It seems like TikTok has a new beauty trend every day, and they just seem to be getting weirder. Like, what is nail slugging? And was that “lube as a primer” trend just a fever dream, or was that real? Because we’ve been using KY on our face for two weeks now and yes, we have a rash, but our skin has never felt softer.
Our dermatologist is on the case of the lube rash, but in the meantime, we spoke to nail artist Julia Lezina for deets on this whole nail slugging thing. Lezina, who goes professionally by the name Nail Witch, has been following the trend long before she even became a nail artist.
Sometimes, being a hipster is worth it.
What Is Nail Slugging?
Nail slugging is a moisturizing treatment for your nails. If you’ve ever tried skin slugging, it’s a similar process. You coat your nails and cuticles in a thick layer of oil or ointment – often petroleum jelly.
You know, because your Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar hand cream just can’t do it all. It’s terrible at mincing garlic, for one thing.
Lezina found her way to nail slugging because her constant hangnails led her to nail-biting. Her mom took her to a manicurist who taught her to add oil to her nails at least twice a week for their health. It’s kind of like hearing that you should eat an apple a day and drink eight glasses of water and then ignoring it completely.
Except in this case, she listened. Her mom must be so proud.
Between hand washing, sanitizing, and everything else we do with our hands, we remove the natural oils that protect our skin and nails. “Here come hangnails, cracks on skin, cracks on the cuticle area, and that causes picking and peeling,” Lezina says. “Nails become dehydrated and brittle, so they break much easier.”
And regular hand creams don’t always solve this problem. “Also, not all lotion is good for your skin. Therefore hydrating hands and nails with oil is very important,” Lezina says.
Also, if you’re still using lube as primer because TikTok told you to, we should probably also mention that lube likely won’t help your nails either. But it will make doors super hard to open, so good news if you have roommates.
What Are the Benefits of Nail Slugging?
Nail slugging can give you stronger, healthier nails. We’re not saying your nails will be Wolverine-like, but we’re not not saying that either. For legal reasons, we’re keeping Wolverine levels ambiguous.
But, according to Lezina, some of the benefits of nail slugging include fewer “cuticle problems, nail growth, faster skin healing…as well as the prevention of skin aging.”
She also notes that nail slugging is a versatile practice, so you can add steps to it to create even more benefits. “Adding tea tree and lemon essential oils can help kill harmful bacteria in wounds and can prevent fungus.”
How to Slug Your Nails
Before nail slugging, you’ll want to exfoliate. You can do this easily by combining three parts baking soda with one part water and rubbing the mixture in circles on your nails.
Not baking powder. We’re not sure if nails react the same way pancakes do to the mix-up, but we wouldn’t risk it. We’re still mourning all those wasted chocolate chips.
Next, apply cuticle oil. This is also just good practice to do regularly. “Applying cuticle oil during the day will help to upkeep health and moisture level, as well as prolong the wear of your nail enhancements,” Lezina says.
If you’d like to start slugging your nails, follow these directions. And then find something else to chew on throughout the day. Your nails have been through enough.
What You’ll Need for Nail Slugging
- baking soda
- cuticle oil
- Vaseline with Vitamin E
- Mix together three parts baking soda and one part water. Rub the mixture in circles on your nail. Rinse off the mixture.
- Apply the cuticle oil to your cuticles.
- Apply a thick layer of Vaseline, ideally with vitamin E.
- Leave the Vaseline on overnight.
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