Swap Vaseline for This All-Natural Petroleum Jelly Alternative

A healthy lip balm does a body better.

A healthy lip balm does a body better.

Waxelene looks, feels and lasts the same way Vaseline does on your lips, but you won't be eating gobs of toxic petroleum jelly every day.

One of my first bosses, the Beauty and Fashion Director at Health magazine in New York, used to keep a jar of Vaseline on her desk and apply it to her lips throughout the day. This woman had every big and small beauty company showering her with their latest and greatest, yet she chose the most basic drugstore product as her go-to lip balm. (Mind you, that was 15 years ago before we knew what we know now about beauty products!) So, I followed her example, and for years I applied the stuff religiously.

Until I discovered that you are not meant to ingest petroleum jelly. And it's made from a byproduct of crude oil. And that there is a non-toxic alternative that softens your pucker in exactly the same way. 

What Is Vaseline?

Vaseline is the name brand for petroleum jelly—also called petrolatum on some beauty product labels—which is a byproduct of the oil industry. It has been around since the 1870s, having been first discovered by oil rig workers who applied the crude jelly to their wounds and burns, and then refined by a British chemist. Vaseline helps a clean would heal by creating a barrier from water and air, and preventing bacteria from getting in.

Why Petroleum Jelly Is Bad For Your Lips...and Other Areas

While the highly refined Vaseline is generally regarded as safe for external use, you're not supposed to eat it or apply internally, which is what you end up doing when you put it on your lips. The same goes for your lip gloss, lipstick, etc. that could contain a less-refined version of Vaseline's petroleum jelly, meaning a more carcinogenic, toxic ingredient. The Environmental Working Group reports that petrolatum is in one out of every 14 cosmetic products on the market, including 15 percent of lipsticks and 40 percent of baby lotions and oils.


  • Avoid Vaseline at all costs if you have rosacea or acne. The thick emollients can aggravate both conditions.
  • Do not rub it on dry, cracked noses. The product is recommended for external use only, which doesn’t include nostrils. There is a rare, but super freaky potential problem called lipid pneumonia if it moves from nostrils to the lungs. Here's what the National Institutes of Health has to say about that.
  • And if for whatever reason you are using it as lube, please stop that right now. Studies show that it has been known to cause bacterial vaginosis.  

When it comes down to it, as "refined" as it may be, Vaseline is still a fossil fuel that you apply on your body. (The skin absorbs whatever you put on it into your blood stream within 30 seconds.) Alternatively, you could just use something made of organic soy oil and beeswax. Hmmm, that sounds better, doesn't it?

Petroleum Jelly's All-Natural Doppelganger, Waxelene 

Waxelene in a glass jar comes in  2 oz. and 9 oz. sizes .

Waxelene in a glass jar comes in 2 oz. and 9 oz. sizes.

Waxelene feels smooth and moisturizing, but not waxy. It contains just four simple, natural ingredients: organic soy oil, beeswax, natural vitamin E oil and organic rosemary oil. No petroleum. It is noncomedogenic (won't cause breakouts), nongreasy and biodegradable, and is not tested on animals. It's also made in the U.S. of A.

Use it on your lips and essentially any other way that you may have used Vaseline: as a cuticle oil, as a body balm, as a hand salve, for cracks in your dog's foot pads, for your kid's diaper rash, to soothe eczema and more.

Waxelene's  tube lip balm

Waxelene's tube lip balm

It's available in both glass-jar and tube form. I keep the glass jar version in my beauty drawer and apply the hydrating balm to my lips, cuticles and dry elbows every morning and night—a 2 oz. jar lasts me more than a year. The purse-totable tube comes in handy, too.

The products are available at Whole Foods (giving them even more street cred!), or buy it here: Glass Jar, Tube, Tube with Flip Top.

Now that you have your all-natural basic lip balm, what about lip gloss? See what natural beauty products a celebrity makeup artist recommends in this blog.  

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