The Ultimate Guide to Fatty Acids in Tallow

The Ultimate Guide to Fatty Acids in Tallow


Tallow, a rendered form of animal fat, has been used for centuries in various applications, from cooking to soap making. One of the key components of tallow is fatty acids, which play a crucial role in its properties and benefits. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of fatty acids found in tallow and their impact on our health and everyday life.

But first, we need to briefly talk about unrefined tallow vs refined tallow.

There has been a heated debate in the tallow community about purifying tallow for skincare products. Many claim that you must add salt and water during or after rendering tallow then reheat it multiple times to get a clean "cosmetic grade" fat.

The goal of purifying tallow is to get a pure white and odorless product. Let's be honest, we're all used to using snow-white creams that are either heavily scented or have no scent at all in our skincare regimen. Switching from commercially made cosmetics that use synthetic materials to a natural product that smells a lot different than what we have been used to can be shocking, to say the least. That's why purified tallow has been so popular! But purifying tallow does have drawbacks.

So what's better unrefined or refined tallow? Well, there has been a lack of scientific evidence to back either claim, so two wonderful ladies, Buffalo Gal Grass Fed Beauty and Grassland Beauty decided to send in some samples to a lab to find out, and well the results are shocking...

Many of the important biocompatible fatty acids that we love so much in tallow either diminish or become imbalanced just after being purified once! While there is nothing harmful about using purified tallow, it just does not deliver the full spectrum of benefits that unrefined tallow offers!

Unrefined tallow smells like nutrients!

What are Fatty Acids?

Fatty acids are organic compounds that consist of a chain of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms, with a carboxyl group (-COOH) at one end. They are classified into three main categories based on their chemical structure: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The Types of Fatty Acids in Tallow

Tallow is primarily composed of saturated fatty acids, which make up about 50-55% of its total composition. These saturated fatty acids include palmitic acid, stearic acid, and myristic acid. Saturated fatty acids are known for their stability and solid consistency at room temperature.

Additionally, tallow contains a small amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid. Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature and are considered heart-healthy fats.

The Benefits of Fatty Acids in Tallow

Fatty acids in tallow offer several benefits, both in terms of health and practical applications:

1. Nutritional Value: Saturated fatty acids provide a concentrated source of energy and are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

2. Culinary Uses: Tallow's high smoke point and stability make it an excellent choice for frying and sautéing. It adds a unique flavor to dishes and helps in achieving a crispy texture.

3. Skincare and Cosmetics: Tallow's fatty acids have moisturizing properties and can help nourish and hydrate the skin. It is often used in soaps, lotions, and balms.

4. Candle Making: The high melting point of tallow, attributed to its saturated fatty acids, makes it an ideal ingredient for candle making, providing a longer burn time.


Fatty acids are an integral part of tallow, contributing to its properties and versatility. Whether you're using tallow in cooking, skincare, or other applications, understanding the role of fatty acids can help you make informed choices and appreciate the benefits it offers. So, the next time you come across tallow, remember the valuable contribution of fatty acids in this versatile substance.

Be sure to check out Grassland Beauty's blog post where she goes into depth about the lab results she received

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