You've likely never heard of using this ingredient for healthy skin care! Learn how to make a tallow face cream that is hydrating and nourishing to skin all over.
If you had told me a year ago that right now I would have fermented cabbage in my fridge, or disgusting science-project looking “scobies” hanging out in jars on my kitchen counter… or that I'd be making my own dishwasher detergent and using essential oils for practically every ailment (among a thousand other uses) in our home… well, I probably would have chuckled, but not thought you were totally crazy. I mean, I realize that I am, after all, a little bit of a hippie at heart.
On the other hand, had you told me that I would be rendering my own tallow to use as a facial cream. Well… for one thing, I'd say “what the heck is tallow?!”… and then after a quick google search I'd have said “EWW, No Way!” (in case you don't know, tallow = beef fat)
But, that my friends is exactly what I did today! And I'm going to tell you how I did it and why, and share with you just how easy it is so that you can do it too! (aren't you excited?!)
First off, why on earth would I want to use something as disgusting as beef fat on my face?!
Okay, so let's backtrack a little bit.
When I first started diving into this brave new world of real food, natural remedies, and non-toxic living… One of my biggest fascinations was with “naturalizing” my beauty routine. I was quite horrified to find that almost all of the products I was using to beautify myself were quite possibly increasing my risk for cancer, could be causing neurotoxicity, or could even be making me fat *gasp*!
During that time it was Mommypotamus and her awesome DIY Organic Beauty Recipes book to save the day! She was seriously my go-to-gal for all of my serious beauty needs and quandaries… so when I stumbled onto an article she wrote about tallow being a superior beauty treatment (What have I gotten myself into here?! I mean, I'm all for being natural, but Beef Fat?! No way. She must be mistaken.
Luckily, my curiosity got the best of me, and I actually bought some grass-fed/pastured beef suet from our local farmer to test this crazy woman's claims!
And, after trying it, here is my personal testimony… It is AWESOME!
I'm serious, I don't care if you call me crazy, this is the best stuff I've put on my face, Ever!
On top of being awesome, it's incredibly inexpensive. I got this 1 pound package for $5, and it rendered about 2 cups of tallow (which is a LOT, since a little bit goes a long way!)
I have struggled with acne for Years, and this has been the first thing that feels great, and has helped me maintain a clear complexion. It's like my skin is finally saying “Ahhh…”
So how does it work?
Tallow is a fat derived from the fatty tissue of sheep or cattle, it's mainly a bunch of fatty acid glycerides.
Skin that looks young and vibrant is due to skin cells being sufficiently hydrated and nutrient-dense. In order to maintain that hydration, the cell membranes must be healthy and functioning properly to hold in the water and nutrients, and allow waste products to get out. Guess what helps cell membranes stay strong…
Did you guess it? Fatty acids… like the ones found in tallow!
The result of skin cells not getting enough fatty acids is saggy, dry, and aged skin. No thanks, I'll pass!
Many commonly-used cosmetic brands actually use tallow in their products… but since tallow is natural (aka- unpatentable), it's not usually marketed. Patented chemicals added to a beauty product, on the other hand… now that equals $$, so that's what you're going to see advertised. Sadly, in my experience and research, it's those patented chemicals that are linked to organ toxicity and increased cancer rates.
So, why not just go straight to the source of the good stuff??
I am so glad you asked, 'cause that's exactly what I thought! 😉
Easy Tallow Face Cream Recipe
Rendering tallow is super easy, it just takes a little time and know-how.
What you'll need for your tallow face cream:
- 1-2 Pounds of beef (or sheep) suet (Where to purchase if you can't get it locally!)
- a small crock pot (like this one)
- essential oils (optional)
important to note: We luckily have a local farmer who sells beef suet from his pastured, grass-fed cows, so I've never had to look for it in a grocery store. If you are trying to figure out what kind of suet to purchase, I strongly recommend only getting it from cows or sheep who have been grass-fed and pastured to make sure you are getting all of those good vitamins (A, D, E, & K) that are naturally found in pastured tallow. All of the yucky stuff you don't want to be putting in or on your body is stored in fat (ie: pesticides, antibiotics, and synthetic hormones), so animals raised on conventional or factory farms are not recommended.
Here's is where to buy quality grass-fed, pastured suet if you don't have a local farmer to get it from!
Step 1: Directions for rendering tallow for your tallow face cream
- The suet I buy comes pre-cut into little chunks, which makes it as easy as dumping the bag into the crock pot. However, if yours doesn't, you'll need to remove as much meat as possible from the fat and then dice the fat into little bits or toss it in the food processor for a quick whirl. (if this extra step is necessary, start with refrigerated/cold pieces, which will make it easier)
- Add the suet to the crock pot and heat on LOW or WARM (depending on your crock pot) to slowly begin melting the tallow.
- Allow to heat and refine very slowly over a few hours (a lb took about 3-4 hours in a small crock pot). You'll want to stir often during this time to keep the tallow from burning, you do not want burnt tallow!
- When the tallow has turned to a golden yellow color, with a translucent clarity, it's probably done. The bits of meat & excess should all have settled to the bottom of the crock pot at this point.
- Next, you'll need to strain the tallow to remove any impurities. I used cheese cloth draped over a fine mesh colander to get the finest straining possible. You should be left with a very clear, golden yellow liquid.
**Alternatively… if you're not wanting to bother with the whole rendering tallow thing, you really don't have to! There are several companies that you can buy grassfed tallow that's already been prepared for you to use.
Here are a few brands I would recommend: Fatworks grassfed tallow, Epic grassfed beef tallow… or better yet, shop through Thrive Market to receive a significant discount on tallow plus a gazillion other healthy food snacks and staples.
Step 2: Making and using your tallow face cream
- When the tallow has cooled just slightly, you can add your secondary oil. I found it best to use about 8-10 parts tallow to 1 part grapeseed oil. If you like an even creamier texture you can add more grapeseed, almond, etc to the mix.
- Allow mixture to cool to slightly-warmer than room temperature before adding the essential oils. (heat can damage essential oil properties)
- Add essential oils (I used melaleuca, lavender, and frankincense) Others good options to consider: geranium (good for acne), rosemary (to reduce scarring), peppermint or lemon (good for oily skin)
- Pour into glass containers of choice (I really like these!), and allow to cool either on the counter, or place in the fridge to speed up the process. The color will change from a clear, golden yellow to an off-white solid.
To Use: Apply tallow face cream morning and evening after cleansing your face… and don't forget the neck and décolletage, which are so often forgotten and tend to show the earliest signs of aging due to negligence! Revel in your incredibly soft and supple new complexion (and how cheap and easy it was to get it!) You're so smart! Who needs those expensive, marketed beauty treatments now?! Not this girl! 😉
To keep: Tallow is really stable. Your tallow face cream should keep for about 6 months if kept at room temperature in a sealed container.
If you end up with more tallow than you anticipated (like the whole 2 cups I ended up with!), you can either store the extra in the refrigerator, OR you can use the left over tallow (sans the grapeseed & essential oils) as a really delicious and healthy (yes, healthy!) option for cooking.