Nail Slugging: Your Guide To The Viral Trend With Major Benefits

You may have noticed that slugging has become a trend recently. From slugging the hair to slugging the whole body, we're living in a slugging world so embrace the slug. Relatively new to the sluggings is nail slugging, in which the nails are moisturized with cuticle oil, which is then sealed in to last. It's definitely a good slug to add to your daily beauty routine.

"Nail slugging aids in growing stronger healthier nails and benefits the surrounding skin and cuticle of the nail unit to help prevent dry, brittle, or splitting nails," celebrity nail artist Pattie Yankee told InStyle. "If the cuticles are dry, unhealthy or splitting, it allows bacteria and germs to enter into the matrix area where are nails are formed, and may cause inflammation or infections."

Even if your nails haven't been overly battered by manicure-related chemicals and you wear gloves whenever you end up with dish duty, life, in general, can take its toll. Because of this, now's the time to learn how to slug your nails so they stay as healthy as can be in the long run.

Clean and exfoliate your nails

When it comes to moisturizing any part of the body, you always want to start with a clean slate. That means thoroughly washing your hands and nails with soap, and even giving them a proper scrub with a nail brush. You also want to exfoliate your nails. 

"Your nails have layers of dead nail cells — aka onychocytes — that become dehydrated and damaged from environmental exposures such as water, temperature changes, as well as chemicals from products, polish remover being the biggest culprit," board-certified dermatologist and nail specialist Dana Stern, MD told Well + Good. "As a result, the onychocytes lift and separate, which causes peeling — this is analogous to dry, rough, scaly skin." When you scrub away all those layers, you're basically inviting whatever moisturizer you apply to be fully absorbed. And since that's the point of slugging, that's exactly what you want. 

Although you can use any type of exfoliant you might already have or purchase one at the store, if you want to save a few dollars, you can easily make your own. When it comes to making a perfect exfoliant scrub, all you need are sugar, oil, and a scent of your choice. Mix them all together until it's a consistency that's best for you, and voilà! Now get to exfoliating. 

Apply cuticle oil

Before you apply the cuticle oil, you want to make sure your hands are thoroughly dry. The reason for this comes down to germs and bacteria. According to the Center for Disease Control, not only can germs be easily transferred from wet hands, but bacteria can grow under fingernails and in nail beds if your nails aren't totally dry. This also means that when you lock in moisture while slugging, you're inadvertently locking in bacteria. If your hands aren't completely dry, then dry them again. Then you can gently rub the cuticle oil into your nails. 

"Cuticle oils are formulated with emollients that act as a barrier to lock in moisture around the cuticle area," celebrity nail tech Tammy Taylor told Mind Body Green. "Cuticle oil helps prevent dead skin from growing onto the natural nail." Although you can purchase oils that are specific for nails and cuticles, you can also just use coconut oil. Coconut oil isn't just naturally an antibacterial substance, but it contains antioxidants and fatty acids that will moisturize the dickens out of your nails, per Self

Lock it in with petroleum jelly

Last but certainly not least, you need to seal all that moisture you've just applied with a petroleum jelly like Vaseline, or similar substances like Aquafor. But before you get to this step, it's important to realize that the petroleum jelly step is moot if you skip the oil. Vaseline moistens the skin and protects it, but it doesn't penetrate the nail — that's why it's called an occlusive moisturizer because it forms a protective layer so moisture can't escape, per Good Housekeeping. To properly slug your nails, you need to make sure you don't skip any step.

"Nail slugging can be beneficial for everyone," medical nail technician Marcela Correa told Real Simple. "The frequency of how often you're doing it may just change depending on your individual needs and how damaged your nails or cuticles may be."

You may find in your early slugging days that you'll need to do it up to twice a day, then as your nails get healthier, you can scale back to once a day or even once every other day. When you slug is totally your call, but it's definitely something you want to consider making part of your routine. Even if your nails are perfect to the naked eye right now, it doesn't mean time and the environment won't eventually come along and mess that up. Being proactive by slugging now can help protect from damage in the future.