A lot of things have happened in the last 150 years: two turns of century, 28 presidents, and six Beyoncé albums, to name a few. And Vaseline has been a fixture in peoples bathrooms and beauty bags through all of it.
The beauty balm was invented in 1872—which, to put it into perspective, was nine years before the advent of electricity—and has held a spot as a drugstore best-seller pretty much ever since. Even as recently as this week, sales of the mini Crème Brûleé-flavored version are up 3,000 percent on Amazon. As you might guess, there’s a good reason that it’s been so well-loved for so, so long.
Dermatologists refer to Vaseline as the “Swiss Army Knife” of beauty products because of its vast number of uses. It’s made with pure petroleum jelly, an oil-based occlusive that helps seal in hydration—it’s what dry skin’s dreams are made of. “This non-irritating, barrier-sealing product is a great option for preventing chapped lips, soothing irritated skin, and even treating skin clean wounds,” board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, previously told Well+Good.“With no potential for skin allergy, it protects the skin by creating an artificial (and protective) skin barrier that holds in moisture, allowing the skin to heal.” And though it might feel greasy when you apply, it’s miraculously been shown not to clog pores, which means it can be used on oil and acne-prone skin, too.
Over the years, beauty pros have schooled us in dozens of different ways to use the stuff. Below, the ones that have officially made Vaseline staples in our bathrooms and beauty bags, too.
1. Spot treating dryness: Just like with acne, you can spot treat dryness, too. If you’re dealing with scaly patches anywhere on your face or body (think: elbows, knuckles, knees), a little Vaseline can go a long way.
2. Healing chapped lips: Derms say Vaseline is the best ingredient for treating chapped lips, which is the main reason why so many of us keep it in our bags at all times (I currently have three of them living in the bottom of my every day tote). If your pout dryness gets really serious, it can also be used to successfully treat heal cracked lip corners.
3. Calming eczema: Vaseline is sensitive enough for all skin types, and that includes the most sensitive ones. “It’s wonderful if you have eczema, as it can help alleviate and control related flare-ups,” says board-certified dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD, aka Dr. Pimple Popper and the founder of SLMD Skincare.
4. “Slugging”: Borrowed from K-Beauty, the practice of “slugging” involves layering a thick coat of Vaseline on top of your skin-care routine. It locks in moisture to keep it from evaporating, which is especially helpful for treating dryness.
5. Maintaining a manicure: Not only can Vaseline keep your nails healthy, but it can also help your polish job last longer. “Between polishes, apply a moisturizing product, such as petroleum jelly, to your nails and cuticles several times daily,” reads a recent article from The American Academy of Dermatology. “This will minimize brittleness and help prevent your nails from chipping.”
6. Protecting your brow tint: So, uh, did you know that benzoyl peroxide (a common acne-fighting ingredient) can bleach your brows? Prevent this from happening by coating the hair in Vaseline before you use it.
7. Removing makeup: Because Vaseline is oil-based, it follows the principle of “like dissolves like” and is able to whisk away similarly oil-based makeup products.
8. Treating beard burn: If too much making out with a bearded human has left your skin raw, “lube up your face” with some Vaseline. It can also act as a protective measure—if you remember to apply before the smooching starts, that is.
9. Styling your brows: Forget those price-y styling gels. Simply coat a spoolie in Vaseline, and use it to brush your brows into place.
10. Moisturizing under your eyes: Board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, uses Vaseline every night before bed as an eye cream. It helps seal in the ingredients from your regular moisturizer, and adds an extra layer of nice, thick hydration. See how she applies it, below:
Vaseline isn’t the only drugstore beauty product derms love—here are the lip balms they don’t go a day without recommending. And here’s why everyone is using alt-milk moisturizers for the sake of happier, more hydrated skin.
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