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What Does Vaseline Do to Hair? | Our No-B.S. Take

Online beauty gurus tout vaseline as a miracle product for skin, hair, and nails. Read on to learn what Vaseline does to hair and why it can benefit any hair care routine. 

What Is Vaseline?

Vaseline is an occlusive that creates healthy hair from inside and outside the barrier. It seals moisture and hair products into the strands, allowing maximum absorption. Petroleum jelly also protects hair from friction that causes breakages and split ends.

What Does Vaseline Do to Hair?

Coating slightly damp hair with Vaseline prevents the moisture on the strands from escaping. Humectants in the air won’t be able to steal water from behind the occlusive.

The same applies to hair products. Since Vaseline seals them in, the hair has no choice but to absorb the beneficial substances. 

Any harmful chemical substances around the hair cannot reach the strands to cause damage, and the jelly acts as a protective barrier against friction. There are additional advantages to Vaseline for hair other than keeping it shiny and healthy.

Some use it in their morning beauty routine to tame flyaways. Others use it to keep hair dye from staining their skin or even to style hair the same way as a mousse or gel. Below, find some common uses of Vaseline in hair and how to pull them off. 

1. Prevents Hair Dryness and Split Ends

The most common use of Vaseline for hair includes improving overall health and shine. It keeps hair smooth, shiny, and free from split ends by retaining moisture. After washing, apply products to the hair as usual.

Then, when it is mostly dry, apply Vaseline to the strands. Cover as much hair as possible, but avoid the scalp unless dandruff is an issue. The Vaseline will seal moisturizing products and keep the moisture locked in the strands. 

Keep the Vaseline in overnight or until the next wash. Use a bonnet or sleeping cap to keep pillowcases and sheets jelly-free. Be sure to wash every last bit of Vaseline out to prevent greasy hair and bacteria growth. 

Some choose to apply a small amount of Vaseline to the ends of the hair every day. It does not have to be a noticeable amount, but it can prevent the ends from splitting since this is the weakest part of the strand.

2. Prevents Dandruff

A dry scalp can cause dandruff. Using Vaseline on the scalp while damp with water and full of restorative products can help prevent water loss. More moisture means less of a chance of the skin on the scalp flaking off. 

Remember that Vaseline can be hard to wash off the scalp, but it is necessary to remove it entirely. Otherwise, the petroleum jelly can block hair follicles and create a breeding ground for bacteria.

Read Next: How to Get Rid of Dandruff Without Using Shampoo

3. Helps Style Hair

No one has a never-ending supply of hair mousse and gel. Sometimes, people have allergies to these products. Either way, Vaseline can save the day for someone who cannot use gel.

It can shape hair just as comfortably, and it holds all day. Plus, it has the added benefits of being non-comedogenic and locking moisture into the hair. 

4. Protects from Chlorine

Swimming in a pool or natural body of water can damage hair. It strips hair of the natural oils that protect it from damage, leaving it dry and brittle. Chlorine can cause chemical reactions that change hair’s color and weaken the structure.

Cover the hair in Vaseline before jumping into the water. Petroleum jelly will protect most of the hair from harsh chemicals and saltwater. This simple tip could make a big difference in the overall hair health of frequent swimmers.

5. Tames Flyaways

Vaseline comes in handy for those mornings when it is extra hard to tame flyaways. Use a small amount of Vaseline to smooth down the unruly strands of hair. Be careful not to use too much, because it can make the hair appear greasy.

6. Protects Skin From Hair Dye

Since Vaseline is occlusive, it works both ways for hair and skin. The barrier keeps beneficial products in but can also keep unwanted substances out.

When dying hair, put Vaseline on the skin around the hairline. It will prevent the hair dye from staining the skin on the forehead and neck. But be careful — if left on your hair and skin for too long, you’ll dry it out.

Read Next: How to Get Permanent Hair Dye Off of Skin

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman holding up a finger with petroleum jelly on it and wondering what does Vaseline do to hair

Anna Gawlik/Shutterstock

Below, find the answers to some common questions about putting Vaseline in hair. 

Can you use Vaseline to get rid of lice?

Do not use Vaseline to get rid of lice. An old rumor says petroleum jelly can kill lice by covering and suffocating them, but there is no substantial proof. It is more likely that anyone who tries will end up with greasier hair that still has lice.

What are the negative side effects of using Vaseline on hair?

Vaseline can harm the scalp and hair if the user does not properly wash it. It can lead to hair thinning by blocking follicles and preventing shampoo from reaching the scalp, which can cause clogged pores. It can also cause hair to become greasy.

Does Vaseline help with hair growth?

Vaseline does not directly promote hair growth but can help seal in products that help hair grow. So, using petroleum jelly in addition to moisturizing products can aid the process. Additionally, protecting hair from split ends gives it more room to grow before the next trim.

Should I use Vaseline with hair relaxers?

Hair relaxers are harmful to the skin. Use petroleum jelly to prevent skin damage when permanently straightening hair at home with a hair relaxer. Coat the edges of the face and the entire neck with Vaseline to prevent the chemicals from reaching the skin.

So, What Does Vaseline Do to Hair?

The proper use of Vaseline in a hair care routine keeps hair healthy, shiny, and smooth. It has a few additional handy benefits, such as smoothing flyaways and protecting hair from the elements.

Anyone who struggles with dry or brittle hair can try using Vaseline, but be sure to wash it all out afterward. But first, always be sure to speak with a licensed haircare professional. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not this treatment is right for you. Happy styling!