Growing up, I remember dreamily sorting through my mother’s bins of beauty products: There were tubes of lipstick, compact blush palettes, brushes of all different sizes, eyeshadows—the whole gamut. But the only specific product that I can recall nestled in there? A tub of Vaseline.
The iconic old-school beauty staple has been around since 1872, so it certainly says something that it’s still flying off the shelves. But there’s a good reason why this stuff has had such staying power, and why we’ve seen so many similar moisturizing balm products hit the skin-care aisles over the last century and a half: Because when it comes to dry skin, they do it all.
“These skin-care products include oil-based occlusive agents that help seal in moisture and slow down water loss,” says David Lortscher, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and CEO and founder of Curology. “They’re especially beneficial for skin wounds because hydrated surfaces allow the skin cells to more quickly close wounds.” While he points out that pure petrolatum (as Vaseline is) can feel greasy on oily and acne-prone skin, it hasn’t been shown to clog the pores—plus, the new iterations out there are formulated to better suit all skin types.
Dr. Lortscher says these soothing skin heroes are great to apply whenever your skin’s extra thirsty, or in cold weather when it’s dry outside and “your skin may need a thin layer of a heavier moisturizer to help it adjust to environmental changes.” Basically, these moisture-locking, protective moisturizer/balm hybrids are the Swiss Army knife equivalent of the beauty world. Shop them below.
Soothe parched skin with this all-over balm, which has shea butter, jojoba, and vitamin E working to seal in moisture as you face harsh temperatures and pollution.
Think of this as a barrier protecting supercharged balm that’s specifically catered to irritation-prone skin (a la eczema, dermatitis and dryness). It’s got colloidal oatmeal— which is a big time skin soother—along with sweet almond oil, shea butter, and beeswax to keep all the hydration in place.
When you slather this onto your skin, it feels extra-wet. It gives you a sort of moisture-blasting sensation with thanks to its mix of coconut oil, different skin-boosting butters, and the delish smell of vanilla, creating a delightful, hydrating experience.
You can also reap the benefits of occlusive, stay-put moisture with The Ordinary’s product—a soothing concoction of hyaluronic acid, barrier supporting lipids, and amino acids that work together to keep your face quenched.
French cult-fave brand is in on the secret, too—their Lipid-Replenishing balm calms angry skin on contact with ceramides and fatty acids, and the brand’s signature thermal spring water. Oo la la.