Imagine this: an effective sleeping mask that’s readily available in all pharmacies, costs less than RM10, and is free of irritants like fragrance and alcohol. In fact, you probably have some tucked away at home already. Can you guess what it is?
That’s right – it’s Vaseline.
First off, what is Vaseline?
Vaseline is basically extremely purified, refined, and filtered petroleum jelly, a by-product of the petroleum manufacturing process. Chemically speaking, it’s a blend of hydrocarbons, which are organic compounds made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms.
When applied to skin, petroleum jelly forms a film that prevents moisture from escaping and from harsh air and germs. And that, my friends, is the secret to its cosmetic power.
Isn’t petroleum jelly bad for you? Why does it have such a bad rap?
Vaseline’s thick, waxy and greasy texture misleads people to think it can clog pores or prevent skin from “breathing”. In fact, petroleum jelly is completely non-comodegenic, which means it doesn’t clog pores. Secondly, your skin doesn’t breathe– you’re not an amphibian. Your skin doesn’t get its oxygen from the air, but from the oxygen-carrying red blood cells that run in vessels beneath it.
It may not sound as sexy as a plant-derived botanical extract, but it’s perfectly safe to use.
How does it work?
Petroleum jelly is not a moisturiser– it doesn’t deliver hydration into your skin. That’s what a humectant, like hyaluronic acid does. Instead, Vaseline is an occlusive, which means it forms a moisture-proof barrier that prevents moisture loss to the surroundings.
So to make the most of your moisturiser, and to prevent your skin’s precious moisture from being escaping into the air, a layer of Vaseline works wonders. (This same barrier also protects your skin from germs, so it helps small wounds and acne heal faster.) The more moisture in your skin, the healthier and glowier your skin is, with diminished wrinkles and fine lines.
Need more convincing? Petroleum jelly is one of the top ingredients in Creme de La Mer.
How should you use it?
For the reasons above, Vaseline must be used in conjunction with a moisturiser or it won’t do much at all.
So my favourite trick is to seal in all my night-time skincare with a thin layer of Vaseline. Because it seals in skincare and moisture, this works especially well if you sleep in a dry, air-conditioned room! On Reddit, where this technique is fondly referred to as “The Slug Life”, users rave about how the technique makes them wake up with soft, glowy skin!
Just like a sleeping mask, I apply it as the last step of my routine. Throughout the night, it keeps my precious essences, serums, and moisturisers locked in my skin while making sure I don’t dry out from the harsh air-conditioned air.
It can take some time getting used to the feeling of Vaseline on your face, but it’s not uncomfortable. To keep it from getting all over my hair, I avoid placing it too close to my hairline and sleep with my hair in a bun.
And that’s it! Just go to sleep and wake up with soft, dewy skin!
It’s definitely worth a try– if you don’t like it, it’s only going to set you back RM5 after all. And Vaseline has a ton of other uses as well.
Try it out and let me know how you like it!
PSA: While Vaseline is petroleum jelly, not all petroleum jelly is Vaseline. Vaseline’s biggest selling point is its triple-purified purity guarantee that ensures no harmful compounds are left in the jelly. So just to be safe, if you’re going to use petroleum jelly on your face, it’s best to stick to Vaseline or other brands that are certified to be safely purified for cosmetic use.