Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Wax, mineral oil and White Oil were once revered as the answer to all of our moisturizing wows. They were available in different viscosities, different shades from white to yellow and different melting points enabling formulators to create something that felt unique and special yet was easy to make and reproduce time after time after time. Our babies were bathed in it, moisturized with it and protected by it. It was liquid gold.  Indeed, Petroleum based oils were some of the first ingredients to have been used to protect the skin with Egyptian records referencing petroleum type oils as far back as 5000 BC – and they weren’t the first, you see extracting oils from nuts, seeds and plants took a bit longer to work out. So what happened? Why did we fall out of love with this good and natural oil?

To answer that question we need to cast away our naughties shackles and go back to a time when our cosmetics and personal care products were mainly animal derived.

Americans captured the first whale back in the early 1700’s hailing the start of the whale oil revolution.  The value of the oil was quickly recognized and a pseudo global market was established as commercial whale fishing tried to keep up with demand for Spermaceti for (among other uses) candles, soaps and face creams.  Whale oil remained the ingredient of choice throughout the 18th, 19th and early 20th century until something changed.  Petroleum was on the rise and people started to see that it was possible to get their cosmetic fix without the spilling of blood – evolution? I guess you could see it like that.  Indeed one famous chemist, Robert Chesebrough […]