Sodium Tallowate: Properties of This Ancient Soap

Sodium tallowate has been used for centuries as a soap, but is it as gentle on your skin as it’s made out to be? After all, nature doesn’t equal good. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using tallow soap in your personal care routine.
sodium tallowate

How Is Sodium Tallowate Made?

Sodium tallowate is a sodium salt of tallow acid, which is derived from animal fat. Tallow is usually made from beef or mutton fat. The process of making tallow soap involves saponification, or the process of turning fats or oils into soap.

The ingredient is made by first rendering the animal fat into tallow. The tallow is combined with lye, which is a sodium hydroxide solution. This mixture is then heated and stirred until it’s saponified, or turns into soap.

Because of its animal fat content, sodium tallowate is not vegan or vegetarian. It’s essentially a byproduct of the meat industry. It’s also not recommended for people with sensitive skin, as it can be quite drying. We’ll discuss it in more detail later.

What Are the Benefits of Sodium Tallowate?

Sodium tallowate is a very effective cleansing agent. It’s often used as an industrial soap because it does such a good job of removing dirt, grease, and grime. You may find it in some shampoos, body washes, and other cleansing products. In these formulations, it acts as a surfactant, which means it helps water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed away.

Sodium tallowate is also quite inexpensive. It’s a byproduct of the meat industry, so it’s not something that has to be produced separately. This makes it a very cost-effective ingredient, which is why you’ll find it in many budget-friendly personal care products.

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While it’s not the most gentle cleanser out there, sodium tallowate does have some benefits for oily skin. It can help to remove excess oil and sebum from the skin, which can help to reduce breakouts. It’s also a very effective makeup remover.

The Drawbacks: It’s Drying and Alkaline

However, sodium tallowate also has some drawbacks. One of the biggest is that it’s quite drying, just like other soaps. It can strip away the natural oils from your skin, leaving it feeling dry and tight. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you should steer clear of all true soaps, especially sodium tallowate. Here are some other disadvantages:

  • It’s alkaline, which can disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance. This can lead to inflammation, dryness, and even breakouts.
  • It’s a byproduct of the meat industry, so it’s not vegan or vegetarian-friendly. It might be unethically sourced, as well.
  • It can be quite harsh, especially on sensitive skin. It’s not recommended for people with eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions.

If you do decide to use sodium tallowate, be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer. This will help to replenish the natural oils that your cleanser has stripped away. It’s also good to limit your use of sodium tallowate to once a day, alternating it with gentler cleansers.

Other Soaps to Avoid If You Don’t Like Sodium Tallowate

If you have decided to avoid sodium tallowate because it’s made from animal fat or because you have dry or sensitive skin, you should also avoid lard soap (sodium lardate). It comes with the same drawbacks as sodium tallowate.

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You may also want to avoid sodium palmate and sodium palm kernelate. These are made from palm oil, which is a controversial ingredient. It’s often sustainably sourced, but some brands use it unethically. Besides, these soaps are also drying and alkaline.

Sodium cocoate is a soap made of coconut oil. It’s a bit gentler than sodium tallowate, but it can still be drying. Some people also think that coconut production is unethical, as it destroys the natural habitat of many animals.

If you want to avoid all of these soaps, you can try a syndet bar. These are made with synthetic surfactants, so they’re vegan and usually gentle on the skin.

The Bottom Line: Tallow Soap Is Harsh But Effective

So, is sodium tallowate good for your skin? It has its benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to avoid it. But if you have oily skin, it could be worth a try. Just be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer afterwards.

Do you use sodium tallowate? Let us know in the comments below!

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