What exactly is lanolin?

A sheep

Here at the House of So Cosy, we’re always shouting about the incredible benefits that wearing wool or simply having wool within your home unlocks.

The amazing fibres that wool is made of guarantee plenty of plus points, which means many of us use it in our everyday lives. Wool is sustainable, renewable and biodegradable too, so investing in wool pieces for your wardrobe or home doesn’t put a burden on the planet.

Thanks to its fantastic, all-natural temperature regulating qualities, wool is the perfect all year round essential, even during the summer months – read our essential guide to wool for summer.

The same qualities give wool enthusiasts a truly blissful night’s sleep as British Wool explains:

“Wool bedding is a great way to help you naturally regulate your body temperature at night, helping you sleep better and longer. Wool has the ability to breathe naturally, absorbing moisture when the atmosphere is damp, and releasing it when the atmosphere is dry. It’s a natural fibre that helps to keep you cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s not!”

We could quite frankly go on (and on) about the benefits of wool, yet the fibres and substances that wool is made from are the unsung heroes. Here we take a closer look at lanolin, one of the many ingredients that make wool what it is.

Introducing lanolin…

Lanolin is a popular ingredient in the skincare industry, so it might just surprise you to know that it’s a substance that naturally occurs in sheep’s wool.

Also known as ‘wool yolk’ and ‘wool grease’, this waxy, fatty substance is secreted from the sebaceous glands of many wool-bearing creatures, including sheep breeds. Lanolin works to keep wool soft, moisturised and fully protected, even against the harshest of elements.

Some sheep breeds produce more lanolin than others. Merino sheep and other fine wool breeds tend to produce the most lanolin, which is why the fibres they grow are well-known for their softness.

When sheep are sheared, lanolin is extracted, with its moisturising, skin-friendly properties lauded across a multitude of industries.

The ultimate skincare saviour

Lanolin is a wonder product within the skincare industry in particular. It’s used as an emollient moisturiser and is renowned for providing relief for extremely dry, irritated and damaged skin. It actively restores the skin barrier and has been found to be more effective than other moisturising ingredients, such as petrolatum and glycerine.

With the skincare and wider beauty industry having a natural beauty revolution at the moment, lanolin’s all-natural status has only added to its popularity. Lanolin is also popularly used in breastfeeding products, with its restorative effect great for soothing cracked, sore nipples.

You’ll find lanolin in a vast range of skincare and beauty products, including eye creams, lip balms, skin lotions, shampoos and conditioners, shaving creams, and makeup removers. It’s used widely in makeup products too.

Cosmetics ingredients

Lanolin in wool care

Lanolin isn’t just a beauty favourite, it’s a wool care must-have. Textile care products – like our Steamery Delicate Laundry Detergent – use lanolin to nourish and protect the most delicate materials, including wool and silk.

By restoring lanolin with a specially developed, highly concentrated formula, sensitive and exclusive fabrics can be thoroughly lubricated and they last longer as a result.

The lanolin content of our laundry detergent also helps wool and silk products repel water and dirt, giving you more wear and even more freshness.

Shop our full range of textile care products here and discover a natural way to care for the extra special wool items in your life.

Image: Kelly Fletcher,  Marcin Malicki / Shutterstock.com