Women On TikTok Are Using Beef Tallow As Skincare, But Does It Even Work?

There’s not much that women won’t try under the guise of achieving physical perfection. This is especially true on TikTok, where some of the wildest beauty “hacks” seem to gain traction despite being ineffective at best and downright dangerous at worst. One of the latest things taking over WellnessTok in particular is the idea of using beef tallow as skincare. Yes, that’s right. Proponents of this approach claim that slathering rendered cow fat all over their faces brings about the kind of clear, radiant complexion most of us can only ever dream of. The question is, does it actually work?

What is beef tallow?

@makeupbymarietta

#greenscreen I get my products online from a small business @lipostallow 🤍👍🏼 completley changed my skin. Take it from me, someone who has tried countless products and never saw results. Natural is the way to go! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #beeftallow #beeftallowskincare

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Even if you’ve never heard the term before, you’ve likely used products that contain it, such as candles or soap. However, it’s also a pretty popular cooking ingredient. The fat cooked down from any cut of meat from a cow – steaks, ribs, etc. – is beef tallow. It can be used like you’d use any other oil or fat for cooking. Many people prefer the flavor instead of butter or olive oil, especially since tallow has a high smoke point and can be used with higher heat.

To be fair, beef tallow has historically been used as a skin ointment to battle severe dryness. However, that usage has largely gone out of fashion as more sophisticated products hit the market (and people started getting a bit grossed out by the idea of slathering themselves in cow fat).

Why does TikTok claim beef tallow should have a place in your skincare routine?

Influencers like NYC-based Hannah Bronfman swear by beef tallow as skincare. In a video posted to her Instagram page, she praised Bela Nectar’s Create of Immortelle Ancestral Recuperative Balm, which contains “grass-fed/grass-finished sustainable bovine tallow.” According to Bronfman, she’s been using the balm for years and her skin has never been healthier. It’s plump, moisturized, and totally glowing. However, it should be noted that Bronfman’s skin has always looked pretty great to us!

Whether or not beef tallow is actually good for your skin is a little more complicated. There are some pretty beneficial qualities that can indeed help certain people with their skincare concerns, it’s not a foolproof method. Not only that, but it could end up giving the opposite result than intended, leaving you with skin that’s oily, acne-laden, and extremely unhappy.

That’s because it’s not FDA-approved for use in skincare due to the possibility of contracting bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. That means beef tallow is largely unregulated and you could end up with some pretty nasty added preservatives as well as questions about how the beef tallow was sourced and whether or not it’s very good quality.

It’s also important to consider your skin type before joining the TikTok beef tallow skincare craze. While beef tallow does have a similar composition to our natural facial oils and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and several vitamins, it’s still not for everyone. Those with dry and aging skin should be safe to give it a go. However, if you have oily skin, you should probably stay clear.

[H/T Glamour]

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.
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