The more I discover about beauty, the more I realise much of what we read is rubbish. From combatting oily skin with alcohol-laden cleansers to piling volumising product on limp hair, beauty articles can be very unhelpful.
So, using my own beauty disasters as a cringe-inducing guide, I’m writing a series of posts that aim to bust beauty myths. And I’m starting with my own personal demon – Vaseline.
Back in the 90s, Vaseline was the It Girl of the beauty world. Celebs achieved glowing skin through a combination of soap, water and Vaseline. We put it on our elbows, eyebrows and – most importantly – our lips. That little blue pot was the must-have accessory in my high school and synchronised lip-glossing took place at least 10 times a day.
The thing about Vaseline is, it’s made of petroleum jelly. Which is also known as petrolatum, white petrolatum, soft paraffin or multi-hydrocarbon. Wikipedia tells me it’s a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons with carbon numbers mainly higher than 25. Mmmm, glossy.
I don’t know much about the scientific side of Vaseline, but I do know it’s an addictive product. After using it on your lips for a length of time, you can become dependent on it. Not only the process of opening the pot and slathering it on, but actually physically dependent.
After 7 years of using Vaseline as my sole lip balm, I began to develop a reaction to it. My lips got sore and red and using Vaseline only made it worse. So I went cold turkey and stopped applying. Almost immediately, my lips cracked, flaked and became very painful. I had a rash on my upper lip and it hurt to smile. It took all my beauty-based strength not to cave and go back to that little pot of evil.
After three weeks, my lips were almost back to normal. I haven’t used Vaseline since, but I have developed a sensitivity to many of the ingredients found in lip balms, like parabens, mineral oils and lanolin. I’m obviously prone to allergies in this area but I do think over-use of Vaseline triggered the problem.
These days I’m very careful about what I put on my face and steer clear of most commercial lip balms. Lots of people use lip balms on a daily basis which shouldn’t be necessary – especially in summer, lips should be balanced and moisturised naturally. If you find you’re reaching for your Vaseline way too often, here are some alternatives I’ve found really help:
– Lip Scrub by Lush – great for sloughing off dry skin after initially giving up lip balm
– Dream Cream by Lush – another great, natural product with no nasties. I use this at night to soothe dryness
– Baume Lèvres Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm by Nuxe – if you really can’t quit balms, this is a lovely one
– Moringa Balm by Emma Hardie – technically a cleanser, but actually quite the wonder product that can be used on dry patches and angry rashes. I dab this on my lips if they’re feeling tingly and it cures them overnight
Do you use Vaseline? Have you ever had a reaction to it?
If you have any Beauty Bullsh*t you’d like busted, let me know in the comments.