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Here’s an ingredient I don’t come across often – beef tallow, the solid white fat from cows. Tallow creams are getting more popular amongst Paleo fans, and while I’m pretty skeptical about the scientific soundness of Paleo, I was intrigued by the idea of an animal fat-based cream when so many brands are heading down the vegan route.
Ecology Wholistic Skin Care’s products use grass-fed beef tallow as their main ingredient, based on the concept that animal fats are closer to what skin needs than plant oils. It sounds a little weird and kind of icky, and while there’s no direct evidence of tallow having benefits for skin, there are some facts that suggest this could work. In the upper layers of skin (the stratum corneum), the main fatty acids present are the saturated stearic and palmitic acids, and the unsaturated oleic acid. The saturated fatty acids aren’t found in high quantities in plant oils, but the main fatty acids found in grass-fed beef are the same: stearic, palmitic and oleic acids (in the form of triglycerides). Tallow also contains vitamins A, D, E and K, which are all beneficial for skin, but it’s questionable how well these will be absorbed into the skin.
In Ecology’s creams, the tallow comes from certified organic, grass fed Australian cows. The suet (nutrient-dense fat from around the kidneys) is processed and rendered by hand to produce a purer tallow. The creams all have this tallow as the first ingredient, with some other oils mixed in depending on the product.
I tried the Rejuvenating Day & Night Cream, Replenishing Day & Night Cream and Soothing Baby Moisturising Cream. All three creams look and feel a bit like butter. They’re softly whipped so they’re easy to get out of the tin, and melt quickly in your fingers. You only need a tiny bit to cover your whole face, and surprisingly, they sink into your skin easily and aren’t particularly greasy, even on my oily skin. I’d say they’re even less shiny than a plant oil. They still feel a bit too heavy for daytime use for me, but for people with drier skin it would work.
The creams do an impressive job of softening your skin, and all three were pretty similar on my skin. I was a little worried that they’d cause a breakout, but they didn’t, which in hindsight was unsurprising since the thickness of a product doesn’t relate to comedogenicity.
Apart from the non-veganness (if that’s important to you), the one potential downside is: the scent. The creams are scented with vanilla, but they’re not quite enough to cover a slightly peculiar, meaty smell. They don’t really smell beefy, and it’s not unpleasant, and I doubt you’d notice it unless you know it’s there. But I imagine it could be a dealbreaker for some people. Like other water-free products, you’ll probably want to use a serum containing humectants and water under it if your skin is dehydration-prone.
Ecology Skin Care Ingredients
Rejuvenating Day & Night Cream, with Jojoba & Kanuka: Grass fed beef tallow, Jojoba Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Kanuka Oil, Vanilla Bean Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract
Replenishing Day & Night Cream, with Emu & Olive: Grass fed beef tallow, Emu Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vanilla Bean Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract
Soothing Baby Moisturising Cream with Sunflower & Calendula: Grass Fed Tallow, Sunflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vanilla Bean Extract, Calendula Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract
You can buy Ecology Wholistic Skin Care Creams here, along with konjac sponges and bath salts.
These products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.