The Best Moisturizer. Ever.

edited December 2013 in Ask the Beauty Brains
This question is somewhat of a remix from a previous Q&A that was destroyed in the website crash, but here it goes:

I remember a post that was titled something like: "Why Can't I Just Use Mineral Oil?," where the author wanted to know if they could exclusively use mineral oil as a moisturizer. I believe the BBrains explained that the best moisturizers are: 1. petrolatum, 2. lanolin, 3. mineral oil, etc., and that a moisturizer should contain at least one of these for maximum efficacy. They concluded that the author could in fact "just use mineral oil," but might not like the "greasy" feel and/or be missing out on a moisturizer that has been formulated for a specific use.

Phew... Anyway, my question stems from this Q&A session, and I think I am questioning the efficacy of using a raw material (i.e., petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil, etc.) versus a product with a specific formula that might contain these ingredients. For the sake of relevancy, lets use an example—a battle between two of the most highly regarded moisturizers in the cosmetic industry: VASELINE v. AQUAPHOR!

Because Vaseline is just a brand name for U.S.P.-grade Petrolatum, lets take a look at the label of the Aquaphor Healing Ointment: Petrolatum (41%), Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol. So, in one corner, we have the best occlusive money can buy, and in the other, we have a cosmetic chemist's concoction containing a mixture of moisturizers, including petrolatum. So, does Aquaphor work better than Vaseline simply because it has been formulated to be semi-occlusive (Claim made by Aquaphor's website)? Which is truly more effective as a moisturizer, and why? (Or maybe there is another moisturizer that takes the title?)

Thanks in advance! I appreciate both of your hard work.


  • Wade, this is an excellent question and I'll address it after the holidays. Thanks!
  • Looking forward to it, Randy. I'm glad the site is back in working order!
  • I am looking forward to the answer to this one too.
  • OK Wade, bump acknowledged. Your question has the honor of being the first one we will answer in 2014 (which will be published on Thursday the 2nd.)

    Now it's my turn to ask a favor: Any chance that you and/or Lindygirl would be interested in submitting an audio question for our podcast? You guys are loyal contributors and we'd love to hear from you!
  • Awesome—thanks for the acknowledgement. I would be more than happy to do an audio question (actually, I have one in mind). How would you like to go about this? If you would rather correspond via email, my contact information is on my website. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks again Randy; I appreciate your work.
  • That's great! I'll post instructions here in case LindyG is still reading this thread and feels like joining in as well. 

    The question can be as short or as long as you want (well, not TOO long.) Please introduce yourself (first name) before asking your question. If we think it's suitable for the show I'll let you know when the episode will air.   

    Here's how to do it: 

    From an iPhone or iPad or touch

    Open the Voice  Memo app. Click record, then just tell us your name and your question. When you're done tap the share button and email the file to me at 

    From an Android phone

    If you haven't already, you'll have to have to download a voice recording app. Then follow the steps above. 

    From a Mac computer

    If you have Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later, you may use the built in QuickTime 10 player. Just fire up QuickTime from your Applications folder. Open the file menu and select New Audio Recording. Save the file and email it as above. 

    From a PC

    Open Sound Recorder. (Click the Start button. In the search box, enter sound recorder, and in the list of results click Sound Recorder.) Record and save your file and email to me as described above. 
  • I am looking forward to this answer, because in the past I have broken out with anything containing mineral oil, vaseline or lanolin! Talking about the face here, body is ok. Coconut oil ok for body too, but makes my face break out, even in my 60's, past menopause (finally!) and now having dry skin. Plain Jojoba oil works best for my face now, no break outs.

    I also appreciate your hard work! THanks!
  • Thanks Ellen. We did discuss this on the website recently: What’s the best moisturizer?
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