IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Could this viral $5 drugstore find replace your pricey eye cream? A dermatologist weighs in

The affordable product really can do everything!
mixetto / Getty Images

The benefits of Vaseline in beauty are seemingly endless, but even still, we're constantly discovering new ways to use the affordable product in our routines. Experts say it can help lock in moisture, boost hydration and help fight signs of aging, which is why we've been known to smother it on everything from chapped lips to dry elbows.

Though the area around our eyes was one of the few places that we hadn't tried it on. So when a TikToker posted a video early last year saying that she applies the $5 staple under her eyes instead of using an expensive eye cream, it instantly caught our attention. And we weren't the only ones: The video has racked up 3.8 million views and plenty of comments from people who were discovering the hack for the first time (though many weren't surprised — as one person put it, "Vaseline cures all"), and some users who added that they were fans of the trick themselves.

Given all of that, we were curious, can the affordable formula really stack up to an expensive eye cream? We consulted with a dermatologist to get all the details.

Can Vaseline work as an eye cream?

The skin around your eyes is very thin, so it can be prone to dryness and sensitivity, says Dr. Papri Sakar, a board-certified dermatologist in Boston. "One of the reasons why people use eye cream is for hydration and plumpness, because that plumpness kind of makes the lines look less visible," she says. Along with the hydrating aspect, people also tend to reach for an eye cream with ingredients like retinol or brightening agents to treat these lines and help fade dark circles in the area.

While, unfortunately, Vaseline won't do much to help erase deep-set wrinkles or brighten dark circles, Sakar says the product can provide some of the same hydrating effects as your go-to eye cream — especially when it's paired with a moisturizing cream. "Vaseline is something that's called an occlusive," she says. "Which means that it's almost like Saran wrap. You put it down over your skin, and it adds another layer, like a barrier. And what it does is it keeps water from being able to evaporate out [of the skin] as quickly," she says. By applying a hydrating cream to your under-eye area and then following it with Vaseline, you're adding moisture to the area and then locking it in, she said — essentially, it's a targeted slugging treatment. As a result, Sakar says some people may notice added plumpness in the area and a reduced appearance in fine lines.

Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly

Who should use Vaseline on their under-eye area?

"I personally love petrolatum, in general, which is what Vaseline is," says Sakar. "And I think that applying it under the eyes is a great idea for a certain group of people — like for people whose skin around their eyes is really dry, and is also very reactive, or sensitive, where other eye creams may cause an inflammation or anything like that, I think that it's great."

On the other hand, those who tend to develop milia (or small cysts) around their eyes, might want to skip the practice. "Although Vaseline is technically non-comedogenic, meaning that it's not supposed to clog pores, for some people, I've just found in practice that it can," Sakar says.

How to use Vaseline as an under-eye cream

For the best results, start with a hydrating cream (Sakar likes the below options from Belif) and then follow it with a layer of petroleum jelly. While Vaseline is a popular choice on TikTok, Sakar notes that you can also use another 100 percent white petrolatum product or the CeraVe Healing Gel.

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

Sakar says this light gel-textured cream is "very hydrating." According to the brand, the formula instantly cools and refreshes skin when applied and has been shown to boost hydration levels by 70 percent.

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

The brand's Moisturizing Bomb is a "thicker cream that still feels light and sinks into the skin," Sakar says. "I prefer this in winter or when my skin is drier."

CeraVe Healing Ointment

With over 16,000 five-star ratings, this pick from CeraVe has become "essential" according to one reviewer and a "miracle worker" for another. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and three ceramides, it's a hydrating option that can aid that dry winter skin.

Bag Balm

Much like Vaseline, this petrolatum balm went viral on TikTok for its ability to serve as an all-in-one solution for under-eyes, cracked heels, dry hands and more. "I use this daily on my lips, forehead, elbows, eye laugh lines, and mouth brow. Keeps wrinkles at bay," one reviewer wrote.

More hydrating creams to consider

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel

One dermatologist previously told us that when trying slugging, you can make the treatment even more effective by applying a product that contains a humectant, like hyaluronic acid, before Vaseline. This bestselling moisturizer from Neutrogena features hyaluronic acid and is said to be oil-free and non-comedogenic.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Another bestseller, this gentle moisturizing cream features both hyaluronic acid and ceramides and is said to provide up to 24 hours of hydration. It has an impressive nearly five-star rating from more than 109,000 shoppers ratings.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane

This Shop TODAY Beauty Award-winner contains squalane and Glacial Glycoprotein to help keep your skin feeling moisturized 24 hours a day. One dermatologist previously told Shop TODAY that this lightweight moisturizer has a reputable study behind it for proven results to restore the skin's barrier.