Oils vs. Petrolatum | Which is Better?


It’s an addiction. Getting smoother, sleeker lips and keeping them that way. After all, it takes two to kiss. And, with an arsenal of balms, glosses, treatments and sticks to choose from, which one works? Really, what’s the difference between lip balms and good ole fashioned, cheap petroleum jelly or chapstick?

First off, let’s get down to basics. Petrolatum is a semi-solid mixture of non-polar hydrocarbons (bunches of atoms) originally promoted as a topical ointment for its healing properties. For chic geeks, the structure of petroleum jelly repels water (it’s hydrophobic thanks to the way the atomic structure is laid out by nature). Because petrolatum-based treatments are made of the water-repelling atoms, no way are you gonna see moisture pumped into your kissers. Petrolatum is usually sold as an over-the-counter multi-purpose ointment, the most common brand name being Vaseline. At its worst, its rumored to cause cancer, though that salacious tidbit of gossip has been debunked. At best, the skin can’t absorb petroleum jelly, so it gets short-term fix for dry, chapped lips by preventing moisture loss. Think of it as saran wrap for your lips. Jelly acts as a topical layer, so it prevents the skin from breathing, and…epiphany moment…actually makes your lips more chapped as you lick on. [Insert salacious joke here].

So, what’s a girl gotta do to get some softness? Striving always to serve and protect, we’d suggest you make oil-based balms your gym bag essential. Young guns who want to trade up from their flashy, trashy petroleum based goopy sticks should opt for balms, which contain all-natural, moisturizing ingredients. Think Vitamin E, essential oils (coconut, almond, argan, sunflower, peppermint, meadowfoam seed, pomegranate oils among others), beeswax, and botanicals. And, yes, shea butter is a solidified oil. These potent activators are actually absorbed by skin and restore elasticity. What this means for your pout is skin cells get moisture. Scope out sticks, pans, or pots created with pure oils. And, here's a hint: the softer the product, the higher the concentration of the aforementioned goodies. Waxier versions will feel harder than enriched, silky counterparts.

Whether you need treatments for those unobtrusive air kisses during social hours or puckering up with your main man, embrace the glaze of a great oil-based balm for fuller, sentimental lips.