Can you put Petroleum Jelly in your hair?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.


In the world of beauty and hair care, we often come across various tips and tricks that promise miraculous transformations. One such tip that has gained both popularity and controversy is the use of petroleum jelly in hair care routines. While some hail it as a multi-purpose wonder product, others raise concerns about its potential drawbacks. In this comprehensive blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the truth behind using petroleum jelly in hair care. By delving into the benefits, potential risks, and best practices, we aim to provide you with an informed perspective. So, let’s dive into the world of petroleum jelly and discover whether it truly belongs in your hair care arsenal.

Can you put Petroleum Jelly in your hair?

Understanding Petroleum Jelly – A Versatile Beauty Aid

The Origins of Petroleum Jelly:
Petroleum jelly, often referred to by its brand name Vaseline, was first discovered in the mid-19th century. Its creation was attributed to a chemist named Robert Augustus Chesebrough, who noticed how oil drillers used a gooey substance to treat their wounds. Inspired by their healing properties, he refined the substance and introduced it to the market as petroleum jelly.

The Composition and Properties:
Petroleum jelly is a semi-solid mixture derived from petroleum, specifically a byproduct of the oil refining process. It consists primarily of hydrocarbons, with a structure that forms an occlusive barrier on the skin or hair. This barrier helps to retain moisture, protect against external irritants, and prevent excessive water loss. These properties make petroleum jelly a popular ingredient in many skincare and hair care products.

Benefits of Applying Petroleum Jelly to Hair:

  1. Enhanced Moisture Retention:
    One of the key advantages of using petroleum jelly in hair care is its ability to seal in moisture. When applied to the hair shaft, it forms a protective layer that reduces moisture loss. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with dry, damaged, or chemically treated hair. By locking in moisture, petroleum jelly can improve hair texture, elasticity, and overall hydration.
  2. Taming Frizz and Flyaways:
    Frizz and flyaways can be the bane of any hair care routine, leaving hair looking unruly and unmanageable. Petroleum jelly can act as a temporary solution to this problem by providing a smoothing effect. Applying a small amount of petroleum jelly to the hair strands can help tame frizz and flyaways, resulting in a sleeker appearance.

Potential Risks and Drawbacks – Proceed with Caution

Clogging Hair Follicles:
While petroleum jelly can offer certain benefits to the hair, it is essential to exercise caution due to its occlusive nature. The thick consistency of petroleum jelly can potentially clog hair follicles, leading to scalp issues such as folliculitis or acne. It is advisable to avoid applying petroleum jelly directly to the scalp, especially if you have a sensitive or acne-prone scalp.

Product Buildup and Greasiness:
Due to its semi-solid nature, petroleum jelly has a tendency to build up on the hair over time, causing a greasy or weighed-down appearance. This buildup can make hair look dull and lifeless, defeating the purpose of using hair care products to enhance its beauty. To mitigate this issue, it is recommended to use petroleum jelly sparingly and wash the hair thoroughly to remove any residue.

Best Practices for Using Petroleum Jelly in Hair Care

  1. Spot Treatments:
    To enjoy the benefits of petroleum jelly without the risk of excessive buildup, it is advisable to use it as a spot treatment rather than applying it all over the hair. Target specific areas that require extra hydration or frizz control, such as split ends or flyaways. This way, you can nourish and protect those areas without overwhelming the rest of your hair.
  1. Dilution with Other Hair Care Products:
    Another effective method to incorporate petroleum jelly into your hair care routine is by diluting it with other hair-friendly products. Mixing a small amount of petroleum jelly with a lightweight hair oil or conditioner can help create a more manageable consistency. This blend ensures easier distribution throughout the hair and minimizes the risk of excessive greasiness or buildup.
  2. Pre-Shampoo Treatment:
    Using petroleum jelly as a pre-shampoo treatment can offer added benefits without the fear of long-term residue. Before washing your hair, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the ends or any damaged areas. Leave it on for about 15 minutes to allow the hair to absorb the moisture. Then, proceed with your regular shampoo and conditioning routine. This method can help hydrate and protect the hair before the cleansing process, leaving it softer and more manageable.
  3. Overnight Treatment:
    For intensive hydration and repair, you can use petroleum jelly as an overnight treatment. Apply a small amount to the ends of your hair, focusing on dry or damaged areas. Gently massage it in and cover your hair with a shower cap or silk scarf to prevent transfer onto your pillowcase. In the morning, wash your hair thoroughly to remove any residue. This method can be particularly beneficial for individuals with extremely dry or brittle hair, providing deep nourishment and restoration.
  4. Experiment and Adjust:
    Each person’s hair is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to experiment and adjust the use of petroleum jelly according to your hair’s specific needs and preferences. Start with small amounts and observe how your hair responds. If you notice any negative effects such as excessive greasiness or buildup, reduce the amount or frequency of application. On the other hand, if you find it beneficial, you can gradually increase the usage as long as it remains manageable for your hair.


In the realm of hair care, the use of petroleum jelly remains a topic of debate. While it can offer benefits such as moisture retention and frizz control, it also comes with potential risks such as clogged hair follicles and product buildup. By following best practices, such as spot treatments, dilution with other hair care products, and utilizing it as a pre-shampoo or overnight treatment, you can incorporate petroleum jelly into your hair care routine effectively. Remember to observe your hair’s response and adjust the usage accordingly. As with any hair care product, it is essential to understand your hair’s unique needs and strike a balance that promotes healthy, nourished, and beautiful locks.

Can you put Petroleum Jelly in your hair?
Scroll to top