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Whenever I hear a particularly interesting beauty claim on the Internet, I can’t help but look into why people believe it to be true. Often times, these home remedies really do give people beneficial results to some extent. But oftentimes they are deceiving. For example, toothpaste was once used for pimples because it contained zinc, which helped with acne. But nowadays, you’re more likely to end up with contact dermatitis.
[Read More: Is It OK to Use Toothpaste on Skin?]
So, when I read about Vaseline ($5.16, amazon.com) or petroleum jelly serving as a drugstore-bought way to growth eyelashes, I had to investigate. Because it’s one of those answers that’s almost too easy, like those ads that say you can have perfect skin with this one cheap ingredient a mom from Oregon found.
Why Vaseline Likely Won’t Actually Lengthen Lashes
While it may be more appealing to buy a tub of petroleum jelly for just a few bucks than to shell out somewhere between $73 to 84 for eyelash growth serum like Latisse, you likely won’t get the same results (New York Times). A study on 140 volunteers found that, on average, eyelashes treated with Latisse grew 25% longer, 106% thicker, and 18% darker than those in the control group.
The main ingredient, bimatoprost, is a molecule that helps to prolong the hair growth cycle, resulting in lashes that don’t fall out as quickly and, subsequently, can become longer and thicker (New York Times). While the serum may cause irises, particularly lightly colored ones, to change colors, the known side effects are relatively minimal. There is a slightly increased risk of glaucoma, but the FDA said that it’s safe and unlikely to cause glaucoma (Expert Opinion on Drug Safety).
[Read More: What is the Best Eyelash Growth Serum?]
Vaseline does not contain any of the active ingredients used in lash-lengthening serums, so it won’t do the same kind of work. If you want something to lengthen eyelashes without getting a prescription, there are plenty of comparable over-the-counter options, such as Jan Marini Eye Lash Conditioner ($97.20, amazon.com).
Why Vaseline Seems to Work to Lengthen Lashes
Much like your hair and skin, your eyelashes benefit from conditioning. Keeping your eyelashes moisturized will stop them from breaking so easily and allow them to appear to grow longer, though they won’t grow as long as they would with a product like Latisse.
Petroleum jelly will certainly work to hold in moisture. As an occlusive moisturizer, it helps to seal in water and prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) (Cosmetic Dermatology). It forms a protective barrier that will help stop your eyelashes from drying out, and depending on the other additives, like, vitamin E in your petroleum jelly, might do a little extra conditioning (Dermatological Surgery).
In fact, it might be beneficial to find products that are even more moisturizing — though they might be a little pricier. It’s best to use products intended for use around the eye, as they’ll be less likely to irritate. Something like L’Oreal Lash Boosting Serum ($9.45, amazon.com) can condition lashes and may offer a slightly longer and thicker lash.
Oftentimes, home remedies that seem too good to be true probably are — at least if you’re comparing them to the higher-priced beauty treatments out there. However, that doesn’t mean they have absolutely no effect. Usually, they don’t do exactly what people espousing them on the web say they will — in this case, Vaseline won’t make your eyelashes grow longer than they would normally. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work at all. Vaseline will help to moisturize and maybe even condition your eyelashes, making them less likely to break and allowing them to become longer.