What the Heck is Lanolin?

Sheep_by_cprmayMany people know lanolin to have positive moisture properties for our skin. But what exactly is lanolin and where does it come from? Most people either don’t know that answer or don’t realize the consequences behind using it. 

Lanolin is extracted from the wool of sheep, specifically, from their oil glands. Whether you knew this or not doesn’t matter, what matters is whether you buy it or continue to. When buying a product that is made with or from lanolin, you are directly or indirectly supporting the wool industry. If you don’t already know about the horrors of the wool industry be sure to check out the problem with UGG boots here and where to find vegan boots here

Though extracting lanolin from wool is not itself harmful, the wool industry is. And by buying a product that contains this ingredient, you are still financially supporting them. And whether or not the sheep is killed in the process or getting this wool, sheared or mulesing (very cruel!), the sheep will be killed regardless when their production of wool starts to decline or in the process of mulesing itself. 


Another question that seems to come up is what exact products is this animal derived ingredient typically found? Because of lanolin’s protective qualities, it is commonly used in cosmetic creams and lotions designed to smooth and moisturize the skin. Though this is the most common product, below, you will find that this doesn’t stop it from getting into so many others!

Alternatives are not only essential to those who wish to not support this cruel industry but for those who receive allergic reactions. Besides, although this may seem like a natural ingredient, why use an animal derived ingredient if there are alternatives? Animals are not ours to use just as we are not for other human use.

Natural ingredients that can be used as an alternative for skin include:  aloe, olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E oil, almond oil, or grapeseed oil. Also, there is such thing as vegetable lanolin that is 100% plant based!

Products (but are not limited to) that contain lanolin:
*Disclaimer: these products may or may not test on animals. Further research is required and can be easily done here!*

·      St. Ives Blemish and Blackhead Apricot Scrub *(which in itself is no longer cruelty-free!)

·       Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer

·       Eye Shadow (134)

·       Concealer (81)

·       Facial Powder (77)

·       Blush (69)

·       Styling Gel/Lotion (66)

·       Lipstick with SPF (62)

·       Lip Balm with SPF (55)

·       Eye Liner (54)

·       Diaper Cream (45)

·       Foot Moisturizer (39)

·       Hair Color and Bleaching (38)

·       Body Oil (35)

·       Facial Moisturizer/Treatment (35)

·       Brow Makeup (28)

·       Hair Relaxer (22)

·       Lip Gloss with SPF (21)

·       Shaving Cream (Men’s) (20)

·       Sunless Tanning (20)

·       Depilatories (Women’s) (18)

·       Glitter (17)

·       Foundation with SPF (17)

·       Baby Lotion (16)

·       Bronzer (16)

·       Body Wash & Cleanser (15)

·       Lip Liner (15)

·       Hand Cream (14)

·       Makeup (General) (14)

·       Anti-Aging (13)

·       Tanning Oil (12)

·       Lip Treatment (12)

·       Facial Cleanser (12)

·       Hair Spray (11)

·       Fever Blister/Cold Sore (10)

·       Bar Soap (10)

·       Hair Care (General) (9)

·       Shampoo (9)

·       Mascara (9)

·       Cuticle Treatment (9)

·       Hair Loss Treatment (9)

·       Depilatories (General) (9)

·       Eye Cream & Treatment (8)

·       Sunscreen Below SPF 15 (8)

·       Shaving Cream (8)

·       Leave-In Conditioner (7)

·       Mask (7)

·       Anti-Dandruff (7)

·       Polish Remover (6)

·       Moisturizer with SPF (6)

·       Eye Drops/Artificial Tears (6)

·       Sunscreen SPF 15 and Above (6)

·       Detangler (6)

·       After Shave (5)

·       Hair Perm (5)

·       Wart Removal (5)

·       Scalp Treatment (5)

·       Muscle/Joint Soreness (5)

·       Body and Foot Scrub (4)

·       Body Firming Lotion (4)

·       Baby Care (General) (4)

·       Liquid Hand Soap (4)

·       General Products (4)

·       Anti Frizz (4)

·       Hair Removal Waxes (4)

·       Depilatory (Men’s) (4)

·       Eczema/Damaged Skin Treatment (3)

·       Anti-Fungal (Yeast Infection Treatment) (3)

·       Eye Care (General) (3)

·       Facial Scrub (3)

·       Soap (General) (3)

·       Massage Oils and Lotions (3)

·       Topical Pain Relief (External Analgesic) (3)

·       Nail Treatment (3)

·       Foot Treatment (3)

·       Baby Conditioner (3)

·       Scar Treatment (3)

·       Wound Treatment (3)

·       Bubble Bath (2)

·       Styling Mousse/Foam (2)

·       Hemorrhoids (2)

·       Degreaser (2)

·       Anti-Itch/Rash Cream (2)

·       Nipple Cream (For Moms) (2)

·       Exfoliating Stones and Brushes (2)

·       Feminine Care (General) (2)

·       Fragrance For Women (2)

·       Feminine Powder/Deodorant (2)

·       After Sun Product (2)

·       Personal Cleansing (2)

·       Men’s Grooming (General) (1)

·       Nail Polish (1)

·       Makeup Remover (1)

·       Acne Treatment Kits (1)

·       Other Eye Makeup (1)

·       Pain/Wound Treatment (1)

·       Peels (1)

·       Insoles (1)

·       Anti-Fungal Treatment (1)

·       Ingrown Hair Treatment (1)

·       Redness/Rosacea Treatment (1)

·       Foot Odor Control (1)

·       Foot Cleansing (1)

·       Facial Wipes (1)

·       Athlete’s Foot Treatment (1)

·       Eye Makeup Remover (1)

·       Skin Care Kits (1)

·       Deodorants & Antiperspirants (General) (1)

·       Corn/Callus Treatment (1)

·       Children’s Shampoo (1)

·       Car Care (1)

·       Bath Oil/Salts/Soak (1)

·       Bath & Shower (General) (1)

·       Baby Sunscreen (1)

·       Face & Bodywash (1)

·       Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac (0)

The great thing about the links above is you can easily click any category and it will show you all the products that contain lanolin! It’s as simple as this. An easy way to go about this is to simply get in the habit of checking the ingredients of the products you use or to go through the database and see which cruelty-free companies that you already use contain lanolin. 

Another caution is for vegan tattoo aftercare. Some lotions that you will receive can contain lanolin. Coconut oil is a wonderful alternative to this!

Again, these products may or may not be tested on animals.
 The goal here is to realize how crucial it is to look at ingredients and be aware of what is in them. Though lanolin may not be in all products, it is in a lot more than you would think, as you can see. Just because you know a company is cruelty-free, this doesn’t always mean they don’t contain any animal derived ingredients, Burt’s Bees, for example. 

Finding alternatives to products that use animal derived ingredients can be a lot simpler than you’d think. Switching to a 100% natural ingredient like coconut, for example, has wonderful, wonderful benefits for you and for animals! If you’d still rather use a product itself, finding a 100% vegan product can be fairly easy, too. Notice I said fairly since research is required. But, once you adapt and realize which companies do and don’t test, you’ll be a pro before you know it!

No animals need to be harmed in order to use a certain product. 99.9% of the time there is a substitute or alternative. You will not only feel better about doing this but the animals will thank you.

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