What is Lanolin?

A magical oil made from rainbows and pixie dust. Okay, maybe not quite, but it does come close!

Kirsten Carriol Headshot

The older I’ve gotten, the more careful I am with what I put onto my skin. Perhaps cystic acne put the fear of God in me, perhaps the thought of impending wrinkles and fine lines make me cringe, perhaps the very idea that our skin, yes, our skin, drinks up 60 percent of whatever we slather onto it in 26 seconds or less, shed light on the alarming indifference I once placed on my body’s largest organ. Either way, gone is my naïveté, and in its place, an insatiable thirst to beautify with only the most natural, human and animal-friendly products.

Enter, lanolin–a truly magical and moisturizing ingredient I’ve never heard of until Kirsten Carriol, founder of Lano, talked about it at her US launch party with Net-a-Porter this past spring. Besides the very basics of rescuing chapped lips, it’s also commonly used to heal a variety of wounds.

A multi-purpose beauty product that does it all? Seriously, who would have thought that actually existed?

Step aside, petroleum jelly, lanolin is here to SLAY!

What is lanolin and how is it different from petroleum jelly?

Lanolin is a substance found naturally on the coats of sheep. Sheep need lanolin to keep their fleece protected and dry throughout the year. Lanolin is removed from shorn wool, after a sheep’s annual shear, without harm to the animal so it’s 100 percent developed by nature.

The molecular structure of lanolin closely resembles your skin’s lipids more so than any other ingredient on earth, natural or synthetic.

It’s also semi-occlusive which means that the substance is a brilliant, breathable barrier that helps hydrate your skin from within!

Lano has a super advanced grade of lanolin. Can you walk us through how that’s harvested?

Sheep are shorn every summer otherwise they get hot and their fleece gets heavy as it continues to grow. After shearing, the fleece gets washed and the lanolin is removed in the process.


Lanolin is essentially an oil on the wool that when washed, rises to the top of the water, and is skimmed off the top during the washing process.

The wool is then used by the garment industry to make jumpers and woolen fabrics. The lanolin, on the other hand, is purified at different levels for different uses. Industrial grade, or very raw lanolin, is used to lubricate machinery while medical grade, or hyper pure lanolin, is used in hospitals for wound healing.

At Lano, we use an ultra medical grade of lanolin that is three times more pure than regular medical grade. Not only is it the highest quality of lanolin in the world, but it’s also made exclusively for Lano.

When purifying lanolin, the main gist is to remove all impurities and pesticides that have also collected on a sheep’s wool–think tractor exhaust fumes.

Why is lanolin so highly praised in the medical world and prescribed for skin conditions like eczema?

Medical grade lanolin, the best grade of lanolin, is named rightfully so because it’s safe to use in a medical capacity. Every hospital in the western world uses this substance to heal surgical wounds and burn wounds. It can also double as newborn nursing cream!

Instead of settling for medical grade lanolin, I one-upped what already existed.

I wanted to create a product that offered all the benefits of lanolin without any of the negative traits that made lanolin, well, unappealing.

You don’t see lanolin of this quality in any other products on the market because the refining process is both timely and costly.

Because lanolin is semi-permeable, penetrates deep into multiple layers of the skin, and has a molecular structure that mimics human skin oils, it’s an excellent treatment for eczema where severe dryness is the number one problem.

Okay, but question: is lanolin thick or sticky? I’m always nervous about using products that will weigh on my skin and rub off on my clothes!

Our lanolin is completely colorless and odorless. It’s a non-sticky and creamy goodness that doesn’t weigh heavily on your skin so need to worry about that! A fine layer will absorb just fine!

Can you tell us a little bit more about your personal attachment to lanolin and how Lano came to be through your quest for the perfect lip balm?

Sure! I grew up around lanolin. My grandparents have a sheep farm in southern Australia so my family and I would always visit them during school holidays.

My father’s a DNA scientist who prefers to use natural and effective products. He’s been using lanolin on my siblings and me since we were kids! He taught me that the molecular structure of lanolin most closely resembles human skin lips, making it very compatible for skin uses.

As the years passed, I left the farm for bigger cities like London and Sydney. There, I discovered lip glosses, lipsticks, and lacquers. They were just so pretty, bright, and lovely. Surely they had to be even better than the lanolin I used when I was a child! Sadly, they weren’t.

It wasn’t until 2003 when I was was about to board a plane for my honeymoon that I realized the thought of dry air-conditioning, and the lack of lip balms to protect my lips from chapping, was extremely depressing. It dawned on me that nothing I’ve tried ever matched the results of lanolin. Why was there no product on the market that was simple, pure-lanolin-based, and nourishing? It was upon boarding that plane that I decided to create Lano and make lanolin a “hero” ingredient.

You have this magical way of curing chapped lips. It’s honestly better than any exfoliating scrub out there! Why does leaving Lano‘s Original 101 Ointment on for a couple minutes before slowly rubbing off the dead skin work so effectively?


The lanolin will absorb into the healthy skin as well as any dead skin layers sitting on top. It’s the dead skin layers that you want to gently remove without any hash scrubbing (which will damage your fragile lip skin).

The lanolin will make the dead skin layers soft and crumbly so when you do rub the ointment off, the dead skin cells break away more easily without grabbing healthy skin with it. It’s like rubbing your heels down after soaking in a hot bath. The white, swollen dead skin cells just rub away!

Besides lip care, what else can lanolin be used for? Do you have any beauty tips or tricks?

I use lanolin for everything! Our hero product, the Lano 101 Ointment has an endless amount of uses. Use it to heal cracked cuticles, tame flyaways, add a glossy look to your cheek bones, or keep your brows in place! The possibilities are endless!

I also use the 101 Ointment over the top of my lipstick for a glossy finish. It helps keep my lips hydrated.

Lano, however, extends beyond lip care to hands and all over. Our Everywhere Multi-Cream is a great daily moisturizer and our Golden Dry Skin Salve helps rescue seriously dry skin!

Last question! What’s next for Lano?

We just launched in 800 Ulta stores in the United States and have plenty of exciting news to come!


Do you have any beauty questions that need answering? Myths that require some investigating? Ask away in the comments below!

True Botanicals and The Truth Behind Aging (GIVEAWAY!)

Our insecurities have fueled a multibillion-dollar business. At this point, aging with grace may be just as much about knowledge as it is about using serums.

[Editor’s Note: We originally published this Q&A last Monday, August 8th, but because it was so well-received, we’re republishing it with a giveaway! Enter your details at the end of this post for a chance to win a True Botanicals face oil!]


In an effort to better understand aging, general preventative and curative measures, as well as the products we use to alleviate our many ailments, I turned to Hillary Peterson, Founder of True Botanicals, to help me dispel some beauty industry myths.

A melanoma and thyroid cancer survivor, Hillary created True Botanicals to fill a safety measure often ignored by the beauty industry. Her products—natural, effective, and environmentally friendly—are challenging the toxin-filled equivalents of many leading brands.

If it takes 26 seconds for your bloodstream to absorb 60% of what you put on your skin, aren’t you wondering what you’re really slathering onto it?

If so, keep reading for my Q&A!

Why are the telltale signs of aging marked by wrinkles and fine lines? What does this have to do with the life cycle of our cells?

The loss of both function and structural stability in our skin is unavoidable as age. The epidermis, or the outer most layer of our skin, thins, and our cell turnover rates slow dramatically. Together, they contribute to wrinkle formation and sagging. Understanding the causes of this process and addressing them at the source, however, can make a big difference.

If budget is a consideration, my philosophy is always to buy fewer, great products.

Less is more and quality is everything.

I am not a big fan of the 10-step method because I personally prefer an effective and luxurious routine that is also relatively simple. True Botanicals’ philosophy is to deliver high-impact ingredients straight into your skin so they, in turn, can address the source of your aging cells. Through our research, we have found that you simply don’t need 10 steps to do that.

I’ve always been curious about these next two question: Is there a right age to “start” taking care of the skin? Does it become a losing game when people don’t take preventative measures?

The right age to start taking care of your skin is from birth! The key, through your early years at least, is to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure. For most people, their first wrinkles start appearing in their twenties. They then start a comprehensive skin routine as a result. When they do, we recommend a minimal routine of three simple steps:

  1. CLEANSE with a gentle cleanser that removes the daily accumulation of dirt and grime without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
  2. MOISTURIZE with an antioxidant-rich, nutritive face oil.
  3. PROTECT your face every day, rain or shine, with a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen.

Oh, and just a little bit more about face oils: As it turns out, that the skin care ingredient we’ve all feared most, is incredibly good for our skin. Oils, also known as lipids or essential fatty acids, occur naturally in our skin. In fact, they’re responsible for giving our skin that “healthy glow.”

Lipids create a protective barrier that holds moisture in while keeping elements like the sun and wind out. When we age, our bodies produce fewer lipids, dehydrate the skin, and make us more prone to wrinkles. When oils are applied directly to the skin, without the interference of waxes found in lotions and creams, they are immediately absorbed into the top layers of the epidermis where they work to improve barrier function.

By replenishing the oils you’ve lost through the natural aging process, you enable your skin to do what it does naturally–retain moisture and repel assaults from sun and wind.

While it may seem counter intuitive to apply oil to even blemish-prone skin, it turns out that oils are far more effective than scrubs, harsh soaps, and other treatments in strengthening your skin’s barrier function, eliminating infections, calming irritations, and reducing inflammations. Because lipids dissolve lipids, the topical application of a carefully curated mix of oils can actually break up your skin congestion at its source.

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Why is it important to care about natural products when there are easy and cheaper alternatives?

Ahhhh!  There are so many issues with easy, cheaper alternatives that is hard to decide where to begin. First, unfortunately, cheaper ingredients tend to be the ones that are most toxic. Second, while we do use some high-quality, safe synthetics that are actually quite expensive, the best ingredients still come from nature.

There is a perception that ingredients created in a lab are more potent than carefully researched and curated ingredients from nature but that is not true. When we think of our bodies and what we eat, it is clear that whole ingredients from nature are the most nourishing. The same is true for our skin and the products we apply to it.

Oh no! What then, would you say, are some chemical ingredients to steer very clear from?

The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics Red List highlights chemicals that we should all look to eliminate from our personal care routines. It is a lot of work for to learn what to avoid and to check labels but it is well worth it.

We, at True Botanicals, recently took an important step to seek MADE SAFE™ certifications for all of our products. This decision reinforces our overall mission to deliver results without toxins and to push the beauty industry to do the same. Amidst a sea of misinformation, MADE SAFE is offering the most comprehensive product safety evaluation available today. We are proud to be making products that meet or exceed these rigorous standards.

How, then, would you define beauty?

Beauty comes from many sources, both from outside and from deep within. Beauty is authenticity and presence. It is the ability to see, connect, recognize, and appreciate all that is around us.

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Last one. Why the campaign for safe cosmetics and why True Botanicals?

We are setting higher expectations for what you, as a customer, can expect from a product. We are teaching people to look beyond marketing hype and to focus, instead, on ingredient labels backed by solid clinical trials. After all, those tried-and-true products ultimately have the greatest impact on your skin.

It is so rewarding to hear positive feedback on our customers–many of whom say they’ve never used a product quite like ours that has made such a big impact on their skin. Our collection of super luxurious, super concentrated, bio-active formulations delivers unparalleled results without compromising health. By eliminating the costs of the traditional distribution model and selling direct to our customers, we are able to exceed the industry norms and put a far higher quantity of high quality ingredients into our products.


Do you have any beauty questions that need answering? Myths that require some investigating? Ask away in the comments below!


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