The truth about the ingredients in your skincare - Sodium Tallowate

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Have you seen Sodium Tallowate in your soap's ingredient list? Wondered what it is, let’s try to simplify it….

What is Sodium Tallowate?

Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium Tallowate are the salts of tallow’s fatty acids. Tallow is fat derived from the fatty tissue of sheep or cattle. Tallow reacts with sodium hydroxide to produce Sodium Tallowate.

Where is it used?

Sodium Tallowate is found in bath soaps, shampoos, personal hygiene products, and detergents.

Why is it used?

Sodium Tallowate is a surfactant, which means it operates as a cleansing agent, foam booster and helps to increase the viscosity of the product. This is the reason that products that use Sodium Tallowate feel creamy and create a foamy lather. Tallow was also one of the fats that were used to make some of the first soap formulations in history. 

This doesn’t seem like a bad thing, does it? Well, let’s dig a little bit more...

Where does this Tallow come from?

The tallow used for mass-production is a byproduct from the commercial meat industry.  The tallow used in mass-produced soaps originates from animals that are born and raised with the purpose of harvesting their resources with little concern for the animal’s well-being. Tallow is removed by extraction of suet from a carcass. Suet is hard fat found in the neighbourhood of the kidneys and other organs. Livestock on feedlots are fed a highly unnatural diet of grain and corn designed to fatten them up quickly. Cattle raised for food are also regularly dosed with drugs such as antibiotics to make them grow faster and to keep them alive in the miserable conditions that they are kept in.

As the primary purpose of the slaughter is to acquire meat for food, the best parts are sent to the meat industry. The fat from the leftover carcass is then sent to the other industries, skincare is one of them. As it is a leftover product, it is inexpensive and because of the huge volume of amimals slaughtered for meat, it is easily available.

I get this is bad for the animal, but why is this bad for ME!

Okay, so let’s get to that

Any fat in its direct form is perishable and using fat will require products to be made in smaller batches and these products will have to be cured for a longer time. To avoid this, the salts are extracted, and the chemical Sodium Tallowate is synthesized, which is more stable, long-lasting and suitable for assembly lines and mass production.

Sodium Tallowate is a surfactant meaning it operates as a cleansing agent and creates foam when used. This is the reason that products that use Sodium Tallowate feel creamy and create a foamy lather.  As it is a surfactant, it acts by removing the oils on your skin to clean it. However, these are necessary oils that protect and hydrate your skin. This can make the skin feel dry, itchy and unprotected.

Another critical point to remember is that the raw material or the tallow is not from a good source but from leftover carcass where the animal has had an unhealthy diet and pumped with really strong antibiotics.

Any products that you use on your skin is absorbed into your skin and your bloodstream without any filters. Continuous usage of these ingredients on your skin which remove necessary oils and dry it can cause your skin to become sensitive and prone to skin issues. 

But wasn’t tallow the fat used from the beginning, What’s the alternative?


Vegan, cruelty-free and natural soaps that care for your sin

While tallow was the fat that was used to make some of the first soap formulations in history, we don't have to anymore.  

We have now increased our knowledge of what is healthy for the skin. We now also have healthier and natural ingredients which are better for skincare. Ingredients that are not derived by animal cruelty and care for your skin much better than any animal fat.

Unfortunately large-scale soap and detergent producers continue to use tallow because it is inexpensive. 

The better alternatives

 Pick skincare products that use plant-based fat. They are natural, with no chemicals, safe, healthy and great for your skin! 

Here's an alternative to pick - Idam soaps are vegan, we do not use any ingredients that are derived from animals. 

Idam soaps are made from cold-pressed coconut and sesame oil which are made locally in wooden crushes to retain their nutrients. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Composed primarily of nourishing fatty acids, it is exceptionally high in lauric acid and contains vitamin E and healthy fats, which help to make your skin smooth. 

Our soaps infuse all the goodness of coconut oil into your skin without depleting its natural oils. With a beautiful creamy lather, they deep-cleanse and condition your skin and heal it from within.

Enhanced with herbs, flowers and essential oils, our soaps are formulated with love to heal, nourish and protect your skin. Pick one, and your skin will thank you!  

And yes, so will the animals that you save when you make this choice.

Our soaps are packed and shipped plastic-free too. Order now and make a choice that's great for your skin, the environment and the animals! 

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  • Ira Osorio on


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