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Remember the running gag from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” in which the father prescribes Windex for every ailment, from psoriasis to poison ivy?
In my family, our Windex was Vaseline. My grandmother used Vaseline as a cure-all for pretty much everything, from burns to scrapes to bumps. She coated her face in it before sleep, and of course rubbed it on her lips. If something was plaguing you, just put some Vaseline on it.
Grandma knows best. Years later, I’ve tried countless products for my lips, not to mention my scratchy elbows, rough cuticles, and chapped nose. I’ve filled my cabinet with dozens of moisturizers, plus several kinds of makeup remover.
In the end, Vaseline does all of that and more, and it does it better than pretty much any other product.
Of course, neither I nor my grandmother were the first ones to figure this out (just check Reddit). No old wives’ tale, Vaseline’s curative properties are scientifically proven. Made from petroleum oil that’s been highly refined, Vaseline is an occlusive, meaning it coats skin with a layer that holds moisture in.
Retaining that moisture (and preventing further moisture loss) can help wounds heal faster and keep skin softer and more hydrated. Because it’s an oil, Vaseline also makes a great makeup remover in a pinch.
All of which justifies my addiction. Embarrassingly large 13-ounce jars of it sit on my office desk and nightstand, as it’s the only thing that keeps my lips moisturized throughout the day and night. No other lip balm I’ve tried — not Burt’s Bees, not Labello, not ChapStick, not Vaseline’s fancier cousin Aquaphor — works as well. Sometimes I get the actual Vaseline brand, but off-brand petroleum jelly works just as well. Either way, I’ll be swiping it on and singing its praises until I have my own granddaughter to prescribe it to.