Monday, December 16, 2013

What do you want to know? Why did I buy lanolin?

In the What do you want to know post, Jodi asked: Why did I buy lanolin? I have some and am not sure how best to use it! 

Lanolin is a great addition to the oils and butters we have in our workshop! It's an amazing emollient that offers serious moisturizing and water repellancy. It helps create a barrier to keep water in to help moisturize our skin, and it will help keep lotions and balms on our hands even after washing. This barrier helps reduce trans-epidermal water loss and may help with superficial wound healing. Lanolin can increase absorption of active ingredients in our creastions, and it is great for creating a uniform consistency for a balm or ointment.

You might find anhydrous lanolin on your suppliers' shelves - this means it contains less than 0.25% water. It has an HLB of 10 - so if you're making your own emulsification blend, you'll have to do some calculating - and it is insoluble in water. It can, however, take up to double its weight in water without separating, so if you are making anhydrous products and want to add a little glycerin or a lovely hydrosol, you can do this and ensure it'll stay emulsified. Lanolin has a melting point of 36˚ to 42˚C, which means it'll melt a little higher than body temperature (around the same level as cocoa butter).

What could you do with it? I love to use it in my cuticle balm and in any product for nails, and you can use it in lotions, anhydrous products, or anywhere else you might use an oil. You can substitute it 1:1 with any oil, but note that your product might be a bit thicker as it's not a liquid-y type ingredient.

List of potential recipes with lanolin:
Whipped butter with lanolin
Chemistry of our nails: Oil based scrubs
Chemistry of our nails: Lotion bars with lanolin
Lipstick: The classic base
Duplicating products: Burt's Bees lip shimmer
Pumpkin seed oil: Making a cuticle balm

Related posts:
Can I use lanolin in my shaving product? How do I know how much to use?


RobinLindsay said...

I know this is a pretty old post, but I am trying to make something for my uncle who right now has horribly cracked dry hands and I am thinking something with lanolin will be good. I want to include some water based ingredients like glycerin or some additives that would help to moisturize his hands, and since you say lanolin can hold up to 2x it's weight in water based ingredients I thought of making some sort of salve. However, my question is, if I add glycerine or other water based ingredients in an otherwise anhydrous salve, would I add a preservative? And would that preservative be a percentage of the water ingredients or of the entire weight?

Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Robin. I have recipes on the blog with lanolin, like my cuticle salve, which can be found by doing a search, if you'd rather start with a recipe. Yes, if you add water or a water soluble ingredient, you must add a preservative. I would add it at the proper percentage of the product. If it's liquid Germall Plus, use at 0.5% of the recipe.

And there are no old posts! I see comments on every post on the blog as if they were all new!

lilscrappers said...

So, if I understand correctly, if I adjust my recipe to hold lanolin, I can add glycerin to double the amount of lanolin? The recipe I am thinking of is 15 g cera bellina, 15 g castor oil, 15 g coconut oil, 10 g lanolin, 20 g jojoba oil infused with arnica,10 g glycerin with aloe powder 0.5 g Vitamin E, 0.5g flavor. Would it work?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI lilscrappers! You can try it. Don't forget that you'll need a preservative in there if you're using glycerin and aloe powder.