This $2 lip balm nourishes and protects my painfully dry lips better than anything else I've tried
I've always thought of the winter season as a hellscape. When temperatures plummet, my lips morph into what can only be described as scorched earth inflamed by blustery dry air and winds. What I'm left with is a painful inconvenience: cracked lips that burn and hurt to the touch.
I've dabbled in numerous remedies — some effective, others not so much. After years of testing "cool" brands, I endured a ghastly rash and learned that my lips are quite sensitive and require simple ingredients — not cute packaging and products with bold promises that only dried my lips further. Following in my mom's footsteps, I now use Vaseline Lip Therapy — a basic yet tried-and-true solution.
How and why Vaseline Lip Therapy works
Vaseline seals in moisture and nourishes parched lips with petroleum jelly, a gooey-like substance comprised of a mix of oils and waxes. While it doesn't technically have healing properties on a chemical level, it acts as an effective barrier, much like a Band-Aid. I find this ideal for when my lips are scaly and cracked, as they need extra shielding against the elements.
Vaseline Lip Therapy doubles as a soothing treatment similar to a lip mask and a plumping gloss, sans the sticky formula and drying nature of conventional lip glosses. As an overnight treatment, I slather it on in a thick layer. Come sunrise, and my lips are soft and smooth for the day — with the occasional reapplication post-lunch. For going out, I typically apply it over dry matte lipstick or opt for the Vaseline Rosy Lip Therapy if I want to sport a subtle pink hue.
The packaging is nothing special (it comes in both tins and little plastic pots), but at just two bucks, it's a no-brainer compared to high-end glosses and lip therapies.
The great petroleum jelly debate
There's a raging debate happening online about whether or not petroleum jelly is harmful.
If you're concerned, this article from Refinery29 explains both sides in great detail, but let me break it down for you here.
Refined petroleum jelly is extensively filtered and purified. Though some steps in the refining process do produce carcinogens, the final product is proven to be non-carcinogenic. Refinery29 reports that properly refined petroleum products "carry zero risk of cancer, and zero risk of reproductive or developmental toxicity, according to current scientific information."
Still, it's not a particularly eco-friendly option since it's derived from petroleum. Pollution from drilling, producing, and refining petroleum may have grisly implications. While I generally try to abide by the doctrine of sustainability, my personal justification is that my Lip Therapy treatment lasts for an exceptionally long time, so I'm not replacing it often. My mom has had the same Vaseline jar for almost two years.
The bottom line
Though I still hate the wintertime, Vaseline Lip Therapy makes it more tolerable. Be it as a protective treatment or gloss, it's highly effective as a protectant and widely accessible at a low price. The cherry on top is its versatility: It's an all-in-one product with multiple uses transcending lip-care. What more can I ask for? Not much, folks.
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