Have you considered using lanolin oil as a component within your natural hair regimen?
I know many naturals have been looking for a potential replacement for castor oil. Lanolin oil could be the perfect substitute. Let’s investigate.
What is Lanolin Oil?
Lanolin is a waxy substance that is produced by wool bearing animals.
Also known as wool wax or wool grease, Lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands of these animals. Lanolin is essentially sheep sebum.
Lanolin is used for hair care and as a skin moisturizer to prevent dry, scaly, rough skin. While all sheep produce lanolin, some breeds produce larger amounts. These breeds are often used specifically to produce the lanolin oil used by humans.
Lanolin Oil Comes from Sheep Wool
Although several pharmacopoeias used to refer lanolin as wool fat, it has been established that Lanolin is not a true fat. This is because it does not have glycerol esters and instead it has sterol esters instead. In sheep, lanolin helps to keep their coats waterproof by shedding water.
Despite looking like and sharing several characteristics as fat, lanolin is not fat and is technically referred to as wax. Therefore, lanolin is different from fruit derived oils, like coconut oil, castor oil or shea butter.
The Benefits of Lanolin for Hair
Oils are primarily made of fatty acids, while lanolin is primarily made of esters of fatty acids, cholesterol, and alcohols.
This is the characteristic of lanolin that people use for natural hair care. Esters found in lanolin make it hold water pretty well without dissolving in it.
This trapping of water is what helps lanolin oil moisturize natural hair. Lanolin oil also can penetrate skin cells. It traps water in the skin cells preventing water loss. So, it’s possible that lanolin can have the same effect on natural hair.
Is Lanolin Good for Your Hair?
It is important to note that pure lanolin does not melt as easily as fat does. This is because pure lanolin is a thick waxy substance. For it to melt, you need to use a very small amount and rub it between your fingers. If you find the rubbing cumbersome, you can opt for liquid lanolin. However, liquid lanolin is processed. Some parts of pure lanolin will be removed.
Apply the lanolin to moist (or freshly washed) hair for the moisturizing effect to take place. If your hair is dry, lanolin will not produce the desired moisturizing effect. There needs to be water for the lanolin to use.
Lanolin does not react negatively with other common oils that are used on natural hair. You can therefore use other oils together with lanolin. Also, as previously mentioned, it can also be used as a substitute for castor oil since many women dislike castor oil’s thick, sticky consistency.