The new skin care saviour in your make-up cabinet? Suet!

By Cormac Connelly-Smith and Claire Coleman



dmg media (UK)


IT HAS long been a store-cupboard essential, used to make dumplings, pie crusts and Christmas puddings. But suet – also known as tallow – may soon find a place in your beauty cabinet too. Moisturisers made from rendered beef fat, mixed with olive oil and essential oils, have been used for millennia, with an example found preserved in a Roman ruin in London dating back 2,000 years. But this ancient product has become increasingly popular on social-media accounts dedicated to ‘natural’ skincare. Michelle Miha sells several fat-based products, including tallow balm moisturiser and a lard-based night cream, through her company Remnant Beauty. The 47-year-old turned to suet after synthetic skincare products failed to treat her dry skin. She told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I was just shocked. I’m no stranger to medical-grade expensive skincare but this just blew everything I knew out of the water. I was amazed at how good it was and how quick the response in my skin was to when I used it.’ Ryan Porter, 29, has also launched a tallow-based skincare brand after using the substance to treat his eczema. The founder of Northumberland-based Fat Cow said: ‘What I love about it is it’s got everything you need in a skin cream, and it’s got only two ingredients, both of which are natural. It’s filled with nutrients which your skin is able to soak up.’ Tallow balms are created from rendered beef fat, or suet, which is a waste product of the cattle-farming industry. After being refined, they are then whipped with oil to create a smooth, creamy texture. While unscented balms are popular, many are flavoured with essential oils to cover up the odour of the tallow, which has been described by some as being like a roast dinner. Animal fats have been used in skincare before, the most commonly used being lanolin. But cosmetic formulator Dr Colette Haydon said: ‘Lanolin is fat that comes from the skin of the sheep which does have a very similar lipid – or fat – profile to human skin. But when we’re talking about animal body, that’s a completely different thing.’ That’s not to say it can’t have a positive impact on skin. All moisturisers are made up of humectant ingredients that draw water to the skin and occlusive ingredients that stop water escaping from the skin, and almost any form of fat can act as an occlusive. But it can also – like many fats – clog pores. ‘There was a fad for using butter in facials a few years ago and that led to lots of people getting acne,’ Dr Haydon added.