At the beginning of 2023 Lush UK manufacturing stopped using lanolin in its products, soon followed by the other countries where the brand is present.
What is lanolin?
Lanolin is a waxy substance that has been used traditionally for medical and cosmetic purposes. It is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep to cover each of the hair that makes their fluffy fleece and create a protective and waterproof barrier against harsh weather conditions.
After shearing, fleeces are washed with water or solvent (solvent being much more effective) to make wool suitable for textile use. The grease obtained from this clean-up is made of lanolin but also of debris due to the sheep’s life outdoors. After further refinement of this paste, crude lanolin is obtained; a soft, yellow-coloured wax composed of esters, fatty acids and alcohols.
Lanolin is a very common ingredient in cosmetics. It has emulsifying properties which help obtain well-blended formulas but also take care of the skin and hair, by moisturising, protecting and conditioning.
Why did Lush stop using lanolin?
Over the years we’ve managed to significantly improve our lanolin supply chain by partnering with expert suppliers with high animal welfare standards. That said, simultaneously, we also had the ultimate goals of removing most ingredients of animal origin from our products, and offering more vegan products to our customers. It was a trial and error journey but we finally found happiness with two plant-based alternatives to lanolin: orange peel wax and cupuaçu butter.