Are you picturing me rubbing the ends of a juicy grass-fed steak on my face while I brush my teeth with clay, sip my favourite bevvie made with a giant boogerish blob, and tend my fermenting vegetables on the countertops?
That would actually be a pretty accurate picture, except for the juicy steak bit. One small-but-important distinction: I eat beef, but I rub tallow balm on my face. Tallow is what you get when you render (slowly melt down) beef fat.
So yes, it’s beef fat balm. Balm made out of beef fat. Beef fat moisturizer. Yup.
Are you still with me? (I promise this is for reals, and it’s awesome.)
I was recently introduced to tallow balm as a deeply nourishing way to moisturize my skin, even the most delicate areas of my face. And boy howdy do I ever love it. It is literally nourishing your skin with one of the most nutrient-dense foods revered by traditional cultures for centuries.
I have tried a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of natural skincare products over the years. Many of them have been for review here on the blog. Most of them have been good. A couple have been amazing. But only two companies have blown me away with their products.
As of a few months ago, there’s a third, and I use it faithfully every single day (or every day that I shower, at least). It’s tallow balm, and the difference it makes in my skin is unreal – I step out of the shower and before I’m even dressed I massage in some argan oil followed by some tallow balm. My face used to be irritatingly itchy and tight and dry, especially in the non-summer months.
But now, that’s just a distant memory.
There are a lot of natural, plant-based oils that people use to moisturize their skin, even coconut oil. But many of them don’t moisturize as deeply. Coconut oil in particular is probably the most popular among naturally-minded folks. If you google “coconut oil for skin” the first page of results is article after article from natural/organic websites and blogs talking about how they use coconut oil on their skin. And then there’s my one lone article on why I don’t (and why I switched to argan several years ago.)
I absolutely adore coconut oil as a food (in fact, my naturopath told me just yesterday to find more ways to consume it daily – ideally 5T/day – to help keep yeast and candida at bay!)
So why don’t I use it on my skin? Because coconut oil is a very light moisturizer that sinks in quickly (which appeals to a lot of people). While it works well for some, it just doesn’t cut it for those with very dry skin as it does not moisturize deeply enough.
When I First Tried Tallow Balm
A few years ago I switched to argan oil instead of coconut oil for my skin, and it was – without exaggeration – life-changing. This past fall, I finally got to try tallow balm from the small, family-owned business Crunchy Balm, and honestly didn’t know how it would compare to my beloved argan.
Well, I’m officially a major fan for life. I think I’ve finally hit the skincare regimen jackpot. A little argan oil and a slather of tallow balm on top = absolute perfection. My skin hasn’t felt this soft and supple since, well, ever?!
Along with my argan oil, tallow balm is the only product I use for my face. I don’t know what kind of fancy products the cosmetic industry is pushing these days, but my simple routine blows them all outta the water, I’m positive.
I even close my eyes and massage it into those delicate areas that other women are obsessing over with expensive anti-aging eye creams that cost buckets of money without offering much in return other than some synthetic ingredients and a token “plant-based” ingredient to make it sound natural. (The term “natural” is a complete free-for-all in North American, by the way. No regulations whatsoever.)
I also did a small experiment on a willing test subject. 🙂 I got my mother-in-law to try my tallow balm when we were visiting at Christmas. She has chronically dry hands, and has tried dozens of products in all price ranges and levels. She told me the next day that her hands had stayed moisturized for the entire day, which had never happened before with any of the products she’s tried. She immediately went and ordered some for herself that night.
How I Used Tallow on My Cracked Heels
The cool thing about the tallow balm too is that it’s super nourishing on your entire body. I always get dry, cracked heels in the winter – the cracks are several layers of skin deep, and it’s just all-around annoying to deal with, and sometimes painful. Exfoliating doesn’t keep on top of the issue well enough because there’s just not enough moisture in the skin, and the cracks return like whack-a-mole.
Just before Christmas, I spent a week applying tallow balm to my heels and feet every night at bedtime, and just like that – my cracked heels are all but gone.
Interestingly, it’s not just the deeply penetrating moisture in the balm that does the trick; it’s the abundance of natural vitamins too. Grass-fed tallow contains an abundance of vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with a large amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is an essential fatty acid know for its skin-nourishing abilities, and abundantly present in grass-fed beef.
Also, because it’s derived from animals instead of plants, it’s closer in composition to our human skin. Traditional wisdom was well aware of the wonderful properties of tallow. It was very commonly used before sub-par, synthetic body care products came onto the mass market in the twentieth century.
With the agreement of traditional wisdom, modern scientific research on the vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids in tallow balm, and from my personal experience, I’m satisfied in saying that I’ve found my perfect skincare routine.
Have you tried tallow balm?
Anyone use this for a teen with mild acne?
I make my own tallow butter (following the instructions from Bumblebee apothecary as mentioned above). One benefit not mentioned in any of the previous comments: It soothes mosquito bites!!! I get multiple bites a day daily from May through October – they feast on me. I used to get giant red welts with bites that would itch for days. Now I have jars of my whipped balms by my bed, at my desk, in the kitchen, in the bathroom – and in my purse. The moment I feel a bite, I rub the balm on my skin, and within ten minutes the itch subsides. The super-aggressive ones sometimes still bother for another hour, but that’s it. My heels are still dry, but not cracked. I don’t have dishwasher hands anymore, I love this balm. Also good on mild sunburns (I don’t know about anything more than a mild sunburn since that’s all I had this year). I just can’t convince my friends to use it! I say it’s non-toxic, how I’m upcycling… they think “ewww, not vegan”. sigh.
Recently purchased local mangalista lard, and not hydrogenated tallow (a huge amount :0 ) oops. So am definitely going to be using as regular skin care routine. Dry cracked heels, terrible complexion, Very red and scarred skin from terrible reactions to fragranced products. finding Micellar water works for me. But my skin has been through so much and I’m praying that this will help my skin in the long term. I cannot express enough how much I’ve suffered with acne, rosacea, and scarring. My experience with Lard and tallow so far (its only been 6 weeks) is my skin is soft and even blackheads etc. are just alleviating. Also for years I’ve skipped butter and animal fats while using vegetable, canola, peanut, grapeseed, olive, avacado oils because tallow and lard didn’t hit the shelves in Nebraska until 3 years ago. Also went vegetarian for a while and skipped meat, then ate as little animal products as possible for about a year. Lots of fruit and vegetables, pasta, tomato sauces, beans, smoothies. So all of the weight I have gained going from 165 lbs at 5 ft 9… to 220 lbs. in the last few years… while not hitting more than 1600 calories a day… proves to me that adverse reactions to these oils happen even while avoiding overeating. I live in the country and if i go out to eat its once a week so i know it isn’t from that. Also, I have not eaten many grains throughout my life (except for rice and bread approx. 1 slice a day). So now incorporating more oats and grits etc. I don’t eat a lot of sweets but I have eaten one to two servings of chips probably every day for my lunches. So right there goes to show…how unhealthy vegetable oils can be. I eat salad everyday and haven’t done much frying except for sundays breakfasts bacon eggs and potatoes. I also clean for a living and that is constantly keeping me moving. Like i said, I started using Lard and Tallow six weeks ago and my hunger is leveled out and I don’t feel deprived AT ALL, I’ve all together had a falling out with chips, I can hardly stand eating them anymore and my skin is soft. It’s shocking.
-Babs (sorry for the long and scattered comment ) LOL
I’m just learning about this! Wow! I am working to clear my oily t zone, would this clog pores?
Thanks for the info!
Hi Amanda! It’s generally agreed that tallow is very much non-clogging for pores. I think it’s absolutely worth a try for you! Let me know how it goes if you do. 🙂
Yes, yes, yes … tallow balm is the best. I get mine from a reliable source … it’s the best and absolutely cleanest version I’ve found to date (no smell whatsoever). I purchase it in a “whipped” form. After cleansing, I use a touch of marula oil before applying a thin layer of my whipped tallow … it’s the most effective moisturizer I’ve ever used. I use it straight up on the rest of my body … hands, elbows, and feet … to keep them super soft.
Glen R Rubin
I’m a guy but i get a problem with cracked skin on my hands especially in the winter. Recently, we purchased and slaughtered a sheep at a farm near me. I rendered the tallow and slathered it on my hands as well as face. There’s a little bit of a musky odor, which I think would deter most women from using it, but from what I understand lamb or sheep tallow is of an even higher quality than cow. Any tips on removing the odor, so i can offer some to my wife as well?
Purify it using a handful of salt and water – check out the BUMBLE BEE APOTHECARY TALLOW RENDERING PURIFYING video on Youtube for more details.
So hey what if we ferment the fat first into “high fat” then render it???, think the bacteria add any benefit???
I have recently discovered tallow balm .. and made my
Own whipped tallow balm with some oils and I
So impressed with the changes in my skin !!!
Hi Beth. I am trying to find the Crunchy Balm and am having no luck. Your link goes to a website that sells a different brand. Are you familiar with this brand and is it just as good?
Toups and Co Organics is their new name and web site.
I make my own tallow balms by rendering the suet and adding coconut oil to make it more spreadable. Fantastic and cost pennies a jar!
Hi so i use pure whipped tallow as well on my skin as a moistruizer. I have pretty problematic skin and the tallow didnt solve it at all. Its red all the time and very dry or dehydrated or both, like the skin literlally cracks and is scaly. I have acne as well, thats the problem. So i put a lot of tallow in to get through the day so my skin doesnt crack. So every day when i wash my face with pure water, i wash of the residue of the tallow, because there is a lot of grease. And while i try to get it off, my face is literally peeling itself. When i did that as gentle as possible i put on a new layer, i dont even rub it in bc my skin cant handle it. While pitting it on my skin shedds a lot of dead skin again. And the tallow is now mixed with hundrets of dead skin shedds.
So my skin is also often very itchy in the night, i guess bc of the dehydration or dryness nut i really dont know. Be now i am very tired of it, i think there is sonething really wrong with my skin. Its bad like i cant f****** handle it.
So sorry for the long text. Just needed to dump my frustration and hope that someone might have an idea whats wrong. Because i am at the end of my strength. I can’t enjoy life bc its hurts all the time.
Wish you all the best and thank you very much 🙂
Do you have a particular company you recommend for the argan oil? I recently switched to tallow but it doesn’t nourish my dry skin well enough so I’ve been pretty itchy. Maybe if I start with the argan oil first it will work.
Would you recommend for combination skin?
I have combination skin, so yes, I totally would!
I make my own and have for years. I have not tried the Crunchy Betty brand but have tried several other brands. When I first started making my own, I experiemented with beef and buffalo tallow. Now I use lamb tallow. I like the way it whips up much better. Do you know if lamb tallow is as beneficial as the beef tallow? Thanks for this post. Great information and I could TOTALLY relate to your opening – a lot of my family think I am crazy!
Tara D Burton
Hi Beth! Thank you for such an informative article! I am planning on switching to tallow and possibly argon oil too. I had a question for you I have an almost 12 year old whose face is beginning to break out a bit here at there. My mom purchased her something over the counter when she was visiting her and, while I am very thankful for her thoughtfulness, I would like her to have something with better and more (truly) natural ingredients. What would you suggest I have her use as a nightly (or morning) routine? She usually takes showers every other day in the eve. Something my mom did not do much with me is teach me how to take care of my skin – it is something I have had to figure out along the way – I want to give my daughter more guidance than I was given! I feel like I am still trying to figure things out at 41!! Thanks in advance!
The coupon code is all fixed, and should work now! Sorry about that! 🙂
I make my own facial moisturizing balm with tallow, argan, rosehip oil and frankincense. My daughter’s and i will never use anything else!
This is awesome!! I’ve been researching using tallow to make a facial moisturizer for myself. I’ve pretty much made all of my body care products for years but I had not moved onto my face yet. Last week I made cleanser and toner and this week I’m hoping to use my home made tallow to make moisturizer. My face and hands especially have dryness issues. Its neat to see my blogging peeps doing the same and giving rave reviews. Can’t wait to get this made up and start using it.
Hi Jamie, sorry I didn’t see this before now. I’ll double check and get back to you ASAP! 🙂
Ok, I just looked at the landing page again, and the coupon code is there near the top: REDHONEY10 🙂
So I make my own tallow (it’s delicious to cook with)… I wonder if I could make my own tallow balm?
Also do you keep it in the fridge or at room temperature?
I keep it at room temp. I bet you could make your own pretty easily, although I’m not sure of the process Emilie uses.
Been using home made. Add a whack of lavender oil and you are good to go.
Katie Mae Stanley
My first thought before I scrolled down was, “Frankincense would be great mixed with tallow for the face!”. 😉 Then I scrolled down and what do you know? My second thought was, “I have tallow in my fridge and the EO right next to my desk!!!!”.
Yes! The frankincense is great. I love it!
You mentioned cracked heels. Many crunchy people use magnesium oil at home. If you’ve not used this in copious amounts consistently on your feet, you may be surprised at the change. I’ve read about quite a few others who’ve had a similar reaction, and when I first started using it (LOTS of it, rubbed in anywhere I could handle it and definitely on the feet!) it made my feet peel. It was like they were experiencing a chemical peel, not a slight itching and flaking. It was like my skin was becoming new on my feet. Others have said it ridded their feet of their deep cracks. For me, it completely cured a painful corn on my large toe.