For decades, petroleum jelly has been an all-round solution in the beauty department, addressing several issues like dry skin and chapped lips. There is also this rather popular belief that petroleum jelly helps eyelashes grow.
Coming to think of it, petroleum jelly is indeed an easy and cheap option as practically every household has a tub or two lying around and all you must do is apply it. But, does this wonder jelly really help with eyelash growth?
Before you give in to the temptation to slather Vaseline on your eyelashes with the hope of experiencing heavy hair growth in the area, let us look at the facts and find out whether there is any truth to this belief.
To begin, let us find out all about what we are dealing with.
What is Petroleum Jelly and Is Vaseline the Same Thing?
Petroleum jelly is a gel-like substance formed of a mixture of waxes and mineral oils. It was first discovered in 1859 by Robert Augustus Chesebrough.
The story is that Chesebrough came across oil workers in Pennsylvania using rod wax, a substance obtained from drill wells, to heal wounded skin. He used this ingredient to develop the present-day version of petroleum jelly through various purification processes. The rest is history!
The main constituent of petroleum jelly is petroleum, which is found as a waxy coating on oil rigs. This crude material is subjected to vacuum distillation and filtered through bone char to yield petroleum jelly.
Although the terms petroleum jelly and Vaseline are used interchangeably, Vaseline is actually the brand name of petroleum jelly that is manufactured by Unilever.
Unilever claims that they use high-quality ingredients and special refining processes to produce smoother petroleum jelly that is superior to other generic brands.
Petroleum jelly is characterized by its excellent ability to seal moisture. By forming a waxy coating on the surface of skin, it prevents moisture loss and keeps the sealed surface hydrated and soft.
Important Benefits of Petroleum Jelly
We use Vaseline almost daily for various uses. The main benefits of this ingredient are as follows:
- Petroleum jelly keeps skin moist by forming a protective barrier for water loss. Hence, the surface beneath it stays hydrated and supple.
- Petroleum jelly prevents chafing when skin rubs against clothing or other surfaces.
- It soothes skin that is affected by rashes and skin allergies.
- Petroleum jelly forms a protective barrier on skin to prevent entry of microbes and pathogens. This helps with faster wound healing.
- It is an affordable option to manage eczema outbreaks in adults and children who show the symptoms of such skin conditions.
Essential Facts About Using Petroleum Jelly for Eyelash Growth
Now that we have had a detailed look at what petroleum jelly is and its main benefits, let us return to the subject at hand.
Does Vaseline help with eyelash growth at all?
Many women swear by the effectiveness of petroleum jelly in promoting sky-high lashes.
However, the truth is that petroleum jelly does not actually contain any hair-growth enhancing ingredients that can trigger and promote heavy hair growth.
Petroleum used to make Vaseline is a very large molecule that cannot penetrate skin. Unless it enters the skin and further permeates the hair follicle, it cannot really stimulate hair growth.
So, if it doesn’t directly produce hair growth, why do many women report success with using petroleum jelly on their eyelashes?
I think the results that they report have to do with the improved appearance due to the moisturizing effect of Vaseline. It could also be a result of the extra TLC they lavish on the eyelash area as part of applying petroleum jelly.
To understand this properly, we should first understand the peculiarity of the hair in eyelashes. The hair follicles in our eyelids are different from those in our scalp. Eyelashes have a shorter growth phase when compared to hair. As a result, they don’t get a chance to grow too long before they fall off.
Eyelashes look thin and unhealthy when the hair strands are dry. In such situations, applying petroleum jelly can produce a drastic difference in appearance.
Due to the thick and greasy nature of petroleum jelly, it will easily adhere to the surface of the hair strands when applied and form a shiny coating. By hydrating the eyelid and lashes, it thus helps dry hair strands appear stronger and moisturized.
Petroleum jelly forms a moisture barrier on the surface, preventing moisture loss from the surface of the hair strand and breakage. Vaseline thus acts as a conditioner and helps with improvement of the hair strand texture.
Let us also not discount the fact that while applying petroleum jelly to your eyelashes, the hair follicles in the area receive a swift massage. This can promote blood circulation in the hair follicles and improve the chances of hair growth, albeit indirectly.
So, let us get our facts straight—petroleum jelly does not contain ingredients that directly promote or enhance hair growth.
If you observe any improvement in hair growth due to use of petroleum jelly on your lashes, this is co-incidental. There is no scientific evidence supporting it.
To improve eyelash hair growth, it is better to choose products with prostaglandins or essential fatty acids that can stimulate hair growth in hair follicles.
Although Vaseline or petroleum jelly doesn’t directly cause hair growth in eyelids, there are cosmetic benefits to using it on eyelashes. Let us look at what they are.
Pros of Using Vaseline on Eyelashes
1. Hydrates and moisturizes eyelashes
When petroleum jelly is applied to eyelashes, it forms a sticky, wax-like protective coating on the surface. This coating locks moisture within the hair strand and keeps it well-moisturized.
2. Makes eyelashes look thicker and longer
Petroleum jelly forms a greasy coating on each eyelash strand, making it appear thicker than it is. It also makes the strand appear dark, strong and luscious due to its oily nature. When petroleum jelly sticks to the root area of each strand, it pulls it taut and creates the illusion of extra length.
3. Can be substituted for mascara
The effect created by petroleum jelly is like that produced by mascara. Like clear mascara, Vaseline adds a glossy finish to natural eyelashes. It adds a natural shine to eyelashes, which is more authentic when compared to mascara.
4. Prevents hair strands from falling out
By keeping eyelashes hydrated and making them stronger, petroleum jelly reduces their chances of falling out sooner.
5. Doesn’t have any offensive odor
Petroleum jelly has no distinct odor. Hence, it will neither compete with the smell of deo or perfume, nor irritate your olfactory senses upon application.
How to Apply Vaseline to Eyelashes
Now that you have understood the actual benefits of applying Vaseline to eyelashes, let us look at the best way to use it.
Steps to Apply Petroleum Jelly to Your Eyelashes:
- Always apply petroleum jelly to clean skin. Remove all traces of eye makeup and clean the area prior to application. Make sure that the skin on your eyelids are completely dry before you apply petroleum jelly.
- Apply petroleum jelly to your eyelids using your fingertip, a clean mascara wand or Q-tip. Put only a small amount of petroleum jelly on the surface. Gently apply it to the eyelashes, so every strand is liberally coated with the jelly from root to tip.
- Take care to limit the petroleum jelly to the external surface of the eyelid. If it accidentally enters the eye, the product can trigger irritation and cause eyes to water.
- Leave it on for several hours, so it has enough time to moisturize the hair strands from root to tip and produce visible results over time.
- When you wish to remove the petroleum jelly, wash the area with lukewarm water and gently remove all traces of the product. Make sure that it is completely removed before applying any eye make-up in the area.
Since petroleum jelly is very greasy, avoid applying it during the day. Use petroleum jelly at night, just before bedtime and it will have enough time to moisturize and improve the texture and appearance of your eyelashes.
Also, consistent and regular use of any product is necessary to produce long-term results. Add this step to your daily beauty regime and you will begin to see visible results.
Safety Concerns When Using Petroleum Jelly for Eyelashes
The skin around your eyes is very delicate. So, anything you apply in this area should be chosen with proper care.
Petroleum jelly is generally a safe product to use in the eye area, with scientific studies like this one suggesting that it has been safely used in medical settings like ultrasound examinations of the eye.
Nevertheless, we cannot entirely rule out the possibility of petroleum jelly causing allergic reactions. So, do a patch test before you start using this product regularly, to eliminate the risk of side-effects.
If you are generally sensitive to petroleum-derived products, it is best to avoid using Vaseline on your eyelashes.
Also remember that Vaseline can clog skin pores and trigger acne breakouts and infections. If you have sensitive skin, be very careful about using petroleum jelly.
Always apply petroleum jelly to dry and clean skin. If skin isn’t cleaned properly before application of petroleum jelly, it can result in bacterial or fungal infections.
When you choose petroleum jelly for eyelashes, choose a 100% pure product that is free from any synthetic agent that may trigger allergies or unwanted reactions. Read the label carefully to ensure that the product you choose doesn’t contain any additives that may cause side-effects.
Vaseline is one of the most trustworthy names in this regard, as it has been a staple in the beauty industry for several decades.
More Uses of Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline
From the time petroleum jelly was introduced to the commercial market, it has been used in numerous ways for different household needs. Let us explore some of the more popular uses of this miracle jelly.
1. For cracked heels : Petroleum jelly moisturizes and helps to heal cracked heels. Daily application at bedtime will reduce the appearance of cracked skin and heal the condition in no time at all.
2. For chapped lips : Vaseline is a cheap and effective substitute for chap stick. It also helps with excessive dryness of lips in cold and dry weather by restoring moisture while creating a glossy appearance.
3. As a make-up remover : Vaseline can be used as a safe and effective make-up remover. Due to its greasy nature, it adheres to even the last trace of cosmetic products and makes make-up removal easy. You can also use it to remove eye makeup, since it doesn’t trigger any reaction.
4. Prevents dyes from staining skin : Apply petroleum jelly to the hairline when dyeing your hair and it will prevent color from staining your skin. You can also use it around your nails, when applying a fresh coat of nail polish.
5. Accelerates healing of wounds and skin injuries : Vaseline can be applied to skin surrounding wounds and injuries to keep it moisturized. By forming an effective moisture barrier around the injured area, it promotes faster wound healing and skin repair.
6. Prevents dry skin : Petroleum jelly is one of the cheapest and safest topical moisturizing agents, which is why it is included in many moisturizing creams and formulations. Use it liberally on any part of your body to provide intense moisturization and prevent dryness.
Petroleum jelly may not be the best product to produce eyelash growth, as it doesn’t really contain any hair-growth enhancing ingredients. Nonetheless, it is an easy solution to glam up your eyelashes and make them appear long, strong and healthy.
The greasy texture of this product is a small negative when considering the intense moisturization it offers to delicate hair strands on your eyelids. Barring this factor, petroleum jelly is easily the safest and most economical solution to moisturize your eyelashes. Neither does it have any off-putting smell. Since there is no harm in trying it, go ahead and use it on your eyelashes. And don’t forget to let us know if you like the results!