Looking for lanolin substitutes? Me too! I did a little bit of digging and found few different options. Let’s consider the merits of lanolin alternatives.
Wondering why vegans won’t craft with lanolin? That’s because it’s a fat extracted from sheep’s wool. Since it’s an animal product, lanolin is not vegan. Avoiding wool and wool products might seem a little bit silly, but when you look more closely at the wool industry it makes a lot of sense for someone concerned about animal rights to skip the wool and wool by-products.
So! What’s a vegan crafter to do when she, say, wants to make bendy yarn, but doesn’t want to use lanolin?
Related: Vegan Beeswax Alternative, Vegan Crafting Made Easy
The first thing I wondered was how lanolin functioned as a craft supply. From what I have been reading, it sounds like lanolin is handy because it’s malleable, but it has a higher melting point than, say, coconut oil. You can apply it easily with your hands, but when you leave it be, it’s solid-yet-soft at room temperature.
From there, I tried to see what other fats would have those same properties. Lanolin’s melting point is at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so I wanted to find vegetable-based fats that do the same. Luckily, the super awesome Vegan Baking site has a page listing plant-based oils and their melting points. Boom!
Lanolin Substitutes: Pros and Cons
So, which plant oils would make the best substitution for lanolin? There are two that seem best suited:
+ Cocoa butter melts at 93-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
+ Palm oil melts at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
I’ve also seen petroleum jelly suggested as a lanolin alternative, but I wouldn’t recommend using this petroleum product to replace an animal product. Choosing something plant-based is a lot more eco-friendly. Of the two options above, organic cocoa butter is definitely the better choice from an environmental standpoint. Palm oil has its own set of challenges, and it’s definitely an ingredient to avoid, if possible.
The good news is that since cocoa butter tends to have a higher melting point it’s probably better suited as a lanolin substitute anyway. Isn’t it nice when things work out like that? Hurrah!
Happy plant-based crafting! And if you make Julie’s Wikki Stix without animal ingredients before I get a chance to, let us know how it goes!
Image Credit: Lamb photo via Shutterstock
15 CommentsLeave a Reply
Here’s something to take a gander at: http://www.centralsolutions.com/images/Capuacu%20Butter%20Article.pdf I’m not sure why this didn’t automatically come up when I was looking up lanolin alternatives- your page often does because of it’s natural products. I’m not vegan but feel for the needs of those who are. One of the advantages of Lanolin is its ability to be mixed with water in cosmetics. This may not apply to beeswax yarn, but does apply when mixing lip balms or trying very very hard to replenish your entire cosmetics supply with ingredients that have not been chemically altered. I’m trying to think what else I’ve seen Lanolin used for, and there isn’t much. This seems to have a lower melting point, around 85 degrees.
Palm oil isn’t vegan!
Palm Oil is not vegan and it is certainly not cruelty free. Please, do some online research and see the devastation to the environment and animals that palm oil causes.
Thank you for your comment! While I agree that palm oil has its issues, it is not made from animals, so it is vegan. I am familiar with palm oil’s link to habitat destruction, and I completely understand why you’d want to avoid it for that reason, though.
So it’s ok because it isn’t an animal bi-product even if it is directly responsible for the Massive and widespread destruction of a species… this is a strange brand of vegan ethics indeed. A sheep that is well kept and well-cared for creates much more ethical products to use than palm oil. Vegan for the sake of vegan with no regard for the cruelty and damage being caused is a tragic approach.
There are companies that have their palm oil certified as coming from a sustainable source and they don’t harm animals or the environment. You have to find those sources. They are out there.
Viamerine 2500 (INCI Name: Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides) was specifically made to be a natural substitute for Lanolin Oil. It is made from sunflower oil and you can find it and a full description of it at the herbarie online.
I forgot to add that I found the saponification level and iodine level of Viamerine by doing a google search. Here it is: SAPONIFICATION VALUE : 180-200 mg KOH/g (NF ISO 3657)
IODINE VALUE : 90-110 gI2/100g(NF EN ISO 3961).
Oh cool! Thank you, Rebecca!!
Don’t forget to get fair trade cocoa butter as many others used child labor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labor_in_cocoa_production
Would castor oil also make an ok substitute for lanolin for making lip balms?
OH NO! Palm oil is NOT environmentally friendly! Please do some research on it’s affect on chimpanzees and the rain forest… we need to eliminate the use of palm oil.
They do realize that if you never shear a sheep’s wool it’s detrimental to their health and causes them suffering. They are not wild sheep. Their wool will keep on growing and become matted, harbor bugs and diseases and weigh the animal down. After a long enough time it can cause severe muscle and skeletal problems and pain with all the weight. A vegan being against shearing ( which does NOT hurt a sheep. People shave their heads right? Get haircuts, give their dogs haircuts. It’s. The. Same. Thing. No matter what Peta propagandists try to tell you) is a bit hypocritical as it’s bad for domestic sheep to not “cut their hair” It CAUSES them suffering. I can find you videos of what not cutting a domestic sheep’s wool does to the poor animal.
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