Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Lanolin is a wax that is produced by the sebaceous glands of sheep. Containing fatty acids and wax esters, this substance protects the sheep by making its wool essentially waterproof. Due to these excellent moisture-retention properties, you can also use lanolin for hair. It comes in a variety of hair products including shampoo, conditioner, tonic, and pomade.
There are lots of benefits for using lanolin on your hair. It readily penetrates the shaft of the hair, helping it to retain moisture and protecting it against breakage. Once it has been absorbed by the hair, lanolin works as a humectant, continuing to draw in moisture from the air.
Not only good for the shaft of the hair, the wax is also good for the scalp and may help minimize dandruff and itching. This product is especially good for very curly hair, helping to control frizz and bringing definition to the curls. Using lanolin for hair can also have its downside, however. It can be quite heavy and weigh down fine and thin hair, making it appear greasy over time.
You should also not use lanolin if you have a wool allergy, as it may cause you to have an allergic reaction. Reactions may also be caused by the chemical used to remove bacteria from the wool. The wax is processed before being added to beauty products, but some products may have had more processing than others. Finally, products that heavily feature lanolin can often have a rather pungent smell, though some people find this appealing.
You can use lanolin on your hair in shampoo form. The amount of lanolin in shampoos tends to be small, so there is little worry about it making your hair greasy. These shampoos are used in the same way as the majority of shampoos. You apply the product to your hair, massage it into the hair and scalp, and rinse. With shampoos containing lanolin, it is best to use a small amount until you know how much is right for you and to rinse thoroughly.
Lanolin-containing conditioners are also available. Like the shampoo, they often contain only small amounts. You use this product in the same way as other conditioners in that you apply it to the hair, leave it in for several minutes, and then rinse. A break should be taken from this type of conditioner occasionally to avoid buildup of the wax, and you may even want to use a clarifying shampoo sometimes.
You can also purchase tonics that contain lanolin for hair. To use these products, you should apply two to three drops and massage it throughout the length of your hair. Avoid the scalp. These tonics can help give your hair a glossy shine.
Finally, you can use lanolin for hair in the form of pomade. Sometimes referred to as conditioner, you should use this product sparingly at first to avoid hair becoming overly greasy. Simply massage it into the hair and scalp and then style accordingly. Good for slicker styles, you may need to use a clarifying shampoo to remove all the product from your hair.
Lanolin is classified as a wax. Lanolin oil is a derivative of lanolin and is a liquid at room and body temperature. In this liquid state, lanolin oil is much easier to use in the manufacturing processes. Lanolin oil should also be a somewhat lighter moisturizer than regular lanolin wax, but with many of the same beneficial properties.
What is the difference between lanolin and lanolin oil?
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!