Food belongs in the kitchen, right? Well, yes…but why not on your face too?!
About two years ago I found this out first hand. I hesitantly swapped out my high dollar face wash for something almost every person keeps in their kitchen cupboard…honey. Yep, honey. I know you’re probably thinking how crazy that is, and who in the world would “wash” their face with honey, and isn’t it a sticky, goopy mess? It’s actually very easy to use, smells great, and is extremely beneficial to your skin. I’ve shared with you before about how raw honey can replace Neosporin because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Those same properties, among others, are also what make it an amazing face wash (you can read more here about washing your face with honey).
So honey became my favorite face wash (two years and going!) but I still needed something to replace my moisturizer. I started out just using jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is very moisturizing, absorbs fairly quickly, and isn’t pore clogging, so it seemed like a great option. But it wasn’t love. I decided to just try out honey without a moisturizer since I wasn’t stripping my natural face oils with nasty chemicals and see how it went. No moisturizer was ok for a time, but I noticed my face started to feel dry, and was getting worse. And that’s when it happened…
A fellow crunchy mama and good friend of mine mentioned to me that she started using tallow balm as her facial moisturizer. I know what you’re thinking (because I briefly thought this too)…tallow? Isn’t that fat…from an animal? Yes it is! Specifically, we are talking beef fat. Beef tallow is a fat that is made by rendering suet (the interior fat) from a cow and is used for cooking and frying foods. But if you look back in history, you’ll find that our ancestors used tallow for their skin as well…that is until using animal fats for skin care was replaced with processed chemical s and plant based oils.
So why tallow?
It is more comparable to our own skin than plant based fats:
According to Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon):
“Saturated fats constitute at least 50 percent of the cell membrane. Since saturated fats tend to be more solid than unsaturated fats at a given temperature, they help give the cell membrane its necessary stiffness and integrity for proper function. Healthy, “toned” skin cells with sufficient saturated and monounsaturated fats would undoubtedly make for healthy, toned skin. Interestingly, tallow fat is typically 50 to 55 percent saturated, just like our cell membranes, with almost all of the rest being monounsaturated,so it makes sense that it would be helpful for skin health and compatible with our cell biology.”
Tallow more closely resembles the make-up of our own skin (which makes sense since we’re animals too!) than plant based fats, so it provides for healthier, more toned skin. Biologically, tallow is also very similar to the material that helps keep our skin lubricated and waterproofed (sebum – which means tallow in Latin!), so using it on our skin, especially our face, is simply giving what is already there naturally, a little boost!
It has more of the nutrients our skin needs:
Not only do plant oils lack the saturated fats that our skin needs, but they are also low in many key vitamins and nutrients that we need for healthy skin. Tallow, on the other hand, contains vitamins A, D, and K, as well as vitamin E. These necessary nutrients are abundantly found in animal products like beef tallow. (“Traditional Nourishing and Healthy Skincare”, A.Gardner).
It is anti-inflammatory AND antimicrobial:
Beef tallow contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has natural anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the anti-microbial properties of palmitoleic acid…both of which make for an excellent skin care product.
Now, I’m not saying that plant based oils don’t have a place in your beauty routine or skin care regimen (I still use coconut oil to remove my eye makeup and as a whipped body lotion). But clearly, beef tallow provides some benefits that plants oils do not.
At first I wasn’t too sure how I felt about putting beef fat on my skin, let alone on my face, but I decided to give it a try. Why not? I’m no stranger to using food on my face. What’s the worst that could happen…I’m a little greasy and smell like gravy? Thankfully neither of those things happened, and I’m happy to report that after just a few uses, I was hooked.
At this point you may be wondering how exactly you get this wonderful beef tallow from its solid, not so spreadable state to its magnificent, spreadable, nutrient rich face balm. Because on its own, beef tallow is hard and nowhere near something that can easily be put on your skin without melting it, liquid oils (at room temperature) need to be added to give it a softer texture.
I also went a step further and combined aromatherapy to my new moisturizer, and added a custom healthy skin essential oil blend to the tallow balm. There are several essential oils that are excellent for skin care and different skin issues, so it only makes sense to put them in a natural skin care product.
Here’s how you make it:
Grass-fed beef tallow – you can render your own tallow from suet (Here’s a great article on how to do just that from Raising Generation Nourished), or you can buy it already rendered. I purchase from my local farmer, but you can use this tallow if you don’t have a local source.
* what the cow eats makes a huge difference to the quality of your balm. Only use grass-fed beef tallow in your recipe
Liquid plant oils – olive oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil. You could also use coconut oil, but it would need to be used with another liquid oil since it is more solid at room temperature.
Essential Oils – here is a list of essential oils that can be added depending on your specific skin needs
lavender – antiseptic, good for acne, eczema, inflammation, wrinkles; good for all skin types
geranium – antiseptic, stimulates cell growth, balances skin, dermatitis, acne; good for all skin types
chamomile (German or Roman) – good for acne, cracked skin, eczema; good for dry skin
cedarwood (atlas) – antiseptic, acne, cellulite, eczema, scarring, greasy skin, dermatitis, sebum regulator; good for oily skin
palmarosa – skin balancing, helps skin elasticity, scars, skin moisturizer, stimulates sebum production, stimulates cell growth; good for all skin types
1-1.5 cups of beef tallow
2-3 tbsp. of liquid oils (you can use all olive oil, or a combination of oils)
essential oils – a single oil or combination of oils for your specific skin needs. The amount used depends on the dilution you want. The general guideline is:
1% = 10 drops of oil/ounce
2% = 20 drops of oil/ounce
In a double boiler, on low heat, slowly melt the rendered tallow. Remove from heat and stir in the liquid oil(s). After it cools slightly, but is still liquid, add the essential oils. Pour into a glass jar and put in the refrigerator until firm. Once the tallow has cooled, remove from the refrigerator and store in a cool, dark place. Tallow balm should keep for a long time when stored properly.
The amounts I give aren’t exact for a reason…you’ve got some room there to work with the ratio depending on how soft you want your tallow balm to be. So experiment and find what works for you.
Since using tallow balm exclusively on my face as a moisturizer, I’ve noticed that my skin looks healthier and feels softer. My family also loves using it as a hand cream, and this past winter, it saved my husband’s dry cracked hands.
It is so neat to see that you can use food to replace your chemical filled skin care products and get the same, if not better results. Are you ready to give it a try?
If you aren’t up for a DIY kitchen concoction, you can give my tallow balm a try. You can check it out here on my Facebook page.
Disclaimer: All information or any other health topics covered by Genesis Essentials has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Information given and/or products not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or replace personal judgement or medical treatment. Always do your own reading and research, as well as discuss the use of complementary methods with your health professional or naturopathic doctor. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.