Bleetingly good skin care – It’s Lanolicious

Lanolin used to be one of those ‘love it or hate it’ ingredients in skin care.  Being a chronic eczema sufferer I spent pretty much all of my childhood avoiding it because I was told that it would be likely to irritate my skin. Indeed ‘lanolin free’ had become somewhat of a selling point long before we’d ever developed a taste for ingredient hate and that was mostly due to the deeds of some unscrupulous lanolin purchasers who in their wish to save a few dollars had been pushing the rough, sheep-dip infused stuff into cosmetics.  Naughty, naughty.   Anyway, all of that was sorted out pretty quickly, lanolin was found to be an AMAZING skin-friendly ingredient and, fast forward to the present day and everything old has become shiny new again. Lanolin is all good!

And it is all thanks to its special chemistry.

According to this old article published by my cosmetic society colleagues Lanolin consists of around 95% esters, 4% free alcohols and 1% free fatty acids.  Mean anything to you?  Me neither until we dig a little deeper.

Woolgrease is collected from sheep, washed and dried to give anhydrous lanolin.  This product is too coarse and dirty for cosmetic use but has many industrial applications.

Anhydrous Lanolin is the first really useful form of lanolin as far as commercial chemistry goes.  This can be treated in a number of ways.

Ethoxylated Lanolin:  This turns the fat into a surface-active material that can be used to de-grease surfaces.  Ethylene Oxide is reacted with the lanolin to form a range of surfactants including the commonly used PEG-75 Lanolin which is a highly effective emollient, conditioning agent and moisturiser.

Aceetylated Lanolin:  This is another very useful branch of lanolin chemistry […]

Coffee with Kirsten

Kirsten Carriol is a lady in the know.  Not only does she run the  successful Beauty industry focused ” Buzz PR”, she is also the brains behind her soon to be extended Lanolips brand.  Add two babies (1 1/2 and 3 years) into the mix and you have what appears to be wonder woman!  How does she do it? I wanted to find out…

Although she didn’t study science herself, Kirsten was heavily influenced by her biochemist father,  so it was only natural that she would seek his advice when developing her dream lip balm.  Of course, being a chemist he quickly told Kirsten that lanolin was the ONLY ingredient that the balm needed  but with ten years of beauty PR experience behind her  Kirsten knew that a  little bit of magic turns a good product into a great product. Kirsten wanted to take ownership of the formulation in its entirety and spent the last few years researching ingredients and  packaging, gathering up information from cosmetic chemists and industry professionals and checking out new trends in order to deliver something really special to her customers.

Kirsten’s dreams turned into reality earlier this year with the launch of the lanolips balm range. The product has gone from strength to  strength  collecting column inches and rave  reviews around the traps. Her pride in the product just oozes out when you meet her and one can’t help but be swept up in the enthusiasm and joy of it all.

So how does the lady do it all? Well, I was delighted to find out that the key  it would seem, is in realizing early on that you can’t do it all perfectly.  A few e-mails may sit in the in-box […]

What is lanolin and is it really a wonder moisturiser?

Lanolin, also known as wool fat is the sheep equivalent of sebum (the stuff that makes our skin and hair greasy). It consists of liquid waxes and is produced by the sheep to give it some protection from the elements. You see, unlike us humans sheep can’t usually just put on some clothes or pop up and umbrella when it rains therefore their coat has to be able to protect them from a variety of weather conditions. Think about it like this, wool is a great natural fibre and one that us humans have been using for many many years to keep us warm. However, try making a swimsuit out of pure wool and it soon becomes heavy and waterlogged.  That is because by the time we get the wool, the lanolin is all gone so the wool fibres have no protective barrier around them and they become soaked. Lanolin acts as a waterproof barrier, allowing sheep to be out in the rain all day without getting weighed down and cold. AMAZING!

So, what good is lanolin to us?  Well, anyone who has spent time in a shearing shed will know that the grease that comes off the flease leaves the shearers hands soft and silky (not very macho but hey……).  It also ensures that the blades and metal structures in the shed remain shiny and rust free (again, due to its water repellent properties).  So lanolin is a great natural moisturiser, lubricant and rust stopper!

Back in the day, sheep farmers would just take it for granted that they would have silky smooth skin after handling the fleeces.  References to lanolin can be found in the bible as well as in ancient Greek and Roman […]