benefits, apply a dime-size amount of a moisturizer containing the extract onto clean skin at bedtime. One we like? Peach Slices Snail Rescue All-In-One Oil Free Moisturizer (Buy from Amazon, $16.99).
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.