My favorite skincare ingredient is animal fat. Yeah, us homesteaders are an odd bunch…
As homesteaders, we brave the elements to pursue our passion and at times those conditions can be a bit unforgiving on our bodies.
We care for animals in the dead of winter and tend our gardens under the scorching summer sun. In time, these things can take a toll on the body, and they can leave us with dry skin and cracked, callused hardworking hands.
The good news is that these minor skin irritations caused by tough homesteading conditions and weather can be fixed with a little self-care and animal fat (that’s right I said animal fat). Rendered animal fat (especially tallow) has been used for generations in different household items including skincare products.
So let’s take a deep dive into the DIY world so you can learn how to use tallow to create your own body butter to help with that cracked dry skin that the homesteading life has left you with (which I firmly believe is a small price to pay while pursuing our homesteading passions).
What is Tallow?
Tallow is most commonly rendered beef fat, but it can also be made from other ruminant animals. Tallow can also be made from goat fat, sheep fat, and even deer fat.
Rendering animal fat is a natural process that causes the oils to melt away from the tissue when heated. Tallow is the liquid oil left behind; as it cools it becomes solid and appears as a hard oil block.
If you are interested in rendering your own fat rather than buying the finished product, you can learn How to Render Tallow right here.
Using Tallow Throughout History
Our ancestors traditionally let nothing go to waste, including animal fat that was rendered into tallow. Throughout history, tallow has been used for cooking and also for making many household products. As time went on, tallow and other animal fats were deemed bad for cooking, and so they disappeared from both our kitchen and our other household items.
Tallow was used for:
- Cooking Oil
- Candles ( Learn How to Make Tallow Candles)
- Soap (my Tallow Soap Recipe is simple and a great DIY project)
- Skincare Products
Using tallow to create these natural DIY products is another step you can take toward self-sustainability and independence. Plus, it’s both fun to make your own household products and empowering to learn how to use all the parts of an animal so that there’s no waste.
Using Tallow for Skincare
Tallow is animal fat that has been used in cooking for generations, but perhaps it came as a surprise to you to learn that it can also be used as a skincare product.
Allow me to assure you here that you are not moisturizing with cooking oil and you won’t smell like beef fat if you use natural tallow skincare products. Tallow is a great moisturizer that naturally rebuilds your skin with many extra benefits.
Tallow Skincare Product Benefits:
- Does not clog your pores
- Is a natural moisturizer
- Rich in vitamins and omegas
- Has a similar molecular makeup to skin cells
- Is completely natural
- Has a long shelf life
If you are interested in learning more about using animal fat for skincare, you will love listening to this episode from The Old Fashioned on Purpose Podcast: How to Opt-Out of Toxic Mainstream Skincare.
By the way, if you are not interested in making your own tallow body butter, you can always buy some tallow balm from my friend Emily’s store (see podcast episode link above to listen to me and Emily talk about skincare). Check out Toups & Co. Organics Tallow Balms here.
One skincare product that can easily be made in your kitchen is tallow body butter. Tallow body butter a simple DIY project that takes a few ingredients and very little time.
How to Make Tallow Body Butter
Ingredients Needed to Make Tallow Body Butter:
- 16 oz of Tallow – Grass-Fed Sourced or Bought Tallow is fine or you can render your fat (learn how to render tallow here)
- 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (other liquid oils will also work; avocado oil is also a great choice)
Note: It must be liquid oil that does not harden at cool temps.
- Essential Oil (Optional) Adding essential oil isn’t necessary but it can help make your tallow body butter smell nice. Start with just a few drops of essential oils and add a few more drops at a time until you like the scent. Make sure you are using a good-quality essential oil company. I personally prefer using doTERRA essential oils.
- Arrowroot Powder (Optional) – Tallow body butter can sometimes feel slightly greasy, and adding arrowroot powder can help reduce the greasy texture and the skin absorb the butter. Add the arrowroot powder 1 tsp at a time until you like the texture.
Equipment Needed to Make Tallow Body Butter:
- Sauce Pan
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- Hand-Held Mixer (any mixer will work, but a hand-held one is best)
- Glass Jar(s)
Making Tallow Body Butter Instructions:
Step 1: If you are using stored or bought tallow, you will need to heat it in a saucepan until it is all in liquid form. Stir the tallow as you heat to help melt down large clumps. Once in liquid form, pour it into your mixing bowl.
If you are using freshly rendered tallow that is already in liquid form, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve (it helps remove any random bits) into your mixing bowl.
Step 2: Allow the liquid tallow to cool to room temperature, but not to the point it has started to harden again. Once cool, add your olive oil (or other liquid oil).
Step 3: Stir with a wooden spoon to combine the tallow and oil mixture. After a few stirs, place the mixture into the refrigerator until solid.
Step 4: Remove the solid tallow mixture from the fridge, and let it warm up a bit at room temperature; this will make it easier to whip.
Step 5: Using your hand-held mixer, whip the tallow and oil mixture until it appears fluffy. It will resemble whipped cake frosting.
NOTE: This is when you can add the (optional) arrowroot powder, which helps reduce the possible greasy feeling/texture of your tallow balm. If you’re adding it, add the arrowroot powder 1 tsp. at a time. After adding 1 tsp. of it, whip the mixture again until the powder is fully incorporated and then test the texture of the product on your skin. Add up to another 1 tsp. of powder if so desired, and make sure you whip the mixture again until everything is fully mixed.
NOTE: This is also when you can add the (optional) essential oils. Start with just a few drops of your favorite essential oils, then whip it until fully incorporated, and then test the scent of your tallow body butter to see if it needs more.
Step 6: Scoop the tallow body butter into glass jars for storage. You can store your body butter for up to 5-6 months in a dark, cool place. Be sure to label your jars.
When you are ready to try your tallow body butter out, keep in mind that a little goes a long way.
Nourish Your Skin with Tallow Body Butter
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your animals and garden. Homesteading is hard work and it can be hard on one’s body. Remember a little self-care can go a long way and you can use all-natural homemade products to help.
Do you have any other self-care tips or DIY natural products recommendations for the hardworking homesteader?
More DIY Skincare Ideas: