Greasy girl is greasy
July 26, 2010 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Coating myself from head to toe in Vaseline yesterday seemed like a good idea at the time, but today I've washed my hair three times and it's still incredibly greasy. Help?
posted by Jacqueline to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
posted by HuronBob at 6:00 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried something with more surfactants in it, like concentrated dish soap? Maybe in the tub instead of the shower? Be sure to use conditioner once you've gotten it all out of your hair, as whatever strips out the vaseline may strip out your natural hair oils, too.
posted by ldthomps at 6:03 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Can I just ask why you did it? Were you in search of ultra-moisturizing or something?
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2010

Though it's not recommended by the article HuronBob linked to, Idthomps' advice is sound. Dish soap works well - esp dish soap like Dawn which is formulated for degreasing. Definitely get a good conditioner for afterwards too.
posted by patheral at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

@BlahLaLa: I was bored and it was fun.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:09 PM on July 26, 2010 [87 favorites]

Following the advice in HuronBob's link, if you don't have a clarifying shampoo, you can add baking soda to your regular shampoo. It does about the same thing.
posted by phunniemee at 6:13 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Although I've not coated myself head-to-toe in the stuff, Vaseline is awesome on rough and dry skin like elbows, knees and heels, even cuticles. It also makes a good barrier against ants getting into your hummingbird feeder. Good luck with the de-greasing!
posted by Savannah at 6:18 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

OK, I'm going to try the cornstarch + shampoo/baking soda advice when I get home tonight.

Meanwhile, does anyone know if I'm going to need anything more than just regular laundry soap to get it out of the sheets and pillowcases? Thanks.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:23 PM on July 26, 2010

hahahaha...and the next question will be "how do I get vaseline stains out of my partner?"

For your bedding, I'd suggest starting a warm wash with dish soap, then stopping it after it has agitated a few times and just letting it soak. Then drain it and start over with regular detergent. At least, this worked for me when I spilled salad dressing all over my bed. (I was eating, I swear.)
posted by phunniemee at 6:27 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

@phunniemee: Fortunately, my husband didn't seem to have any trouble getting it out his body hair.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:32 PM on July 26, 2010

Gaw, I knew one and got here too late! You know what you're going to do is make a roux and then turn it into gravy, right? A starch to grab on to the grease, than a liquid to grab the starch's other end.

But block your drain! Really block it. Pouring gravy out isn't good for your pipes.

BTW, if you ever decide to put chewing gum in your hair, the answer is peanut butter. (Same aunt told me those.)
posted by Some1 at 6:33 PM on July 26, 2010

Haha - you are awesome.

Peanut butter has done me right for this very thing in the past. Something about the peanut oil in the butter, what, what....just buy cheap stuff, 'cause you'll be using a lot of it.

And if you are using this for what I think you are using this for, in the future I suggest you use some kind of vegetable oil instead (read:olive), as it will smell better, feel better, and be easier to get out of your various hairs.

Good luck.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:42 PM on July 26, 2010

GGG -- good, giving, and greasy.

If the previous suggestions don't work, I'd suggest trying one of the hand-cleaners made for mechanics and other people who get seriously greasy. I'm partial to Fast Orange but any of the other orange-based products should work fine. I'd watch out for the pumice additives in the more sensitive areas, but otherwise you should be fine.
posted by Forktine at 6:47 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I used a olive oil conditioner in my hair overnight one time, I liked to have never got it out. The one thing that worked was baking soda, just massage in your hair and follow with shampoo.
posted by sandyp at 7:07 PM on July 26, 2010

For the laundry, add ammonia to the laundry tub with your laundry detergent and let everything soak for awhile.

For your skin and hair, like removes like. I use petroleum-based pomade in my hair, and the best way to get it out is to coat my hair in a lighter oil, THEN wash a few times.
posted by desuetude at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2010

I shared this link with some friends and one of them offered the following advice (hope this is kosher):

Mechanic's hand cleaner (e.g. GOJO, Lava) is most effective at getting tough grease, such as Vaseline, out of your skin. It'll even take tar off. I like the citrus-based stuff better: apparently the citrus terpenes in it improve its ability to dissolve oil while simultaneously reducing its toxicity. It costs a little more, but it's worth it. You (or your husband) can get a big container of it at an auto parts store.

If hand cleaner is unavailable to you (e.g. you live in Argentina) you can probably use household products. I have had success with sunflower oil with salt sprinkled on it, to remove the grease/tar/Vaseline, followed by dish soap to remove the sunflower oil.

Dish soap alone is not very effective in removing Vaseline, in my experience.
posted by brett at 8:26 PM on July 26, 2010

Agree on mechanic's hand cleaner, particularly "GOOP" -- it has lots of lanolin in it, and (sort of counterintuitively) that seems to help get the oil out. Follow with dish detergent (Dawn or something similar) to get the Goop out, and then normal shampoo and conditioner.
posted by nonliteral at 9:22 PM on July 26, 2010

Jacqueline writes "Meanwhile, does anyone know if I'm going to need anything more than just regular laundry soap to get it out of the sheets and pillowcases? Thanks."

I don't know if it'll be required but a presoak in hot water with a few tablespoons of TSP (available in paint stores if your grocery store doesn't have it) in addition to your regular laundry soap will cut grease amazingly well. It's cheap and effective and I keep a container in the laundry room for just this purpose.

You want to be careful with GOOP and similar products; they can be irritating to skin and stuff with lanolin gives me horrible hang nails for weeks after even a single use.
posted by Mitheral at 9:31 PM on July 26, 2010

Are you wetting your hair before applying shampoo?
When I learnt Indian head massage, which can optionally include massaging oils into the hair, we were taught to advise clients to apply shampoo directly to the hair and lather it up WITHOUT wetting first with water. Get a good lather happening, then rinse it all off and the hair shouldn't be oily afterwards.
posted by goshling at 11:08 PM on July 26, 2010

it has lots of lanolin in it, and (sort of counterintuitively) that seems to help get the oil out.

Not so counterintuitive! Like dissolves like; so if you can dilute an oily substance with another oily substance that also washes out with soap more easily, you are golden. (Lanolin is a fatty acid, so it gets washed off more easily than vaseline, which is all clumpy hydrocarbons.)

Protip: Use this trick with capsaicin oil that's stuck on your hands after deseeding jalapenos. Rub down with olive oil or cooking oil, and *then* soap! It'll get all the capsaicin that hasn't made it through your skin off, because capsaicin is oil-soluble.

(Yes, I did just finish Organic Chemistry. And I got a B+. Stuffing AskMeFi's full of tangentially related chemistry knowledge salves the ego wound.)
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 11:17 PM on July 26, 2010 [14 favorites]

If you figure it out, tell my 14-year-old self when a senior in high school decided vaseline was the best way to style my hair during high school initiation. As far as I remember, I looked like an extra from Grease for at least a week no matter what I did. Good luck!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:21 AM on July 27, 2010

I'm late to the thread, but try white vinegar. It will de-gel the vaseline, and then regular old soap or shamppo will take it out. (Gave myself a big Elvis pompadour with vaseline once in my youth).
posted by midwestguy at 5:38 AM on July 27, 2010

(Yes, I did just finish Organic Chemistry. And I got a B+. Stuffing AskMeFi's full of tangentially related chemistry knowledge salves the ego wound.)

I learned "like removes like" from my former hairdresser, who used a bit of hairdye to clean the hair dye off of my face. Good to know that it's backed up by actual Chemistry!
posted by desuetude at 6:49 AM on July 27, 2010

When my sister was a baby and got in to the Vaseline during naptime, the only thing that worked was Murphy's Oil Soap - meant to clean wood floors.

I'd try the cornstarch, lanolin, or vinegar first, though.
posted by maryr at 12:38 PM on July 27, 2010

In terms of washing the bed linens/towels, don't run them through the dryer until you're really, really, totally sure you've gotten all the gunk out. I say this as a person who washed her hands 20 times a day for work for years and thus had to wear cotton gloves over a thick layer of Vaseline every night to sleep.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:40 PM on July 27, 2010

Long-overdue follow-up: Unfortunately, the milder methods didn't work, and I finally had to wash it a few times with Dawn soap. But then my scalp was itchy and inflamed for weeks. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 3:12 PM on November 22, 2010

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