Hair Vaseline: Benefits of Petroleum Jelly for Hair

Petroleum jelly, also known as petrolatum, white petrolatum, soft paraffin, or multi-hydrocarbon, is a by-product of petroleum extraction.

Vaseline is the most popular brand name that markets petroleum jelly-based cosmetic products.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it has several benefits for the skin. It is recommended for protecting skin moisture, preventing skin chafing, treating diaper rash, preventing peeling, healing minor cuts and burns, and managing eczema.

Now, our question is whether petroleum jelly for hair helps or not. Read on to find the actual truth about using Vaseline for hair.

Does Vaseline help in hair growth?

Evidence from studies suggests that your hair begins growing from the roots in the bottom of the follicle. The root of hair mostly contains protein cells. Your hair grows when blood from the blood vessels in your scalp feeds the root and creates more cells.

On average, a hair strand can grow up to 6 inches in a year. However, those facing hair loss issues search for fast hair growth remedies.

You can find a lot of discussions out there on the efficacy of Vaseline in promoting hair growth. In fact, many use it on their heads, eyebrows, and lashes.

Many dermatologists think that petroleum jelly can create a protective layer around your hair. It may help to protect the moisture of hair and prevent dryness. Ultimately, this can help in preventing hair breakage.

Honestly speaking, there is no scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of Vaseline for hair growth. In no way, can it help in the faster growth of hair. But it may offer some effect in preventing hair breakage and dryness.

On the contrary, many hair experts vehemently oppose the use of petroleum jelly on hair. They argue that petroleum jelly may block hair follicles and create a breeding ground for bacteria. This may even cause an increase in hair falls.

Benefits of using Vaseline for hair, lashes, and eyebrows

Petroleum jelly is a traditional remedy for many common skin ailments. Many hair experts now advocate the use of petroleum jelly for dealing with hair issues.

Petroleum jelly is an excellent solution for dealing with scalp dryness. This issue is common with people who suffer from dandruff or live in a harsh climate with low humidity.

Importantly, using petroleum jelly to manage cradle caps in infants is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Using a small amount of Vaseline on hair after using hair moisturizer can help in retaining the moisture in hair for a longer time.

For those with thick hair, using a small amount of Vaseline may help to reduce frizz. But it does not work for thin or fine hair.

It should be noted, to use Vaseline sparingly on hair because it’s very difficult to wash out.

As a lubricant, Vaseline can give a glossy look to your dry eyebrows and eyelashes. Vaseline mimics the effects of mascara to some extent by making your lashes look shiny, voluminous, and extra thick.

Differing from common agreement on using Vaseline on hair, many strongly disagree with it.

“I don’t think that there would be many benefits to doing this, as Vaseline works on the skin by trapping moisture in it. The hair is not a living part of your body and produces no moisture. This is why I wouldn’t expect huge benefits of using Vaseline in the hair,” says Summit Kundaria, MD, a cosmetic surgery specialist in Charlotte, NC.

Method of using petroleum jelly

There is nothing so complicated about using Vaseline on your eyebrows, lashes, and hair. Unfortunately, there’s hardly any scientific evidence that assures you of any specific results from using it. Also, no evidence-based info on its side effects is available.

If you are using it for the first time, be sure to do a patch test on an inconspicuous area of your skin.

Warning: Be sure to choose triple-distilled, purified petroleum jelly (the well-known Vaseline is one of them). There is not enough scientific evidence to support the benefits of Vaseline for hair.

Using it on Hair and scalp

  • Put a tiny amount of Vaseline on your finger and gently massage it into your scalp to deal with dry scalp and dandruff; do it twice a week.
  • To protect the moisture of your hair, apply a small amount of Vaseline onto the ends of your hair daily.
  • For shiny hair, apply a thin layer of Vaseline mask all over your hair; rinse it off with mild shampoo and cold water after 3 hours.
  • Add a small amount of Vaseline as an ingredient in your favorite moisturizing hair mask; it may help protect hair moisture gained from the hair treatment.

Using it on lashes and eyebrows

  • For eyebrows, apply a very tiny amount of Vaseline with your finger or a cotton swab; apply twice a day.
  • Apply Vaseline on eyelashes with your finger from the root outwards, preferably before bed.

Warning: Do not spill petroleum jelly into your eyes, nostrils, and ears. Using a thick layer of Vaseline on the face may cause breakouts on acne-prone skin. If it does enter your eyes or nostrils, flush it out with warm water.

How to get Vaseline out of hair?

It is quite hard to get Vaseline out of your hair. For this reason, you should not apply too much Vaseline to your hair. Secondly, if you have thin or fine hair, it can firmly stick to your hair and cause breakage.

  1. Shampooing: First of all, shampooing your hair is the most effective way to get Vaseline out of your hair. Use a chemical-free clarifying shampoo with a deep cleansing effect for better results.
  2. Warm Water: Rinse your hair with warm water. This helps to loosen up petroleum jelly stuck on hair.
  3. Paper Towels: Take a few paper towels and press them on the hair that’s coated with Vaseline. You can dab and bolt the paper towel to remove Vaseline.
  4. Baking Soda/Corn Starch: Coat the greasy hair with cornstarch or baking soda. Lightly pat the powder into your hair with your finger to let the powder fully coat the greasy hair. Then rinse your hair with warm water.

Final thoughts

There is no verified evidence to support the claim that Vaseline or petroleum jelly promotes hair growth. Obviously, it has some benefits for hair and scalp. But it is not a must-have product in your hair care routine.

It works to some extent in controlling dry scalp and dandruff. Petroleum jelly may also help in protecting the moisture of hair by providing a greasy coating to the hair. Some recommend it for hair styling.

Article Source:

  • Clark GW, et al. (2015). Diagnosis and treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. (Source)
  • The American Academy of Dermatology, 5 Ways To Use Petroleum Jelly For Skin Care. (source)
  • Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias, “Hair cosmetics: An overview” International Journal of Trichology, 2015 (source)
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (source)