What Is Lanolin? (And a Lemon Lanolin Lips Impulse Buy from Anthropologie!)

I'm usually pretty wary of things right next to the register and double-triple ask myself, "Do I really need this?" before I commit to a purchase. However, I'll admit, I fell for the marketing and impulse bought this Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Treatment. I just ran out of lip balm when I saw this product and thought "Why not?" I was intrigued by the name--"Lano" lips because I wanted to know what lanolin was and why they chose to use it as the base of their product.

Lemon Lanolin Lips


Lanolin, also called wool wax or wool grease, is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep breeds raised specifically for their wool. Medical-grade lanolin cream has been used for decades for a variety of moisturizing applications, particularly for skin that is cracked or extremely dry. The moisture contained within the cream helps seal the skin so that it retains its natural moisture. When you apply the Lanolips product, you will immediately notice the thick and waxy consistency. This allows the cream to not only moisturize, but to create a barried in the underlying layers of skin to prevent moisture from escaping. 

The Lanolips brand has a 100 year legacy that started on a remote Australian sheep farm home to founder Kristen Carriol. Her father was a DNA scientist that taught her about the chemical properties of lanolin and its ability to minim human oils--making it "nature's secret to all skin moisture." Growing up, lanolin was the only ingredient her parents used on her lips & skin, which led to her eventually founding the Lanolips brand. 


According to the Lanolips USA site, the lanolin used in their Original Lanolips 101 Ointment™ is the Ultra Pure Medical Grade Lanolin. It's interesting to note, that this "Ultra Pure Medical Grade Lanolin" is only mentioned for one specific product--the Lanolips 101 Ointment. Lanolips USA also states that their "lanolin goes through a highly specialized & patented cleansing process, which makes their lanolin the "purest, creamiest, most luxurious & decadent lanolin in the world."

When you purchase a Lanolips product, you can be assured of...

  • No residual pesticide chemicals
  • No additives
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Colour free
  • Odour free
  • It's so safe it can be used on the mouths of new-born babies
  • It is used in hospitals after surgeries to help open wounds heal
  • It is 100% natural.
  • No animal testing. Sheep need to have their wool sheared off at least once a year or it gets so long it tangles and makes them much too hot for summertime. When the wool is cleaned, the lanolin is extracted.
Lemon Lanolin Lips


Although lanolin has a number of beneficial properties when it comes to healing and moisturizing dry, cracked skin, individuals with sensitive skin should be aware that lanolin oil has been known to cause allergic reactions. Also, because lanolin in derived from sheep's wool, anyone allergic to wool is probably also allergic to lanolin. A best practice is to test a small patch a skin first and observe for adverse reactions, prior to proceeding with a more generous application. 


Lanolin is considered by chemists as a semi-synthetic product--it is derived from a natural source (sheep), but goes through a process of refinement that leaves the final product with more than 5% of non-organic products. (The USDA requires a product that is certified "organic" to contain no more than 5% of non-organic product). 

Sheep in the United States are typically conventionally farmed and not raised organic. According to the American Sheep Industry Association document, “Fast Facts about Sheep Ecology (PDF)”, sheep eat a range of foods and much of their feed is made of alfalfa, which is considered “grass” or corn products distilled at ethanol factories that typically contain GMOs. They may also be given GMO supplements. GMOs that contain glyphosate are typically endocrine disruptors which can, in turn, affect the lanolin that sheep secrete.

Sheep are also sprayed directly with pesticides to treat mites and pests and harvested fur is treated again with pesticides during refinement. To be FDA-compliant, Lanolin can legally contain up to 40 parts per million (ppm) of pesticides. For a comparison, the lanolin that is reserved for hospital use on open wounds is regulated to no more than 3 ppm of pesticides.

Lanolips USA claims to use the Ultra Pure Medical Grade Lanolin. So, theoretically, their product should have no more than 3 ppm of pesticides. However, there are many industries where independent laboratories test products for stated pesticide content vs. actual pesticide content and the difference is staggering. While I am not assuming this of the Lanolin product, pesticide testing can be done (by someone with the equipment) to ensure that this product truly contains less than 3 ppm of pesticides. 

Lemon Lanolin Lips

At $14.99 for 0.42 ounces, this product is most likely a splurge for not being too sure on the quality. Because lanolin is so thick, only a small amount of product is needed. I don't have the resources necessary to test the pesticide content of this product, but if someone does, I would be interested in the results. It seems that the Original Lanolips 101 Ointment may be a better choice if you're going to spend $15+ on a lanolin balm because it is the only product "guaranteed" (in writing) by Lanolips to contain medical grade lanolin with no more than 3ppm of pesticides. Otherwise, the product packaging and experience is great--I love pulling out my Lanolips tube, applying once, and being set for the day. 

Have you tried any Lanolips products? What do you think? Comment below or chat with me on Instagram--I'd love to know!

Jackie Boylhart | Mozart & Shiplap Lifestyle Blog