Want glowing skin that is hydrated, moisturized, replenished, and protected from the elements all winter long? Try making this completely natural DIY homemade whipped tallow body butter moisturizer. This recipe combines tallow with cocoa butter and beeswax making your skin smell like chocolate and feel as amazing as it smells.
What Is Tallow?
Tallow is a saturated animal fat made primarily from rendered cow fat. However, we can call fat from other mammals (like sheep and bison) tallow too, with pork being the notable exception, pork fat always being called lard.
Beef tallow is 50% saturated fat, 42% monounsaturated fat and 4% polyunsaturated fat.
In its original form, it is a hard, waxy, dry, crumbly substance.
After rendering (literally just melting it on low heat and straining out any meaty bits) it becomes an amazing, healthy cooking fat that can be used in any recipe calling for oil or fat. As it is a fairly neutral oil, there is a noticeable scent but it is not overpowering or offensive — much like leaf lard. The fat will smell pleasantly clean. It has a very high smoke point and stored in the refrigerator, it lasts forever without oxidizing or going off, unlike many plant oils.
Lots of people following Paleo, Primal, WAPF, and Keto diets/lifestyles are already familiar with the benefits of tallow as a cooking fat.
Tallow is a very traditional cooking fat and a primary ingredient in the traditional Native American preparation of pemmican.
Tallow is also an incredible moisturizer and my go-to come winter for skincare.
I only use it on my face at night as the last step in my skincare. I recommend you do the same as it can be heavy for daytime usage. For the rest of your body, go nuts at any time, it's wonderfully moisturizing and soothing. Your skin feels hydrated, baby soft, and utterly replenished.
Tallow was also traditionally used to make soaps, and still is, although it is very hard to find this now. I will cover tallow soap making in another article.
The best part? Tallow is a byproduct, one often going to complete waste. Yes, it has its place in industrial usage and even animal feed, but I would rather it regain prominence in our kitchens, to be honest. This is a nourishing ingredient and we can be using it inside and outside our bodies.
Tallow is still incredibly cheap to purchase, even the pastured grass-fed stuff that I get from my butcher.
A little bit goes a long way for skincare, so the amount you make should last you throughout the winter.
Tallow For Skincare
Our cell membranes are made up of saturated fat, just like tallow.
As our unsubstantiated fears of fats, including saturated animal fats, fade into the oblivion where they belong, so many of us are rediscovering tallow both as a cooking fat and for skincare. Tallow excels in both of these areas.
And why not? It works incredibly well. And it would just be wasted otherwise, which is ridiculous and wrong.
Does Tallow Clog Pores?
Your mileage may vary so do a patch test if you plan to use this on your face.
For me — an oily-skinned person prone to pore clogging, it is absolutely fine.
Again, you are an individual and things may work differently for you than for me.
It is highly unlikely you will have issues using tallow on the rest of your body. This recipe uses cocoa butter which for many people can be comedogenic. I strongly recommend either making a small amount without the cocoa butter to be used exclusively on your face, or patch testing the cocoa butter/tallow mixture on your face before using it.
Using Tallow For Oil-Cleansing
Tallow is a perfect oil for oil-cleansing.
It will get deep into your pores, dissolve your makeup, and potentially dislodge any hard clogs too.
Try it out for yourself.
Tallow For Hair Care
You can use this whipped tallow once a week for an amazing deep hair conditioner.
I massage it into my scalp, wrap my head in a microfiber towel, and then go to sleep and let the tallow work its magic overnight.
I do not comb it through entirely, as I would be rinsing it out of my thick waist-length hair for literal hours the next morning.
Tallow fights scalp dryness and flakiness that can be a serious problem, especially in the wintertime.
Where To Find Tallow
Call your local butcher.
The popularity of tallow and animal fats have thankfully skyrocketed so you can find it so much easier now.
If you cannot find it near you, then check out some online sources.
Rendering Your Own Tallow
Rendering your own tallow is cheaper than buying it already rendered.
As I said, tallow is just melted beef fat that is then strained for an impurities/meaty bits. You can easily do this at home.
Just put the fat into a pot on the lowest heat and let the stovetop do the rest. Pour through a colander afterwards, and you are done.
I'll explain in greater detail in the instructions for the whipped body butter.
Essential Oil Skin Safety
I'm firmly against the use of essential oils in skincare. There is a lot of data out there showing them to ultimately be irritating to the skin and thus pro-ageing, which is not something any of us want.
Accelerated ageing? No thanks. I'm happy with the nice, slow pace I'm going at.
Even some of the essential oils used to treat acne that show promise (like tea tree oil) are still irritating and not as good as some other acne-fighting ingredients.
And they are utterly useless for anti-ageing.
In terms of essential oils for ageing skin, none can successfully deal with the appearance of wrinkles, brown spots, loss of firmness, or address the need to exfoliate the skin, especially in comparison to the hundreds of beneficial, non-fragrant plant extracts and vitamins that have no risk of causing irritation. (From Paula's Choice, read more by clicking here.)
In fact, the only time I use essential oils directly on my skin is when I'm making my anti-mosquito/black fly repellant. But even that is going onto clothing layers when I can avoid it on my skin, and I consider it worth it to avoid being eaten alive on long days in the forest during mosquito season.
Please be careful if you decide you add essential oils into this recipe because I frequently see them used recklessly in DIY recipes across the internet.
Many essential oils are also simply unsafe for skin use.
And yet I see them used in professional skincare lines and in bloggers' recipes for moisturizers.
Did you know, for example, that orange, lemon, and lime, can cause phototoxicity if applied before exposure to the sun?
I found that out the hard way myself one winter in Mexico. I was drinking margaritas and lime juice was constantly getting on my hands and forearms. I awoke from a nap in the shade one day and looked down at my arms to see them covered in mottled dark brown spots covering the backs of my hands and my forearms.
I thought I had a rash or allergic reaction, but nope, it was the lime juice and oils from the rind.
Fragrant oils are just not worth it. I would rather enjoy them safely in candles, scented sachets, and other more appropriate methods.
I will admit to still using them on my temples occasionally for aromatherapy purposes, but that is as far as it goes.
In any event, I do not recommend adding essential oils into this recipe for these pretty compelling reasons.
The cocoa butter in this recipe already smells AMAZING.
What To Use Instead
There are lots of great alternatives to essential oils. I recommend the following:
- Cocoa Butter
- Calendula Extract
- Calluna flower extract (heather)
- Algae Extract
- Almond Oil
- Olive Oil
- Aloe Extract & Juice
- Apricot Kernel Oil
- Argan Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Rose Hip Oil
- Mink Oil
- Emu Oil
- Coconut Oil (potentially comedogenic)
My favourites are bolded. Some of these may be comedogenic (pore-clogging) and an issue when used on your face. Since I use this tallow for my face at night-time, I skip adding coconut oil, and use the exact recipe written here.
As a bonus, my ingredients of beeswax and cocoa butter smell amazing. But you can make a separate small batch of pure tallow to use on your face if the cocoa butter is comedogenic.
Sourcing Cocoa Butter & Beeswax
Use food-grade cocoa butter and try and find local beeswax, avoiding anything from China at all costs. Call up local bee people and see if they sell beeswax or can refer you to someone who does.
There is a VAST array of quality differences when it comes to ordering these two ingredients.
Cocoa butter should smell strongly like chocolate and chocolate only.
Beeswax will have a scent of honey, although it may be barely recognizable depending on the processing.
Here are brands I have personally used and recommend:
Whipped Tallow Face & Body Butter:Print
Whipped Tallow Body Butter
Want glowing skin that is hydrated, moisturized, replenished, and protected from the elements all winter long? Try making this completely natural DIY homemade whipped tallow body butter moisturizer.
Cocoa butter may be comodegenic for the skin on your face, so I recommend patch testing or simply making a seperate small portion of pure tallow for use on the face alone.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 lbs 1x
- Category: Body Butter
- Cube the beef fat into 1-inch chunks and place into a stainless steel pan on the stovetop on the lowest heat setting.
- You can add a tiny amount of water if you wish to prevent accidental scorching. But only add enough water to just barely cover the bottom of the pan.
- Allow the fat to slowly begin to render.
- Add the cocoa butter and beeswax once the beef fat is halfway melted. Do not raise the heat.
- Allow everything to melt completely.
- Prepare a wire mesh colander by lining it with a cheesecloth or muslin.
- Pour the melted fats over the cheesecloth and allow it to strain completely into a medium-to-large glass bowl.
- The leftover cracklings are edible and tasty, use as salad toppers.
- Place the glass bowl into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer, there should be a solid layer on top.
- With an electric hand mixer, whip the fat until it turns into a lovely viscous body butter.
- If using any other oils, like olive or jojoba, add them right before whipping.
At room temperature and stored in a glass jar with a lid, this body butter can be safely stored for up to 6 months — enough time to get you through a Canadian winter!
Refrigerated, this body butter will last a year or even longer.