Beauty glossary

What Is Mineral Oil? 

Mineral oil is a controversial ingredient but kind of a natural blessing for thirsty skin. A purified by-product of petroleum (which may sound scary, but is actually just a naturally occurring liquid found beneath the earth’s surface) it’s found in tons of skincare products and cosmetics.

What Does Mineral Oil Do? 

An emollient (meaning it traps water in the skin), mineral oil is extremely moisturizing and hydrating. It also boasts occlusive properties, which means that rather than penetrating the skin, it sits on the surface and acts like a shield, helping to retain water by preventing it from evaporating and escaping into the air. So far so good.

The controversy comes with regard to mineral oil blocking pores. Some dermatologists say the molecules of mineral oil are too large to be absorbed and could clog pores, so if you’re acne-prone or have oily skin, this may be an ingredient you should keep on your ‘no-go’ list.

Who Should Use Mineral Oil?

It’s extremely rare that mineral oil would cause an allergic reaction, but it’s most helpful for dry and sensitive types who struggle to keep skin hydrated. Check out why tons of people swear by using vaseline as a facial moisturizer here.

How To Use Mineral Oil In Your Routine

For best results, apply mineral oil to damp skin, to help lock in the moisture or look for it in cleansing balms, as it helps remove makeup.

Our Fave Mineral Oil Skincare Products

Mineral oilSource: Nivea

Nivea 24h Moisture Boost, $6: Infused with vitamin E, this hydrating day cream will give your skin a powerful moisture-boost.

Mineral oilSource: Pond’s

Ponds Dry Skin Cream, $8: A formidable opponent against dry, flaky skin, this seriously rich and creamy formula offers up intense hydration that won’t disappoint.

Mineral oil Source: Eve Lom

Eve Lom Cleanser, $75: People rave about this cleansing balm, which doesn’t just remove waterproof makeup without stripping your skin, but also exfoliates and tones in one simple step – no wonder they say it’s the best in the world.

For more amazing skincare ingredients, check out our Beauty Glossary.