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Secret Ingredient: Lanolin

Lanolin is a greasy wax that has moisturizing properties and high water-absorption capabilities. Pure lanolin is the consistency of ChapStick and can be used in the same way as petroleum jelly.


What it is: Also called wool fat, lanolin is a greasy wax that has moisturizing properties and high water-absorption capabilities. It comes from the secretion of wool-bearing animals.

Where it comes from: The majority of lanolin in use comes from the wool of domestic sheep. After the sheep has been shorn, lanolin is extracted from the harvested wool by washing it in hot water and sorting the extracts with centrifugal separators. Crude lanolin makes up between 5%-25% of the weight of the original wool.

Properties: Lanolin is a yellow, waxy substance made of acids and alcohols. It is insoluble in water and has a melting point of just over 100-degrees F.

What it’s good for: Considered hypoallergenic and to limit the growth of bacteria, Lanolin can be used as a cream to soothe skin. Lanolin cream can be used by breastfeeding mothers, to treat chapped lips, diaper rash, dry or itchy skin, rough feet, and minor cuts and burns. In addition, it is used as an anti-corrosion lubricant and anti-rust coating. However, there is a low incidence level of allergic reactions in those who use cosmetics with lanolin.

Where you’ll find it: Lanolin can be found in a variety of beauty products, including lipsticks and lip balms, products with SPF, moisturizer, shampoos, conditioners, and hairstyling products, various types of makeup, diaper cream and cuticle softeners.

Other uses: Baseball players use it to soften and break in their gloves and to prevent them from drying out.

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