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The next time you need to unstick, untangle, soften, shine, depilate or de-squeak something, try baby oil.
The lightly scented mineral oil is good for dozens of applications that have nothing to do with babies. In fact, having baby oil on hand can spare you from needing to buy an array of single-purpose products — from shave gel to paper-shredder oil — that are generally more expensive.
Following are more than two dozen uses for baby oil that could save you money:
1. Bath oil
I’ve poured it into the tub to soften my winter-weary skin. Note: You must use some cleanser on the tub afterward, or the oily residue could cause the next bather to slip and fall.
Don’t feel like scrubbing an oily tub after every time you bathe to get the baby oil benefits? Towel-dry yourself a little after your bath, and then smooth a little baby oil on your still-damp skin to lock in moisture.
3. Shave-gel substitute
Use a thin layer of baby oil on your legs instead of shave cream or gel (or soap) before shaving.
4. Waxing aid
If you’re waxing brows, legs or, uh, other parts of your body, use a little baby oil afterward to remove any lingering wax.
5. Eye makeup remover
A cotton ball dampened with baby oil takes care of eye shadow and eyeliner without irritating delicate skin.
6. Temporary tattoo remover
Did Junior come home from a birthday party festooned with garish superhero tats? Rub them off with a little baby oil.
7. Nail polish frame
Use a cotton swab to saturate your cuticle perimeters with baby oil before painting your nails. This prevents nail polish from seeping into your cuticles.
8. Cuticle oil
Sushmita Munda writes at makeupandbeauty.com that she uses baby oil on her hands when she gives herself a manicure. Sure, there’s a product called “cuticle oil,” but she never buys it.
9. Lip scrub
Munda also makes a lip scrub by mixing 1 teaspoon of baby oil, ½ teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of lemon juice. Every night before bed she rubs it lightly on her lips to remove dead skin.
10. Massage unguent
Baby oil is an inexpensive alternative to massage oil or cream.
11. Earwax buildup fighter
Remove excess earwax buildup with the help of baby oil — as long as you don’t have tubes in your ears or a hole in your eardrum.
First, apply a few drops of oil into your ears to soften the wax. After a day or two, use a rubber-bulb syringe to (gently!) squirt warm water into the ear canal. Tip your head to the side to let the water drain and the wax fall out, then dry your outer ear with a soft towel or a hair dryer.
Note: If the situation doesn’t improve after a few such treatments, see a doctor.
12. Scaly-feet softener
Do your feet look positively lizardlike in the winter? Rub some baby oil on at bedtime, and then don plain white socks. While you sleep, the skin on your feet will soften right up.
13. Ring loosener
Did your hands swell because of pregnancy or air travel? Trickle a little baby oil on the puffy digit and gradually ease off the ring.
14. Necklace detangler
If the pendant you inherited from Grandma is on a knotted chain, rub just a drop of oil onto the tangle, and then pick it apart with a straight pin.