The history of lanolin dates back to 8000 years when people first began to use the substance derived from sheep wool. Going by ancient Egyptian history, we find that the primeval Egyptians placed blocks of lanolin on their head. When this lanolin melted in the sun and spread over the face, it made the skin soft. Several therapeutic and pharmaceutical texts written during the last 2000 years offer us valuable information and guidelines regarding the use of lanolin. In fact, the term lanolin is derived from the Latin words ‘lana’ meaning wool and ‘oleum’ denoting oil. However, chemically, lanolin is not oil, but a kind of wax. To be precise, lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands in sheep and shields their coat from rain and other natural elements.
Lanolin is an excellent conditioning agent for both skin and hair, but consideration of hair type should be used when selecting products for hair. As a deep conditioning agent, used infrequently, probably all curly-haired people would benefit from a product containing lanolin (in the wax form). People with extremely curly hair can most likely use lanolin-containing products in their regular regime and enjoy soft, smooth hair without losing curl or gaining frizz. Those with wavy or slightly curly hair may find products containing lanolin oil to have excellent performance. But they may not be able to routinely use products containing significant amounts of lanolin wax because they may be too heavy.