Many people are familiar with the popularity of mink fur in the fashion world, particularly for coats and stoles. There are other reasons, however, that mink are considered to be such lucrative animals. One such reason is the production of mink oil. Mink have a fatty layer beneath the fur and over the muscle that help protect them from the cold. It is this fatty layer that is used to make mink oil. The fatty layer is removed and rendered down into mink oil, or it is removed in small amounts from the abdominal area of live mink. This method of extraction is commonly used by cosmetic companies that use mink oil in their products.
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Because the composition of mink oil is so similar to that of human sebum, it is often added to moisturising shampoos in order to replace some of the natural oils stripped away from regular hair care. It can also be seen in deep conditioners as well as weekly oil treatments. Some companies even find mink oil to be a beneficial additive to hairspray, because it softens and adds sheen.
The use of mink oil to soften skin goes back to the days of fur trappers, who discovered that the fatty layer of tissue under the minks' fur helped to soften and protect their cold-chapped hands. Many years of research refined the use of mink oil on the skin, and it is now seen in European moisturisers, cosmetics and even sold in its pure form. One of mink oil's main attractions is its chemical similarity to the natural skin oils produced by humans. This is due to the fact that mink oil contains roughly 17% palmitoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is also produced by the human body. It is said that continuous use of mink oil products on the skin will keep it soft and less prone to damage.
Mink oil is sometimes seen in leather shoe care products. Again, this use of mink oil dates back to the days of the fur trappers, who discovered that applying the mink oil to their leather boots kept them supple and made them last longer. The mink oil also provided their boots with natural waterproofing. The natural sebum of the minks proved so valuable in maintaining the lustre and durability of leather that it has been added to leather shoe creams and treatments ever since. Mink oil can also be found in conditioning oils and creams used to treat leather handbags, briefcases and saddles.
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