So, you might have heard that fats are something to avoid, but turns out, that's not always the case. Recently, people have been discovering the benefits of using tallow (rendered beef and mutton fat) as a moisturiser for the skin. But, is it really as good as they say? Well, let's dive in and find out.
First off, let's talk about what tallow is exactly. It's a solid at room temperature, but when it's purified and processed, it becomes more oily. To get the most benefits, it's important to use tallow from grass-fed animals (like cows, sheep, or bison) because the food they eat alters the composition of their fat tissue. And, just like coconut oil, when it's warm it's liquidy and has a bright gold color, but when it cools, it becomes solid and turns a soft cream color.
When it comes to using tallow for your skin, there are two main types: beef tallow and mutton tallow. Both are natural, have a long shelf life, and are high in saturated fats. But, beef tallow is a bit more saturated than mutton tallow and mutton tallow has a bit more Vitamin E. And, when it comes to the fatty acid composition, beef tallow has more palmitic acid and mutton tallow has more oleic and stearic acid.
One of the things that makes tallow so great for our skin is that it closely resembles our own natural sebum (the oil produced by our skin's glands). This means that it's well-received by most skin types, doesn't cause irritation, and can be a lifesaver for those with dry skin.
One of the main fatty acids in tallow is oleic acid, which makes up about 47% of the fatty acid composition. It's a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that's great for dry or aging skin because it deeply penetrates the skin's surface and replenishes lost moisture. Plus, it can balance natural oil production and prevent future breakouts without clogging pores. It also has antioxidants, which fight off free radicals and prevent damage from oxidation.
Another important fatty acid is palmitic acid, which makes up about 26% of the fatty acid composition. It's a saturated fatty acid that's commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products. In a cleanser, it can be drying, but in a moisturiser, it's a great emollient that makes the skin soft and retains moisture by forming a protective layer.
Finally, there's stearic acid, another saturated fatty acid found in tallow. It's used in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products as a fragrance, surfactant, and emulsifier. It has a double function - as a surfactant it helps to clean the skin, but as an emulsifier it helps to keep oils and water-based ingredients together in a product.
So, there you have it! Tallow has some great benefits for our skin, but it's important to use tallow from grass-fed animals to get the most out of it just as we do at ESCA. Just like anything, it's important to do your own research and see if it's right for you. But, it's definitely worth considering as an alternative to traditional moisturisers. Give our Tallow and Manuka Honey Balm a go and let us know what you think.