Starlite Soap Studio prides itself on creating luxurious soaps using a carefully balanced selection of vegetable oils, and we use this blend in our workshops, and make-at-home soap kits. But have you ever considered trying out animal fats? The historical use of animal fats, especially lard and tallow, adds depth and tradition to the art of soapmaking.

1. Animal Source:

Lard: Rendered from pig fat, lard boasts a reputation for delivering a creamy, stable lather and shaping hard, enduring soap bars. Its wide availability has made it a staple in soap-making traditions across diverse regions.

Tallow: Crafted from beef fat, tallow mirrors lard's characteristics, offering a solid soap bar and a luxurious, creamy lather. 

    2. Saponification Values:

    Both lard and tallow share similar saponification values, ensuring their transformation into soap with comparable cleansing and moisturizing attributes. This harmonious balance grants soap makers the freedom to experiment and innovate.

      3. Sustainability and Ethics:

      Modern soap artisans, driven by ethical considerations, seek local and sustainable sources for animal fats. Ethically sourced lard and tallow play a pivotal role in reducing environmental impact, echoing the values of pioneers who utilized every resource available to them.

        4. Skin Feel and Properties:

        Lard and tallow carve a niche with their indulgent, creamy lather, creating soaps that caress the skin with mildness and conditioning. The choice between these fats often boils down to personal preference, reflecting the varied desires of soap aficionados.

          5. Unearthing Pioneer Days:

          In the days of pioneers, every part of an animal was utilized, honoring the spirit of resourcefulness. Soap making, then, was a testament to frugality and sustainability, echoing the essence of frontier life. Embracing this heritage, modern artisans integrate these fats, paying homage to the wisdom of pioneers.

          6. Addressing Discomfort:
          Acknowledging the reservations some individuals harbor regarding animal fats, it is essential to recognize the historical context. The discomfort often arises from a disconnect with our roots. By appreciating the pioneers' pragmatic approach, we bridge the gap between tradition and the present, fostering a deeper understanding of soap making's rich legacy.
            7. How to use:
            Do you want to make soap with animal fats? Your best friend is always a lye calculator! Simply key in your preferred quantity and ratio of oil & water, and let the calculator figure out the quantity of sodium hydroxide required to saponify your oils. Here's a simple but effective formulation for you to try. We have added some coconut oil and olive oils to lend some extra lather, hardness and conditioning qualities to the finished bar: 

            540g lard or tallow
            180g coconut oil
            180g olive oil
            330g distilled water
            127g sodium hydroxide

            Follow the same methodology as used in Starlite's Beginner Soap Making Workshop
              Whether you are using beef, bear, deer, goat or other animal fat, the use of animal fats reflects a profound respect for tradition, heritage, and the resourcefulness of pioneers and first nations. Best of all, the soap you'll make is super luxurious - maybe one of the best soaps you will ever create! 
              Back to blog