It’s not every day you meet a beauty product that can be used as everything from a highlighter to hair pomade to scent elongator. Well, we’ve met our match with the ultimate multitasking beauty mainstay: Vaseline. Vaseline has been in use since the 1870s. Yep, you read that right.
These days, viral TikToks show us that Vaseline isn’t just an occlusive applied to irritated skin or dry lips. However, it is always essential to dissect these viral trends with the help of skincare experts, such as dermatologists, who understand how Vaseline works with our skin, especially if you’re acne prone.
For the deets on using this centuries-old jelly, I chatted with dermatologists Hadley King, MD, FAAD, and Schweiger Dermatology Group’s Rina Allawh, MD, FAAD. Now, let’s get into all the ways you can use this age-old staple.
When famed makeup artists like Mario Dedivanovic—Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist—use Vaseline as a highlighter, you know the beauty hack is legit. A pat of the jelly just along the cheekbones gives the area a glow without needing anything additional. If you’re acne prone, you may want to leave the highlighting to a glowy primer or a hydrating highlighter stick that offers multitasking possibilities.
Scrubbing away eye makeup—gently, of course—is the least fun part of the makeup process, especially with budge-proof formulas. But because Vaseline can easily dissolve makeup and is safe to use around the delicate eye area, it makes an excellent makeup remover that you follow up with a double-cleanse.
You’ve likely seen or heard the term slugging. The skincare hack suggests you layer Vaseline over your skin to lock in moisture. However, Allawh says Vaseline may not be the best option for all skin types: “If you experience more acne-prone or oily skin, applying Vaseline directly to the skin may clog your pores and worsen acne.”
She notes applying Vaseline to the lips or underneath the eyes as a moisturizer should not clog your skin pores. “However, if you apply Vaseline to the skin above or below the lips or the nose, you may trigger skin acne breakouts,” she says.
Every night before bed, I slather Vaseline on my lips. I find that it keeps my dry-prone lips hydrated and plump. I personally love the formula infused with cocoa butter.
Using Vaseline under the eyes won’t filter away wrinkles, but if you’re prone to dryness on your eyelids or under eye areas, add a thin layer on top of your eye cream to lock in moisture.
Another great use of Vaseline is on the cuticles. King suggests “first applying a moisturizer that contains humectants and emollients (plus or minus occlusives) and then applying Vaseline for extra occlusive properties.” For added hydration, she suggests putting on a pair of cotton gloves for good measure.
Vaseline was once solely used for burns and cuts, and that hasn’t changed. “As a dermatologist, petroleum jelly is my go-to for postoperative woundcare after any dermatologic procedure—both medical and cosmetic,” Allawh shares. “Petroleum jelly promotes rapid, uncomplicated healing with avoidance of potential irritation or allergic reactions.”
I am prone to dry, itchy skin, especially when I don’t complete my bodycare routine after a hot shower. When my skin needs additional hydration, I slug with body oil. My favorites are Mutha Body Oil and Osea Undaria Algae Body Oil since they hydrate without greasiness. Next, I add a layer of Vaseline to my feet, elbows, hands, and knees. I’m telling you. It’s a game changer.
Not only is Vaseline an excellent hairline protectant from hair dye, but if you find yourself with hair-dye stains, Vaseline will also remove the stains. Rub a layer onto the spot with a cotton ball, and once it smudges, remove it with a warm cloth.
Don’t want a matte finish for your next eye shadow look? Add a thin layer of Vaseline to your eyelids and apply your shadow.
I know you already have a hair wax you love. But if you’re ever in a pinch, Allawh shares that “petroleum is excellent for use in holding wax and one of the more popular ingredients for both beard and mustache wax.” In addition, she explains petroleum jelly may help improve the integrity of the hair and maintain the strength of the hair cuticle. It’s a win-win.
Want your signature fragrance to last longer? Then add a touch of Vaseline to your pulse points to help that fragrance last.
Try this multitasking formula made with unbleached raw beeswax and vitamin E for a petroleum alternative.
Formulated by a dermatologist, this plant-based alternative is a great medicine-cabinet addition.
If you want a heavy nighttime cream that does the slugging on its own, this award-winning beauty-editor favorite infused with cell-renewing Miracle Broth and antioxidant lime tea provides an ultra-moisturizing formula.
For hydration and exfoliation, this 10% hydroxy acid blend gently exfoliates the skin while eliminating dryness and smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
For irritated skin that requires extra TLC, reach for this shea butter–infused cream that helps soothe everything from chafing to sunburn.
Avène is beloved for a reason. With hundreds of five-star reviews, this cream is formulated with the brand’s signature thermal spring water, shea, camelina, and safflower oils, providing non–pore clogging 24-hour hydration.
This lip balm truly is worth every penny if you struggle with chronically dry lips. I promise you can take my word for it.
I’ve seen quite a few threads on Reddit about using Vaseline in tandem with foundation for dry skin. That may work for some, but who doesn’t love a product specifically made to address your skin concerns that provides some coverage? We do. For mature or dry skin, Jones Road’s Tinted Moisture Balm does all of the above.