Who doesn’t have a bottle of Vaseline in their cupboard? This trusted household brand makes skin care products for the lip, face and body, yet most of us are probably unaware of Vaseline’s long history.

In 1859, an inventor named Robert Chesebrough discovered a substance called “rod wax” that oil drillers used to heal minor cuts and burns. Unrefined rod wax was removed from oil rig pumps and moved into Chesebrough’s laboratory where the inventor created a light coloured gel.

Robert Chesebrough is the first known inventor of petroleum jelly—a jelly-based medical product that he named Vaseline. Chesebrough obtained a U.S. patent for petroleum jelly in 1872, saying, “I, Robert Chesebrough, have invented a new and useful product from petroleum, which I have named Vaseline…”

The name, Vaseline, is believed to be a combination of the German word Wasser (water), the Greek word for oil, and an –ine ending.

In 1987, an Anglo-Dutch company named Unilever purchased the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company and continues to make the brand’s well-known products.


Vaseline offers a variety of health and beauty products, ranging from the original petroleum jelly formula, to Intensive Rescue moisturizing lotions, to products with natural ingredients (such as aloe vera and cocoa).

Vaseline prides itself on its non-greasy products that absorb into skin quickly. Popular Vaseline products include the following:

  • spray lotions and moiturizers (for men and women)
  • Intensive Rescue (hand and body lotion)
  • Problem Skin Therapy Lotion
  • Lip Therapy products (with cocoa butter)
  • Healthy Hand & Nail Conditioning Lotion
  • Cocoa Radiant Lotion
  • Baby Petroleum Jelly
  • Aloe Fresh Lotion
  • Sheer Fusion (lotion for dry skin)
  • Unscented Lotion
  • Chamomile Lotion