Thursday, December 25, 2014

Beauty products made the old-fashioned way.

Farm wife's skin-care line starts with lard and tallow

Lucky Soap is made from lard from organically fed, pastured pigs.
Lucky Soap is made from lard from organically fed, pastured pigs.

LOUISBURG, N.C. - Most people have to drive to the store when they run out of hand soap and lotion. For Traci Nachtrab of Lucky 3 Farm, that is not the case. Her soaps and lotions, whipped up in her kitchen using her personalized recipes, come from the cows and pigs that she raises with her husband, Calvin, and daughter, Rachel, on their pastures.

Lucky 3 Farm, a small sustainable family farm that has been in Traci's family for many generations, is tucked away at the end of a winding gravel path here, about 30 miles northeast of Raleigh.

The Nachtrabs raise 100 percent grass-fed cows, as well as pasture-raised and organically fed pigs and chickens. They deliver the meat to families every month. In April, Nachtrab began making beauty products for her Lucky Body "Back to Basics Skincare" line, available for sale at

"I started making beauty products because we weren't using all the tallow and lard from our animals," Nachtrab said. "We had half a freezer of it, and some of it was being thrown away by our processor."

Nachtrab uses that lard and tallow as a base, scenting them with essential oils. She tries to create her own recipes, but if something isn't working, she'll search online to see if she can incorporate other recipes into her own. There are no artificial colors or fragrances, no unidentifiable chemicals, and no animal testing involved.

"Most of the time, our products only have around three ingredients," Nachtrab said, while placing a label on a freshly packaged bug repellent stick.

Currently, the Lucky Body "Back to Basics Skincare" line includes body balms (including one created specifically for pregnant women), soaps, bug repellents, old-fashioned salves, and lip balms.

Nachtrab said feedback on Lucky Body products has been great. The line was introduced at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville in April and people were able to try them out on the spot.

"A lot of people came back for more the next day," she said. "Most people are surprised that anyone is using animal fats on their skin, but it's what our ancestors used. It works well because animal fat is really similar to our skin, so it absorbs well."

Even though using tallow and lard on human skin sounds outdated to many, research finds benefits for animal fat in skincare products. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation, human cell membranes are made up of at least 50 percent saturated fats. Saturated fats help give cell membranes necessary stiffness for proper function because they tend to be more solid than unsaturated fats at a given temperature. Tallow fat is typically 50 percent to 55 percent saturated, which makes it extremely compatible with human skin.

However, these products are not for everyone. Vegans go out of their way to avoid products made with ingredients from animals.

Nachtrab is in the process of expanding her Lucky Body line in local stores and is also working on creating new face balms. One of them, Nachtrab says, will help fight acne for teenagers, and the other will help smooth out wrinkles.

When asked if creating beauty products from animal fat is a trend, Nachtrab shook her head.

"It's not a trend, because it is normal for people to look for alternatives to the toxic products manufacturers use," she said.

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