What it is
Mineral Oil (also called liquid petrolatum) is a clear and odorless oil derived from petrolatum.
What it does
Mineral oil is one of the best moisturizing ingredients available. It hydrates the skin and acts as a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
Mineral oil is also a hair conditioner. It is used in leave in conditioners, but doesn’t absord very well and can therefore weigh your hair down.
It can be used on eyelashes to prevent brittleness and breaking; it softens them, but may feel greasy and cause blurred vision.
It is also a solvent used to remove makeup and temporary tattoos.
Mineral oil has a bad reputation because it is derived from petrolatum. However, petrolatum is a natural ingredient derived from the earth. Mineral oil used in cosmetics is refined and purified to meet the FDA regulations and, at the end of this process, it has no resemblance to the original petrolatum. There is no evidence, therefore, that mineral oil causes cancer.
Mineral oil doesn’t clog pores. However it is an occlusive agent, and if you use it with products that have comedogenic ingredients, they will get trapped under the skin, causing pores to clog.
As mentioned above, it can weight hair down when used as a conditioner and cause blurred vision when used on eyelashes.
Allergies to mineral oil are very rare, but can occur.