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.
“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.”¹
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?
Fallon, Sally, Enig, Mary G., PhD (2001). Nourishing Traditions. NewTrends Publishing, Inc., Washington: 11