TikTokers Are Using Vaseline to Curl Their Eyelashes, But That May Cause Skin Issues

Dermatologists break down how to apply Vaseline near the eyes for curled lashes while avoiding irritating the skin.

TikTok True or False: TikTokers Are Ditching Mascara for Vaseline — Is That Safe?
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Wearing makeup while working out can be a bit of an inconvenience. If you've ever experienced the burn of smudged mascara mixed with sweat getting into your eyes, you know the downsides of keeping makeup on while exercising. But if you want to feel glammed up without risking that stinging sensation or committing to waterproof mascara, then you may be game to try a hack that promises to keep your lashes curled to perfection without mascara.

TikTok users offer a solution for those who want long, defined lashes without the extra effort of applying makeup. A new viral beauty trend involves coating the tops of eyelashes with Vaseline and curling them with a lash curler for lifted lashes that last, no mascara necessary. The trick "speaks for itself," according to a creator in one video with more than 400,000 likes and nearly four million views who demonstrates how to apply Vaseline to lashes before curling them. "If you are not using Vaseline to curl your lashes, you are doing yourself a disservice," she says in the clip.

While the results show lifted, clump-free lashes, you might be wondering if applying "plops" of Vaseline, as the TikToker recommends, is safe for your eyes. Turns out, if done correctly, it can be safe to try out at home, according to dermatologists. However, the repercussions of not thoroughly washing your face after applying Vaseline near the eyes can result in some skin conditions if you aren't careful (more on that below).Ahead, learn more about the safety and risks of applying Vaseline near your eyes for the sake of a beauty trend, according to experts.

What is Vaseline?

Chances are you've used Vaseline at one point or another. Whether you use it to repair dry lips or are a fan of the slugging trend, it's a popular skin care product for its ability to soothe dryness. Vaseline is an occlusive moisturizer, explains Robert Finney, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Entière Dermatology.

ICYDK, occlusives are moisturizing agents that work by creating a physical barrier on top of the skin to keep moisture in the skin, according to the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety at Michigan State University. Occlusive ingredients tend to be waxy, oily, and heavy in texture. Petroleum jelly is a common occlusive and is the main ingredient in Vaseline that helps moisturize skin.

"Vaseline or any petrolatum-based product can be a great occlusive to help seal in moisture and repair the barrier of the skin," says Dr. Finney. "Patients who suffer from eczema or dry skin benefit greatly from Vaseline," he adds.

Does using Vaseline to curl eyelashes work?

A quick look at popular videos demonstrating the hack on TikTok shows that it does appear to curl and lift the eyelashes. In one video, a user tries the trend and the results are noticeable. Azadeh Shirazi M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, then stitched the video with one of her own, noting that the hack works because Vaseline helps keep the hairs in place.

"Vaseline creates a barrier that prevents water loss," wrote Dr. Shirazi in text boxes appearing over her video. It also works by keeping the hair bonds in place once it's curled, offering that lifted effect, she wrote in the TikTok clip.

Is using Vaseline on your eyelashes safe?

This eyelash hack can be safe if done carefully, according to experts. "I think it's safe to try, but I would only do it on occasion and make sure, if you do it, to wash it off at the end of the day," says Ashley Brissette, M.D., an ophthalmologist based in New York City and founder of Daily Practice.

However, there are potential side effects of the trend. "The danger with using Vaseline too close to the eyes is that it can blur the vision if it gets into the eyes and can also cause irritation," adds Dr. Brissette. "The eyes and eyelid skin are very sensitive, so you need to be careful when using products in this area."

Along irritation, it can cause the formation of styes, which are painful red bumps that are common and easily treatable. "[I] also see many patients who suffer from styes on their eyelids, [which] are caused by blockages in the glands and ducts at the lash line," says Dr. Finney. "With Vaseline being hard to remove, if this trend catches on, I am sure [I'll] see an uptick in patients suffering from pesky styes."

There is also the risk of milia, which is a harmless skin condition that causes benign, small, white cysts to form around the eyes due to the blockage of pores, explains Dr. Finney. "Milia can occur from the use of Vaseline," agrees Dr. Brissette. "It's an occlusive moisturizer meaning it creates a barrier, but this can lead to dead skin cells and keratin getting trapped, [which] is what causes milia," she says.

Applying Vaseline to lashes is a safe method for curling your eyelashes: true or false?

TikTok True or False: TikTokers Are Ditching Mascara for Vaseline — Is That Safe?
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Ultimately, this makeup hack is relatively safe, but it comes with some risks of skin irritation, according to dermatologists. Dr. Finney notes that while it can be safe to do, he "wouldn't recommend regular use" of Vaseline on the eyelashes. Still, if you want to make it part of your routine, make sure you are keeping your eyes clean and free of buildup. Consider it your friendly reminder to always wash your face before bed, especially if you've applied a heavy occlusive, such as Vaseline, around your eyes.

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