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The Good, the Bad and The Ugly of Using Tallow on Your Skin

When it comes to natural skin care products, there are a lot of ingredients that come to mind like beeswax, aloe vera, and shea butter.

But there is another natural ingredient that's often overlooked and isn't as well known: tallow. 

Tallow is a purified liquid extracted from ruminant animal suet (fat) (in our case, grass-fed, organically-raised, beef fat).

While it isn’t exactly the most appealing thing to think about putting on your skin, it has some incredible benefits and can be used in quite a few ways. 

Before you choose whether or not to use tallow on your skin, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of using tallow on your skin – so you can make an educated decision!

And if your curious, learn why WE use tallow in our skincare here.

Tallow Moisturizer with shop now button


What is Tallow?

Tallow is a substance that is created when animal suet (fat) is heated and filtered to remove impurities. 

It is often used in cooking, candle making, as a skincare ingredient, and in other industrial applications. 

Tallow is extracted from the nutrient-dense fat surrounding the cattle’s organs and is harvested only after the animal has been butchered for its meat.

(Pictured below is our old-fashioned process of rendering tallow by hand. Each batch is progressively filtered until 100% clean!'s a labor of love.)

tallow rendering process photos


How is Tallow Used?

Tallow has a wide range of uses due to its high smoke point (making it excellent for cooking), long-shelf life, and its valuable skin nourishing properties. 

It is incredibly nourishing for the skin, and is finally making a much-needed comeback in skin care products such as tallow soap, moisturizers, lip balms, and hand salves

Tallow has been used in skincare since the beginning of time and has been proven to be super beneficial.

And while there are many myths surrounding tallow, don’t let them scare you away from using this impressive ingredient.



happy woman applying tallow to skin

There are many reasons why you should try using tallow on your skin. We've compiled our favorite reasons below.  


#1 Tallow Hydrates Dry Skin

tallow rubbed on belly

Tallow is a great moisturizer and can be used to soothe and moisturize dry skin. 

It’s thick enough to handle the toughest rough patches, but light enough to absorb quickly into the skin. 

Plus, it’s loaded with vitamins A, D, E and K, antioxidants and essential fatty acids not commonly found in modern day skincare. 

So, if you have super dry skin or rough patches, a tallow moisturizer is the perfect product for you! 

(Shameless plug here → Our Transform Tallow Moisturizer is consistently ranked #1 among other tallow brands for its creamy, luxurious texture!)


#2 Tallow is Gentle Enough for All Skin Types

tallow rubbed on baby skin

Whether you have extremely dry, overly sensitive, super oily or combination skin, tallow is the ingredient for you. Tallow is even gentle enough for use on baby's skin.

Because of tallow's unique composition, similar to our own skin's sebum, tallow is able to easily and quickly absorb into any skin type, helping to balance oil production.

Tallow, like is found in our tallow soap and tallow moisturizers, is soothing, all natural, and non-irritating.

It doesn't clog pores and has proven to be a miracle for many people with eczema.


#3 Tallow Smells Great

Tallow actually has a lovely smell to it (if rendered properly like ours is). 

Although very faint, it has a warm, rich smell that’s oddly familiar. My opinion – because our ancestors used it so frequently, our sniffer naturally remembers it!



girl making funny face at tallow

There are some cons to using tallow on your skin, however, with careful use, these “bad” factors can be easily avoided.


#1 Tallow is Thick

Tallow is a fat, so of course, it’s a thick ingredient much like shea butter or cocoa butter.

If you apply too much to your skin in one area, it’ll take hours to absorb and leave you feeling greasy. 

To avoid this, only scoop out a pea-sized amount, warm it in between your palms, then apply along your skin.

A pea-sized amount of tallow moisturizer is all you need to cover your entire arm and effectively hydrate your skin!


#2 Tallow is Temperature Sensitive

tallow moisturizer in jar

As a solid ingredient that can turn liquid in the heat, if tallow melts, it can separate into fats and liquid.

Once cooled, it can then have a grainy, unpleasant texture.  

To avoid this, keep all tallow-based products out of the heat.

Do not store tallow products in your car in the summer, for example, and keep them stored out of direct sunlight. 

Refrigeration is NOT needed, however, because tallow is shelf-stable. 


#3 Tallow Expires

All natural ingredients expire. Tallow is one of the longer-lasting, natural ingredients with a substantial shelf-life. 

Without the use of any preservatives, if properly purified (like ours is), tallow can easily last up to one year at room temperature, and 5 years or more if frozen. 



cow sticking tongue out

Some people think that using tallow on your skin is an ugly thing. 

There is nothing wrong with using tallow when you know you are using a high quality, grass-fed, pasture-raised, ethically and humanely sourced tallow (like we use in our tallow skincare products). 

Factory farmed cattle are NOT a good source of tallow. 

Ensure your tallow-based products are made only with tallow rendered from family farms that raise their cattle as nature intended – with plenty of grass, sunshine and zero antibiotics or steroids. 

But even with this level of care, some people simply object to using tallow and that’s ok.

Here’s their stance on the Ugly side of using tallow. 


#1 Tallow is Not Vegan

funny chicken face

Tallow is not vegan. Obviously, the animal must be butchered to harvest its organ fats. 

Keep in mind the cattle are not being butchered FOR their tallow, but for their meat. 

Therefore, if meat eaters exist, cattle will be processed.

When processed, if the tallow wasn’t being used, we’d be wasting a precious resource.

At Nefertem, we believe in the nose-to-tail theory that if an animal is to be butchered, all parts of it need to be utilized.

I mean, that’s only respectful. 


We Understand, Yes, There are Non-Animal Options

This is true. We all have options. Some of us opt for the way our ancestors used to do it and some of us opt for modern day preferences.

Although recently humans have had the option to be selective with what we consume and use, with all the commercial, store-bought options available, there was once a time when we all had to use what was available to us locally to survive. 

cattle on ranch used to produce grass fed tallow

Tallow allowed people to… 

  • light their homes

  • hydrate their skin

  • clean their skin

  • wash their clothes

  • lubricate farm equipment

  • and more 

…for tens of thousands of years (we know for sure…but probably much longer than that).  


How to Use Tallow on Your Skin

applying tallow to skin on legs

Tallow is an incredibly versatile product that can be used for many different skincare purposes. 

It is a great moisturizer and will nourish your skin no matter what skin or where. 

You can use tallow as an all-over-the-body moisturizer, as an evening eye cream, or as an everyday face cream - it soaks in so well.

If you're the DIY type, you can whip up a batch of tallow soap, make a tallow exfoliant, lip balm or a foot salve. 

If you're not the DIY type or you can't find premium quality tallow to work with, simply order a jar of our best-selling tallow moisturizer. 


Caution: If you do make your own products using tallow, MAKE SURE it’s grass-fed tallow and raised without the use of hormones, antibiotics, or steroids (like our tallow is) otherwise you'll be applying a chemical concoction of not-so-good on your skin...bad news!


Nefertem Tallow-Based Skincare

nefertem tallow skincare

Nefertem offers the highest quality, pure tallow skincare products. 

We hand-render our grass-fed tallow, then combine it with organic, unrefined plant oils, pure essential oils, soothing herbs, and 100% good vibes. 

Every skincare product is handmade in small batches right here in Park Forest, Illinois, USA, by a family committed to keeping the lost art of tallow skincare alive.

  • No parabens, preservatives or junk
  • No artificial fragrances, colors or flavors.
  • Packaged in glass and recycled cardboard - NOT plastic
  • Tallow comes from cows not treated with steroids, hormones, or antibiotics

If you’re ready to ramp up your skincare routine, and enjoy glowing, radiant, natural skin, try our tallow moisturizers and tallow soaps today!

Transform Tallow Moisturizer


Need more proof tallow is the BEST for your skin? Let's Get Scientifical (that's a word...sort of)...

Click here to Explore 5 Reasons YOU Should Put Tallow on Your Skin

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