Sheep oil makes its entrance to the North American beauty market

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Sheep oil makes its entrance to the North American beauty market

Related tags Non-renewable petroleum-based ingredient Wax

A lip balm based on sheep oil sourced in Australia is making its debut in the US, which the manufacturers claim is the first of its kind to hit the US market.

Lanolips has been made available to US consumers for the first time on the site Net-a-Porter, with the aim of cultivating the same cult following it has back home in Australia and in other markets worldwide.

The secret to the success is the fact that instead of using the usual non-renewable petroleum-based ingredient, it has been formulated using Lanolin, an ingredient that is naturally secreted by sheep to help water-proof their wool.

Lanolin has long been used as a moisturizer

Although the ingredient has long been used for a variety of applications as a moisture sealant, its use as a lip balm is still relatively novel, and provides a new option for consumers seeking more eco-friendly alternatives to regular lip balms.

Other alternatives have included bees wax, while for the vegan who doesn’t want to use any animal-derived products go for plant-based waxes such as  soy, carnauba and candelilla.

Lanolips was started by Kirsten Carriol ten years ago, after she spend time on the family farm in South Australia and learnt about both the properties and applications for Lanolin.

Lanolips is skin care too

Carriol’s father is also a leading professor in the field of DNA research, and he broadened her perspective on the oil by explaining to her about its molecular properties. All the while, the family grew up using Lanolin-based products for their skin care.

But the Lanolips is not just confined to lip balms, the moisturization properties of Lanolin has meant that the company’s product line has evolved with an ointment, body care and hand care lines.

Carriol also stresses that the Lanolin used in her products is sourced from the wool of freshly shorn sheep and then extracted using a stringent purification process.

Australian researchers using sheep waste in cosmetics

But the use of sheep-derived extracts doesn’t stop there. A few weeks ago, Cosmetics Design reported that Australian researchers have found a way to turn sheep waste into a cosmetics ingredient. 

According to research published in the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal RSC Advances​, the team was able to break down wool fibre into a resuable keratin material, using a process of dialysis, and then freeze-drying the product as a protein powder.

"We have found a safe and environmentally responsible way to chemically process any type of wool which is contaminated or of low grade – and hence unsuitable for the garment industry,"​  lead researcher, Professor Colin Raston of Flinders University in Adelaide, confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald​.

The researcher explained that along with personal care, the resulting protein powder could also have applications in personal care across the health care and food industries.

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