If you need to complete your holiday shopping, find a birthday present for a friend, or just treat yourself to something special, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone. But what's even better, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to shop consciously and to support many naturally minded small businesses.
The 55 companies that have provided items for review and giveaway are almost exclusively made up of work-at-home shops or companies that are dedicated to supporting eco-conscious choices. I'm featuring one of those companies in my review below. When you get done reading my review, please click on over to the full Second Annual Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide, where you'll find information on 58 products. In total, we're giving away goodies worth more than $2500!
Even if you don't win one of our fabulous prize packages, please consider spending part of your gift-giving budget at one of these small businesses. By supporting small businesses, you are helping families, boosting local economies, and supporting ethical practices of manufacturing, production and selling. Take advantage of coupon codes provided by many of the companies, you can find them at the full Gift Guide at NPN. To make browsing easier, we've split the Gift Guide into sections with products that are Perfect for Kids and Perfect for Families. And you can find all 6 Rafflecopter widgets there, too.
Without further ado, here is my review – thank you for reading and entering!
What if I told you that I was going to willingly slather myself in beef fat?
Would you just shake your head and think “oh, there goes that crazy, crunchy, Hybrid Rasta Mama again?” Or would you shrivel up your nose and just think that was plain gross? Maybe something in between? Or better yet, maybe you would actually be really, really curious about why I would want to smell like a meat locker. On purpose.
You all know by now that I love to be as close to earth as possible when it comes to what I put on and in my body. This is why I live and breathe coconut oil, amongst other things. I look and feel my best when I am using products straight from nature with little, if any, adulteration.
I get a lot, ok, a ton of requests from all kinds of skincare companies to review their products. I am ridiculously picky about what I agree to try. Not only are there only so many products that I actually want to try but there are very few companies that I can stand behind.
I knew about Vintage Tradition long before I agreed to try their products. I had seen other bloggers raving about their body balm. Most of these bloggers were natural minded mamas with very high standards so I knew that there must be something to this “tallow” product they produced.
I'll be honest. I wasn't terribly certain that I wanted to smear beef fat all over me. Yeah – I know. Tallow is actually rendered beef fat so it isn't at all like the fat you would see on a steak. But still. It's animal fat in a more solidified, creamy state. Plus I have lots of cats and a huge dog. So it made me a wee bit nervous to think of what might happen once they got a whiff of me.
Part of why I agree to review products is so that all of you can expand your options when it comes to safe, effective, but most importantly, natural products. So I decided to take one for the team so-to-speak and see what would happen when I added Vintage Tradition Body Balm to my self-care arsenal.
What is this Tallow Body Balm all about anyway?
I cannot possibly explain it better than the good people at Vintage Tradition, so here it is, straight from their FAQ page. “We use tallow because it is nature's original skin care product and works better than the man-made products that began to replace it in the 20th century. Modern-day research has confirmed the traditional wisdom of our ancestors. Tallow contains abundant natural fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and fat-soluble activators, which are found only in animal fats and which all promote skin health. Tallow also contains fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and palmitoleic acid, which has natural antimicrobial properties. No plant-based skin care ingredient or product can remotely compare to tallow in its power to nourish and heal the skin. This fact is not surprising since we are animals and not plants.”
The Body Balm is made up of three simple ingredients. Tallow (didn't see that one coming did you?), Olive Oil from my favorite ranch – Chaffin Family Orchards, and Essential Oils. Pretty simple right? And simple is ALWAYS a good thing.
The Body Balm is truly a whole body care product and is safe for use on the face, lips, hands, feet, and body. It can be used on any skin type and for any skin condition including dry, chapped, calloused, cracked, and sun-damaged skin, rashes, burning, itching, wrinkles, and more.
If you want to learn about things like where the tallow comes from, why the balm varies in color and consistency, and how to make your own custom scent, check out their FAQ page.
When the package arrived, I cut the tape and let Tiny open it while I headed off to handle some laundry. A short while later she wandered over to me, smelling of popcorn and muttering things like “mmmm….they sent me popcorn. Yummy.” The awesome folks over at Vintage Tradition must have known that the way to Tiny's heart is via a box of REAL popcorn, so they packed up the samples in…you guessed it…popped popcorn. I laughed about that all afternoon.
Vintage Tradition sent me four samples of their Body Balm so I could try out four different “scents” if you will. Pretty Girly, Almost Unscented, and Unscented were all begging me to give them a try! Mild Manly, well, that had Rasta Daddy written all over it!
I decided to be a bit of a conservative and start with the Pretty Girly scent. Not wanting to smell like a beef bone, I figured this was the safest option. I scooped a pea sized amount out of the jar and rubbed it on my foot. (I know…kind of wimpy right?) Well, I did not smell like a beef bone – yay – and I was very surprised to see how quickly it absorbed and how it did not leave any traces of greasiness behind.
Pretty stoked about my first experience with tallow as a moisturizer, I headed straight for the unscented jar and used it on my hands. I'll admit, there was a hint of beefiness to it, but the meaty scent wasn't overpowering and after a few minutes I didn't notice it at all.
Since I have read testimonials from tallow converts who swear it is better than coconut oil, I decided to use it exclusively for one week to see what I thought. While I will never give up coconut oil, the Vintage Tradition Body Balm did have some things going for it after my week long trial. First, it is not nearly as greasy as coconut oil and it absorbs faster. So if you do not have time to wait for the coconut oil to absorb, this is a good choice. The Body Balm does not change consistency when there is a chance in temperature. The one thing that drives me batty about coconut oil is digging it out of the jar in cool weather. There is no need to do this with the Body Balm. It's ready when you are!
Will I give up coconut oil as a moisturizer? Not completely. But it does have some competition now. I happen to still prefer coconut oil as a face moisturizer although I did use the tallow lotion on my face and it did not clog pores, cause any breakouts, or do anything that made me dislike it. I actually even tried it in place of my coconut oil based homemade deodorant and it worked fairly well. That surprised me! I have no idea if it is meant to serve as an underarm funk inhibitor but it appears to work just fine in that regard.
About that little concern I had with my animals thinking I was a giant beef bone. Funny story. My cats and dog didn't give me a second glance when I walked by, wafting the scented Body Balms in their direction. But when I slathered the unscented balm on my legs, I was treated to a spa day, cat tongue style. Yep – several of my cats got right down to the business of making sure every square inch of my legs were completely free of that delicious tallow body balm! I found this to be hysterical myself. Tiny was jealous so she went and helped herself to some body balm and had her own spa day.
I'm sure some of you are totally grossed out now but trust me, it was harmless and funny. And after that initial enthusiastic response, my cats could care less about my legs or what is on them! So the good news is, that while some animals might find the unscented body balm appealing, the novelty wears off quickly. My dog never did get interested in it by the way.
So overall, I like the Vintage Tradition Body Balm a lot. I think it would be incredibly effective on super dry skin since it absorbs deeply and quickly. It is very soothing so cracked skin would really reap the benefits of it. The scents are all wonderful – not overpowering – just enough to take that meaty edge off.
A little goes a really, really long way and being the frugalista that I am, this is a huge plus! One jar will last you a loooong time.
Give tallow a try! I think you will be really impressed and quite possibly might find yourself replacing some of your tried and true skin care products in favor of this all-in-one, does-it-all lotion!
For your own chance to win a 3 pack of 2 ounce Tallow Body Balms from Vintage Tradition, or one of the 26 huge prize packages we're giving away, come back to this post on November 6th when our Rafflecopter widgets will go live for your chance to enter! Or you can visit Natural Parents Network on November 6th to see and enter to win all of our fantastic prize packages at once!
Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product for review purposes. Amazon links are affiliate links. We try to seek out only products we think you would find relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent. If we don't like a product, we won't be recommending it to you. See our full disclosure policy here.