What is it? The refined waxy substance removed/expressed from sheep’s wool.
INCI Lanolin
Appearance Unrefined lanolin has a thick, yellow ointment-like (semi-transluscent) pastey goo.

Refined lanolin is white and thinner/softer than unrefined lanolin.

Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Thick, greasy, sticky
Scent Unrefined lanolin smells heavy, oily, sort of musty—typically described as “characteristic”. Refined lanolin doesn’t smell like anything!
Absorbency Speed Slow
Approximate Melting Point 40°C (104°F)
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in formulations? Lanolin is a wonderful skin protectant, moisturizer, softener, and occlusive. I enjoy including it in products where an ointment-y consistency is needed.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? You’ll typically find Lanolin Anhydrous USP (United States Pharmacopeia grade), and that stuff is good, but it typically doesn’t smell that great and that smell (and taste) can come through in our formulations if you use much more than 5%. I highly recommend picking up some refined lanolin (USA / Canada); I find it’s much more versatile because we aren’t limited by its smell!
Strengths It’s an excellent moisturizer and helps boost skin barrier repair.
Weaknesses The smell of unrefined lanolin can be unpleasant, it isn’t vegan, it can be sticky.
Alternatives & Substitutions Hydrogenated castor oil has a similar consistency and would probably be my first choice for a substitute; otherwise, a soft butter would be a decent alternative.
How to Work with It Include in your heated oil phase or cold blend into anhydrous products—it does not need to be melted, but can be.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, it should last 1.5–2 years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks It can hold up to 50% its weight in water!
Recommended starter amount  100g (3.3oz) or less (think about how much you like greasy stuff!)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Lanolin


Posted on

November 21, 2018