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Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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Vaseline
Kai Hendry/Flickr/CC by 2.0
Sometimes, skin care products become such an integral part of our lives, we stop thinking of them as products at all. Vaseline is one of those things. Just about every bathroom has a jar. Not only that, but if you got in a time machine and traveled back a hundred years, you'd find people using it to soften their skin and protect their wounds. But is it a classic worth keeping around? Or have we moved on from the little yellow and blue jar?

Does It Work?

We'd have an easier time listing problems Vaseline doesn't solve: it's been used to tame frizz, prevent and treat chapped lips, protect dry skin during marathons, condition calloused feet, remove eye makeup, and cover wounds.

I'm not a doctor, so I would encourage you to consult one before using Vaseline for anything related to a medical purpose, but for superficial skin care purposes, I gotta say, you can't beat this classic. I like to use it for chapped lips and dry elbows and feet, but I find it a bit greasy for eye makeup removal or as a substitute for my night cream. I'm always amazed, though, at the many different uses people find for this old-fashioned miracle product. (Base for perfume, anyone?)

Some readers have expressed concern that Vaseline might be addictive, or even harmful. Our Multicultural Beauty Guide did some research on this topic a while back, and found that respected sources like Dr. Andrew Weil and the Environmental Working Group feel that Vaseline is a low hazard at worst. (EWG gave it a 0 rating, which in this case, is good.)

However, if you want to avoid petroleum products, obviously you'll want to steer clear of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. But you probably already knew that, as it's right in the name.

Texture, Feel, and Smell:

Vaseline is greasy, and that's OK by me: I rarely use it anywhere I wouldn't want a hint of shine. I prefer to use it as lip gloss, or at night when no one can see me, on my elbows, knees, or feet.

How to Use

- As a lip gloss: Apply to lips as needed throughout the day, or just at night as a deep conditioning treatment.

- To soften rough, calloused feet: Apply liberally to clean feet just before bed, and cover with clean, white socks.

- As an eye cream/makeup remover: Pat on eyes and massage gently. Remove with cotton balls or pads. Cleanse as usual, rinse, pat dry, and moisturize.

- As a moisturizer: Apply as needed to any part of the skin. If you want to try it as a full-scale facial moisturizer, try a small patch of skin first, to see if you can tolerate such a heavy moisturizer.

Bang for Your Buck:

This is one of the great grandmamas of the budget beauty world. It doesn't get much better in terms of multiple purposes, ease of use, and cost. It's available at every drugstore and most grocery stores. It's one of the oldest and most enduring beauty products on the market, and it still works like a charm. All this for less than you probably spend on coffee each morning. It really doesn't get much better than that.

Price: $3 and under.

Is It Worth It?

Definitely. I've yet to meet a person who can't find a use for Vaseline. It's a classic that deserves to be a classic. And the price tag isn't even that much higher than it was when the product was invented.

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