The Vaseline Challenge - what gives?


by Natash Hatherall - Shaye


I’m a skincare junkie. There are no two ways about it. My bathroom cupboards resemble Sephora and if you’ve heard of a brand, the chances are I’ve heard of it, tried it and have an opinion on it. So, when one of the most respected dermatologists and skin experts in Dubai and London, Dr Natalia Spierings, tells me all I need in my skincare life is Vaseline, and the rest is a waste of money you can imagine my (well moisturised) face.


Move forward a couple of years and Dr Natalia is still telling me the very same thing, and of course, she has stunning skin, so I decided to give it a try and embark on ‘The Vaseline Challenge’ for a week to see. Because, why not?


Before starting, let me just caveat a little by sharing that I’m lucky to have really good “normal” skin. So, my skin is essentially ‘happy’ with most ointments and treatments. If you do have any skin concerns, Vaseline alone may not be enough of course. But for those of you with problem-free or ‘normal’ skin, do consider giving it a try too.


Day One:

I lock everything else in my cupboard and I have two things – a cleanser (balm or oil based is preferred and recommended by Dr Natalia) and a big tub of Vaseline (I went for the regular one, but these days even Vaseline comes in many different options). I clean my skin and apply a good application all over my face. Usually I’d apply make-up for work quite soon after, but my skin is quite shiny so I decided to leave it a little bit to soak in more and then applied make-up 30 minutes later. I do look a bit more shiny than normal even with a dash of translucent powder, but my face looks fresh so I’m ok with it and off I go for the day.


In the evening I remove my make-up with the oil-based cleanser and apply an even greater dollop of Vaseline and head off to bed very shiny indeed.


Day two:

I wake up on day two and honestly my skin looks really fresh and hydrated. I look in the mirror and I’m feeling happy with what I see.


What you may not know is that Vaseline (or the same but in different names) is the main ingredient in the majority of skincare, so it’s no surprise really, but pure Vaseline holds in the moisture in the skin really well, so you look hydrated, plumped up and fresh – which, let’s face it, is what most of us are looking for.


I wash my face with the cleanser, apply Vaseline again and off I go for another day of work.


Three of my team members comment on my skin. I say thank you and nothing else, mentally wondering why they don’t say that when I apply an AED 1200 wonder cream! It’s a bit like when everyone comments on the 75 dhs dress from H&M but ignores the designer number. Don’t you hate it when that happens? - or maybe there is a lesson there?


Day Three:

My skin looks even better. It’s hydrated, and dare I say, dewy-looking at age 43. There are no spots or blemishes and it’s not greasy. There may be something in this it seems.


Day Five:

By now I’m probably saving myself a 30-minute skincare routine a day. That’s an extra chapter of a book I rarely get to read. My skin remains great and I keep looking at it in the mirror expecting it to be bad, but it isn’t.



Day Seven and my verdict:

As one week rolls around using only Vaseline on my skin, it’s time for my verdict. My skin looks great, a pared-down routine definitely hasn’t affected my skin in the slightest and if anything it has made my busy life easier and given me a bit of time to do something else. There were a few times my hair was plastered to my face with a slightly sticky texture, but that was honestly the worst thing that I found all week long.


My skin looks great and whilst it pains me to say it, it looks as good, if not better than usual, and at a fraction of the price tag.


It’s at this point that I find myself feeling very confused. The rational part of me says’ save yourself hundreds/thousands of dirhams’ each month and have just as good skin for next to nothing. The beauty addict part of me, that gets excited at new launches, beautiful packaging and new anti-aging ingredients, is mourning the loss of a selection of pretty products and the allure of the new and shiny - and this is where I come a bit unstuck - what do I do now?


In my chats with Dr Natalia, she always said to me that if I love skincare products and have good normal skin (which I do), and I get pleasure from this and can afford my skincare habit, then embrace it and enjoy it. That said, she just wants people to honestly know that good skin is in everyone’s reach no matter your budget and I think this is what I do take from this – I have a choice. We all have choices and money is no obstacle to good skin.


In terms of what I do now. Honestly, I won’t be throwing out my Rodial and Augustinus Bader just yet, but I like the idea that if packing light I can get away with a lot less and I can confidently share with my friends who may be on tighter budgets that good skin is only one small pot of Vaseline away.


Vaseline – I’m sold. Although for me you’ll likely become part of my routine, rather than my entire routine as skincare products make me happy and that leads to a healthy glow too!