In the realm of skincare products and cosmetics, nothing is hotter than all-organic, plant-based applications that promise everything from sustainability to superior performance in making skin be and look healthy.
The organic trend is making a serious challenge for market share within an industry long been dominated by petroleum-based skin care applications.
But wait a minute!
Are we talking about that petroleum — as in fossil fuels and the substance we pump into our gas tanks?
Put simply, the answer is yes. Certainly, what you put on your skin is processed in an entirely different way than how diesel fuel is manufactured. However, there’s a good chance the makeup you are wearing right now or that hand moisturizer you used this morning required a petrochemical base to produce it.
As public consciousness has grown about the general toxicity of our world, including all the “stuff” we use and mostly take for granted, people are getting wise and checking labels on all manner of products.
This has opened an opportunity for those in the skincare sector to bolster their products and marketing messages by stressing the benefits of “all organic” and “plant-based” applications.
But hold on again …
There is an important third category of skincare basic ingredient that must also be considered. — and it may be the best overall product type for your skin.
It’s rendered, purified and highly refined animal fat, better known as tallow.
It might be said that organic, plant-based skincare applications are the new fad while petroleum-based products still represent the mainstream. However, it can also be said that skincare products made from tallow bear the stamp of time and the rigorous test of history.
The Tallow Time Tunnel
Tallow has been used to treat and/or improve the skin by peoples of all cultures and from all global locations for uncounted centuries. Archaeologists have identified microscopic traces of tallow in recovered vessels that date to paleolithic times.
In fact, the famous pots of “Bog Butter” found immersed in Ireland’s ancient peat bogs have often been found to contain fat rendered fat from cattle and sheep. Bog Butter pots date to the Bronze Age.
While the Irish people of antiquity certainly valued tallow as a nutritional supplement, they also used it for a variety of other applications. Based on the nature of some of the well-preserved containers recovered, it’s likely that tallow was used for medicinal purposes, including natural treatments of the skin.
It is known that the ancient Babylonians, Australian Aboriginals and American Indians used skin preparations with a tallow base. They combined it with a range of plant-based materials as well.
Consider that the word “soap” is derived from the ancient Romans. As legend has it, the Romans maintained a consecrated location on Mt. Sapo where numerous animals were sacrificed according to religious tradition. They were then burned as part of the ritual offering to the gods. This caused fat to melt away and collect on the ground where rain washed it down to the Tiber River. The wood of the bonfires created ash which mixed with the tallow to create the first soap. Since then, soaps have often been made from a combination of ash, tallow and other ingredients.
The serendipitous discovery of “genuine soap” revolutionized basic hygiene. Also, the positive effects of tallow-rich soap concoctions on the skin were clearly recognized by the people of history.
Tallow: Still Humankind’s Best Choice
Today, one British entrepreneur who has embraced the practices of the ancients is Catherine Farrant, founder of a company appropriated called Fierce Nature. The company offers a line of soaps and skincare products with tallow as a base.
Farrant said her decision to develop a non-artificial chemical, non-petroleum-based skincare product was the result of years of research, study and experimentation. She said tallow’s “bioavailability makes it a deep penetrating skin food.”
The result for Farrant’s Fierce Nature products was an enthusiastic response among users simply because tallow-based formulations produced remarkable skincare results.
For many people, at first notion, the idea of applying “animal fat” to the skin seems counterintuitive at best and like “not-such-a-clever-idea-at-all” at worst. When people think of animal fat as a topical application product, they envision rubbing something akin to bacon grease or hamburger fat from a pan on their face.
But that’s not what skin-application tallow is at all.
Rather, the process of making tallow involves a complex, multistep process in which a range of impurities is precipitated out of raw fat. All that’s left are complex molecules called triglycerides. This creates a substance called an ester which is derived from glycerol and three different fundamental kinds of fatty acids. (Thus the “tri” in triglyceride).
Tallow has no odor and does not feel “greasy” — in fact, it is commercially classified as “non-greasy.”
In its solid form, it bears a remarkably soft and smooth quality. When applied in the proper amount, tallow is readily absorbed directly into the skin. Its absorptive nature is what prevents a sensation of greasiness. It is also not filmy, wet or heavy on the skin.
Market research data shows that commonly used adjectives offered by testers of tallow-based skin products are “refreshing,” “soothing” and “restorative.”
These are just some of the reasons industry analysts are predicted that tallow-based skincare and cosmetic products will be “the trend in 2022.”