When I first heard of the idea of using beef tallow on your skin as moisturizer, I couldn't help but feel a little nauseous. It was a foreign concept to me, especially because at the time I was a skincare and makeup fiend. I used to spend exorbitant amounts of money at Sephora, hoard samples, and mark my calendar for any upcoming sales. But as soon a I learned how many endocrine disruptors are in the everyday products we know and love, I decided to slow down on the skincare I was buying myself. For a while, I tried to go for the "clean" products, but I quickly learned that just because something says "clean" on the label doesn't necessarily mean it's completely free of toxins and chemicals.
Most Americans unknowingly use products every single day that contain endocrine disruptors, and women especially tend to have no idea that their moisturizer, serum, foundation, and concealer is full of chemicals and toxins that have a negative effect on the body. That's why I decided to trade in my traditional face moisturizer for beef tallow.
What Are Endocrine Disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are either natural or man-made chemicals that interfere with your body's hormones. They're usually found in everything from cleaning products to perfumes to clothing to plastic. They're not to be taken lightly, as they can cause a buildup of toxins in your body that not only messes with your natural hormonal production and menstrual cycle, but also fertility, nervous system function, and even respiratory issues. Many endocrine disruptors have even been linked to certain cancers. There are many experts who say that the increase of toxins in our food, beauty products, and cleaning supplies have significantly contributed to the rise of obesity and chronic illnesses in vast amounts of Americans.
Most Americans unknowingly use products every single day that contain endocrine disruptor.
The "contamination theory of obesity" suggests that stubborn body fat could be the result of all those toxins we've been eating and using, in addition to overeating the wrong foods and hardly ever prioritizing nutrient-dense foods. Nutrition expert Mike Mutzel, MS, explains, "The reason why people are gaining weight is because we're constantly exposed to persistent organic pollutants, endocrine disrupting chemicals, flame retardants in our furniture, in our clothes, in our cosmetics, and also in our food and water." You could be eating in a calorie deficit and yet you still have trouble losing weight because there are all sorts of toxins that are interfering with your endocrine system.
"And as you know, the adage goes, the solution for pollution is dilution, meaning that if you're exposed to these plastics and these endocrine disrupting chemicals, one way the body can help to dilute them is by creating new fat cells because many of these compounds, PCBs, phthalates, the endocrine disruptors, it turns out, are fat soluble, not water soluble," Mike continues. "So the more fat that you have around the abdomen or on the back of the arms, around the glutes, the more repositories or depots there are for these compounds to go."
One of the first ways to eliminate toxins out of your life is to get rid of endocrine-disrupting makeup and skincare. That's where beef tallow comes in.
What Is Beef Tallow?
Tallow is rendered beef fat. It's cooked down from any kind of cut of cow meat, such as steaks, ribs, roast, etc. When beef tallow is at room temperature, it's solid, much like coconut oil. Our ancestors used beef tallow for just about everything, from cooking to salves to beauty needs. However, today it's not used very commonly. McDonald's actually used to fry their French fries in beef tallow until 1990 when health organizations were paid off to lie about the so-called dangers of saturated fat. The average American household today likely doesn't have any beef tallow in their kitchen, and this is largely due to how successful public health organizations have been in convincing Americans that vegetable oil is healthier for you than animal fat.
Get rid of endocrine-disrupting makeup and skincare.
Beef tallow is highly nutritious, containing vitamins A, D, E, K2, B12, choline, and more. It's a great source of saturated fat that is not only more stable than other cooking oils at high temperatures, but it could help prevent breast tumors and colon cancer. As for your skin, you might think that beef tallow would clog your pores and cause acne. However, the opposite may be true. Our cell membranes are made up of many fatty acids, and the make-up of tallow is nearly identical, so this naturally occurring fat can nourish your cell membranes and protect your skin.
What Happened When I Used Beef Tallow For Moisturizer
For the last few months I have been using a face moisturizer from Biossance, which is rated as one of the cleanest brands out there. But after I felt a big difference from exclusively cooking with beef tallow (or coconut oil or butter), I realized there was probably something about tallow that could topically work some magic on my skin as well. I didn't know anyone personally who had tried it as part of their skincare, but I was willing to give it a shot. After all, I had used coconut oil in the past for moisturizer and it didn't cause any harm, so I figured I might as well give tallow a shot.
The texture of tallow is luxurious and thick.
One of the common pillars of my skincare routine is I wash my face with face wash as little as possible. In the morning, I simply rinse with warm water and if I don't wear makeup that day, I just rinse with water at the end of the night. I decided to use a small amount of tallow first thing in the morning after rinsing my face, as well as a moderate amount on my face right before bed.
The texture of tallow is luxurious and thick. It feels heavy compared to the traditional moisturizers you might buy at beauty stores, but when it goes on the skin it doesn't feel like it's thick or clogging your pores. It actually feels pretty nice. If you use an appropriate amount of tallow, it doesn't transfer to other surfaces, such as your pillow or a shirt that you're putting over your head, but I made sure to use a very small amount in the morning, especially if I needed to put a little makeup on over it. A little goes a long way.
One thing many people asked me is if it smells like cow. Fair question. My answer is, it depends. I have bought beef tallow before that is quite potent and I have also bought beef tallow that doesn't have much of a smell to it. I don't know why there are these differences, but as far as I know, scent doesn't indicate that one type of tallow is better than the other. I found a wonderful beef tallow that is perfect for topical use (and for eating or cooking, if you prefer a product that offers double duty). I use a CBD-infused beef tallow from Santa Cruz Medicinals and I have absolutely loved it so far. Sometimes I cook with it too, but mostly I use it for my face. Like I said earlier, a little goes a long way, so this little container will last you for a long, long time. I've been using it for a few weeks now and I barely scratched at the surface of it. There is very little scent as well; my husband couldn't even tell I used beef tallow the first night I climbed into bed with it on my face. An added bonus: the packaging is sleek and attractive, so it looks nice on your bathroom counter.
After just a week of using tallow as moisturizer, my skin was smoother than usual.
After just a week of using tallow as moisturizer, my skin was smoother than usual. I was getting so many compliments from friends and some followers on Instagram. It was even smoother to the touch and I felt like I was seeing fewer blemishes. I'm not sure if this was placebo effect, but either way, it was a positive result. I didn't even use any serums or eye creams with it. It's just been beef tallow and beef tallow alone. Now I don't know if I'll ever go back to regular moisturizer.
I've been recommending beef tallow to all my friends for a variety of uses. It's especially good for cooking (and much healthier than seed oils), but it can be used just as well for topical needs. Another great thing about beef tallow is that it's very affordable, so you don't need to spend so much money on overly priced moisturizer anymore. The best advice I can give is, try it and see how you like it, and give it at least two weeks before you throw in the towel.