It’s truly the chameleon of drugstore skincare products—stock up now!
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Go look in your medicine cabinet. Yes, right now. If you don’t have a tube or jar of Aquaphor front and center, let’s chat.
For those somehow unaware of this 94-year-old product, Aquaphor is a clear skincare ointment that thins out on the skin and spreads easily. According to Aquaphor’s site, applying the product “creates a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss” while still allowing oxygen—essential to skin repair and healing—to reach the treated area. The original formula contains just a few ingredients: It’s 41 percent petrolatum (a moisturizing agent, which makes up 100 percent of the original Vaseline), and also contains mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, and bisabolol (most of which contribute to its moisturizing and lubricating effects).
If you don’t have any Aquaphor lying around the house, you’ll want it at the top of your next shopping list. And if you own it already, here are eight (more) reasons you’ll constantly reach for it.
If you’ve ever used Aquaphor, there’s a good chance it was to treat or prevent chapped lips. But it’s so much more than a pinch hitter for Chapstick. I recently burned my lips after not properly applying sunscreen on a hot summer day, which caused tiny, rough bumps to form on my bottom lip and an unpleasant dry sensation. I slathered my lips in Aquaphor overnight and woke up with most of the irritation gone. After night two, my lips felt completely restored.
Consider Aquaphor your new styling cream. Flyaway hairs from breakage or baby hairs around your crown are a style bummer if you’re going for a sleek, straight hairstyle or wanting to wear your natural curls without frizz. Next time you’re fussing with your hair, try applying a pea-sized amount of Aquaphor to your palm, rubbing your hands together, and gently grazing your palms over the crown of your head (to keep hair from getting too greasy near the scalp) before working it into the ends.
Whether it’s the cold weather drying your skin during winter months or the sun dehydrating it during warmer ones, Aquaphor swoops in and saves the day. I took a medication called Accutane for my skin in high school, which is notorious for causing dry patches on the skin. I not only had scaly forearms and cracked lips, but the skin in between my ear lobe and neck split (I know, yikes). Aquaphor was my savior for the five months I took the prescription. If it could help me in that extreme case, a tiny amount can surely soothe mild dryness on your face or body.
You can use Aquaphor to treat skin irritation on your baby, too. The product prevents diaper rash by acting as a barrier between the skin and wetness that can cause irritation. If your baby already has a diaper rash, the ointment soothes and moisturizes the skin so it can heal. The original formula is the exact same as the “baby” version (we emailed the company to confirm), so whichever one you have or can find at a cheaper price works.
Before there was Fenty Beauty’s Killawat highlighter, there was Aquaphor. For a dewy glow, dab a tiny bit of the ointment onto the tops of your cheekbones or down the bridge of your nose. If a clear sheen isn’t your vibe, dust your favorite powdered shimmery highlighter on top; the Aquaphor helps hold the highlighter in place and give it higher shine power.
Before painting a room you apply a primer, and the same is true of makeup primer and foundation, or Aquaphor and highlighter, as described above. But did you know you could use Aquaphor as a primer for your perfume? Dabbing a small amount of the ointment onto your pressure points, or wherever you apply your favorite scent, gives the fragrance something to cling to, making it stick around longer on your skin.
After getting a tattoo, you want to carefully treat the area to preserve your new artwork and keep your skin healthy. To keep your fresh ink moisturized, apply a very thin coating of Aquaphor over the tattoo. This should also help to relieve any itchiness that occurs several days into the healing process.
Years after my Accutane experience, Aquaphor came to my rescue a second time. Despite my best efforts to be a great postoperative patient, I accidentally caused an inch of my surgical incision to split. When I called my surgeon in a panic (and in pain), he told me to keep applying Aquaphor to the spot and cover it with gauze. I was skeptical, thinking the wound needed to dry out and scab over. But, thanks to my doctor’s orders and Aquaphor, the wound quickly closed and healed perfectly. Next time you have a blister, scrape, or minor cut, disinfect the area and apply Aquaphor—unless your doctor advises otherwise, of course.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.