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The Duct Tape of Beauty Products: 20 Ways to Use All-Purpose Skin Balm

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Did you know all-purpose beauty balms like Lucas’ Papaw Ointment can mask flyaways and serve as a makeup remover in a pinch? Consider this stuff the duct tape of beauty products.

Lucas’ Papaw is beloved by professional makeup artists, and is essentially Australia’s answer to Vaseline. It’s made with fermented papaw fruit and pharmaceutical-grade petroleum, which is a milder and non-comedogenic form of petroleum. Whether you prefer the classic version or this more-natural take, petroleum-based balm is considered safe by most dermatologists. “It offers a wide range of applications in skin care and should be considered a good beauty product,” affirms Dr. Aurora DeJuliis, M.D., an expert with 20 years’ experience in the fields of anti-aging, beauty, and aesthetic medicine.

Although the word “petroleum” alone sets off alarms for some, DeJuliis says it’s safe for a variety of applications—most essentially as a moisturizer to help soothe dry, cracked, and chapped skin (think elbows, heels, or even your face). “A lot of people shy away from using petroleum jelly on their faces because they’re worried it will clog pores,” says DeJuliis. “But in my experience, it won’t, it can serve as a terrific and affordable nighttime moisturizer.”

Hydrating is just one of the many uses that made our top-20 list of hidden beauty talents of all-purpose skin balm. Get ready to slather it on.

1) Highlighter – Dab a little on your brow line, in your cupid’s bow, and on your cheeks for a gorgeous, glowy effect.

2) Brow tamer – Dip your eye brow brush into balm and use it to groom unruly brows and keep them in place all day.

3) Flyaway fixer – Warm a tiny bit in your palms and gently spread over flyways to keep them at bay.

4) Lipstick smudge-proofer – This is an old model secret: apply some product to teeth, which will prevent lipstick from sticking to them. It instantly safeguards your smile!

5) Cream-based makeup – Turn any matte shadow into a creamy, dewy color by adding a bit of balm to it. You can also add a pinch to lipstick on the back of your hand to mix up a quick cream blush.

6) Hairline protector – Apply to your hairline before dying to prevent color from staining your skin.

7) Makeup remover – Just ran out of your favorite remover? All-purpose balm is a great backup. As with any product, avoid getting it in your eyes or nose. (You don’t want to inhale it!)

8) Treat tattoos – Super-sensitive skin will thank you when you apply a coat to the surface.

9) Night cream – Heat up your balm slightly and it turns into an excellent night cream. Microwave in a small bowl for a few seconds.

10) Extend your mani – Massage into nail beds with a week-old manicure to revive your polish’s color and shine.

11) Gel-esque liner – Mix with your favorite eye shadow and paint on with a liner brush.

12) Stretch mark–reducer – Some swear by petroleum jelly over products like cocoa butter to reduce the appearance of stretch marks over time with regular use.

13) Self-tanning aid – Massage into skin before your self-tanner to avoid streaks or those lines of demarcation that appear at the wrists and ankles.

14) Split ends savior – If you can’t get to your stylist for a trim, rub a bit of balm into your split ends to mask them temporarily.

15) Hand and foot hydrator – It may look silly, but a coat of balm under cotton gloves or socks while you sleep will give you new skin by morning.

16) Massage oil sub – If you find oils too messy, use balm instead for a moisturizing and calming effect.

17) Perfume extender – Dab some on your wrists and neck under fragrance to make it last longer.

18) Cuticle treatment – Just massage in! Dry cuticles and brittle nails will love the pampering.

19) Chapstick – Generally speaking, petroleum jelly–based balms are the best chapped-lips remedy on earth. Pick up a little tube to keep in your bag.

20) Shaving gel – In a pinch, coat legs before shaving for a moisturizing barrier to avoid nicks. You may want to change your blade after, as balm can clog it.