You want me to rub what on my face? Tallow, yep tallow.
Beef fat rendered into tallow is fantastic for skin issues. I’ve heard stories of it being the only thing to stop acne in its tracks. I love it for the relief I get from my skin psoriasis and the dewy youth it returns to my face. I’ve never had it irritate my skin or contribute to acne like coconut oil has, and it doesn’t trap in heat and redness like products with beeswax tend to. It’s 100% natural, it’s easy to obtain once you look for it, and it honors the sacrifice of the animals we use for food, as we use more of the animal than we might otherwise.
Does it smell like beef fat? Well yes, as that’s what it is, but once it is absorbed into your skin, the smell disappears. Some people like to add essential oils to cover the smell, but I don’t find this necessary. In fact, I prefer to infuse the oil with dried herbs – this decreases the environmental impact of overusing essential oils, decreases the likelihood that there will be an adverse skin reaction, and helps the medicine maker feel a stronger connection to the plants themselves.
Sourcing Beef Fat:
A great rule to follow is to never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. When it comes to fats and oils, this is even more important. Many not so pleasant substances like pesticides and pharmaceuticals concentrate in fat tissue. This is why, when you purchase lower quality meats, opting for leaner cuts is advised. I only use grass-fed fat in my products (and meals).
I get my beef fat from Kookoolan farms when I pick up my beef shares. There are many ethical farmers raising grass-fed animals. Do a search, I’m sure you will find someone you can either pick up from or in a pinch someone who will ship to you.
Rendering Tallow is quite easy, it takes heat and time. To speed the process, you can trim your fat of meat and other non-fat substances and then cut it up into smaller pieces. It’s much easier to do this when the fat is partially frozen, and you can even use a food processor to pulse it into rice-sized pieces.
Once you have your fat ready, you will want to melt it over gentle heat. I crockpot works great for this, but you can also do it on your stovetop. You can use a double boiler, or a saucepan over low heat. If you are heating the fat directly, you will want to pay close attention to prevent it from burning. Once the fat has all melted into a golden liquid, filter out the solid particles with a mesh strainer or some cheese cloth.
You now have tallow. You can proceed to the next step directly, or you can let it solidify to work with later. I like to line a baking pan with waxed paper and pour the tallow in. After sitting in a refrigerator overnight, you will have white silky solid tallow. This can be cut into smaller pieces and stored in the freezer long term, or the refrigerator for several months.
Infusing Tallow with Herbs:
This step is just as easy as rendering the Tallow – easier as you don’t need to prep the fat! Using whatever method you melted the fat, add dried herbs and make sure they are covered by the liquid fat. Let heat for 2-4 hours if using the double boiler or stovetop or overnight if using the crockpot. Be sure to add water as needed to your double boiler.
You will notice that the odor and color of your tallow has changed during this process. Strain your herbs and either discard or compost in a worm bin or other hot compost method – don’t add to a cold compost pile as the fat will go rancid and stink up your area.
Again, you can proceed to the next step or store long-term.
Creating a Balm:
This step is super easy. The limiting factor is having containers to store your balm. I like 2 oz metal tins or 4 oz mason jars. Avoid plastic as the fats will infuse with the chemicals from the plastic; there’s more that’s harmful in there than BPA, so avoid plastic as much as possible.
Once you have your containers ready, add 2 tsp of oil per 1/2 cup liquid tallow. I like olive and jojoba oil, but any oil that is liquid at room temperature works great. Pour into your containers, allow to cool and solidify at room temperature, put the lids on, and figure out your storage.
I like to keep one active container on my bathroom counter for twice daily use and keep the rest in the refrigerator.
Using Your Balm:
This is the easiest step of all! Smear it on, rub it in, and experience incredibly soft and smooth skin. I suggest taking a picture of your face in the evening after you have washed it. Then apply your tallow balm all over your face, neck, and décolletage. When you wake in the morning, take another picture of your face and compare. You may be quite pleasantly shocked. I also like using this balm on any dry skin areas, psoriasis, eczema, chapped lips, dry cuticles – you get the idea.
Enjoy your resourcefulness, enjoy getting creative with herbs, and enjoy your happy, healthy skin!
Want more information on taking care of your skin? Check out this vintage post on skin rashes.
To our Health!