Ah, petroleum. An ingredient in so much of our skincare and body products. But what exactly is it?
a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons that is present in certain rock strata and can be extracted and refined to produce fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil; oil.
Wait, what? Fuels? Diesel oil? Seriously? Why is this stuff in our skincare?
Well, it is. Even if you don’t realize it. Clearly it’s not in the same form as you’d find it in your car’s oil or in your lamp lights, but derivatives by other names are in most conventional beauty products. And there's long been evidence it might not be that great for your skin.
Here is just a sampling of a few ingredients you might see listed, that are part of the petroleum family:
Paraffin, Paraffin Wax, Microcrystalline Wax, Cera Microcristallina, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Unspecified Waxes, Mineral Spirits, Petroleum Distillates...you get the idea.
Avoiding petroleum entirely in our modern world is basically impossible—it’s in our plastics, our hair care, our canned goods, and our makeup. But if you want to start trying products that are fantastic alternatives to classic petroleums like Vaseline and Chapstick, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some amazing options that will get you away from the hydrocarbons whenever possible.
Instead of Vaseline: CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm, $26.00
This no-nonsense, professional skincare is truly the perfect alternative to Petroleum Jelly. In addition to feeling just like Vaseline, only better, of course, CV Skinlabs’ Restorative Skin Balm is full of anti-inflammatory ingredients, soothing oils, and serious science.
Just because it’s all natural and completely non-toxic doesn’t mean it isn’t made with complex, ingenious ingredients. From wound-healing reishi mushroom to plant-based antioxidants, this is the real deal. You won’t miss your Vaseline for an instant.
Instead of Aquaphor on Your Face: Tata Harper Moisturizing Mask, $115.00
Since I discovered Tata Harper’s Moisturizing Mask, no one has ever accused me of having dry skin on my face. It’s truly a miracle. I use it nightly like a moisturizer, but it can also be a wipe-off mask for those with less-dry skin.
Like all of Tata Harper’s incredible products, this one also works on fighting the signs of aging, ensuring that you’ll wake up feeling—and looking—amazing.
Instead of Chapstick: SPLURGE Skincare Lip Buttah, $7.00
Think you can’t survive without your Chapstick brand chapstick? Wrong. This Lip Buttah from Splurge Skincare will make you forget that Chapstick ever existed, and it smells way better, too.
This incredibly creamy, moisturizing balm comes in four delicious scents, and it doesn’t dry out your lips with chemicals. The oval shaped tube will give you a little sense of luxury as you apply.
Instead of sunscreen with petroleum: Juice Beauty, $29.00
Yes, petroleum is in your sunscreen, too. Juice Beauty’s SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer treats your skin as it protects it from the sun. Antioxidents and nutrient-rich sea algea keep your skin clear and wrinkle-free while it hydrates.
Instead of body lotion: Green-beauty darling Weleda's Skin Food, $19.00
Weleda is the gold standard for body lotion. Whether you like yours very thick, like Skin Food, or very light, like White Mallow Body Lotion, this clean, safe line will replace any petroleum-laden product on your shelf.
Or Weleda's White Mallow Body Lotion, $17.00
A few bonus swaps:
Shampoo and Conditioner: Innersense Organics
For your feet: Kosmatology Mint Your Feet soothing foot balm
For anywhere (and everywhere!): Soapwalla Concentrated Repair Balm