Tallow…yes, as in rendered beef fat 😂 I had been seeing people talk about it on social media and how they use it on their faces. I was surely intrigued, but also suuuuper skeptical. My first reaction was “um that’s gross” and then my second thought was “wouldn’t that be SO greasy and make you break out?!” But after hearing so many people singing its praises for skincare use…I just knew I had to give it a try myself!
This post covers:
- Call Me Curious: Why I Wanted to Try Tallow!
- Benefits of Using Tallow for Skincare
- Cons of Using Tallow for Skincare
- My Personal Experience Using Tallow for 60+ Days & Which Brand I Used
- Final Thoughts About Tallow for Skincare
Call Me Curious: Why I Wanted to Try Tallow!
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know that I am not afraid of trying new skincare fads or regimens. What can I say, I love being a guinea pig and testing things out so I can report back to you guys!
Now, as a clean beauty and skincare blogger, I’ve basically been testing out tons of products over the years. Honestly though, I feel like I had been craving some sort of “skin reset” and felt called to simplify and slow down my skincare routine.
My skin had been more sensitive than usual. In the past, I never really had any issues or reactions to products. But there were more occasions lately where I had lots of redness, flushing, and reactions. So I knew my skin barrier was compromised and telling me to CHILL THE EFF OUT and stop using so many skincare products and actives (such as Vitamin C).
So I scaled down my routine and bought some tallow to try! 😳
Related post: “A Peek at What My Natural Skincare Routine *Actually* Looks Like“
Benefits of Using Tallow for Skincare
Before I share my experience, let’s back up and talk more about WHY tallow can be beneficial to use in skincare. I surely fell for some misconceptions and thought it would turn me into a greaseball, haha! But it’s actually been used for centuries so the concept is not anything new. We’re just modern-day hippies rediscovering it 🤓
- Tallow is LOADED with nutrients such as Vitamins A, B12, D, E, K, and fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, oleic, alpha-linoleic, and conjugated linoleic [CLA]) that promote skin health. If you’re familiar with retinol in skincare, that uses synthetic Vitamin A because you can’t get the potency from plants. Tallow is a natural and bioavailable source of Vitamin A which can help with skin regeneration and keep skin youthful! Plus, Vitamin E has been shown to prevent collagen breakdown.
- Provides adequate moisture for skin and is compatible with our skin’s natural oils (fun fact: “sebum” translates to “suet” or “tallow” in Latin!)
- Tallow contains some antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
- Generally okay for all skin types to use, even acne-prone! It has a comedogenic rating of 2 which means it is non-comedogenic and has a moderately low likelihood of clogging pores (of course, everyone’s skin is different so it’s not a guarantee!)
- Does not contain any PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) which some people choose to avoid due to concerns about oxidization
- Natural and safe enough to eat 😉
By the way, quality matters! Opt for grass-fed tallow which has a higher nutrient content compared to grain-fed.
Additionally, you can absolutely use tallow on your body too, not just the face! It is ideal for dry skin, eczema, cracked heels, etc.
Cons of Using Tallow for Skincare
And just to play devil’s advocate! I think a lot of people tout tallow as some miraculous cure-all solution. As always, take it with a grain of salt! While I’ve mostly heard positive outcomes from other tallow users, I’ve also heard from a select few that they did not respond well to tallow (ie. it aggravated their acne). Again, we all have bio-individual skin and might react differently!
My friend Sara from Healthy Skin Glows is a knowledgeable source about all things skincare. Here is her take on tallow and why it might not work for everyone!
Two other “cons” when it comes to tallow:
- If you are trying to avoid animal products, tallow is obviously not for you since it is not plant-based! 🙂
- It can stink! The “beefy” smell is going to vary depending on where you get it from and how it’s processed. Generally, the tallows rendered specifically for skincare use will have a less noticeable smell than the straight-up stuff from the store for cooking.
My Personal Experience Using Tallow for 60+ Days
Alright, I was equal parts nervous and excited to give tallow a shot! 🐮 Since I have struggled with acne in the past, I was worried that it would make me break out. But I committed to using it exclusively as my moisturizer for 30 days and didn’t introduce any other new products. I ended up going for 60+ days to really see how it worked for me longer-term!
My Thoughts About Using Tallow on My Skin
As far as the actual experience while applying tallow, here are some things I noticed:
- A little goes a long way! If you use too much it can feel sort of heavy. But with just the right amount (you’ll figure out how much you need!) it DOES moisturize my skin well and is surprisingly not greasy or oily looking.
- It takes longer to soak in and more effort to blend compared to most lotions or facial oils. I typically use facial oils which are very emollient and silky. Tallow is more balm-like and since I live in a colder climate, it needs some warming up in my fingers before applying (can be sort of gritty). I like to rub it on my hands first then gently pat it onto my skin. I feel like it takes 5-10 minutes to fully absorb before I put on makeup.
- I prefer to apply tallow to DAMP skin or even spritz a drop or two of toner because that makes it WAY easier to glide onto skin and blend in.
This might look different for you depending on what specific brand or formula you use, too!
Before & After Using a Tallow Moisturizer
Overall, my skin has felt supple and happy while using tallow! It really is moisturizing and feels like it pairs well with my skin’s natural chemistry. I have not had any reactions, extreme redness, or flushing.
I did not notice any drastic changes but did see subtle improvements! My fine lines didn’t magically disappear or anything. But the redness on my cheeks/rosacea did calm down a bit and my skin tone is much more even! This could also be due to the fact that my regimen in general has been much simpler and I’ve been avoiding any harsh actives or exfoliants.
I did notice a tiny bit of congestion/minor breakouts on my forehead from time to time. However, that’s pretty common for me and it’s also the holiday season so I’ve been indulging in a lot more sweets than usual. So I can’t say for sure if it’s from tallow or diet! (…but it’s probably the sugar 😝)
In summary, my skin seems to respond well to tallow and it’s a gentle yet effective moisturizer!
What I’ve Been Using: Sun & Moo Tallow Balms
Now, you might be wondering what brand I’ve been using and what it looks like!
I feel like I hear about a new tallow skincare brand daily now, they’re becoming so popular and trendy! There are a lot of brands to choose from, but I’ve been following @cookwithangelika on Instagram for some time and wanted to try her tallow brand Sun & Moo! 🐄
Her balms are grass-fed AND grass-finished from an organic, pasture-raised family farm. They have a lighter, whipped texture which I was drawn to. And supporting a small, woman-owned business is my jam. Plus, cute branding helps ☺️
Additionally, Sun & Moo formulas use fresh herbs instead of essential oils. I think EOs can certainly be beneficial when used sparingly, but during this “skin reset” phase, I’ve been trying to avoid them because they can be irritating and sensitizing.
Even though her blends use other ingredients like jojoba, they do still have a tallow scent! Sun & Moo process theirs in a way that does take away most of the “beefy” smell like most tallows from the store but it’s still noticeable! I don’t mind it, but it’s definitely a little different. My husband jokes that I smell like french fries when applying it, and my dog is always like “ooo what is that” 🤣🍟
(you could always add your own essential oils for scent!)
Sun & Moo Simple Thing and Age Reverse Balms
She sells various tallow blends in her shop, but I picked up Simple Thing and Age Reverse to try. Simple Thing is just grass-fed suet tallow and organic cold-pressed jojoba oil so I thought it would be a good one to start with as a beginner. I used that one for 30 days and then introduced Age Reverse at nighttime which is a more robust formula with grass-fed tallow, organic cold-pressed jojoba oil, plantain, carrot seed oil, and raw honey.
Both are great, but ultimately I like Age Reverse better since I’m in my 30s and trying to be proactive about keeping my skin youthful; it’s more what I’m looking for at the moment! It also smells slightly less tallow-y and blends in easier. Overall, I’m really happy with them!
You can use the coupon code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on your Sun & Moo order!
NOTE: Sun & Moo does weekly releases of the tallow balms and they sell out VERY quickly (in a matter of minutes). I know she’s working on having more stocked consistently in the future, but just FYI! Also, this is not sponsored and I bought the balms myself and truly wanted to share my journey with you! But I do receive a small commission if you make a purchase using my coupon code.
Reader Favorite Tallow Skincare Brands
I polled my readers and here are some of their tried and true tallow brands:
Final Thoughts About Tallow for Skincare
First and foremost, quality matters! If you want to try tallow, make sure it’s well-sourced and grass-fed. Or find a DIY recipe and render some yourself!
My skin DOES respond well to tallow and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with it!
Again, I don’t think it’s a miracle solution and might not work for everyone. And of course, healthy skin starts from within! But there is something to be said about an extremely simple and natural skincare routine that goes back to the basics.
Will I still go back to my other skincare products? You betcha! What can I say, I’m a skincare junkie at heart. I also very much missed my actives such as Vitamin C. But I definitely think there’s a time and a place for scaling back, especially if your skin is signaling you to slow down.
But I will for sure keep using the Sun & Moo tallow balms in my routine! I’m also eager to try some other brands in the future too. Tallow FTW!
I wanna know: are you #TeamTallow or are you like, NO THANKS that is completely crazy?! Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading 💚
Sources & Further Reading:
- Anti-inflammatory effects of conjugated linoleic acid isomers and essential fatty acids in bovine mammary epithelial cells
- A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef
- Beef Tallow Increases the Potency of Conjugated Linoleic Acid in the Reduction of Mouse Mammary Tumor Metastasis
- Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging
- Tallow Skin Care: The Complete Guide
- Topical anti-inflammatory activity of palmitoleic acid improves wound healing
- Traditional Wisdom on Tallow Confirmed by Science
- Understanding the Comedogenic Scale for Oils and Butters