Accidental Gelly

I was fooling around with ingredients and hit on an excellent petroleum jelly substitute.

To  make this

You can use a double boiler, if you have one; I find this little quickie bain marie to be most convenient, though you may find other ways to make your own. This is the same procedure as in my hand-made lotion.

Just an old jar lid placed at the bottom of a small saucepan


And a non-breakable, non flammable, heat-resistant receptacle, such as a pyrex cup, on top (it does not touch the bottom of the pan).  Simmering water comes up about 1/4 – 1/3 up the sides, depending on how much the contents of the cup


Here’s another one:

You can see my Lip Whip post for more visuals on what this process looks like

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So here’s the recipe

Accidental Gelly – A no-petroleum jelly

This is a very simple recipe, as you see, however it’s very sensitive to amounts of ingredients. For example a fuller teaspoon of wax will yield a noticeably firmer product. It can go from petroleum jelly to a balm. Still good and usable, but not a jelly. Try to level the measurement of wax.

As well it’s also easy to leave a lot of residual oil on the spoon. Castor is very thick, so scrape all of it in. 

It seems a slightly better texture is achieved when making the larger amount (You can give some away;  however it’s not a huge diff —  no biggie 🙂 ).

 Although, making the small amounts help you see how your measuring worked. Any variation yields a jelly you’ll be happy with, I think 🙂


No-troleum Jelly

1 tsp Carnauba wax (preferred, but candellila works well)

1 TB + 1 tsp Castor Oil


For a larger amount:

1/4 C Castor* oil

1/2 ounce Candelilla Wax


Place wax in your receptacle.

Place the jar lid/ plate on the bottom of the pan.

Add water to pan. Amount depends on the size/depth of your receptacle: The idea is that it produces enough heat to melt the wax, but you do NOT want so much that it bubbles over and/or splashes into your mixture.

Never put a lid on top of the pan or receptacle to speed melting.

Place the receptacle  on top of the lid/plate (Or arrange on your double boiler as required) so it sits above the bottom of the pan (you don’t want it sitting on the bottom of the pan). Turn on the heat and allow water to boil till wax begins to melt.

Add oil and stir continuously, making sure any remaining wax melts and mixture becomes emulsified. Remove from heat and stir in aloe, if using. Pour immediately into clean receptacle. Allow to cool before use. Store with a snug lid.


* Castor oil is best for what this recipe is aiming — “petroleum jelly”; I’ve tried lots of other oils and this, hands down, makes the best “Vaseline” substitute.

If you use something else, keep in mind with each change, swap, omission, or addition you are changing the resultant product. Feel free to try out other oils if you wish, however, you’ve been warned 😉

Notes: It has been my experience that a preservative is not needed. Some good ones, just for your info, are grapefruit seed extract, benzoin, vitamin E and rosemary antioxidant (can find at MRH)

Again, any bit of extra changes the texture; so keep that in mind. The exception is a very small amount of aloe vera and doesn’t seem to effect much a detectable change. I cannot tell which of my gellies has it unless I check my label.


The addition of aloe is also fabulous for a bit of extranourishment and hydration for the lips; however, it’s not necessary. It makes it slightly creamier, but, functionally, it won’t make much difference or feel much different to wear

1 tsp carnauba + (1 TB + 1 tsp Castor Oil) + 1/4 tsp Aloe

This actually comes out the best in my opinion.

* ~ *

Just stir in the aloe completely.

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Alternate: Olive Oileum!

Don’t have or want to get any castor oil? Don’t want to do the double boil thang? Just like my basic lotion recipe, can use some good-quality olive oil!  It is, however, much different in texture from the castor oil — looser. (I want to say, “greasy,” but that has a negative connotation, doesn’t it?) It melts  —  as soon as it makes contact with skin; so,it’s definitely thinner and more oily. It’s not as thick as “petroleum jelly,” but, perhaps, some may like it. I wouldn’t keep this one in my purse or car, especially Summer.

It’s nice and clean with the olive oil coming through strong (so use a good one!)

Easy to do in the microwave:

My Olive Oileum Gelly

Nice and greeny 🙂

This is an easy, inexpensive, very basic petroleum jelly substitute; you can make in your microwave:

1 TB Olive Oil, good quality, organic, room temperature*

1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp Carnauba or Candellila Wax

Heat  a microwave-safe receptacle (bowl, large pyrex, etc.) with water to boiling in microwave.
In a small, dry bowl, place the wax.
Place the bowl of wax into the water bath, making sure water covers bowl  sides by half (no higher than 2/3 or it will splash into the wax)
Place back in microwave. Let boil @ 30 second. –DO not let water boil over and into the wax

Remove from oven.

Stir gently to facilitate melting.
Return to microwave if not *thoroughly* melted.

Remove from microwave and immediately – gently, while stirring with a spoon (don’t whip) – add room temperature/warmed oil in a  stream, and continuously stir till combined.

Let cool a bit and pour into storage container of choice. Cool thoroughly before sealing.
Note: If the mixture seized and you have little pieces of wax (see photos below), just keep stirring. If still doesn’t dissolve, you must reheat the mixture or the crystalized wax will remain. You can microwave it: Place it back into the microwave in its quasi bain marie and heat at @ 10-second intervals, stirring between, till melted. Of course, generally, you don’t want to microwave your oil, but this is the only way to save it unless you reheat it in a bain marie/double boiler on the stove.

*Make sure your olive oil is room temp or warm; it will cause the wax to seize and harden on contact if cold. See below

Here is the gelly made with JOJOBA Oil

Did you know -- Jojoba is actually a plant wax? 😉

It came out tinted a nice golden color.

1 tsp candelilla wax or carnauba wax

1 TB + 1 tsp jojoba oil (preferably organic)

This is a good but softer than a “petroleum jelly” gelly. Really nice if youwant the benefits of jojoba. I’ve become fonder of it and like it quite a bit; it is slightly…looser than petroleum jelly. Not quite as loose as using olive oil, but in between (better, in my opinion).


Below” 😛

Here are some pictures of what mishaps can occur:

Here is what it looks like when it seizes. You get chunks of hardened wax.


Unlike the above, splashing water in your mixture is not fixable, though, you may find still usable.

Couldn’t get a good a pic of it, but, perhaps you can see the globules of water which will not emulsify:


When it cools, the water will still be there, sitting on the surface, and can be poured off. As I said, it may still be usable, but it may not be to your liking (mostly texturally).



When adding anything to the gelly (such as essential oils), it changes the gelly into a whip. Still great, but not a “Petroleum Jelly” sub. Essential oils have varying, volatile properties, and will alter textures dramatically. Certain ones, for example, would make a cream others a gel…and, some would or wouldn’t, depending on when added (!) or how much.

If you use them, add them when cooled as much as possible before it sets too-too much; you want to preserve the qualities of the essential oils and adding to boiling-hot mixtures kills them. And just know that additions will change the product 🙂

*************** AS ALWAYS ***************

Take caution when using and combining essential oils and consider possible allergic reactions. For example, here is a small list of commonly proclaimed cautions associated with some oils you will find on the internet. Often, I see the warning that Some herbs/essential oils should not be used by pregnant women or children, externally or internally, personally,  I err on the side of caution with those — Use responsibly.


Uses for Coconut Oil

Oil risen to the top of coconut butter jar and solidified

Tip: If you buy coconut butter (and after all my ramblings about it, why wouldn’t you? 🙂 )You probably drain the oil off (I drain that sucker till it’s but a bone-dry, thick paste!) Well, let me tell you, that oil is friggin’ expensive! Firstly, it’s organic; it’s pure, and fresh. People pay a lot for that stuff. My whole body ached when I threw it out once — ONCE — never again! So, yea, I’ve got a ton in my freezer, but, trust me, I can find ways to use it! (this is also a good coconut butterI could go on for DAYS about coconut butter! 😀 )

Okay, so some uses: Facial cleanser — Spread over skin and wipe.

If you wear makeup, it is the ultimate makeup remover. No need to rub; the oily oil really just wipes it off. A soft cloth, lightly wiped over your face and neck and you’re good to go. Bonus: It is excellent at removing sunscreen. I despise the thick sunscreensthat coat the face; but they are the better ones. The coconut oil really pulls it off. I remove most of it as soon as I come in from my run; then the shower takes care of any residuals, and the coconut oil.

Use the oil to season your pans.

Use it to condition your cutting boards, too

And of course use it as a moisturizer (just know it’s very greasy so use very little).

You can add a bit to your liquid soaps and have your own moisturizing soap!

I’ve used it to make lip balms, but I really don’t care for it. It’s much better in small amounts used in a recipe, rather than being the dominant ingredient, if you follow me.

Another tip —  To drain the coconut well, place it for a few days upright in a warm location and do not move it. Let the oil rise to the top.  Drain. Then let it sit again for a day. Drain. It should be done by then. I drain it every time I open it, though, because there always seems to be a bit forming at the top (that little bit is no biggie in the long run, really). I always buy two jars and let the one sit, and it is super easy then to drain the second one which has sat undisturbed!

You can also set it upside down and all the oil rises to the top, but will be at the bottom of the jar when you open it :).

The downside: the oil at the bottom will not get drained until you get to the bottom; at which time you’ll have the issue of draining it again. This way works a bit quicker than the alternate.

Coconut butter gets harder the cooler it gets, too, so realize it may be firm but still have a lot of oil in it. In cooler weather, I like to keep it near my dehydrator — upright or upside down — so it’s slightly warm and all the oil seeps out of the pulp, pooling at the top.

Any other uses for coconut oil to share? I know there are many more 🙂

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