How the founder of Lano took a childhood memory and created a full-fledged beauty business around a singular heal-all ingredient.
Written By JAYME CYK
VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers because of their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to Australian-based Lano founder Kirsten Carriol.
Kirsten Carriol has major lanolin nostalgia. For as long as she can remember, the Lano founder was surrounded by the smell and feel of the nourishing ingredient. Her grandparents were sheep farmers, and after shearing season her grandfather had incredibly soft hands as a result of the lanolin in the wool. Carriol’s father, a DNA scientist, was also in on the magic of lanolin. He repeatedly explained that the ingredient was “nature’s wonder moisturizer” because its molecular structure mimics that of human oils.
Naturally, lanolin was all Carriol knew growing up. She decided to bring it back into her beauty repertoire after boarding a flight in 2003. The depressing journey ended with chapped lips and the realization that nothing worked as well as her childhood hydrating essential. “Lanolin is semi-occlusive and semi-permeable, meaning it allows the skin to self-hydrate from within,” says Carriol. “It is a humectant and moisture reservoir, holding up to 400 percent of its weight in moisture.” The nourishing ingredient is found on the wool of sheep and helps keep their coats dry and protected throughout the year. Sheep wool grows continuously, and the animals must be sheared annually or their fleece will become thick and soiled. They are not harmed in the process.
After 15 years running her own beauty PR agency, Carriol launched Lano in 2009 (2016 in the U.S.) with the 101 Ointment, the heart and soul of the line. This multipurpose balm contains 100 percent medical-grade lanolin. “It’s our number-one product, and the ingredients and philosophy inspire all our other products,” she says. “It embodies us—pure, natural, simple, and multipurpose.”
Lano is essentially a lifestyle defined by hardworking and multitasking products. “The pretty tubes are a contrast to the tough interior; they are almost a metaphor for women who can look good but aren’t defined by their looks,” says Carriol. “Women want products that at their core are easy and simple—without the hocus pocus or sex-sells approach—and that do exactly what they promise.”
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
My bedroom is calm, simple, and sophisticated.
It’s a huge silver sleigh bed, which sounds terrible, but it’s not! It’s just the right amount of majestic, but it has a calm, massive, caring shape. I often sit on it with my laptop and work on weeknights because it makes me feel more relaxed than being at the kitchen table.
Between 6:30 and 7 a.m.
How many hours of sleep do you require?
A full eight hours!
Any bedside beauty essentials?
Always the 101 Ointment (every single night!), a diamond nail file, cuticle clippers, and our hand cream.
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
Always coffee, a high-bran breakfast, and sometimes juice with The Beauty Chef Booster Powder added, which is so delicious.
Do you work out in the a.m.?
No. I do Pilates twice a week at 5 or 6 p.m. to calm my mental state, which can get a bit hyper.
I use the Lanolips Cleansing Bar in the shower and then my new day cream (Face Base Vitamin E, which is launching in March). I use one layer for a normal day and two on drier days.
What makeup products do you use on a daily basis?
First, I apply It Cosmetics CC Cream. I had melanoma, so I must use sunscreen every day, and this hybrid has decent coverage and great protection. If anyone has a natural dupe, please let me know! Also, Sephora eyebrow pencils are easy to use and so good. I use MAC Extended Play Mascara, which grabs every single hair like no one’s business! I cannot live without Stila liquid eyeliner. A liquid eyeliner is the passport to looking done in one easy stroke. And, finally, I’m obsessed with Vilhelm Room Service Eau De Parfum. It’s pure magic.
I have naturally straight hair, and blow-drying is too much work—plus I’m terrible at it—so it’s wash and go for me. I often twist it up into a SLIP thin scrunchie to keep it out of my way; this also gives my hair a bit of a bend when I take it out.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
Unfortunately, the first thing I do is reach for my phone. It’s such a bad habit, but I’m trying to avoid this for at least five minutes!
I check for urgent emails from the States, as I have a window of two hours before New York City business hours close.
Around 8.30 a.m.