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Learn How To Get Vaseline Out of Hair With Our Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Cover photo of black woman for article on how to get Vaseline out of hair

Vaseline is an excellent product that can be found in most households in North America. It is inexpensive, and its list of uses is endless.

Hair grease, which is sometimes referred to as Vaseline or petroleum jelly, is commonly used in the natural hair community by many women. Some women love using hair grease; others loathe the product.

However, Vaseline is an extremely greasy substance, and accidentally getting it in your hair can cause a real problem.

Once it gets stuck in your hair, it can be extremely difficult to remove, but with a few helpful household ingredients and a little bit of “elbow grease,” you can have your hair clean and Vaseline-free once again. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to get Vaseline out of your hair using a few simple techniques. It’s important to note that you might have to repeat some of the steps depending on the amount of Vaseline stuck in your hair.

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How To Get Vaseline Out of Hair: Best Methods

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While Vaseline has many helpful uses around the house, it can be extremely troublesome to remove from your hair. Here are some tips and tricks that will make removing it from your hair a much easier task.

Clarifying Shampoo (or a Traditional Shampoo)

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Clarifying shampoo can be purchased from nearly any drug store or beauty supply shop. It is specially formulated to strip hair of oils, product-up, and excess debris. It works well at removing an oily substance like Vaseline and should be your first option.

To try this method, first, use a paper towel to remove as much of the excess Vaseline as possible and take care not to spread the Vaseline throughout the rest of your hair. 

Next, thoroughly wet your hair with lukewarm water and add a generous amount of clarifying shampoo, especially to the areas that are most affected by the Vaseline. Work the shampoo into a lather, focusing on the oiliest areas, and then rinse.

This process will provide a deep cleansing but may need to be repeated multiple times to remove all traces of the Vaseline. Using shampoo is the best way to remove Vaseline from your hair strands.

Once the Vaseline clump has been removed, use a moisturizing conditioner since a clarifying cleanser can make your hair dry. Moisturizing your hair is always recommended after using stronger shampoos.

How To Get Vaseline Out of Baby Hair

Please note that if your baby or kid has grease stuck in their hair, we recommend using a baby shampoo – Johnson’s, Shea Moisture, Pipette, and Babyganics are all great brands. Check out the popular baby shampoo brands using this Amazon link.

Liquid Dish Soap

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If Dawn dishwashing liquid can remove oil from birds trapped in an oil slick, then it will have no problem dealing with a bit of Vaseline that has gotten stuck in your hair.

Dish soap, like Dawn detergent, is specially formulated to break down grease and oil, so Vaseline will be no match for its power. As usual, first, remove as much of the excess Vaseline as possible using paper towels.

Make sure there are no lumps or clumps in your hair. Excess Vaseline will just spread to other areas of your head and will make the problem even worse.

Wet your hair and then apply a small amount of dish soap to the area affected by the Vaseline and work it into a good, soapy lather. Allow the suds to sit and soak into your hair for at least fifteen minutes.

Rinse your hair and repeat this step if necessary. You may also want to give your hair a good wash with your regular shampoo afterward as well.

Other than using shampoo, Dawn dish detergent (or dishwashing soap) is the most effective way to remove the Vaseline.

Glycerin Soap

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Glycerin soap is a type of soap that is made from natural oils and fats. Because of this, it can be very effective at breaking down the oils in Vaseline and removing it from your hair.

It can be purchased in a liquid form or as a bar, and it will work to remove Vaseline from your hair. First, wipe out all extra Vaseline (if possible) using an absorbent paper towel.

Next, wet the area of hair that contains the Vaseline. If you are using the bar form of glycerin soap, wet it with hot water. Using downward strokes only, rub it onto the affected area of hair until it forms a good, soapy lather.

If you are using the liquid form of glycerin soap, apply a small amount to your fingertips and then carefully rub it into the Vaseline.

Gently rub this soap in and allow it to sit on the hair for approximately twenty minutes. Over this period of time, you can apply more soap if you feel it is necessary. Afterward, wash the soap from your hair and then shampoo.

Note: Using a good clarifying shampoo, traditional shampoo, liquid dish soap, glycerin soap, bar soap, or even a regular baby shampoo are the best ways to remove Vaseline.

If none of these options are available, then we’ve included additional options in this article. However, many of the options below are a hassle, and it’s better to go purchase a clarifying shampoo or simply use dish soap.

How To Get Vaseline Out Without Washing Your Hair

Most of our recommendations include washing your hair, at least eventually, including the ones below. However, if you can’t wash your hair immediately, please follow up by washing your hair as soon as possible.


Black women with curly hair wearing shades while drinking a cup of coffee outside.

Vinegar has great cleaning properties and can help you remove Vaseline from your hair if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

Any type of vinegar will work, but apple cider vinegar is known to be one of the best for using in your hair. Once you have removed the excess Vaseline from your hair, spray the affected area with a bit of vinegar and wipe your hair in a downward direction.

Continue this process, using a clean paper towel each time, and soon, all traces of the Vaseline will have vanished.


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Cornstarch is a cooking ingredient found in most kitchens and is a finely ground powder made from cornflour starch. This powder is very good at absorbing oils and can help to remove Vaseline from your hair.

To try this method, first, remove as much Vaseline out of your hair as possible using a paper towel. Wipe in a downward direction, ensuring that you don’t spread the Vaseline throughout the rest of your hair.

Next, apply a little cornstarch to the Vaseline and allow it to sit on the hair for at least ten minutes. The cornstarch will absorb the oil from the Vaseline, making it much easier to remove.

After the ten minutes is up, carefully use a paper towel to remove the rest of the Vaseline. If the area still seems extremely greasy, use another application of corn starch and allow it to sit again. 

Finally, once all of the oil seems to have been removed, give your hair a good washing using either your regular shampoo (or clarifying shampoo) and condition afterward.

Olive Oil (and Natural Oils)

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Because Vaseline is an oil-based product and is not soluble in water, using another oily substance to remove it makes sense.

Olive oil is a common product found in most households, and it is relatively inexpensive to use, especially since you don’t need a large quantity.

First, remove any clumps of Vaseline from your hair and separate all of the unaffected hair by clipping it or tying it back.

Next, apply a small amount of olive oil to your fingertips and gently massage into the Vaseline. Work it into the affected area of your hair; allow it to sit and completely soak in for at least ten to fifteen minutes.

After this time has passed, use a few paper towels and blot the area, soaking up as much oil as possible. Using a downward motion, gently wipe out all of the remaining oil and Vaseline.

Your hair will still feel greasy after this, so a good wash with shampoo will be necessary.

If you don’t have olive oil, it’s fine to substitute it with other natural oils. For example, you can use jojoba oil, virgin coconut oil, vegetable oil, almond oil, and other essential oils to replace olive oil during this process. Mineral oils have also been used successfully.

Skin-Safe Adhesive Remover

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Some adhesive removers are safe to use on your skin and hair and can work wonders at removing sticky, gooey substances like Vaseline. Just make sure that you read the labels carefully before applying them to your hair to ensure it is safe.

Also, these products should only be used as a last resort and only if the area affected by the Vaseline is very small. To use, wipe away all excess Vaseline and tie back all of the unaffected hair.

Apply a very small amount of adhesive remover to a cotton ball and gently wipe the affected area of your hair in a downward direction.

You should find that most of the Vaseline is easily removed this way. Still, you may want to give your hair a good wash afterward with either your usual shampoo to completely remove all remaining residue. 

Baby Oil

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It may seem counterintuitive to use an oily substance like baby oil to remove a greasy product like Vaseline, but it actually works!

Since Vaseline isn’t water-soluble, it will take another oil-based product in order to remove it, making baby oil an easy and inexpensive option.

Once all of the excess Vaseline has been removed, and all of the unaffected hair has been clipped or tied back, apply a small amount of baby oil to either your fingertips or to a cotton ball.

Massage the baby oil into the area and allow it to sit for several minutes and thoroughly saturate the hair. Wash your hair and repeat the process if necessary.

Cornmeal Powder

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This home remedy for removing Vaseline from your hair may be a bit messy, but it can be very effective. Cornmeal is a fine powder that comes from ground-up, dried corn.

It is very absorbent and can effectively soak up a gooey mess, greasy stuff, and oily substances like Vaseline. To try this method, first, remove all excess Vaseline and ensure there are no clumps.

Use a paper towel or tissue to gently wipe and blot out all of the excess Vaseline. This will leave only the oily residue remaining.

Apply a liberal amount of the cornmeal onto the affected hair and allow it to sit for a few minutes. It will soak up the oil and begin to clump up.

When this happens, remove the cornmeal and apply another application of it (as needed). This may need to be done a few times to remove all of the excess oil. Wash your hair afterward with your regular shampoo or with a clarifying shampoo.

Baking Soda (or Baking Powder)

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Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a fine powder that is an excellent deodorizer and is also great at soaking up grease and oil. It is an inexpensive product that is commonly found around the house in the fridge or pantry.

Baking soda is also extremely absorbent, making it a great choice to remove grease and oil from your hair. 

Once all of the excess Vaseline has been removed from your hair, apply a liberal amount of baking soda to the greasy area and work it into your hair with your fingertips.

Apply more if necessary, and then allow it to sit on your strands and soak up all of the excess oil. This process may take five to ten minutes, after which time you can remove the baking soda and reapply if necessary.

Afterward, you may want to wash your hair with shampoo to remove all extra residue and the remnants of the baking soda as well.


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Most homes contain baking flour, which is an excellent alternative to removing Vaseline from your hair if you are in a pinch. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is extremely absorbent. 

Using a tissue, old towel, or paper towel, remove as much of the Vaseline as possible from your hair. Apply the flour and gently work it between your strands of hair to ensure that the entire affected area is completely coated.

The flour will quickly absorb the excess grease and will begin to clump up. When this happens, remove the flour and reapply until all traces of the Vaseline are gone. 

If you would like, you can wash your hair with shampoo afterward. 


Black girl wearing a black sweatshirt and shades walking through the park on a fall day.

While nobody wants to get Vaseline in their hair, there is no need to worry if it happens! In addition to the options outlined in this article, some people have successfully used baby powder, peanut butter, and crushed talc powder.

We don’t recommend these solutions because the first three options in this article are the steps we recommend.

With some simple home remedies, using common ingredients that most homes already have, you can remove all traces of oil, grease, and Vaseline and have healthy, shiny hair once again. Good luck!