Tag Archives: dry skin

Adventures in Making Tallow Moisturizer

This is a blog about my adventure making tallow moisturizer (the best moisturizer I’ve ever used). Tallow is rendered beef fat, which is a little scary, so it took something serious for me to even try it. You can buy similar moisturizer already done for you for ~$30, or you can make your own. Feeling frugal and looking at it as a potential learning opportunity, I went for the diy option. Oh boy, it was an adventure…but an oh-so-worth-it one. Here’s what happened…

Why I ventured down the tallow road in the first place…

I hear your skin freaks out when you’re pregnant. For the most part, (and I’m totally bragging here) my skin was amazing. Better than it’s ever been….ever. No zits. I’m 32 and still get zits so this was a welcome 9-month reprieve. You’d brag too.

Then baby came out and the magic wore off. Pretty soon I developed dry patches on my cheeks. No big deal, I thought. I just have to change my moisturizer. So, I bought stuff with names called “deep repair” which had no effect. I even tried oil that comes from sharks. Knowing that our skin is a reflection of our internal health, I made sure I was hydrated and getting healthy oils….BUT NOTHING WAS WORKING!

In fact, the patches were getting worse and spreading and I was getting desperate. I was literally growing a force field on my face. I reached out to my smarter-than-me holistic FB friends and one gal recommended coconut oil (of which I’d heard a lot) and an alternative I’d never heard of, tallow.

Ok, duh. Why didn’t I think to turn to natural products instead of expensive BS deep repair creams? That’s what I’m all about after all. I’m blaming my baby brain. That night I started slathering coconut oil on my face because I honestly I had no idea what tallow even was.

Um, well my face didn’t like that too much. Not only did my force field get bigger but I developed a red bumpy rash all over my neck. Good lord, I was really good looking at that point. A quick google search confirmed that coconut oil can actually be drying on the face. Great. Not to diss coconut oil. My body loves it as a moisturizer. Not sure what happened there.

Ok, no more messing around, I decided…It was time to pull out the big guns. That night I started using the Oil Cleansing Method that we wrote about a few months ago. I really love it. Vanessa was so right about that … but even that wasn’t enough. It was time to try tallow. But now I’m a total OCM convert. Try it, you’ll love it.

How to Make Tallow Moisturizer…

Tallow, as I learned, is rendered cow fat so you can see why it took me a while to get to this point, right? I got a big chunk of cow fat from a farmer. It was good timing because the hubby and I were picking up our hog that same day so I just happened to ask if they had tallow and they did – I even got it for free.

This is how pretty it is…


I couldn’t believe I was going to put this on my face either. Another google search revealed how darn good it is for our skin. Basically, your skin recognizes it because it’s so close to our biology and absorbs it – plus it’s full of great vitamins that the skin loves. Google it, you’ll see.

Next step is to cut it into chunks and put it in your food processor like so…


When you’re done processing, it looks like this. I guess if you don’t have one, you can just chop small. It’s easier if it’s cold.


Then you put it in your crockpot on low and wait for it to melt.

Note: All of the articles on tallow making talk about being extra careful not to burn it so I was scared to mess it up. I didn’t do anything extra careful and mine didn’t burn. I stirred it some and worried about it. That should work for you too.


It melts pretty quick but I let it go a few hours. Next, I let the mixture cool down a little and strained it through cheesecloth into a bowl. Throw away the chunkies.


Then I added some dried herbs like lavender and calendula both of which have soothing properties for the skin and put it all in a big jar. I should have just started with the jar instead of messing with the bowl. Live and learn. The herbs are easily found at a natural herb store.



I thought I would have longer to let the herbs infuse but the fat solidified on me with the herbs still inside. I wanted them to diffuse longer so I heated it back up. This is where I hit a major bump in the road. I don’t recommend this approach.

I filled the crockpot with water. Placed my solid jar of fat inside, and set it to low. I checked on it a little while later and it was all melted…yay. BUT there was some oil floating in the water. Must have boiled over, I told myself.

Not so. I carefully removed the jar and to my great dismay only the top half of the broken jar came out. Oil in water mystery – solved. Darnit! I was left with a big crockpot full of water, oil, herbs, and broken glass. Now I’m thinking to myself that I’m a real genius and how much I freaking hate tallow.  What was I thinking trying to make moisturizer out of fat anyway???

I cooled off and decided that there had to be a way to finish this project after all the time I’d spent on it. Now my crockpot looked like this….a giant herby fat cookie floating in a bath. Image

I dislodged it. Poured out the water. Threw away the glass and remelted the herby fat cookie. I restrained the herbs out – let it cool a little and sighed with relief. By george, I think I’ve got it!

Next I grabbed an old empty moisturizer tub and filled it up 1/4 of the way with olive oil. This helps keep the consistency workable. Otherwise it would be too hard to use. I also added Citrus Bliss™ doTerra essential oil and OMG it is amazing stuff. For all that work, and learning the hard way, it was worth it. Look how pretty now…


Two days is all it took for the force field on my face to go away. And that was after weeks of trying other things. I swear my skin looks younger and I can hardly see my fine lines. I LOVE this stuff. I still have more fat sitting in the fridge and it’s going to make several more containers.

I might just start a tallow rendering business….ha ha, got ya.

In the end, I think it’s worth it to make your own but only if you learn from my mishaps. It’s better than spending $30 for someone else to do it, in my opinion. I’ll have enough to make moisturizer to last me a couple years now I bet. Think about how much that saves you in moisturizers that don’t really work. No brainer.

Try it out and enjoy your soft beautiful skin. Then let me know what you think.


This blog has moved! If you liked this article and you want to see more great content visit www.hygealiving.com/blog or have them delivered direct to your inbox – sign up!



Leave a comment

Filed under Clean Living Tips, DIY Beauty Recipes, Essential Oils

Adult Acne, Dry Skin…Have you Tried the Oil Cleansing Method?


By: Vanessa Richardson (guest post)

Does this sound familiar…

I was one of the lucky few in high school who had perfect skin.  I wish I’d known just how lucky I was.  Alas, my blessed skin only lasted until about 22 when I was hit with adult acne.  At 33 it has shown no signs of releasing me.  I’ve tried everything… the washes, meds from the dermatologist, creams, facials, fasts and cleanses, everything. Sometimes I would get zit free, dried out irritated skin, but how is a red flaky face an improvement over zits?

After years of trying everything, I gave up and decided to just concentrate on keeping my face clean and moisturized.  That helped the most.  However, the soap still dries, the moisturizers are full of who knows what, and I still have the same acne issues that I’ve had for 11 years now.  *sigh*

A woman on a mission…

I’m always on the lookout for ways to EASILY eliminate chemicals from my life.  A year ago I switched to baking soda instead of shampoo. Three weeks ago, I switched out my face wash for olive oil.  Yup, I started washing my face with OIL.  It’s called the Oil Cleaning Method (OCM) and is based on the basic idea in chemistry that “like dissolves like.”  Therefore a gentle, effective way to dissolve the dirty oil on my face is to use clean oil.  It’s been fantastic. My skin isn’t all dry and itchy, it’s a little less broken out, and I feel good about using something natural on my face.

How you can get in on it…

The most common instructions for OCM call for using various mixtures of oils such as castor, jojoba, grape seed, olive, and almond based on your skin type. You rub the oil in for 4-5 minutes, place a washcloth soaked with hot water on your face for another 2-3 minutes, and then gently scrub off until the oil is gone.   I’ll be honest, I’m lazy AND I’m cheap so as this wasn’t going to work for me.  7 to 10 minutes to get my face clean? Nope, this had to be modified to work for my lazy butt. Here’s what I do:

  • I pour a quarter size dollop of olive oil into my hand and rub it into my dry dirty skin for about one minute.
  • Next I put a clean washcloth, soaked in hot water, on my face for about 30 seconds.
  • I gently use the same hot washcloth to scrub the oil off my face using a circular motion until all the oil is gone. It takes about a minute.
  • Then I look at the previously clean washcloth with shock and a little disgust.  All the crap that was on my face is now a brown Rorschach splotch on the cloth.

For the first week I just used olive oil.  I always have olive oil on hand and I didn’t feel like going out and buying something else (cheap and lazy remember.)  Also, I guess castor oil is drying so you only use it 2x/week.  I can use olive oil everyday, which is good because I need to wash my face every day. Now I use a mix rosewood essential oil and olive oil mostly because I like the smell, but rosewood is also good for the skin. The mix I use is an 1/8th of a cup of extra virgin olive oil and 4-5 drops of rosewood essential oil. I keep it in a glass jar on my bathroom counter.

Why I love it…

I’m done in about 3 minutes.  No moisturizer is needed afterward because my skin isn’t stripped of all its natural oils. The olive oil doesn’t hurt my eyes or taste bad if it goes somewhere it’s not supposed to, it’s gentle enough to use on my lips, and it gets eye makeup off better than makeup remover!

As I mentioned before I’ve only been doing this for about 3 weeks, so I can’t speak to the long term results, or say that it will work for everyone. All I can say with certainty is that my face is healthier and happier than it has been in awhile.  If you’re struggling with your skin, give OCM a try.  A good resource I found is http://www.crunchybetty.com/trying-and-troubleshooting-the-oil-cleansing-method-tips-for-flawless-oil-cleansed-skin


Vanessa Richardson (when she’s not having fun playing in the mud) is a newlywed living in Los Alamos with her husband Charlie and son Aiden. I’ve known Vanessa since we were kids and always looked up to her as the cooler, older, big sister of one of my best childhood friends. Thank you Vanessa for pulling this together for us. I’m looking forward to trying it out on my newly-developed dry skin.


This blog has moved! If you liked this article and you want to see more great content visit www.hygealiving.com/blog or have them delivered direct to your inbox – sign up!



Filed under DIY Beauty Recipes