If you’re reading this article, it probably means that you or someone you know decided to do a hair treatment using Vaseline, aka petroleum jelly. Whatever the reason, you’re the lucky one who is literally “stuck” figuring out how to get Vaseline out of hair.
Get Vaseline Out of Hair
Things to Consider
Fortunately, several tricks can help you get rid of the sticky, gooey mess. Knowing which one to select will depend on the answers to six basic questions:
- What is the original texture of the hair (curly, straight, fine, coarse)?
- How long is the hair?
- What color is the hair?
- What was the original purpose of applying Vaseline to the hair?
- How much Vaseline is in the hair?
- How much time can you dedicate to solving the problem?
Getting petroleum jelly out of your own straight, blonde pixie isn’t the same as getting it out of your girlfriend’s long, black curly tresses.
And convincing your squirmy 3-year-old toddler to sit still while working the Vaseline out of his hair is a completely different ball game!
Here are some suggestions that will help you remove Vaseline from hair as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Tried and True Ways to Remove Vaseline from Hair
Before you start, do your best to remove as much of the excess petroleum jelly from the hair by wiping and blotting it off with dry paper towels.
Do not wet the hair at this stage. Grip the saturated strands of hair between your fingers and squeeze them as if you were trying to get the last bit of toothpaste out of a tube.
To make it easier, use a hairdryer to melt the Vaseline further. The goal here is to get as much out before moving on to one of these next suggestions:
When you mix a tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of baby shampoo or non-conditioning shampoo, you get the dual benefits of absorbency and abrasion.
It won’t get rid of Vaseline from hair, but it will help loosen it.
Certain brands of dish soap are specially formulated with powerful cleaning agents that cut grease and break down baked-on food from pots and pans. That’s why they’re a great choice for removing Vaseline from hair.
Apply them as you would your regular shampoo and try to use the hottest water you can safely tolerate. Use a moisturizing conditioner after washing hair.
Scrub your hair repeatedly using a bar of inexpensive glycerin soap. Again, wash with hot water and deep condition afterward.
You might assume there’s no way oil could remove Vaseline from hair, but you’ll be happily surprised to see that it does. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty science here, but it’s a well-known fact that certain oils can break down the hydrocarbon oil chains found in petroleum jelly.
If you don’t have baby oil on hand, olive or coconut oil will also work. Massage it into all the affected areas and be sure to cover the entire hair strand.
When finished, use a high-quality antibacterial soap and wash hair several times until clean. Deep condition afterward.
Cornstarch (or Baby Powder)
Cornstarch isn’t just for thickening gravy or sauce; it’s also perfect for absorbing grease and oil from the hair and scalp.
Sprinkle it generously on the hair affected by petroleum jelly and comb it through thoroughly, ensuring that all the strands are coated. Let it sit on the hair for at least 10 minutes.
When you’re confident the cornstarch (or baby powder) can’t absorb any more grease, then wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo or bar soap. Repeat if necessary.
Vinegar, Clarifying Shampoo, and Hot Water
Mix vinegar and clarifying shampoo in equal parts and wash hair with hot water. Keep repeating until you feel your hair is clean and squeaky.
This method works best if you don’t have to remove Vaseline from hair that is over-saturated and greasy.
Here are some commonly asked questions about Vaseline in hair.
How long will Vaseline last in your hair?
Vaseline is essentially waterproof, so if you don’t put in the effort to get it out of your hair, it can last a long time. Exactly how long it will last depends on your hair type and what your normal hair routine is.
Is Vaseline safe for your hair?
Vaseline likely won’t do any damage to your hair. If your hair is dry, damaged, or breaks easily, using a little jelly can infuse some moisture into your hair. However, whether or not you have oily hair, Vaseline will make your hair look and feel oily.
Can peanut butter remove Vaseline from hair?
It may sound strange, but peanut butter can be an effective method for removing Vaseline from hair. Peanut butter is oily, and while it isn’t pure oil like baby oil, it still works similarly. The oils within peanut butter can break the hydrocarbon oil chains in the Vaseline. Just be sure to wash with shampoo after!
Will Vaseline wash out with water?
Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, repels water and is not water-soluble, so plain water will not wash it out of your hair. You will need to incorporate something, like dish soap, that can break apart the bonds in the Vaseline. Using something like corn starch can also help absorb the Vaseline, making it easier to remove from your hair when you wash it.
Is it hard to remove Vaseline from hair?
Because Vaseline can’t be removed with just water, it can be very tricky to get out of hair. It’s especially tricky if you have very fine or thin hair. However, it’s certainly not impossible, and as you can see above, there are many methods and tricks you can try to get it out of your hair.
By now, you might have discovered that a combination of one or more of these methods worked best to get Vaseline out of hair completely. That’s perfectly fine; when it comes to removing petroleum jelly from your hair, there are no strict rules — whatever works best is the solution you should use in the future.