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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
A natural moisturizer that’s also great for your skin, cocoa butter is solid at room temperature but melts on contact with the skin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Almond oil is a natural emollient that can be used to soften and soothe dry skin.
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.
No, Vaseline is not made out of pig. It’s a by-product of the petroleum refining process and contains no animal-derived ingredients.
According to Jazākallāhu Khairan of the Department of Halal Ingredients and Products Research, “Vaseline Healing Jelly Original is halāl and permissible to use”.
Vaseline is the brand name. Petroleum Jelly is the main ingredient.
Vaseline has many benefits, including being an effective moisturizer, helping to heal cuts and scrapes, and providing relief for chapped lips.
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”.
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.
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.