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If there’s been one constant in our makeup bag over the years, it’s Vaseline.

The use of this slippery balm goes back to the late 1800s, when oil workers in Pennsylvania began using a wax secreted from the oil pumps on cuts and burns. Extracting petroleum jelly from that wax, inventor Robert Chesebrough packaged the stuff up in jars to be used as a medicinal product and lubricant to treat minor flesh wounds.

Over the years, Vaseline has morphed into a number of other products, including body lotion, lip balm, soap, cleanser and personal lubricant. So, why are we still carrying around a jar of the straight-up stuff? Well, because as any thrifty beauty junkie knows, Vaseline is a great starting place for a whole slew of DIY beauty products.

Makeup remover

This is one of the most straightforward ways to use Vaseline. Simply grab a cotton swab and a blob of Vaseline and gently rub away the day’s makeup. Vaseline is especially great for removing mascara and eyeliner because it’s super gentle and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could irritate the eyes. Just make sure you rub off any access jelly so that you won’t be left with oily lashes!

Lip stain

Because Vaseline creates a moisture barrier, it can work well when you have dry and cracked lips. Turn your favourite lipstick shade into a lip tint by first coating your lips in Vaseline and then swiping the lipstick onto your top lip only. Rub in and you’ve got a great subtle pop of colour.

Lipstick

Need a pop of colour in a pinch? Create your own DIY lipstick by mixing pieces of crushed up powder blush in a pot of Vaseline. Apply to lips with a lip brush and voilà: your very own one-of-a-kind lipstick! And if you’re on the last legs of your favourite tube, don’t chuck it! Mix in Vaseline with the remaining lipstick for an easy-as-pie, DIY lip gloss.

Brow gel

Put unruly brows in their place by applying a small amount of Vaseline to the brow and then brushing it through with a brow shaper. If you need some tinted gel for coverage, crush up some eye shadow a shade lighter than your natural hair colour and mix onto a palette with some Vaseline! It’s really that simple.

Cream blush

If you’ve never used cream blush, here’s a great way to try before you buy. Rub a very thin layer of Vaseline onto the apples of your cheeks and then dot the centre with a smudge of lipstick. Stick to a subtle pink or peach hue for your first go, so you don’t end up with clown-face. Next, blend, blend and blend some more until you’re left with just a very light flush of colour.

Smoky eye

This is a great tip we picked up from a M.A.C. Cosmetics senior artist a few years back. To create a sexy but subtle smoky eye, grab your favourite black or brown eye pencil and draw over your entire lid from lash line to crease. Next, smear on some Vaseline, pulling your finger from the duct outwards. Next, wipe away the eyeliner until you’re left with just a slight stain. The result: a dewy, smoky eye that didn’t involve any complicated contouring.

Concealer

Woke up with a big, red zit and don’t have any concealer? No sweat. Mix up some Vaseline with some crushed up pressed powder to create your own DIY concealer. Sure, it’s not as good as the real stuff, but it will get you by until you can get yourself to a makeup counter.

Body scrub

Lastly, now that it’s winter, you may have noticed that your skin is plagued by dry patches, especially around the elbows and knees. If holiday shopping has left you feeling too cheap to go out and buy fancy body scrub, mix together some coarse sea salt and Vaseline to make a super basic scrub that literally costs cents. Not bad!