For The Love of Lard
Lard Bar – coming straight from the pig pen to a shower near you. Really is proof that you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. “Hogwash” you say? What if I told you that using animal fats for soap making can be traced back almost 5000 years and lard or tallow is still a common ingredient even in those commercial store-bought soaps.?
Ok enough with the porcine metaphors and pig puns let us address the “ick” factor so we can move on to all the amazing benefits of a soap crafted from animal fats. Lard is the rendered fat of pigs and tallow is the rendered fat form other meat sources such as cow or deer. Rendering is a process that converts otherwise wasted animal byproducts into stable, usable purified fats.
Whether you live on a farm or homestead like we do, in the big city, or somewhere in between I think we can all agree that decreasing waste is not only good for our environment, but it is also just one small way we show our appreciation for the animals that sustain us. On our homestead we have a profound respect for the land and the animals that we raise. That deep connection ensures our mutual dedication to providing for one another for years to come.
Animal fats have been used for generations in things like baking, seasoning the cast iron skillet, starting a fire or making candles, lubricants for rusty wheels, shoeshine, and medicinally for balms and salves…and yes for soap. Early soaps were either hard to acquire due to fancy vegetable-based oils not readily available, or they were too expense for the average family to splurge on. However, fats from animals were abundant and largely discarded as waste. By simply mixing wood ash or lye with rainwater and rendered fat, and allowing it to cook and cool, a person could create their own usable product for washing and hygiene with items already on hand. To this day commercial soap bars like Ivory, Dove, Dial, Irish Spring, Jergens, and Nivea contain tallow lard.
Plain and simple, lard soap is highly compatible with the structure of the human cells. Our cell membranes are largely composed of saturated fats, just like the ones found in lard. This is the main reason why soaps based on animal fats have the nourishing properties that plant-based fats don’t deliver. Plant-based fats like olive or almond oil, for example, are a source of monounsaturated fats. Lard soap creates a naturally white hard bar of soap that will last longer than it’s vegetable based counterparts.
Pigs and humans share very similar skin characteristics in terms of general structure, thickness, and hair follicle content. Soap comprised of lard can benefit the skin because it is mild, moisturizing, and it conditions very well. Lard soap may reduce fine lines and wrinkles, tone and firm skin’s texture, even out color and reduce redness associated with rosacea. These bars may reduce dryness associated with conditions like eczema (or winter weather). Contrary to what you might think lard soap does not clog pours. In fact, it’s reported to help with acne prone skin by balancing the skin’s natural oils.
Here at 8nfinity Homestead we are very proud of the small-scale ethically raised pig operation we run. They are essential to our self-sustainability and to feeding this family. The pigs are fed a natural corn-based grain with lots of table scraps and leftovers. Never short on entertainment, our pigs love a good ear scratch and always greet us with a big warm smile. By using rendered lard in our soaps we can ensure that no part of this beautiful animal goes to waste.
I am thrilled to announce our new line of Lard Bars. Comprised of 75% pure rendered pig lard these soaps are gloriously rich. In keeping with a more natural practice, I will only use pure essential oils and natural colorants for this line. I encourage everyone to try a lard bar and compare the difference. Or as they say in the pig pen…go hog wild.