Figuring out which products are vegan can be tricky. As a new vegan, you’ll likely find yourself looking closely not only at the food you eat but also hygiene products, cleaning products, and more. Vaseline might be one product you have a question about.
Is Vaseline vegan? Vaseline is considered vegan because there are no animal products in it. In addition, the manufacturer (Unilever) does not test it on animals. Some vegans may prefer natural alternatives, however, as Vaseline is made with fossil fuels, which negatively impact the environment.
If that sounds a bit confusing to you, read on for a deeper explanation! I’ll also suggest some good natural alternatives at the end of the article, in case you prefer those.
The Basic Definition of Vegan
People become vegan for a few different reasons, but they usually fall into one of the following categories:
- Protecting animals
- Protecting the environment
- Bettering their health
Depending on which category people fall into, the definition of vegan has evolved a bit over the years.
The most basic definition of a vegan is someone who follows a plant-based diet and doesn’t eat any animal products. This usually means avoiding the following:
• Meat (including poultry, fish, shellfish, and insects)
• Honey (this one is sometimes debated)
Outside of the basic definition, many vegans also avoid products that are tested on animals or affect the environment in a negative way.
Many vegans try to also remove more minor animal byproduct ingredients from their diets. But it can be hard to learn every single ingredient that falls in this category.
We’ll use the most basic definition of vegan for determining whether Vaseline is vegan, but remember: Your exact definition of what’s vegan may be different from mine, and that’s okay.
There Are No Animal Products in Vaseline
Vaseline Healing Jelly is the name brand for petroleum jelly. You may find a number of other petroleum jellies sold by different manufacturers. Generally, they all have the same ingredients.
It’s a fairly easy product to determine whether it’s vegan or not because it has one ingredient listed: petroleum jelly.
Petroleum jelly is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes. So you can quickly see that Vaseline does not contain any animal products.
Checking ingredients for vegan products isn’t always as simple as it is with Vaseline. There are usually three quick steps you can use to determine if a product is vegan:
- Check the package for “vegan” or the V symbol
- Check the allergen warnings for milk or eggs
- Scan the ingredient list from top to bottom
You can find more in-depth information on how to determine if a product is vegan in this post: “How to Check If Any Food Is Vegan: 3 Easy Steps (Illustrated).”
Is Vaseline Tested on Animals?
There is some disagreement among vegans who use a more strict definition of vegan about whether Vaseline qualifies. That is because there’s some debate about whether the product is tested on animals.
Unilever is the manufacturer of Vaseline. Some vegans have issues with Unilever’s position on animal testing.
While Unilever does not directly test their finished products on animals and states they are committed to ending animal testing. They do say this on their website:
“…some of the ingredients we use have to be tested by our suppliers to comply with relevant regulation…” (Unilever.com)
This means that some of its suppliers may test on animals, although the company itself doesn’t do any direct testing on animals.
Is Vaseline Certified Cruelty-Free?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have certified six of Unilver’s 40 plus products as cruelty-free, but Vaseline is not one of those products.
Keep in mind the criteria for earning this designation from PETA means they don’t conduct or commission any animal tests on the following:
- Finished products
Because Vaseline is sold in China, it most likely undergoes animal testing there, as the country requires all products sold there to undergo animal testing.
So, does Unilver test Vaseline on animals? Unilever does not test Vaseline on animals, but there may be places in the world where Vaseline is tested on animals by other institutions. Whether you consider Vaseline to be cruelty-free, then, is a matter of definition, as well as where you live in the world.
Does Vaseline Harm the Environment?
Some vegans may be concerned with the fact that Vaseline comes from oil products and therefore is not environmentally friendly.
While many vegans choose to limit fossil fuel consumption, looking this suspiciously at Vaseline might take it a bit too far.
If we vegans avoid all things oil, that severely limits our resources. For example, if you avoid all oil products as a vegan, will you also stop driving because vehicles use gasoline?
Again, it comes down to your personal choice on how in-depth you go with your vegan lifestyle. But for me, I don’t worry about the environmental impact of using some Vaseline.
Although most vegans consider Vaseline fine to use, if you have trouble with the fact that some countries test it on animals, there are other options you can check out.
Take a look at a few of these homemade and natural substitutes:
- Coconut oil
- Carnauba wax
- Aloe Vera
- Cocoa, shea, or mango butters
In addition to the above natural substitutes, there are other products that aren’t tested on animals. I think it’s great to support companies making clearly labeled vegan and cruelty-free alternative products.
You’re most likely not going to find any one alternative product that covers all the different for Vaseline because there are quite a few.
There are still some good alternatives out there, though. Here are a few products that can be used as Vaseline alternatives:
- Eco Lips
- Pure + Simple
- Sun Bum SPF 30
- Lush’s Ultra Balm
- Plum’s Choco-Latte Not Just Another Foot Cream
Let’s take a quick look at each of these products to see the ingredients and cost.
Eco Lips: Lip Balm
Eco Lips lip balms are manufactured in Iowa. The lip balm is made of sunflower seed oil, candelilla wax, cocoa butter, and coconut oil.
The lip balms also come in a variety of flavors including lemon-lime, superfruit, and sweet mint. You can find a 3-pack of Eco Lips lip balm here on Amazon.
Pure + Simple: Lip Balms
Pure + Simple’s lip balms are certified vegan and cruelty-free. The lip balm is made of avocado butter, jojoba oil, and castor oil, as well as an essential oil.
Sun Bum: SPF 30 Lip Balm
Sun Bum SPF 30 is obviously a plus because it has SPF in it, something that is fairly difficult to find in vegan skin or lip products. Its main ingredients are avobenzone, homosalate, and octinoxate.
The lip balm comes in a few tasty flavors, including mango, key lime, and watermelon. Here’s a 3-pack of Sun Bum SPF 30 on Amazon.
Plum: Choco-Latte “Not Just Another Foot Cream”
All of Plum’s products are certified cruelty-free and vegan. The Choco-Latte “Not Just Another Foot Cream” is made of cocoa butter, shea butter, glycolic acid, and other natural emollients.
This product is specifically designed for dry, rough, or chapped feet. The foot cream is made and sold in India, but if you shop around a bit, you can find it online. As I’m writing this, it’s currently available on Amazon here!
Lush’s Ultra Balm
Lush is based in England. The company’s ultra balm is made of organic jojoba oil, candela wax, and rose wax. You can immediately see from the ingredients that it is vegan, and it also has the vegan symbol on the label.
The balm is designed to help restore, soothe, and protect areas that are chapped or chafed. You’ll pay quite a bit more for this product than for Vaseline, though. Check it out on Lush’s website.
So, Is Petroleum Jelly Vegan?
Whether you use Vaseline or choose an alternative that meets your criteria is totally up to you.
Personally, I’m fine with using Vaseline as a vegan, but if any of the alternatives fit my precise needs, maybe I would choose it instead. It’s nice to support companies that clearly label their products vegan and cruelty-free.
But overall, feel free to use Vaseline as a vegan. I think someone would be kind of ridiculous to actually question your vegan-ness for using it!
Two More Recommendations for Your Plant-Based Journey
1. This is the best free video training I’ve found on plant-based nutrition. You’ll learn how to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and obesity—all with plant-based food. Watch the free “Food for Health Masterclass” here.
2. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in my 14 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).