Spending

Drybar founder Alli Webb calls this 'miracle' $30 skin-care product one of her favorites

Ali Webb, founder of Dry Bar.
Courtesy Alli Webb

Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, is "always looking for a deal" when it comes to self-care products and services, she says. That's why she started Drybar and is about to launch Squeeze, a massage parlor chain — she wants to offer services that shoppers can pay for multiple times per year without blowing their budget. 

"I really do always seek out places that you'd be able to go more frequently and pay less money, rather than indulge once or twice a year for something ridiculously expensive," Webb says of services like facials and massages. 

When it comes to skin-care products, her ethos is no different. She would rather purchase a product that she can buy regularly over a luxury item that is always a splurge.

One of her favorite products in this category is Egyptian Magic, a Vaseline-like balm. A 4-ounce jar rings in at $39 on the Egyptian Magic website. It is also available at major retail stores: At Costco, you can get a pack that includes a 4-ounce jar, 1-ounce jar, and 0.25-ounce jar for $29.99, and at Target you can get a 2-ounce jar for $21.99.

One reason she loves it is that, even though it's not particularly expensive, Webb can use it to solve many problems. That means she can save even more money by crossing other items off her shopping list. "I just think it's a miracle product," she says. 

Products with multiple functions can save you money

Similar to the way the Portokalos family uses Windex in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," Webb says, she uses the balm on just about everything. "I'll put it on the ends of my hair, or I'll put it on my cuticles, or if the kids get [cuts] I put it on them," she says. "It's kind of like a Neosporin alternative." It doesn't prevent infection but it does seal moisture into the skin to help it heal. 

By purchasing an item that can remedy multiple issues, you can get more from your purchase and save money on other products you might have used in its place. In this case, for Webb, one jar of this balm might mean she doesn't have to buy four other products: hair oil, lip balm, cuticle cream, and healing ointment. 

Natural products are increasingly popular

In 2019, natural products was the top growth contributor to 2019 skin care sales, according to NPD Group. Egyptian Magic falls into that category.

The balm can be used the same way petroleum jelly, or Vaseline, is used, says Birnur Aral, director of the health, beauty, and environmental sciences lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Like Vaseline, the balm can serve as a kind of catch-all skin treatment. 

I'll put it on the ends of my hair, or I'll put it on my cuticles, or if the kids get [cuts] I put it on them.
Alli Webb
Founder of Drybar

"While we have not tested the Egyptian Magic in our labs, in my opinion, it likely forms an occlusive or semi-occlusive film on skin," Aral says. "It is this occlusive nature that has made petroleum jelly versatile, which when applied, forms a barrier on skin letting it heal on its own." 

Unlike Vaseline, though, Egyptian Magic is a "naturally derived" version of petroleum jelly. Naturally derived refers to products with natural ingredients which "have undergone some chemical processing," according to Good Housekeeping.

"In the Egyptian Magic formula, the first ingredient is olive oil, known for skin care benefits since the age of Cleopatra," Aral says. "This is thickened with the beeswax, which is the second ingredient." Beeswax is more effective at the "management of sensitive skin" than synthetic products, according to a 2018 study

Webb isn't the only celebrity to have stumbled upon this bargain. Kate Hudson, Lauren Conrad, and makeup artist Ozzy Salvatierra have also used the balm. 

"It's a random product, but it's one of my favorites," Webb says. 

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