Grass fed tallow soap is nothing like your traditional vegetable bar soap or commercially-made store-bought soap. The skin-loving properties in tallow make it an extremely wise choice for soaps and skin care products especially for people with sensitive skin. Tallow has been used successfully for THOUSANDS OF YEARS for things such as medicinal ointments, candles, soaps, cooking oils, skin balms and hair care and we're doing our best to bring it back into daily routine!
Grass-fed tallow contains vitamins A, D, E and K, CLA and palmitoleic acid (a known antimicrobial element) and is biologically compatible with our skin. Tallow provides key nutrients we need to maintain radiant skin. Tallow and sebum (the oily secretion of our skin's sebaceous glands) consist primarily of triglycerides which allow for easy absorption of nutrients. Read all about the benefits of beef tallow.
Not to mention that sebum actually means tallow in Latin! See, our ancestors knew what the good stuff was. Starting in the 1950's, tallow was being replaced by more profitable vegetable oils and vilified as an ingredient to avoid due to its high levels of saturafted fats. Recent studies have shown just the opposite!
Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise tells the Wall Street Journal:
"There has never been solid evidence for the idea that these [saturated] fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics, and bias."
As a meat eater, what is the difference between ingesting animal protein and lathering up your body with it? Nothing! And if you adhere to an organic meat diet, or a grass-fed, free-range meat diet, you're already one step closer to understanding the importance of grass fed tallow soap and tallow skincare.
The nutrients in the grass, the vitamin D production from the sunshine and the energy produced by the animal being allowed to live in an environment that resembles its natural habitat are all stored in the animal's fat.
Paleolithic lifestyle proponents or keepers of the "Paleo" way of life agree that we have been meat eaters since the dawn of time, why would consuming meat or products made from meat suddenly be such a bad idea. The only arguement I can see is that we have to ensure our animal protein and animal fat skincare comes from grass fed animals as there is a vast difference between pasture-raised and feedlot-raised.
Non grass-fed beef can transfer a chemical concoction of hormones, pesticides and gmo food byproduct to our bodies. Because our skin is our largest organ, we have to ensure that we feed it with high quality products such as grass fed tallow soaps and tallow skincare products.
Our ancestors did not have to concern themselves with grass fed versus conventional. This language did not even exist, but it does today. Unfortunately, most conventionally-produced soaps and skincare contain tallow from factory farmed cows. And our marketplace is flooded with them!
Your face lotion, shampoo, shaving cream, lip stick, lotion, and tons of other products are all likely to contain versions of tallow, almost always obtained by large-scale cow factories that produce life-less tallow without any of the vibrancy mentioned above.
Around the 1950's, consumer trends began to change due to an orchestrated effort by industrial farmers to persuade, mostly women, to purchase more than they produce. This is also around the same time when loads of "research" was released arguing that saturated fats from butter, red meat and milk were harmful (modern research has since trumped this claim).
So naturally, as the production of cheap vegetable oils increased and the demonizing of tallow continued, the use of tallow and homemade skincare products decreased.
This unfortunately left tallow, which was readily obtainable by most families, out in the cold.
Now I'm going to assume that, by my own research and trials, commerical soap makers of the time who joined the vegetable oil bandwagon discovered that tallow-free products did not produce the same skin repairing, moisturizing, cleansing benefits as did the tallow-based products. "Hmmm...what shall we do..." (my best commercial soap maker man voice)
So, isolated elements of tallow, or tallow simply identified by not-so-common names were added to products to maintain their integrity at the same time that the vegetable oil campaigns were carrying on.
I find it interesting that the same companies that have invested a significant amount of money on "research" and marketing to convince you to shy away from animal fat skin care products are the same companies that actually use tallow in their products, just hoping you won't do your research.
So why shouldn't you just keep on using these same old products if they already have tallow?
The key difference, we as informed consumers must know, is that they are not using grass-fed tallow. Back in the old days, all animals were "grass-fed". They didn't have to decipher between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. The idea of factory-farming is a very new, and mind you, very dangerous practice.
The tallow that comes from these microbe-infested factory farms is NOT THE SAME TALLOW THAT HAS BEEN USED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS WITH POSITIVE RESULTS.
First of all, that's not at all how it goes and my picture to the left is just to toy with those of you that are squeamish...sorry, I'm a brat.
Using tallow is not at all like rubbing your body with a slab of meat. Tallow does not leave any scum on your skin, it doesn't smell like ground beef, beef jerky, a Sunday afternoon pot roast or any other silly food people are worried about smelling like. And if rendered properly, it shouldn't have much of a smell at all.
But then again, maybe you ARE onto something here. I agree, it would be gross to slather just any animal fat on your skin, but here again is where being an informed consumer comes into play. Ensure that the tallow or products made from tallow that you use, are pure, clean and rendered properly, along with being from grass-fed cows.
We take this element of tallow rendering VERY seriously. We literally drive down to the family-run farm to pick up our frozen suet (tallow before rendering). We then take it the very next day, while still frozen, to a local butcher to have him run the suet through a commercial grinder. We observe the entire process to ensure nothing is added or taken away from our suet (we're kind of particular).
Then, we store the frozen suet in chest freezers until we need it. Throughout the year, as we produce more and more soap, we render the frozen suet into tallow to ensure it is fresh every time (we're also particular about observing proper shelf-life).
This process is quite extensive. (here will be a link to an article that details how to render tallow...stay tuned) The highly reduced instructions are that we scoop some suet into a stainless steel pot and allow it to simmer on the stove until the meat and bits of tissue have almost become cracklin'. We then strain the whole pot through medium mesh to remove large particles. **side note, when we learned how to render tallow, this was where most instructions told us to allow the tallow to cool, then use in soap making. Yeah, we thought that was kind of gross as the tallow still has small fibers of tissue in it.**
Back to it.... we then take that strained liquid tallow and pour it back into a large pot, pour about 4 cups of water into it and turn on the heat. We allow the liquid to get hot enough to circulate, but not hot enough to boil which can damage the precious oil. We stir constantly to essentially "wash" the tallow with the water. Then we pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and allow the tallow to cool in the fridge overnight.
The next day we pour off the dirty water, take the solid tallow and repeat the entire wet washing technique once more. We allow it to chill overnight, then perform the same technique one final time. In all, we actually filter the tallow four times, but the word "quadruple" doesn't sound as cool as "triple".
Because we triple purify our beef tallow to ensure the utmost clarity, we can confidently say that our tallow and skincare care products made with tallow are "made from the best fat on earth". There is no visible difference in the clarity of the oil from say extra virgin olive oil except the bright golden color...and of course the superior feel on the body.
Tallow imparts characteristics to a bar of soap that is unmatched by any one vegetable oil. Tallow soaps tend to last longer and form a much more firm bar of soap than their vegetable counterparts. Tallow soaps will keep their shape and resist becoming mushy throughout the entire use of the soap.
Tallow soaps also yield a rich, creamy moisturizing lather not commonly found in either store bought soaps or all vegetable oil soaps. This makes tallow soap good for hand washing, full body cleansing, shaving and shampooing! And grass fed tallow soaps are the supreme of them all.
Due to the nutrient intake and sunshine of the animal, grass fed animal fats provide a lengthy list of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients that when applied to the skin, help maintain skin integrity and tone. Grass fed tallow (again, not commercially produced tallow made from cows that have been forced to live an indoor, corn fed, restricted lifestyle which imparts almost no nutritional value to their fat) has a heavy dose of vitamin A, D, E & K, CLA, palmitoleic acid and more.
And if that doesn't make you want to slap some tallow on your skin, consider this. Our skin and tallow both consist of 50-55% saturated fats which are in fact good for you. (This would be yet another one of the methods of marketing by the vegetable oil industry to discredit animal fats). Why is this important you ask?
Because saturated fats are actually an important part of your daily diet. Saturated fats helps support your immune system, contribute to healthy bones, teeth, skin and hair, provide structural integrity to skin cells and aide in the processing of essential fatty acids.
Still not convinced? ... How about the fact that grass-fed tallow contains CLA.
CLA is conjugated linoleic acid that has been tested and reported to have numerous anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic, fat reducing and immune enhancing benefits. What?!! You mean to tell me that using grass fed tallow on my skin can do all that?! Yep.
Could the increase in cancer over the years be linked to the reduction of intake of high quality grass fed beef and beef tallow? Hmm....
(please note, this is an ongoing article with added information as we come across the research. Please check back often to learn more.)