Icelandic skin care products made from mink fat
The family at farm Syðra-Skörðugil in North Iceland farm horses, sheep and mink for fur. Over the last years they’ve been dabbling in the beauty industry, producing their own line of lotions and creams made from the mink fat, a byproduct of their farming. They have two lines which they sell under the brand Gandur, one for man, the other for animals. In addition to that they make leather conditioner from the mink fat, for shoes and saddles.
“It all started when my mother decided to try to make a lotion for our horses, for when they develop sores around the hooves. My brother is a vet and through him we tested it on more horses. One thing led to another and we started selling it,” says Einar Eðvald Einarsson farmer at Syðra Skörðugil.
Talk of the lotion’s success for horses started spreading. “People with various skin conditions contacted us with stories on how well it worked, people with no connection to horses or horse farming. They thought it strange to go to stores with horse merchandise only to buy it. So we decided to make two lines of lotions, one for animals, the other for humans.”
The family at Syðra-Skörðugil. Einar Eðvald Einarsson, his wife Sólborg Una Pálsdóttir and his parents Einar E. Gíslason and Ásdís Sigurjónsdóttir
More like fish oil than animal fat
Mink fat is rich in omega fatty acids, and more like the fat of a fish than a fat of a land animal according to Einarsson. “The fat of the mink is much like our own fat, different from most other animal fats. The chains of fatty acids are very long and that’s why they are able to penetrate the skin so well. “
All from the farm, even the wild herbs
All the company’s products are made from fat from their own animals. The herbs and plants in the lotions are all harvested from the farm, where they grow wild. “This is basically organic, the only thing we add is natural vitamin E to give it a longer shelf live. There are no parabens or anything like that in our products. The herbs we pick here at the farm, it really couldn’t get much cleaner.”
Wanted to use as much of the mink as possible
“We have been farming mink for 34 years, and have been skinning it all these years so we all know how beneficial the mink fat is, you can really feel it on your hands. We are not inventing anything new here. Though it’s not common in Europe, mink fat is harvested and used in the United States.”
Einar and his family developed the lotions in cooperation with Matís, Icelandic Food and Biotech Institute. “We wanted to use what we produce even better, and we got such a great response. All the emails, conversations and pictures of people our products have helped, it’s been a huge encouragement. If we hadn’t gotten those, I don’t believe we would still be doing this.”
People generally happy about the fat's origin
Knowing that fur farming is frowned upon by many. Einarsson and his family wondered if they should make it less obvious where the fat came from, but decided to celebrate it instead.
“It rarely happens that I meet people that are against it. I’ve met one woman that said she wouldn’t buy our products because she disliked fur farming, but was very happy that we were using every part of the animal. We’ve done some market research and people are generally happy that we are making use of something that otherwise would be buried as garbage.”
The gandur products are sold in most pharmacies in Iceland, as well in certain shops in Sweden and Denmark. For further information check out their website, or send then an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, as their website is not in English.