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Readers Respond: Do you use animal oils in your soap recipes?

Responses: 45

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When I first started making soap and posting questions on message forums like the Candle & Soap Making Forum, one of the first questions I asked was "What are the pros and cons of using animal oils (like tallow or lard) in your soap recipes?" Boy - that sure was a lively discussion...and continues to be one of the most interesting and passionate debates among soap makers. Animal oils have been used to make soap for thousands of years, but the current trend of more "natural" soaps have tended to lead soap makers to vegetable based alternatives like palm oil. But even palm oil has its controversies. What's your opinion? Tell us why or why not.

No animal fats, NEVER.

I strongly believe animals do not belong to humans to be exploited and used. Their fat is not there for you to fry your food in, nor put in soap, it's much better off staying on the animal body, keeping it warm and well. There are so many other alternatives to animal products out there that do not involve cruelty and exploitation. Plant oils are available in such an abundance that there simply isn't any need to use animal fat. I'm vegan and so are my products.
—Guest Ravenscourt Apothecary

GM CP soapmaker

I use animal fats in my goats milk cold process soaps...not all but most and I have to say that the ones I make using either lard or hand rendered beef tallow make the longest lasting and most gentle soaps. I grew up under the "waste not want not" way of life and still feel the same way. The AF I do use come from clean sources, unlike the commercial soaps where the AF comes from a rendering plant that is basically a disposal for carcasses that come from questionable practices and demise. I don't use cosmetics for this reason...lipsticks etc. are made from the products of those processing plants. I'm not against all vegetable based fats in a soap but prefer to use a combination in mine, they all benefit in one way or another and if you don't want to use a product that makes use of beneficial "waste" then you have the choice not to.
—Guest goatgirl74

No animal products in my soap

I make lovely soap, hard and long lasting, without using animal products. I believe that rather than "respecting the animal" by using every part of it after it's slaughtered for food, it's better to REALLY respect the animal by letting it live.
—Guest Roxanne

Tree Huggers...Blah..blah...blah

Animals are for our use, PERIOD. Use them, Eat them, love them, whatever, it's for our use. You can feel good that they were a gift to you from GOD just like the plants and vegetables. They are a resource for our survival. Stop bickering over such nonsense and get happy with life while you can. We all are only here for a short time. Enjoy what you've got and let others be happy. Help solve problems, don't cause more for others. Honey is sweeter than vinegar....don't be a pickle.
—ejs2ks

can we use liquid oils

hi. I have seen in soap making videos that they make soaps only with hard oils. Is it ok if we make soaps with just liquid oil and lye? Will it make a difference in product finish? kindly reply. thanks ---------------------- Answer: Sure you can...Castile soap would be a good example of soap made with just liquid (olive) oils. Each oil contributes its own characteristics to the soap. How your soap turns out, depends on the balance of those oils. Check out http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/soapmakingoils/tp/qualitiesofsoapmakingoils.htm for more information.
—Guest gayathri

Did we forget how we got this far??!!!!

The lard/tallow comes from an animal...we know this. The fat is just going to be thrown away. Wasted! Why not use it? And for the people on here that think it's inhumane to kill a a cow for beef, my thoughts on that is that you have forgotten how we have made this long here. Not too many years ago if you didn't eat meat you didn't live. If you don't want animal fat on your skin don't use it. If you don't want to eat meat don't but don't bash the people who do. The lard and tallow soaps are great. So are the veggie soaps. I personally have to say the animal fat soaps are the best. Plus if not used in the soaps and things it is just trashed.
—Guest Toni

My soap doesn't include animal products

After I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, Went to alternative dr, I changed my diet to vegetarian and bought veggie handmade soaps, I couldn't have any animal products, additives,or chemicals whether on or in me..I show a soap demonstration, took classes and started my own soap business and this site was a god sent. I have learned so much from David, his video's are great and his info is inspiring! Thanks so much!
—handmadesoap4me

Dove soaps use AO

I´m still gathering information to start making my own soap. I can´t use just any soap - well, I can, but my skin is kind of sensitive to soaps with fragrances and the-like. For the shower, I only use Grisi Hipoalergenic and Dove, one of the best commercial soaps available worldwide. Wanna know the ingredients? (The Dove bar with the least ingredients, to prevent my allergic reactions) Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, BHT. So, that´s Tallow + Coconut Oil + Lye... EDTA and BHT are conservatives. If Dove uses it and people love it, I sure will try using it, too. I will of course make soaps w/o AO, too, for people who THINK that only vegetables are good sources for any kind of products...
—Guest Carlos Callau

Yes I use AO

I think that to be a country of meat eaters and not use the whole animal in any way we can is to be disrespectful of the animal that gave it all for us. AO makes a superior soap and we should be as green as we can in our use of our resources. I love the lather and qualities the AO adds to my soap.
—Guest Debbie

AO has its place right up there with VO

Having been raised on a farm, I know the benefits of raising animals for food...to let the fat go unused is a total waste, and it makes a wonderful moisturizing bar of soap that cleans gently and thoroughly. I do make both AO and VO soaps, but I do label them as such for the less hardy individual. "Waste not, want not", my Grandma always said - and on the farm we had plenty of AO to use at fall butchering time. Call me a 'hick' or a 'redneck'...I wear the name proudly.
—Guest FarmGirl

meat fat in soaps

I think that using about 15% lard in my soap makes a bar that is gentle on my skin. I am a nurse, so before I started making my own soap, my hands were cracked and bleeding by the middle of Dec.
—Guest mavanbeke

Animal Fat in soap

Yes, I use animal fats in my soaps. I raised 2 grassfed pigs a couple years ago and used the scraps for some excellent soap, as well as all the deer tallow from hunting each year. My neighbor raises beef and the butcher gives me all the extra fat in exchange for a few bars( just like his Gramma used to). It's a sad waste to throw away animal parts that could be used in such a healthy thing.
—LibbyMN

Thank You chickenjane

Thank you for calling it what it is...lunacy....to consider it "green" to waste a valuable resource. Tallow is going to be produced because we all eat. Too many people have gotten the mistaken idea that animal products are "bad" because there are some activities in this world where animals are abused. But soapmaking is not one of them. Especially now that we are becoming more health-conscious and not eating as much animal fat, I think it is a much better idea to use the fat for a useful purpose than throw it away. Soap made from tallow, in combination with other oils, is excellent in quality and super good for your skin. I agree, it's time to stop this ridiculous search for the exotic oils that may be the result of unethical practice, and use the things we have available locally. And THAT is the most natural thing you can do in soapmaking. Use what you have on hand, prevent waste, recycle, and make the world a cleaner, healthier place.
—Guest jeanene72

I use lard

I have used homemade soap with both Vo and AO. I have very oily skin and olive just makes it worse for me. I started making my own soap because I could not buy AO soap locally. Since then skin has gotten better. Hubby loves my real white hard soap. He grew up raising cows and pigs his grandma made soap. So now I do too and love it alot better than anything I have bought handmade or store bought.
—Guest Tamara

Feel better about Animal Fats

Think of it as "green" re-use and recycling. It removes eye make-up to engine grease - and gently! Helps a variety of skin conditions and makes a beautiful hard bar - nothing else like it. It's abundant, made in the USA, and complements many existing "engines" in the economy: farmers, ranchers, distributors, processors, your local butcher and you. Left over renderings can be molded, frozen, and gifted or sold to bird sanctuaries and bird aficionados in cold climes where birds will appreciate the additional sustenance over winter.
—JoanfromNorthernCA

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Do you use animal oils in your soap recipes?

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  8. Animal Oils in Soap Making - Using Lard Tallow or Other Animal Oils in Soap

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