The most common animal fiber is obtained from the shearing of merino or crossbred sheep usually bred in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and South Africa, but also from Scotland, Italy, and many other countries. The transformation of the fleece into yarn involves the washing and spinning of the fleece. Spinning can be performed in either of two working cycles, depending on the quality of the fiber. One is the combing system, in which long fibers are set in parallel, to create a gathered yarn, and thus produce smooth, beaten fabrics; these are less warm but more expensive. The second method is the carding system which uses short fibers; this gives a more voluminous yarn and thus puffier, hairier fabrics, which are warmer and softer. The main characteristics of wool are that it is hygroscopic (i.e., it can absorb humidity up to 25% of its weight), non-conductive (which gives strong thermal protection), elastic (it returns to its original shape), and resistant to wear, fire, creasing, and pleating. The water in which the fleece is washed gives lanoline, which is used in cosmetics, adhesives, and oils. The “pure virgin wool” label, managed by Woolmark, certifies that the garments are 100% wool from shearing and not reused.