What is the natural purpose of lanolin in sheep’s wool?

Valais Blacknose lamb sticking its tongue out.

Like the grease in your hair, it’s there to lubricate and condition the hair (kemp) and undercoat, thereby keeping it soft, smooth, and damage-free.

Unlike us, the sheep does not strip off its natural moisturiser with harsh soaps and shampoos, and therefore does not suffer from frizz, fly-aways and split ends, therefore (again unlike us) they don’t need to re-grease their hair with oily conditioners, masks and serums and styling products, which often contain lanolin (or a near-identical chemical) as the moisturising agent.

However, some sheep do get the full salon treatment for shows:

Because they’re worth it.

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