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How to get Vaseline Out of Hair
Q: My 4-year-old granddaughter experimented with Vaseline. She wanted to "look funky” so she put half a container in her hair. We have attempted to remove it using shampoo without success. Any suggestions?
A: Annette, your granddaughter’s experiment is common. Young children watch and try to imitate adults. When they see us putting products in our hair, they like to try it, too. Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is very difficult to wash out because it is not water-soluble. Launching an Internet search on this subject, I learned that many parents have a hard time getting it out of their children’s hair. In some cases, the children had applied the Vaseline themselves, but in many cases the parents had used it on their children’s hair as a treatment for head lice. Here are some ways other parents and beauticians have removed Vaseline from hair:

  • Facial Tissues: Use soft tissues to blot the hair to remove as much of the Vaseline as possible.
  • Cornstarch or baby powder: Apply a little cornstarch or baby powder to the hair and pat it in to absorb the petroleum jelly. Then shampoo once or twice with a clarifying shampoo. Be sure to use warm water in the shampoo, since cold water congeals the Vaseline.
  • Baking soda: Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a regular baby shampoo, then wash and rinse out. Repeat if necessary.
  • Baby oil: Saturate the hair in baby oil, rub it through the hair completely and squeeze out as much as you can. Then wash the hair three times with liquid dish soap and warm water, each time leaving the dish soap on for a few minutes to allow it to work.
  • Liquid dish soap with degreaser: Shampoo hair up to several times with dishwashing liquid with a degreasing agent, such as Dawn.
  • Liquid laundry detergent: Shampoo hair up to several times with a liquid laundry detergent, such as Wisk.