We like to think of Vaseline as the OG moisturizer. It dates back to 1865 when Robert Chesebrough patented the petroleum jelly formula to heal dry skin. Its thick consistency really does work wonders on our skin, especially when it gets cold out. "Vaseline is the holy grail in skincare for dermatologist," says Dr. Onyeka Obioha, board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist. "Petroleum jelly allergies are very rare, making it safe for even the most sensitive skin types," says David Petrillo, chemist and Founder of Perfect Image. "However, it could be a little thick and that can clog pores if you are using a high quantity all over your face." But since its invention, we've found so many other Vaseline uses that don't just pertain to skincare—seriously, its limits are boundless.
From the basic beauty needs (use it for a killer highlight game) to the more bizarre (some people apply it to the inside of light bulb sockets and glue bottles to prevent sticking), good old-fashioned Vaseline ($4) is one multitasking beauty product that has so many uses. And we've rounded up 15 of our favorite uses for the stuff that feel almost life-changing—or at the very least, skin-changing. (Just wait until you read the epic self-tanner hack!)
Keep scrolling for some of the best and most unexpected uses for Vaseline.
1. Prep Skin for Fragrance
Moisturized skin may hold scents better, so rub some Vaseline on your pulse points before you spritz to make your fragrance last longer. Pulse points "are warm areas that help diffuse the fragrance across the body," says Petrillo. They include the wrists, inner elbows, back of the knees, and the neck.
2. Tame Your Hair
Use Vaseline to try to tame frizz and seal dry split ends, and even to keep unruly eyebrows in place. Since it's safe to use on the face, you don't have to worry about irritation if you get any on your skin. However, Obioha says to be careful if your pores are easily clogged. "I do not recommend applying vaseline to your face as a moisturizer if you have oily, acne-prone skin."
Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman adds, "Vaseline is non-comedogenic so it is safe for all skin types. However, it is most beneficial for wounds and dryness. If you’re trying to get rid of acne, there are plenty of other better suited active ingredients."
3. DIY Highlighter
Swap your highlighter for Vaseline. Just dab a small amount on the high points of your face for a dewy, naturally luminous glow. Keep in mind that Vaseline may clog some peoples' pores, so if that seems like it could happen to you, maybe don't follow this tip, or at least go very lightly. A great alternative can be found in the cult-loved Weleda Skinfood ($19).
4. Stain Remover
With a damp washcloth, Vaseline can be used to lift makeup stains from your clothes as well as pillows, blankets, and sheets. "The oil in petroleum jelly will help draw out other oils from stubborn makeup stains," says Petrillo. Throw it in the washing machine after treating the stain to ensure you completely remove it.
5. Clean Up Your Manicure
Apply Vaseline to your cuticles before polishing your nails to keep color off of the skin around your nails. You'll get a perfect manicure—minus the cleanup. It's also great for keeping your hands and nails in manicure-ready shape, says Petrillo. "Petroleum jelly can be a great solution to fixing dry nail beds and cuticles by speeding up the healing process."
6. Dry Skin Healer
"Vaseline is incredibly effective at softening severely cracked, dry and inflamed areas. It also works by preventing loss of water in the skin which allows natural oils to nourish and repair," says Engelman. Smooth Vaseline over cracked heels or dry elbows, slip on a pair of socks, go to sleep, and wake up to healthy, hydrated skin. Keep in mind that while Vaseline might soothe the irritation from dry skin or chapped lips, it won't moisturize on its own. "Vaseline works by sealing in moisture that is already present in the skin. It does not, however, bring moisture to the skin," says Petrillo. Layer it with a moisturizer for best results.
"For my dry skin and eczema-prone patients, I recommend mixing vaseline with moisturizing cream and using it as a daily moisturizer," says Obioha.
7. Customize Your Cosmetics
Turn any of your favorite loose pigments into cream eye shadow or blush by mixing them with Vaseline. It's safe to use around the eye area, according to our experts, so you don't have to worry about causing infection. You can also make a tinted lip balm this way. But our favorite application is combining Vaseline with a shimmery pigment like Vanilla from MAC to create a dewy highlight.
8. Lash Conditioner
Vaseline can also be safely applied to the lashes. "In fact, many salons and spas use Vaseline or petroleum jelly-like products around areas (eyes, nose, mouth) that need to be protected from treatment," adds Engelman. If you're embracing the no-makeup look, trade your mascara for Vaseline. Smooth it over your lashes for a fuller set of dark, glossy eyelashes. Bonus: Vaseline may also make a great lash conditioner.
9. Leather Polish
Scuffed shoes? Buff a little Vaseline onto boots, shoes, bags, and any other leather goods that need polishing.
10. Achieve the Perfect Tan
Use a small amount of Vaseline on dry spots before applying self-tanner. It will act as a barrier, preventing streaks and stains in areas the self-tanning product would otherwise cling to.
Apply it around the hairline before applying at-home color to try to prevent hair-dye stains.
11. A Gentle Makeup Remover
Makeup remover can be expensive and tough on your eyes. Vaseline is an inexpensive option that easily and gently removes eyeliner, mascara, shadow, and even the eyelash glue your falsies leave behind. Engelman agrees that it can be used "to dissolve and breakdown makeup."
12. Ear and Jewelry Care
If you don't wear earrings very often, those holes can become troublesome. Rub Vaseline over your earlobes and the earring first to help it slide in painlessly. Obioha notes that petroleum jelly can promote wound healing, including "after lasers and skin biopsies." Vaseline can also help you take off a stuck-on ring—just another brilliant use!
13. DIY Scrubs
Dry lips? Vaseline can be a great fix, according to our experts. Add a bit of sugar to your Vaseline to make your own lip scrub. Or mix it with sea salt and use the mixture in the shower as a body scrub with moisturizing benefits. "Consistently monitoring your skin (knuckles, heels, elbows) for dryness and supplementing with Vaseline will help to prevent skin from cracking to begin with," notes Engelman.
14. Prevent Nail Polish Bottles From Sticking
Another expert sleeper use for Vaseline? Smooth a dab under the cap of your nail polish to prevent dried lacquer from making the bottle impossible to open. Yes, the polish will stay fresh forever. Or at least pretty darn close.
15. Prevent Rusting Razor Blades
Keep your razors like new by smoothing a very thin layer of Vaseline onto the blades between uses. Make sure they're completely dry first to prevent rust. Seriously, it's one of the slickest (literally) uses for Vaseline we've ever discovered. Praise be.
Next up: This viral DIY turmeric mask cures my dark under-eye circles for real.