My favorite moisturizer – tallow!
Tallow is truly wonderful for our skin! I love how silky soft it makes my skin. It also helps my acne a great deal, and when I broke out in a horrible rash due to an allergic reaction, tallow took care of it almost overnight. My daughter burned her finger and after applying tallow the pain was gone. The next day you couldn’t even see the burn!
It cleanses and removes makeup completely, moisturizes, makes great candles, soaps, shampoos, and lotion bars. I have seen it heal rashes, cuts, scars, acne, blisters, toenail fungus, ect… Not to mention how extremely good it is for you internally! Talk about nourishing!
Here is just a small example of what tallow is and why it is so compatible it is for our skin care.
Quoted from Weston A Price:
As we have already seen, our ancestors overwhelmingly used tallow for skin care. For example, a book of “recipes” for all facets of life, written by Dr. A.W. Chase, MD in 1866, lists ten formulations of salve, eight of which contain tallow, in addition to other natural ingredients.17 This same medical doctor quotes the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of his day on using pure tallow for a “very common and very painful affliction,” an ingrown toenail. Even though this use is a very specific one, it is included here as being a strong testimonial on the healing power of tallow: “
The patient on whom I tried this plan was a young lady who had been unable to put on a shoe for several months, and decidedly the worst I have ever seen. The edge of the nail was deeply undermined, the granulations formed a high ridge, partly covered with skin; and pus constantly oozed from the root of the nail. The whole toe was swollen and extremely painful and tender. . . . I put a very small piece of tallow in a spoon, heated it. . . and poured it on. . . . The effect was almost magical. Pain and tenderness were at once relieved, and in a few days the granulations were all gone, the diseased parts dry. . . and the edge of the nail exposed so as to admit of being pared away without any inconvenience. The cure was complete, and the trouble never returned. I have tried the plan repeatedly since, with the same satisfactory results. . . . A repetition in some cases might be necessary, although I have never met with a case that did not yield to one application. It has now been proven, in many other cases, to be effectual, accomplishing in one minute, without pain, all that can be effected by the painful application of nitrate of silver for several weeks.”18
Another piece of evidence to the traditional use of tallow in skin care is an antique one-ounce tin of “McQueen’s Pure Mutton Tallow,” manufactured by G.F. Baker in Nunnelly, Tennessee “since 1895,” which includes the following words on the bottom of the tin: “Valuable as a family remedy for chapped and rough skin caused by exposure to inclement weather. Excellent as a skin cleanser and also used as a foundation for various medical ointments.”
Interestingly, in Germany, deer tallow (Hirschtalg) is still used as a base ingredient in many salves used by athletes to prevent sore skin or blisters.
It would be fascinating and useful to do more research into the traditional wisdom on skin care to confirm the pattern that we can already see emerging. The healthy traditions of our ancestors were not haphazard but had a purpose that seems to have been rooted in their very being, as we can see in the studies of Dr. Weston A. Price.19 We might even say that the ancestral wisdom on nutrition and health is more reliable than modern scientific studies, which are subject to manipulations and misinterpretations and can only look at one small piece of the puzzle at a time.
Modern-day research confirms the traditional wisdom of our ancestors. From biology, we know that the cell membrane is made up primarily of fatty acids, a double layer, to be exact. 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.20 The monounsaturated fats, while not as “solid” as the saturated fats, are more so than the polyunsaturated fats which are also present in the cell membrane in their own proper proportion, although the modern diet leads to a disproportionate amount of the polyunsaturates. 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,21 so it makes sense that it would be helpful for skin health and compatible with our cell biology.
Another strong indication of tallow’s compatibility with our skin biology is its similarity to sebum, the oily, waxy matter that lubricates and waterproofs our skin. Indeed, the word “sebum” actually means “tallow” in Latin and began to be used in this biological sense around the year 1700. The sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum, are found in greatest abundance on the face and scalp, but they are distributed over all of our skin except on the palms and soles.22 Sebum is made up of lipids (fats) of which 41 percent are in the form of triglycerides,23 and the lipids of tallow are principally in the form of triglycerides, which is how fatty acids are usually configured in nature.
In regard to this compatibility of tallow with the biology of our skin, we should note that we are animals rather than plants, so the modern taboo against animal products in skin care products would seem unfounded and even illogical. In addition to containing very little saturated fats, plant products do not have the same levels of other nutrients needed for healthy skin. Tallow contains the abundant natural fat-soluble activators, vitamins A, D, and K, as well as vitamin E, which are found only in animal fats and which are all necessary for general health and for skin health.
Tallow (especially tallow from grass-fed animals) also contains fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has anti-cancer24 and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as palmitoleic acid, which has natural antimicrobial properties.25 Dr. Mary Enig cites a 2006 study on fats showing that CLA, which is found in high concentrations in tallow, has significant anti-cancer effects, and that supplying tallow increased those effects due its palmitic acid, another fatty acid.26
Did you read that? How awesome is this stuff?!
I use my tallow balm for a face wash using the oil cleansing method, moisturizer, base for my homemade foundation, for all sorts of “owies,” infections, chapstick, and dry, rough skin around elbows and heels. This balm lasts for a long time. I have had batches that haven’t run out for over nine months!
I use plain tallow for lotion bars, sunscreen, shampoo bars, soap, and candles, both functional and bug repellent ones. The whole family loves our tallow balm! Its also great for cooking meat, and eggs, and roasting veggies…. Mmm!
10 Tablespoons Tallow
1 Tablespoon olive or coconut oil
essential oils of your choice – optional
Slowly heat tallow and olive oil until melted. Add EO. Wisk well. Pour into a small glass jar and allow to cool before putting the lid on. Store at room temp. A tiny amount goes a long way, so it lasts forever! See how easy that is? Traditional and homemade does not have to translate into difficult and time consuming….