Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is amazing for many purposes. It can make your cologne last longer, cure cuts and wounds, and can keep your facial hair in place.
Petroleum jelly has a history of being a multipurpose product, but despite its usefulness, it can create some issues too.
Some people believe that Vaseline is good for the hair, but it may lead to oily strands, knotted hair, and may even cause hair loss.
You’ll learn more about Vaseline’s effects on hair in this article, including what petroleum jelly is, if it has any benefits for the hair, and how to get rid of its oils from your strands.
What Is Petroleum Jelly, 0r Vaseline?
Most people know petroleum jelly by its branded name, Vaseline. The jelly was designed to form a film barrier on top of the hair and skin.
This prevents these areas from drying out as moisture is trapped within, unable to escape.
Vaseline is made from a mix of natural waxes and mineral oils.
This blend works effectively by locking in moisture inside the hair cuticles and the inner layer of your skin, called the dermis.
This may sound like a good thing, but in some instances, this can be bad too.
We’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of Vaseline in more detail below.
Vaseline And Its Benefits
Oil company staff originally used petrolatum, which is essentially petroleum jelly, to heal any burns or wounds experienced on the job.
The product’s useful blend of mineral oils and wax delivers a great protective shield on the skin’s upper layers.
Petrolatum has been recommended as a hair treatment since the mid-19th century when it was first discovered. But is it safe to use on the hair?
Here are some of the advantages of Vaseline:
Helps heal superficial skin injuries, like cuts, burns, and grazes. Research has shown that when Vaseline is applied to a disinfected injury, the jelly keeps the dermis hydrated, helping the skin heal.
Prevents rashes, like diaper rash. This 2013 study even suggests that petroleum jelly can stop diaper rashes from emerging in the first place.
Stops skin staining from products, like hair dye. When Vaseline is applied around the hairline, it forms a barrier that prevents dye from penetrating the skin.
You can simply wipe this off after you finish dyeing the hair, without any staining left behind.
Works as an occlusive to moisturize the skin. It can soothe chapped lips, cracked heels, and sensitive skin.
You can also apply it to your pet’s paws if they are feeling rough.
Acts as lube to hinder skin chafing. It prevents blisters, wounds, and skin irritation.
Is Petroleum Jelly Bad For Hair?
We’ve seen some of the advantages of Vaseline above, but can the same benefits be seen on the hair and scalp?
Frizzy Hair Treatment
You can use petroleum jelly to style frizzy hair. As long as you only use a pea-sized amount of product, you can tame your dry or frizzy hair strands into place.
Some styling products can make hair oily or crunchy, but this won’t occur with Vaseline, just remember to use a small amount.
Vaseline is recommended for soothing dry or itchy scalps. If you apply the product correctly, the jelly will have non-comedogenic effects, so it won’t block any pores.
Vaseline can alleviate any itching, flakiness, or scaling caused by dandruff. This 2015 study also suggests that it can treat seborrheic dermatitis, a form of eczema that can affect the scalp.
Certain factors, like hard water, pool chemicals, heat styling, and sun exposure can cause dry hair.
Dryer strands are more prone to split ends and breakage.
You can add a drop of Vaseline to your hair ends to improve the look of split ends.
You can also apply it to your hair before you enter a pool or the sea.
The vaseline acts as a shield against any drying elements, preventing your hair from breaking.
Some speculate that petroleum jelly can aid hair growth, helping as an anti-hair-loss treatment.
However, there aren’t any active substances within petroleum jelly that encourage accelerated hair growth.
Nobody can definitively prove that vaseline works as a hair growth aid.
However, it can make your strands less likely to break by adding a barrier to the hair shaft.
Can Vaseline Make Eyelashes And Eyebrows Grow?
Petrolatum cannot accelerate the hair’s growth process. However, it can coat eyebrow hairs with a barrier, preventing them from breaking.
You can also use Vaseline as a brow gel to tame your brows in place.
In the case of eyelashes, coating these hairs with a small amount of Vaseline will stop them from breaking, help them look thicker, and make them stand out.
However, you should always do a patch skin test before you start applying vaseline to your skin.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, Vaseline can make breakouts form.
In the case of brow and eyelash hairs, only use a tiny amount of petroleum jelly.
To put this into perspective, this shouldn’t be bigger than a grain of rice.
Results won’t be instant, so remember to apply consistently to see a difference.
Vaseline’s Side Effects On Hair
As mentioned above, you shouldn’t use Vaseline in large amounts. For hair care purposes, don’t apply Vaseline more than once weekly.
If Vaseline isn’t cleaned properly or applied in large amounts, it can have adverse effects on the hair.
- For instance, if you don’t cleanse Vaseline completely off of your scalp, it can block hair follicles, leading to spots on the scalp. The oils can also create a hotbed for bacteria to form.
- Vaseline can prevent hair strands from breaking, but these oils need to be cleansed from the hair. If you don’t, your hair can become knotted and oily. The strands may break off by attempting to get rid of the knots.
The body cannot rid itself of mineral oil naturally, so you’ll have to actively remove the substance from your hair.
How To Cleanse Vaseline From Hair
Vaseline should only remain in the hair for a short amount of time.
Bear in mind that your regular shampoo, hair brush, or towel won’t be enough to cleanse it from your scalp.
The best way to clean mineral oils out from your hair is with a clarifying shampoo.
These are specifically formulated to eliminate oils from the scalp.
Baking soda and activated charcoal also work well, but remember to rinse these substances out from your hair thoroughly.
The Bottom Line
Vaseline can be used for many hair care purposes. It can help nourish strands and prevent the hair from breaking.
However, using too much can lead to adverse effects. Only use a small amount of Vaseline each time, and remember to cleanse it from your scalp with a clarifying shampoo once you’re done.