Ok, here’s the skinny on fat, tallow to be precise. I have made face and hand salve for several years using grass-fed beef suet rendered into tallow, and have loved it. Here is my quicker version when you already have tallow rendered. You do want to find grass-fed only fat or suet for rendering, as many poisons… are stored in fat and you don’t want to eat or put on your skin all the nasties from animals raised in CAFO’s or fed antibiotics or GMO “food” from Monsanto.
Face salve is not something I can do without and I recently rendered mutton leaf suet into tallow and made some amazing salve, and will now show how to make it and my secret Cleopatra ingredient!
Full disclosure: the reference to my looking like Cleopatra now that I have her special ingredient in my face salve is a bit of a stretch. While my man could definitely get away with the gorgeousness of Richard Burton, IMHO; without my face salve I closely resemble Cleopatra’s mummy, and with my face salve I am a dead ringer for the late Elizabeth Taylor, in her later years of course, minus the makeup, dyed hair, jewels and boy toys, but hey, I am still plugging away on my New Year’s Revolutions. You gotta start somewhere.
Here is how I made this salve. Melt the rendered tallow (use mutton or beef tallow) in a double boiler keeping the temperature as low as necessary.
The proportions of oil to tallow I used last time I made salve was this: “one part dulcamara/olive oil per 8 parts tallow and also added 2 parts coconut oil to make it easier to spread,” and this was a very good ratio. This time I was not so precise and had to keep tweaking it because the sheep kidney tallow was so much firmer!
I researched kidney suet while making this and found this fascinating site, Savoring The Past, from England where this chef explains why mutton leaf suet is the only tallow used in traditional English pies, as the melting point is much higher than any other fat, which makes for a superior crust. I LOVE his blog.
To the melted tallow I added about one part Black Cumin Seed Oil, which has been used for centuries for skin issues and also internally for the immune system. It is expensive, but hey, what’s a little expense when you can dream about Richard Burton?
I also added my dulcamara/olive oil, which you could add in plain olive oil or any herbal infused olive oil like calendula… and I added some coconut oil.
By this time, dear reader, you are probably screaming at me through your computer because I am so irritatingly vague as to correct amounts of ingredients. I’m sorry, I had to wing it, as I also added manuka honey, which was a mistake, as it acted like oil and water and would not incorporate. It still is good for your skin, but settled to the bottom of the jars.
Here is how you can tell if you have the right proportions of oil to tallow (or beeswax, which also makes a salve/balm firm.)
Tallow has a very hard texture, especially when cold.
When you think you have added enough herbal olive oil/coconut oil to the melted tallow, put a few drops on a plate or in a spoon and put it in the fridge to cool.
When you press on it, it should be a soft texture, instead of rock hard like the tallow.
If it is still too hard, add some more coconut oil, herbal olive oil or black cumin seed oil. When it is the consistency you like, pour the hot oil into jars, put on the lids and immediately put into the freezer for a little while to rapidly cool. The lids will pull down and form a seal and the salve will set without separating. Store jars in a dark, cool cupboard.
You might find that my tallow is still too hard and thick for your face, but I like mine this way because our climate is so harsh. If you live in a milder climate you should add more oil to your mix to make an even softer balm. If you live in a real hot climate, keep your salve cool, or it will melt.
Our house is pretty cold, so I have to use the back of my thumbnail to scoop out the salve from the jar, but with the heat of my hands, it warms up nicely to put on my face.
I almost forgot, I do add essential oils for fragrance, about 20 drops or so, and you would add as much or as little as you like.