Have you heard of minks? A semi aquatic carnivore animal is native to the weasel family. They are small, dark in color, and found in the northern hemisphere. In appearance, they are tiny and cute but are also high maintenance. These species can’t be pets since they require a proper environment to grow, like a zoo with a pool. In some countries, minks are considered exotic and are legally impossible to have. Read to know is Mink Oil Really From Minks or not.
From the above description, you have an idea of how rare they are. Some breeds of minks are endangered though the American minks are of the least concern. And thus, mink oil and mink fur coats are a luxury.
Now, have you heard of mink oil before? The first thing coming to your mind is oil secreted by minks? Or some form of raw material related to minks from which the oil is produced? Well, you are correct at some point, but the reality of mink oil is disheartening if it is an animal variant.
Disclaimer: If you are an animal lover, this article may result in some offensive emotions in which we take no part.
What is Mink Oil?
Mink oil is a fat-based oil, which is a source of palmitoleic acid for which the oil has physical properties that are similar to human sebum. Due to this, it is used in many medicines and cosmetic products. And also, in the leather industry to condition and preserve almost any type of leather.
Mink oil is the only known oil to have an animal and plant variant. Mink oil is unique in itself, among all the animal-produced oils. Mink oil results in an effective measure for growing dreadlocks in hair treatments. The use of mink oil started in the 1950s as a leather conditioner and is now widespread in different industries. And by the end of World War II, the popularity of American mink fur increased and thus, encouraged people to extract more from the by-products of mink fur. Hence, it led to the manufacturing of mink oil from mink fat. That is present underneath the fur.
Yes, you read it correctly. Mink oil is extracted from the insulating fatty layer which lies under the skin of minks. (Ah! Sounds crazy to use in cosmetics, but that’s a personal opinion.) Let us now see how mink oil is extracted.
Mink Oil Extraction
The journey of minks to mink oil bottles is quite interesting. Traditionally, the collection of mink oil was done after minks were killed for pelts. In the making of luxurious coats. While cleaning, the thick layer of fat is stripped off the mink, and the oil is rendered. This is the most common method; however, many cosmetic companies have their small harvest from live minks. In which a needle is inserted into the abdomen; the area with large amounts of fat, and the small amount of fat is extracted.
As mentioned, a plant variant of mink oil exists. That is a combination of macadamia nut oil and sea buckthorn oil, which contains more palmitoleic acid in comparison to mink oil.
Use and Benefits of Mink Oil
We discussed the major fields where the use of mink oil is quite famous. Now, let’s get into details, as mink oil has more than 75% of fatty acid content categorized under unsaturated fats, and possesses greater oxidative stability i.e resistance to rancidity than any other animal or vegetable oil. And that’s the reason why it is an exquisite leather conditioner.
The oil reloads the leather’s natural oils, which got lost in manufacturing or during usage to an extent. And it lubricates the fibers making them flexible and durable. An additional benefit of applying mink oil to your leather boots is that; it results in waterproofing as well, not for long and you would be needing to reapply in a few months. Not only just repelling water, but by filling pores it repels moisture.
Mink oil is no doubt a beneficiary product. But the process of manufacturing the product makes it a difficult choice. Though the species of minks have a natural lifespan of 10 to 12 years. And it would make more sense if fur and oil are extracted when they are close to their final stage of life. Yet, it won’t make it any less cruel. Therefore, this is the reality of minks and mink oil.
1. Do they kill minks to get mink oil?
Yes, the process of extraction of mink oil requires the death of minks. Though, there is a way to extract mink oil from live minks, which contains a simple process of extraction by injection. Yet the amount is small and the need is more.
2. Do we have alternatives for mink oil?
Yes, we have alternatives for mink oil. There is also a plant variant of the mink oil, and other oils such as Neatsfoot oil, Bickmore Bick 4. Also, smith’s leather balm can be considered as a good alternative as well.