Those closest to me know that I’m an Aquaphor addict. I sing its praises to anyone who will hear. Complain about dry skin near me, and I’ll be by your side with my tube in milliseconds. I get that it’s gloopy and sticky, and it takes a while to sink in, but I’ve found that it heals any dry skin, clears up patches of eczema, and keeps my cuticles looking decent. As someone who uses a super-drying prescription acne medication, I basically can’t survive the winters without Aquaphor. There’s just one problem, Aquaphor is a Eucerin product, and Eucerin is not a cruelty-free brand.
Out of all the dozens of products I use, I knew Aquaphor would be the toughest to give up when I decided to try to only buy cruelty-free items, but I really wanted to see what else was out there. After a little googling, I found out about a product by Alba Botanica called Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly. This product is marketed to moisturize, prevent windburn, gently remove eye makeup, soothe diaper rash, and to create a moisture barrier, basically everything Aquaphor claims to do. I found a tube at Whole Foods for about $7 and started putting it to the test.
The only major differences I noticed are the texture and how fast it sinks into the skin. Anyone who has used Aquaphor can probably recall how it feels to apply it to your skin. It feels thick and greasy, and it sits on top of the skin for several minutes before sinking in. Un-Petroleum feels less like grease and more like whipped oil, and it sinks into the skin slightly faster. As you can see from the pictures below, the Aquaphor appears to sit on top of my skin, while the Un-Petroleum seems to melt into it.
Truthfully, Aquaphor creates a better moisture barrier. Its effects last longer because the main ingredient is petrolatum, arguably one of the best emollients out there. I can put it on my lips, and around my mouth and nose (where I have stubborn dry skin) and still feel it there in the morning. Not so with Un-Petroleum. I have to reapply it more often than I would with Aquaphor. I have noticed that when I use the Un-Petroleum as a lip balm, it provides a nice gloss and seems to plump up my lips somehow, making the lines less noticeable. I have not used it to remove eye makeup because I honestly think it’s way too thick, and I can’t see myself putting it near my eyes. All in all, I find the two products very similar. They work pretty much how you would expect based on the ingredients of each one.
Un-Petroleum’s ingredients are: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Beeswax, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol.
Aquaphor’s ingredients are: Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol.
The only potential problem I can see with Un-Petroleum is coconut oil, which can be comedogenic, so I would not use this on large portions of your face if you have a known sensitivity to it. The only ingredient in Aquaphor that could cause a bad reaction is lanolin alcohol, which can be a mild irritant and acne trigger. I haven’t had any reaction to either product.
I thought I would list a few pros and cons of each product to provide my concise thoughts.
Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum
- Cruelty Free
- made from plant oils and waxes as opposed to petroleum
- Creates good moisture barrier
- Great, plumping lip balm
- Cheaper than Aquaphor
- Not quite as moisturizing or long-lasting
- Creates amazing moisture barrier
- very long lasting
- product of company that is not cruelty-free
- main ingredient is petrolatum, a byproduct of the oil industry
- more expensive
So do I think Un-Petroleum is better than Aquaphor? Not quite, but I do think it’s comparable, and I will continue to use it over Aquaphor. I feel better about supporting Alba Botanica, and I like using a product made of more sustainable ingredients.
On a side note, Alba Botanica’s site seems to be down, but I found Un-Petroleum for $3.95 on Thrive Market, with an additional 15% off a first-time order. I have no affiliation with Thrive Market, I just thought it was an amazing deal!