Is Vaseline Cruelty-Free, Vegan or Eco-Friendly?

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We’re very ’outdoorsy’ in the Miller household. We all like nothing more than spending days hiking trails, surfing the numerous gorgeous beaches, or paddleboarding on Lake Okeechobee.

Mrs. M and the girls suffer from dry skin, and days of sun and salt make things worse (even with all the necessary precautions of protective swimwear and sunscreen).

So, in the past, they’ve gone through many Vaseline products (especially lip balm).

But then I started to ask myself, is vaseline cruelty-free? Is it eco-friendly, or are there better alternatives I should be using?

In recent years it’s become clear that Vaseline, and its parent company Unilever, have a questionable history regarding animal testing and its commitment to cruelty-free products.

Then there are the potential environmental issues.

Vaseline is petroleum jelly. It is made from crude oil. So it can’t be eco-friendly…can it?!

Read on, and I’ll answer these questions and offer some Vaseline alternatives you might want to consider.

Is Vaseline Cruelty-Free? The Truth About Petroleum Jelly

Is vaseline cruelty-free and how is petroleum jelly made

Vaseline itself does not use animal testing. However, Unilever partners and suppliers permit animal testing when required to meet legal and regulatory requirements.

For example, animal testing is required when importing cosmetic and beauty products into China.

Vaseline and many other Unilever products are sold in China, so we can assume that animal testing happens somewhere along the supply chain.

I say ’assume’ because Vaseline does not have a publically available animal testing policy, and they’ve not responded to any of my questions on the subject.

Unilever, however, states that they support a worldwide ban on animal testing by 2023 and are working on alternatives to animal testing.

But the logic here is clear - why would you need an alternative to something if you're not using it?

Is Vaseline Vegan?

This is not entirely clear-cut either.

Vaseline could be considered vegan as it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients.

However, it’s a mix of oil and wax, and what type of wax is used would be one determining factor as to whether or not it’s vegan. For example, if beeswax is used, it can’t be considered vegan.

Also, because Vaseline products are sold in China, it’s difficult to call the range vegan.

Probably most telling of all is that Vaseline products carry no vegan certifications.

If it was vegan, Unilever would want to shout it from the rooftop and would be approved by Certified Vegan or a similar program.

Is Vaseline Eco-Friendly?

Vaseline is made from petroleum jelly, a byproduct of the oil refining process.

Oil refining uses many natural resources and causes related pollution, so it’s far from being eco-friendly.

Petroleum jelly is also not biodegradable and can pollute the environment if it’s not disposed of properly.

Is Vaseline Healthy?

This is a tricky one. In small amounts, Vaseline is not going to do you any harm.

Some hospitals even use it to treat burns and other skin conditions.

However, petroleum jelly can be comedogenic, meaning it can block pores. This can lead to breakouts, particularly in people prone to acne.

So, while Vaseline should not pose any dangers to your health, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a fully skin-healthy beauty product.

However, saying all that, Vaseline has been used and trusted for over 150 years, so some people clearly love it and use it with no issues.

And…the EWG gives it a rating of 1 out of 10 in terms of chemical toxicity (the 2nd best rating possible).

And…USP white petrolatum (the main ingredient in Vaseline) is approved safe for human use by the FDA.

Vaseline: 150+ Years Of History

  • 1859: Robert Augustus Chesebrough visited the oil fields of Titusville, Pennsylvania.
  • 1860-1869: Chesebrough discovered petroleum jelly. He spent ten years testing the product before launching it to the market.
  • 1870: Chesebrough named his product Vaseline Petroleum jelly and built his first factory.
  • 1872: A U.S. patent is filed for the name Vaseline (a mixture of Greek and German words, meaning oil and water).
  • 1874: Vaseline became popular among U.S. consumers for healing and protecting the skin.
  • 1875: Vaseline was so popular that reports from the time stated they were selling one jar per minute.
  • 1908: Chesebrough resigned as company President.
  • 1914-1918: Vaseline was used to treat soldiers’ wounds during World War I.
  • 1955: Vaseline merges with Pond’s.
  • 1987: Vaseline was purchased by Unilever.

Cruelty-Free Natural Vaseline Alternatives

Cruelty-Free Cocoa Butter

A natural moisturizer that’s also great for your skin, cocoa butter is solid at room temperature but melts on contact with the skin.

Cruelty-Free Shea Butter

Another natural moisturizer, shea butter, comes from the nut of the African shea tree.

It’s rich in vitamins and fatty acids, making it great for dry or sensitive skin.

Cruelty-Free Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from mature coconut flesh. It has various uses, including cooking, cosmetics, and even medicine.

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid with antimicrobial properties.

It’s an excellent choice for people with dry skin because it’s very moisturizing and can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Cruelty-Free Jojoba Oil

This oil is derived from the jojoba plant, native to southern Arizona, California, and northern Mexico.

Organic jojoba oil is a liquid wax, and is very similar to the sebum our skin produces.

It’s non-greasy and quickly absorbed, making it an excellent choice for people with oily skin.

Cruelty-Free Sunflower Seed Oil

You can find sunflower seed oil in various products, from cooking oils to skin care products, but you may not know that it’s been used for centuries as a natural remedy for everything from chapped lips to eczema?

Sunflower seed oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, making it an excellent choice for people with dry skin.

It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores.

Cruelty-Free Olive Oil

Olive oil is fantastic for maintaining skin moisture and improving its suppleness.

It’s packed full of antioxidants that also benefit your skin in terms of protection and health.

On the other hand, it isn’t ideal for acne-prone skin. Take care not to apply olive oil frequently around areas where you get breakouts.

Cruelty-Free Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of avocados and is becoming one of the most popular oils used in skin care products.

It’s rich in vitamins A, D, and E and essential fatty acids, making it an excellent choice for people with dry or sensitive skin.

Cruelty-Free Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is extracted from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant.

It’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. It’s not a greasy oil and is a good option for acne-prone skin, trust face oils again.

Cruelty-Free Almond Oil

Almond oil is a natural emollient that can be used to soften and soothe dry skin.

Mrs. M’s Top 3 Vegan And Cruelty-Free Vaseline Lip Balm Alternatives

  1. Hurraw! Coconut, Earl Grey, Mint Lip Balms
  2. Pacifica Pineapple Splash Lip Balm
  3. Eco Lips Bee Free Vegan Lip Balm

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does It Mean To Be Vegan?

Being vegan means abstaining from using all animal products, including but not limited to meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and gelatin.

A cruelty-free vegan lifestyle also entails avoiding leather, wool, silk, and other materials derived from animals.

Is Vaseline Made Out Of Pig?

No, Vaseline is not made out of pig. It’s a by-product of the petroleum refining process and contains no animal-derived ingredients.

Is Vaseline Halal Or Haram?

According to Jazākallāhu Khairan of the Department of Halal Ingredients and Products Research, “Vaseline Healing Jelly Original is halāl and permissible to use”.

What Is The Difference Between Vaseline Or Petroleum Jelly?

Vaseline is the brand name. Petroleum Jelly is the main ingredient.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Vaseline?

Vaseline has many benefits, including being an effective moisturizer, helping to heal cuts and scrapes, and providing relief for chapped lips.

Is Vaseline Good For Your Hair?

Healthline states, “There’s no scientific evidence to support the popular claim that Vaseline makes your hair grow faster. It might protect your hair against breakage and dryness, but it won’t encourage your hair to grow at a faster rate. Some people also warn against applying Vaseline to your scalp or face, claiming that it can create a breeding ground for bacteria or even block hair follicles. But there’s no evidence to back up these claims, either”.

The Final Word

This has been a tricky article to write because the information out there (especially in regards to the cruelty-free question) is sparse, and the Vaseline product range is growing all the time.

When talking about the original Vaseline Healing Jelly, it’s safe to say it’s vegan (not certified) and probably not tested on animals (so cruelty-free) when bought in the U.S.

However, when you start branching out into the entire product range, it’s impossible to say for sure which Vaseline products are cruelty-free and which ones aren’t.

Add into the mix that, to sell in places like China, an unspecified number of Vaseline suppliers and distributors will need to test on animals by law…and you have a brand that PETA refuses to give Vaseline certified cruelty-free status to.

If you have a Vaseline product you like using, I’d recommend looking at the ingredients list to ensure that they match your ethics.

Or, maybe consider switching to one of the natural or vegan alternatives mentioned in this article.

Get In Touch

Do you use Vaseline products? Are you happy with their lack of public information regarding their stance on animal testing?

Do you have an eco-friendly, animal testing-free alternative you swear by to keep your skin hydrated? Have you tried making your own cruelty-free alternatives from mineral oils?

Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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