New parents may recognise lanolin as a cream that is sold to nursing mothers to help prevent their nipples from becoming dry and cracked. But what is lanolin? And why do I put nipple cream in my beard products?
Lanolin is a waxy substance, similar in texture to petroleum jelly, that is secreted by the sebaceous glands of domesticated sheep. It’s long-chain waxy esters evolved to protect the sheep’s skin and wool from the harsh elements, keeping them soft and moist year-round. It is extracted from the sheep’s wool during the cleaning process, as the raw wool is prepared to be turned into the warm socks and sweaters we all love. Lanolin is a renewable resource, and no sheep are harmed in it’s production.
Lanolin is very similar in composition to the oils secreted by the sebaceous glands in humans. However, modern hygiene practices cause these oils to be washed off during our daily shower, leaving our skin and hair susceptible to becoming dry and cracked. Especially during the harsh Canadian winters. Because the composition of long-chain waxy esters in lanolin is so similar to the oils secreted by our own skin, it is one of the best moisturisers known to man.
Our grasslands evolved alongside grazing ruminants, to form a symbiotic relationship that maintains an ecosystem rich in biodiversity, while building soil, sequestering atmospheric CO2, and increasing the landscape’s ability to withstand periods of drought. This was accomplished through the cycles of intensive grazing, followed by long periods of rest, that resulted from the herds annual migration, as well the pressure from predators such as wolves, which ensured that the herds stayed bunched together for safety.
It is estimated that in North America alone, there were between 60-90 million bison (in addition to elk, moose, deer, and antelope) contributing to this process. Sadly, the early settlers hunted the bison to the brink of extinction. Although their populations have now stabilised, in the 200 years since, we’ve plowed over their former habitat to grow commodity crops, and criss crossed it with a network of highways & fences, making it impossible for them to fill the essential role they once played.
Today, grasslands are one if the most endangered habitats in the world. What hasn’t yet been plowed under for mono-crop production, is rapidly drying out and becoming desert because of the lack of ruminants to perpetuate the cycle of graze & rest.
This is where regenerative agriculture comes in. Although the wild bison population can never be restored to it’s former glory, we CAN use domesticated ruminants such as cows and sheep, in combination with management techniques that mimic their natural grazing patterns, to fulfil the regenerative effect that their wild counterparts hand on the land.
No. All my beard products include pure lanolin, a waxy substance extracted from sheep’s wool, and used in a variety of hair and skincare products. No animals are harmed in the production of lanolin.
In addition, beeswax is used in some of my products.