Why Holistic Skin Care Is Best: An Unpopular Opinion on Animal-Based Ingredients
When it comes to our formulas for holistic skin care, we don’t follow trends unless they’re truly helpful + healing to your skin.
Our goal at Primally Pure is holistic health – for your skin and your whole body. We only use ingredients that are high-quality, ethically sourced, + backed by science.
So let’s address one of our most unpopular opinions to date. Holistic skin care often requires a balance of plant-based AND animal-based ingredients. This isn’t to say that every single product must include animal-based ingredients. But we don’t limit ourselves to the latest movement or agenda.
We understand why there can be a fear or hesitation around animal-based ingredients. But nature has provided us with some incredible resources. They’re meant to be used whole – with integrity and respect.
So if it makes sense to include them in our holistic skincare products, we aren’t afraid to break from the status quo – and set a new standard. It may not be a popular stance, but it’s founded in ancient wisdom + nature’s guidance.
Today we’re going to show you why and how we do so.
The Moral Case for Animal-Based Ingredients in Your Holistic Skin Care Plan
Let’s start by looking at the definition of “holistic”:1
“Relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”
The complete system. Did you catch that?
Nature is the original source of holistic health. It provides us with a complete system of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Holistic skin care should consider all available resources – not just plant-based ones.
And speaking of complete systems, we’re inherently woven into the food chain as part of the earth’s natural design to self-sustain. To remove ourselves from the equation is actually counterintuitive to what our ancestors instinctively knew.
→ One of the biggest beauty myths surrounding animal-based ingredients: they’re always bad.
Let’s debunk this myth. Holistic skin care can source animal-based ingredients with responsible + sustainable practices. In fact, this is one of our core priorities in ingredient sourcing.
So let’s bring to light the other side of the equation. Plant-based ingredients aren’t guaranteed to be eco-friendly – or even animal-friendly.
→ Just because an ingredient isn’t sourced directly from an animal, doesn’t mean it isn’t hurting them.
The monocrop farming industry is a prime example. Monocrop farms grow a singular crop in an entire portion of land. Monocrop farming destroys the soil + ecosystems for many animals – even endangered species.2 (And like a domino effect, unhealthy soil negatively impacts the nutrient content available in plant-based ingredients.)
Traditional farming methods pioneered by our ancestors leave portions of the land undisturbed and often rotate crops. This keeps soil healthy and ecosystems stable.
Irresponsible sourcing also depletes limited resources. Plant-based ingredients recklessly taken from nature deplete food + medicinal resources for animals. These ingredients must be sourced with respect for the animals that depend on them.
How We’re Setting a New Standard With Sourcing
It’s fair to ask! Here’s how we thoughtfully source ingredients for our holistic skincare products:
- We only source from farms that are transparent and responsible in their processing. If they don’t have proof of ethical and sustainable practices, we don’t buy from them.
- Our animal fats come from farms already processing animals, to help curb resources that would otherwise go to waste. This holds true to our beliefs with nose-to-tail philosophy. Every part of the animal should be utilized to honor its life.
- Our honey and beeswax are only harvested in seasons when there’s plenty of excess produced. This ensures we don’t interrupt the nature of bees’ hibernation patterns + food needs.
- We prioritize working with companies that value regenerative agriculture. This type of farming actually heals the soil which helps heal our environment through carbon capture. It also gives plants healthier soil to thrive in.4
Many assume animal-based ingredients are always harmful. But it’s simply not a fair assumption. Animal-sourced ingredients can provide valuable economic + health benefits. Let’s talk about a few of our favorites.
The Top 4 Responsibly-Sourced Animal Ingredients We Use in Our Holistic Skin Care
We believe in using animal-based ingredients, but only when they are sourced responsibly – with respect to nature + the animal's life. You’ll find these animal-based ingredients in our holistic skincare formulas.
1. Grass-Fed Tallow
Tallow is a staple in our holistic skin care formulas for a reason (check out this video). Tallow has been used in ancient cultures for thousands of years to heal the skin, cook, make candles, and more. It’s truly a multipurpose hero. That’s why you’ll find it in all our skin-specific creams – it’s loaded with nutrients that benefit every skin state.
It contains nutrients (like Vitamins A, D, K, and E) that you won't find in plant-based natural skincare products.
And unlike plant-based ingredients, it contains the activators needed for your skin to properly absorb these vitamins. In short, it contains whole vitamins instead of lab-processed/extracted vitamins.
Tallow provides the following benefits when used in holistic skin care:
- Improves skin cell health
- Restores moisture
- Helps protect against premature aging
- Soothes inflammation
- Boosts collagen + elastin production
Tallow is bioavailable and non-comedogenic, which means it absorbs more readily into your skin. The chemical and physical makeup matches your skin and the oils it produces. So it works with your skin on a cellular level to regenerate, heal, and nourish.
Our tallow is responsibly-sourced from certified, pasture-raised (grass-fed) and humanely processed cows.
2. Emu Oil
Emus have been used in Australian cultures for centuries as food and medicine – especially for inflammatory skin conditions.3 Similar to tallow, emu oil mimics the oils produced by your skin. So it's a perfect match for delivering nutrients deep into the skin. That's why you'll find it in our Baby Balm and skin-specific creams.
Combined with nourishing plant extracts + oils, emu oil is a powerful addition to holistic skin care because it:
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties for sensitive skin
- Enhances the skin’s protective barrier
- Reduces wrinkles + signs of aging
- Thickens skin
- Repairs age spots
- Regenerates skin cells
- Soothes + heals acne
Its long shelf life + non-comedogenic properties make it perfect for holistic skin care. We source our emu oil from certified American Emu Association farmers that practice eco-friendly farming + humane/ethical processing.
The use of honey for skin dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Honey was a sacred ingredient, reserved for royalty, and used for medicinal and spa treatments. So we aren’t the first – or the last – to harness the magic of honey for skin.
While many animal activists are concerned about bees going extinct (we don’t want them to either!), a hive produces about 55 extra pounds of honey per year. So rest assured, there’s enough to go around – with thoughtful + intentional sourcing of course. We use honey in our skin-specific face masks.
The benefits of honey in holistic skin care include:
- Enzymatic exfoliation – much safer than harsh chemical exfoliants or abrasive physical exfoliating (also hydrates the skin at the same time!)
- Acidic pH – helps prevent bacterial growth5
- Antibacterial properties – to protect against inflammation and irritation
- Locks in moisture to strengthen + nourish the skin
- Non-comedogenic so it won’t clog/disrupt the pores
Our honey is harvested respectfully – and in the right seasons (summer) when the surplus isn’t needed for the functionality or health of the bees. Harvesting the honey in this way is not doing any harm to the bees or their hives.
The honey is raw + unfiltered to preserve all the nutrients. We locally source it right down the road in Murrieta to keep things local – and sustainable. ;)
Beeswax (also derived from honey bees) is another animal-based product that we use. Similar to honey, beeswax has been used for centuries as a natural resource. We use beeswax in our body butters, Baby Balm, our deodorant line, candles, and lip balms.
Beeswax is an excellent addition to holistic skincare products that helps:
- Form a naturally creamy, thick texture
- Lock in moisture + prevent transepidermal water loss
- Create antibacterial/anti-inflammatory properties
Beeswax can even clean the air around you. Our non-toxic candles are made with beeswax because it burns clean + produces negative ions that purify the air.
Our unrefined beeswax comes from the same local company down the road. And true to our toxin-free values, our cosmetic-grade beeswax is physically (not chemically) decolorized + filtered.
All our animal-based ingredients are sourced with the highest quality + integrity to the animal and the natural environment. But another way to supplement animal-based products? Consuming them from brands that prioritize ethical practices, of course.
4 Food Items to Add to Your Diet for Holistic Skin Care
Staying true to our holistic roots, we firmly believe food is nutrition for your skin too. It’s an integral part of holistic skin care. Food is fuel.
We’d be here all day if we listed everything, but these are a few of the top animal-based superfoods to add to your diet for healthy, vibrant skin.
1. Bone Broth
While bone broth is highly nutritious, be mindful of ingredients and potential additives. Make sure you choose organic, grass-fed, and additive-free bone broth – or make your own!
Bone broth is an incredible addition to holistic skin care because it:
- Is easy to digest
- Heals your gut
- Boosts your immune system
- Balances hormones
- Decreases inflammation in the body
- Improves hair + nail growth
- Contains tons of collagen + hyaluronic acid
2. Fish Oil
Our founder Bethany swears by extra virgin cod liver oil as a daily supplement. But similar to bone broth, you’ll want to be picky – many are overly-processed and stripped of vitamins. Make sure your fish oil is high-quality and wild-caught (Bethany loves this brand.)
Fish oil is a superfood addition to holistic skin care because it’s full of skin-healthy ingredients like:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K2
- Omega-3 fatty acids
3. Grass-Fed Beef Liver
Liver (and specifically grass-fed beef liver) is arguably the most nutrient-dense food in the world. But it does have a very… ummm specific… flavor. So if you have issues with that, you can use supplements or test this smoothie recipe from our founder Bethany.
Two things to keep in mind when shopping for beef liver:
- Always ensure that you’re consuming liver from grass-fed and grass-finished cows, as it contains far more nutrients than conventional beef liver.
- Make sure it's sourced from a company that practices ethical + sustainable farming (we love Primal Pastures).
Grass-fed beef liver is packed with a clean energy boost along with nutrients that are an integral part of holistic skin care like:
- Vitamin A
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Vitamin C
4. Raw Dairy
Contrary to popular belief, raw dairy is not dangerous. And don’t worry, it doesn’t taste any different than normal dairy. But it’s loaded with far more benefits than pasteurized milk/dairy products.
Raw dairy is also easily digestible – it still contains the digestive enzymes needed to digest milk properly. On top of that, it provides a range of benefits like:
- Dense amounts of antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) + essential fatty acids
*Some people even apply raw milk topically to the skin!
- Balancing hormones7
- Improving skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
- Boosting your immune system7
- Probiotics for gut health
The best part about adding animal-based superfoods to your routine: they’re also available from companies that honor the life of the animal and use ethical/humane practices. And just like holistic skin care for our products, it’s a non-negotiable.
A New Perspective: Animal-Sourced Products Don’t Have to Be “Bad”
Like many things, whether animal-sourced products are a negative/harmful addition all depends on the context. We’d never use poorly-sourced animal-based products or ingredients in our holistic skincare line. We love animals too!
That’s why we hold ourselves accountable. We only source the most transparent, clean, and ethical ingredients we can find. And if we can’t find a responsible party to source it from, we don’t use it.
We hope this post sheds some light on the positive aspects of animal-based ingredients. Sourced responsibly and with the whole animal in mind, animal-based doesn't have to be the bad guy.
In transparency + high standards for your skin (and animals).
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary | Holistic
- World Wildlife | Palm Oil
- Sustainable America | What Is Regenerative Agriculture?
- The Australian Food Shop | About Emu Oil
- Amish Honey | Scientists: Honey Is Used by Ancient Civilizations for Medicinal Purposes
- Dr. Becky Campbell Functional Medicine | Conventional Dairy vs. Raw Dairy
- National Library of Medicine | A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Pasteurization on Milk Vitamins, and Evidence for Raw Milk Consumption and Other Health-Related Outcomes
Pin your fav blog post below: