We’ve gotten a mix of positive and negative feedback lately on our choice to remove essential oils from our products in favor of using the whole herb in the form of an infused herbal oil. There are many reasons for this decision but today I want to tackle one of the biggest concerns we've heard vocalized: the scent.
As a culture we have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with fragrances and scents. While part of this is probably instinctual, our noses do after all protect us in many ways (particularly when it comes to food), but much of it is a stumbling block. I get it, I can appreciate a good bath with some quality soap, or a shampoo that leaves my hair subtly scented when I get out of the shower. I’m not at all immune to the innate desire to smell good.
However, our noses can become desensitized to smell via olfactory fatigue. This means that we progressively need more and more of a scent to be able to even smell it anymore.
Try this experiment: stop wearing perfume everyday for a week and then put it on again and notice how strong it smells to you or even how strong someone else’s perfume smells! This helps us to avoid sensory overload - as you can imagine!
We realized we were stepping on many peoples’ toes when we made the decision to remove essential oils from our tallow butters. It seems like people have readily bought into this idea that essential oils can cure anything and they smell really good to boot! But after extensive research and trial-and-error, we couldn’t continue using them in our tallow butters in good conscience. We knew this meant that our tallow butters would definitely not have as strong of a scent and thereby some may even get a hint of “tallowy” scent in their butters. So what was so compelling that we made the decision to switch?
Tallow is something many people turn their noses up at. Not necessarily because of scent, but mostly because the idea of using an animal fat on your skin is just such a foreign concept. This is just one example of how far away our culture has come from ancestral wisdom. The original skincare of our ancestors used was animal fats! This was readily available and was very stable on top of being extremely effective, especially for the myriad of harsh conditions their skin would have had to endure (extreme heat, extreme cold, harsh sun and wind, etc.)
In reality the oils of the biblical and ancient times were most likely infused oils. These contain small amounts of volatile oils (which is what essential oils are mostly made up of) but also contains the broader spectrum of the plants constituents.
Why? Essential oils take hundreds of pounds of plant material to make one tiny bottle of essential oil. Not only was this type of large-scale farming fairly improbable in those times - it would have also been rare for the common person to have had the machinery to distill these types of oils. Distillation has only come into the picture in the last few decades. Enter: infused oils.
Overall we believe that using the infused oil is the best option for daily use. It's super safe, contains the volatile oils that essential oils do only in a far, far less concentrated amount that is held in balance by the rest of the plants constituents. Take this concept to food: We can concentrate out constituents of food (vitamins/minerals etc. i.e. supplements) and while they are good – (I have nothing against them and take some myself from time to time) they are still not WHOLE FOOD. Whole foods, directly from the earth contain an incredible array of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and a myriad of other constituents that are all held in a balance that the body can readily “read.” Any medical professional will agree that supplementing one’s diet can be a positive aspect, but that’s the thing: you are SUPPLEMENTING a whole foods diet. Infused oils can be thought of as the whole foods of the plant. They contain a much broader spectrum in the balance of all the other wonder properties of the whole herb than do the essential oils.
Safety: Proper dilution and use of essential oils is a must. We are NOT trained aromatherapists and don’t confidently stand behind our small amount of knowledge on essential oils to bring you the correct dilution rate, proper usage, and best blends of essential oils for effectiveness. There are documented cases of burns, rashes and sensitivity of with both proper and improper use of oils. We see them more as a medicine not so much a day-to-day-use substance.
Some go so far as to say essential oils are simply far too strong and thereby are causing more harm than good. Again, we leave this decision up to you, but know that it is absolutely essential to DILUTE them properly (you can get these dilution rates from a TRAINED and certified aromatherapist)
Here’s the bottom line: we wanted to bring you the safest, most traditional form of skin-care possible. Something you would have found in the kitchens and homes of your ancestors. This switch hasn’t made things easier in terms of time spent making the product. Now, we have to grow the herbs, dry the herbs, and infuse the herbs. If we don’t grow the particular herbs we still have to infuse it and then strain it. It is significantly much more work to use herbs over essential oils, so rest assured we did not do this out of convenience, only out of a conviction to bring you the best product that we know how.
So, even if making the switch has been slightly off-putting to some we decided to take the risk and be some of the first to make the leap into true, ancestral skin care. This, my friends is the real meaning of our slogan “Uncompromised Beauty.” And that’s what you can always expect from Texas Tallow. A pleasant scent is definitely a plus and we believe that once you’ve cleared your nose from artificial scents and improperly diluted essential oils you will come to appreciate the subtle herbal fragrances of our tallow butters knowing it is both extremely safe for all ages and super effective because it contains such a broad spectrum of the plants constituents.
Read more about Infused Oils vs Essential Oils in our blog post.
Founder of Texas Tallow