Tallow balm has become an extremely popular DIY skin care product in recent years. Made from rendered beef or lamb fat, tallow provides deep moisturization and nutrients for the skin. Whipping the tallow gives it a luxurious, creamy texture that feels divine to apply.
In this post, we’ll walk through the entire process of making your own whipped tallow balm at home. We’ll cover:
- Benefits of tallow for skin
- How to render tallow
- Necessary ingredients & supplies
- Step-by-step instructions
- Tips for customizing your balm
- How to tell if your balm has gone bad
- Frequently asked questions
Why Use Tallow for Skin Care?
Beef tallow contains vitamins A, D, E, and K which are all essential for healthy, vibrant skin. The fat molecules in tallow closely resemble our own skin lipids making it easily absorbed and utilized. Tallow is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory as well.
Those with dry, irritated, or aging skin can really benefit from using tallow balm. It provides deep nourishment while soothing and protecting the skin’s barrier. The whipped texture also makes it a pleasure to apply!
Here are some of the top benefits of using tallow for skin care:
- Deeply moisturizing – The fatty acids in tallow provide lasting hydration without clogging pores. It creates a protective layer that locks in moisture.
- Reduces inflammation – Tallow contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which helps calm inflammation. This makes it beneficial for eczema, psoriasis, and acne-prone skin.
- Stimulates collagen – Vitamin A in tallow promotes new collagen production to reduce wrinkles and improve elasticity.
- Antimicrobial – Lauric and stearic acid make tallow antimicrobial to protect skin from bacteria and fungi.
- Non-comedogenic – Unlike vegetable oils, tallow does not clog pores or cause breakouts. It gets absorbed rapidly without leaving a greasy residue.
- Improves tone & texture – With regular use, tallow nourishes skin to minimize the look of scars, stretch marks, and cellulite.
As you can see, beef tallow offers amazing benefits for enhancing your skin’s health and appearance naturally!
How to Source Quality Tallow
The quality of your finished tallow balm depends greatly on using high quality tallow to start with. Here are some tips for finding the best beef fat to render your tallow from:
- Grass-fed/pasture-raised – Tallow from grass-fed cows contains more vitamins, CLA, and omega-3s than grain-fed. Look for a reputable local farm.
- Organic – Organic tallow comes from cows raised without antibiotics or hormones for a purer end product.
- Leaf fat – The firm fat around the kidneys and loin is particularly high in nutrients. Prioritize this if possible.
- Fresh – Use tallow within a few days of rendering for maximum freshness. Or store unused fat in the freezer.
- Color – Quality tallow is creamy white when solidified, not yellow. A little color is normal but avoid dark yellow fat.
Taking the time to source high quality beef fat is an important first step and will pay off in the final whipped balm you produce.
Rendering is the process of slowly melting down beef or lamb fat to extract the pure tallow. Here’s how to do it:
- 1 lb beef fat/suet or lamb fat
- Glass jar or tin for storing
- Cut the fat into small 1″ cubes. This increases the surface area for faster rendering.
- Place the fat cubes in a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. The low heat prevents burning.
- Once fully melted, pour the liquid through a cheesecloth lined strainer into a glass jar or tin. The cheesecloth will filter out any bits of meat, tissue, or membranes leaving you with pure liquid tallow.
- Allow the tallow to cool at room temperature. Putting it in the fridge may cause cloudiness. Once cool, it will become creamy white and solid.
- Store rendered tallow in the fridge for up to 3 months or in the freezer for up to a year.
- Make sure to label your jar with the type of tallow and date rendered. Over time, the color may intensify so marking the date helps you use the freshest tallow first.
And that’s all there is to rendering your own tallow! You can read more about the process in my article How to Render Tallow Like a Pro. Now let’s look at turning it into balm.
Making Whipped Tallow Balm
Now comes the fun part – turning the rendered tallow into a fluffy whipped balm!
- 1 cup rendered tallow
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (adds skin benefits)
- 1 tsp vitamin E oil (natural preservative)
- 10 drops essential oils of your choice (for scent)
- Glass bowl
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Glass jars or tins for storing
- Clean and sanitize all equipment that will contact the balm. Any bacteria present will multiply rapidly so it’s important for tools to be sterile.
- In a glass bowl, mix together the solid tallow, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, and essential oils. The vitamins E and essential oils are optional but recommended for preserving freshness and adding skin-friendly phytonutrients.
- Beat the mixture with a hand mixer or stand mixer for 5-10 minutes until light and fluffy. Use a cold mixer and make sure the tallow is firmly solid – neither melted nor overly hard. Beat on high speed while periodically scraping down the sides with a spatula.
- Continue whipping until the balm takes on a smooth, creamy texture. It should double in volume and become spreadable. Avoid over-beating into an oily mess.
- Scoop the whipped tallow into small glass jars or tins using a sanitized spatula. Smooth out the top neatly. Tap the containers firmly on the counter to release any air pockets.
- Allow the balm to settle and completely solidify for 12-24 hours before screwing on lids. The balm needs time to firm up or it may sweat moisture later. Store in a cool dark place.
When stored properly, the balm will keep for at least 6 months. Now let’s look at some ways to customize the recipe…
Tips for Customizing Your Tallow Balm
One of the great things about DIY products is tailoring them exactly to your preferences! Here are some easy ways to personalize your tallow balm:
- Scent – Essential oils like lavender, vanilla, sweet orange, and peppermint make it smell amazing. Use different singles or blends.
- Color – For a pop of color, add a pinch of cosmetic clay like moroccan red clay or french green clay. Use activated charcoal for grey.
- Skin type – Dry skin benefits from more tallow, while oily skin does better with more coconut oil. Adjust ratios as needed.
- Additions – Try adding lanolin for extra moisture, shea or cocoa butter for luxurious feel, or beeswax to make it firmer.
- Containers – For travel, use small tins. For home, glass jars work well. Get creative with shapes, sizes, and labels.
- Applicator – Adding a lip balm tube, roller ball, or lotion pump makes application easier. Just whip in a firmer balm.
Feel free to experiment to create a custom balm you love using and look forward to applying each day!
Signs Your Tallow Balm Has Gone Bad
Whipped tallow balm can easily last 6 months to a year when stored properly. However, here are a few signs your balm may have gone off:
- Change in color – It should remain white or ivory. Darkening, yellowing, or unusual spots indicate spoilage.
- Separation – The oils start pulling away from the tallow and you see liquid pooling.
- Odd odor – Should smell like the essential oils you added. Rancid odors mean it’s spoiled.
- Mold – Fuzzy texture or spots on the surface point to mold contamination.
- Changes texture – Becomes really greasy, sticky, dry, or grainy.
If you notice any of these changes, it’s time to toss the balm and make a fresh batch. Proper storage helps prevent the balm from spoiling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about making and using tallow balm:
Is tallow balm greasy?
When properly whipped, tallow absorbs easily without a heavy greasy feel. It’s lighter than vegetable oils. Apply sparingly to start.
Can it clog pores?
High quality tallow is non-comedogenic so it shouldn’t clog pores for most people. But those very acne-prone may want to spot test first.
How long does it last on skin?
It provides deep nourishment that lasts most of the day, unlike lotions that sit on the skin surface. Reapply as needed for very dry spots.
Does it have a scent?
Pure tallow has a mild meaty smell. But this is masked by the essential oils you add. Vanilla and lemon give a fresh, clean scent.
Can I use it on my face?
Yes, it absorbs well and won’t clog facial pores. Use sparingly as a night cream or spot treatment on dry areas.
Should I do a patch test?
It’s always wise to do a patch test, especially if you have very sensitive skin. Try a dab on your inner arm and wait 24-48 hours to check for any redness or reaction.
How do I use the balm?
Scoop out a pea sized amount and gently massage into damp or dry skin anywhere that needs moisture and nourishment. A little goes a long way!
Have you crafted your own tallow-based products before? Share your experiences in the comments!