Beef tallow moisturizer is a back-to-basics kind of DIY moisturizing salve for hands, feet, elbows and heels. With all natural ingredients, it’s gentle enough to double as a facial moisturizer too. Beef tallow may sound like an odd thing to add to homemade body care, but is actually quite an exceptional ingredient that is easy to use (without a strong smell) and provides a multitude of benefits for skin health.
Follow this easy homemade moisturizer recipe and take a spa day at home!
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What is Tallow Moisturizer?
Tallow moisturizer is a richly nourishing salve that promotes deep skin hydration and overall skin health with all-natural ingredients.
Safe for adults and children, tallow skincare is excellent for those with sensitivities to commercial formulas or severely irritated skin.
This moisturizing tallow salve recipe contains:
- Grass-Fed Beef Tallow – packed with vitamins A, D, E, K, antioxidants, and fatty acids. It is deeply moisturizing, promotes skin rejuvenation, and will not clog pores.
- Shea Butter – softens, conditions and tones.
- Olive Oil – moisturizes and protects.
- Sunflower Oil – combats redness and irritation and helps the skin stay hydrated
- Sweet Almond Oil – nourishes the skin cells and heals chapped/irritated skin (bonus: the high zinc content can also help strengthen brittle nails!).
- Beeswax – hydrates, conditions and soothes. It creates a protective barrier against environmental pollutants and promotes skin regeneration.
- Lanolin – locks in moisture and prevents water loss.
- Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent signs of aging, reduces sun damage, and helps keep skin hydrated.
- Essential Oils – provide scent from an all-natural source and can also lend extra skin-loving properties to your recipe!
Tallow vs Lard for Healthy Skin
Both lard and tallow have a rich history in skincare, reaching back thousands of years, and for good reason. Animal fats like tallow and lard are fantastically nourishing for the skin.
One of the most amazing things about both lard and tallow, and one of the main reasons they are so effective, is that the lipid makeup is incredibly close to that of human skin. This means these fats are almost effortless for our skin to absorb and quickly assimilate the fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals they contain.
In addition, lard and tallow are both actually quite mild and gentle on the skin, making them a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
While lard and other animal fats are great choices, for me grass-fed beef tallow wins hands-down.
Lard tends to be higher in vitamin D, but tallow boasts a much wider variety of vitamins and nutrients that greatly benefit skin health.
On top of that, tallow is generally more shelf-stable and resistant to rancidity than lard is. That is a huge plus for anyone who likes buying in bulk or making their own skincare without preservatives.
Read over the information in Cold Process Soap Making 101 for beginner’s tips and safety protocols so you can prepare homemade soap properly without any danger to yourself or others.
Benefits of Grass Fed Beef Tallow for Skin Care
There are many good reasons for the popularity of this ingredient throughout history and today. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of grass-fed beef tallow for skincare.
- Fat-Soluble vitamins A, D and K are found in high amounts in grass-fed beef tallow. Together these essential vitamins promote firm, smooth skin, contribute to skin cell regeneration, fight signs of aging, and help to soothe irritated and inflamed skin.
- Vitamin E is a powerhouse antioxidant that fights inflammation and the effects of free radicals, and also helps the skin stay hydrated.
- The lipids in tallow are almost identical to that in human skin, making it extremely moisturizing down to the cellular level. These lipids create a protective barrier on the skin which retains moisture, prevents infection, and regenerates the skin without clogging pores.
- Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids moisturize, soften and repair skin damage. They also lend powerful anti-microbial properties and boost the inflammatory and immune responses in the skin.
- Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy cell reproduction and helps prevent dark spots and pigmentation in the skin. This vitamin is also known to reduce inflammation and dryness and help soothe skin affected by acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
It’s worth noting that vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12 are only found naturally all together in animal products!
There’s no doubt, tallow is one of the best ingredients for skincare.
It is equally luscious on lips! Try the DIY Tallow Lip Balm Recipe to see for yourself.
Tallow for Eczema and Acne
Grass-fed tallow is full of nourishing components that soothe and heal irritated skin.
People with chronic skin conditions including acne and eczema often find relief with clean, tallow cosmetics.
- Vitamin A evens skin tone, smoothes wrinkles, clears acne, and encourages healthy skin cell production.
- Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that fight the inflammatory symptoms of acne. Antimicrobial properties calm symptoms of acne caused by bacterial overgrowth.
- Omega 3 improves skin barrier function which seals in moisture and keeps irritants out, helping to keep the skin properly moisturized and fight red, dry, or itchy skin conditions. Omega 3 is also naturally anti-inflammatory.
- Vitamin B12 reduces inflammation, dryness, and acne. It is also known to help soothe other skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
How to make Beef Tallow Moisturizer
Let’s get to the fun part! You can easily make this deep moisturizing tallow hand salve recipe in your own kitchen at home.
I like to package my salve in 2oz tins as pictured, but you can pour into any glass or metal container you’d like.
Organic and grass-fed ingredients are always preferred if available. Ok, let’s dive in!
Ingredients for Beef Tallow Hand Salve
- Grass-Fed Beef Tallow
- Shea Butter, refined
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Vitamin E Oil
- Essential Oil or fragrance oil
Directions for Beef Tallow Hand Salve
- Fill your pot about 1/3 of the way with tap water and place on medium-low heat on the stove (you want it to just come to a gentle simmer where you can see small bubbles in the bottom of the pot.).
- While the water is heating up, place your measuring cup on your scale and weigh out the tallow, olive oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, beeswax, lanolin, and vitamin E oil. Now, carefully place the measuring cup inside your pot on the stove to create a double boiler.
- Stir occasionally to keep the mixture evenly heated through and expedite the melting process. This will take a few minutes and you’ll notice the beeswax will be the last to melt. Be patient! Keep the heat low so as not to overheat or burn any of the oils.
- Once the entire mixture is fully melted, remove the measuring cup from the pot, dry off the bottom with a towel, and place it back on the scale. Here you will weigh out and add your shea butter.
- Stir occasionally and allow the shea butter to melt with the residual heat (shea butter is very heat-sensitive, which is why it should be added at this later stage rather than melted on the stove along with all the other ingredients).
- Once the shea butter is completely dissolved, go ahead and weigh in your essential oil (for small quantities like this I find it easiest to use a disposable dropper/pipette). Gently mix with a spoon until fully incorporated.
- Line up your containers on a level surface where they can remain undisturbed for a few hours. Then go ahead and pour your liquid salve mixture into your containers.
- Allow your DIY tallow moisturizer to set without being disturbed, lid off, for 24 hours. Then it is ready to enjoy! Store covered in a cool dry place.
Important Note about Clean Up
Be sure to clean up right after you’ve poured your salve into your containers because once the leftover beeswax hardens onto the measuring cup, it will be very difficult to get off.
Right after pouring your salve mixture, simply take a paper towel and wipe out the inside of the measuring cup as best you can (be careful, it will still be quite hot), then place the cup in the sink and pour the hot water from the pot into the cup.
Wait a few seconds to allow everything to loosen sufficiently, pour the water out and then just wash as usual with soap and warm water.
How to apply tallow salve?
Salves are 100% oil and fat, which makes them naturally more oily and thick upon application.
This homemade tallow moisturizer is best applied as an overnight deep moisture treatment.
Since it’s not always convenient to have oily hands in the middle of your day, this is a great option. Apply before bed, let the salve do its magic undisturbed overnight (on its own or with spa gloves), and wake up with wonderfully supple, moisturized hands. This also works wonders on dry, cracked elbows and heels!
Of course, this salve can be applied any time depending on personal preference, but the overnight technique is my personal favorite.
Deep Moisturizing Tallow Hand Salve Recipe
- Medium saucepan
- 8-16oz glass measuring cup
- Kitchen scale
- Tins or glass jars (for storing salve)
- Disposable dropper/pipette (optional)
- Paper towels or kitchen towel
- 1 oz beef tallow
- 0.5 oz extra virgin olive oil see note #2
- 0.5 oz sunflower oil see note #2
- 0.5 oz sweet almond oil see note #2
- 0.15 oz beeswax
- 0.25 oz lanolin
- 0.1 oz vitamin E oil
- 1 oz refined shea butter see note #1
- 0.25 oz essential oil see note #3
- Fill pot about 1/3 of the way with tap water and place over medium-low heat on the stove. Bring it to a gentle simmer, look for small bubbles in the bottom of the pot.
- While the water is heating up, place the measuring cup on the scale and weigh out the tallow, olive oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, beeswax, lanolin, and vitamin E oil. Carefully place the measuring cup inside your pot on the stove to create a double boiler.
- Stir occasionally, for a few minutes until all contents are melted. Be patient! Keep the heat low; do not overheat or burn any of the oils.
- Once fully melted, remove the measuring cup from the pot, dry off the bottom with a towel, and place it back on the scale.
- Weigh and add shea butter. Stir occasionally and allow the shea butter to melt with the residual heat.
- Once the shea butter is completely dissolved, add in essential oil. Gently mix with a spoon.
- Fill cosmetic tin or glass container and leave undisturbed, with the lid off, for 24 hours. Store in a cool dry place.
- I use virgin unrefined shea butter in all of my products, except for this hand salve. This is because, in my testing, I found that the distinctive strong shea butter smell was unpleasantly overpowering and not allowing the essential oils to come through in the final product. To remedy this, I use refined shea butter since it is deodorized. It is up to you what kind of shea butter you use.
- The liquid oils are pretty easily substituted if you don’t have all of the ones listed, but do have others. You can experiment with switching out the olive oil, sunflower oil and sweet almond oil for other oils like avocado, jojoba, etc. Or if you have 2 of the 3, you could simply substitute more of those 2 to make up for the one you don’t have. You get it! Don’t be afraid to play around with it.
- Fragrance is completely customizable; use either essential oil or fragrance oil. Weigh the oil with a dropper or pipette into the mixture. The total amount may vary based on the essential oil(s) that you choose to use and what the manufacturer’s recommended usage rate is.
Give a visit at North Mountain Naturals for more handcrafted, grass-fed tallow-based skincare!
More Homemade Tallow Skincare Recipes
Tallow is so luxurious, try these DIY skin creams too!
- Simple Tallow Lotion – Make a Simple Tallow Lotion in 3 easy steps. The whipped spread is a luxurious all-purpose DIY lotion for legs, arms, and face.
- Non-toxic Baby Lotion Recipe – This 2 ingredient non-toxic baby lotion recipe is easy to make and gentle on baby’s sensitive skin. Tallow based balms can be used for baby massage, diaper rash, and bug bites.
- Homemade Wrinkle Cream – Make Homemade Wrinkle Cream in 3 easy steps. Tallow based cream is highly recommended for sensitive skin, it will nourish the area from the outside in.
- DIY Remedy for Severely Dry Skin – Dry, cracked, and flaky skin is no fun. Soothe chapped areas with a DIY Remedy for Severely Dry Skin that will renew and regenerate healthy skin cells with all-natural, organic ingredients.
- Tallow vs Lard – Bumblebee Apothecary
- Discovering the Link Between Nutrition and Skin Aging – NCBI
- All About Beeswax – New Direction Aromatics
- Vitamin D for Acne – Health Line
- B Vitamins: The Secret to Good Skin Health – Tri-City Med