Hello, I’m Grace, the founder and owner of Cotton + Sage Soap. I created this business out of a goal I set
for myself to learn to make tallow soap for my family. I was intrigued by stories from books like Little
House on the Prairie that documented making soap from tallow. I wanted to contribute to wasteless
“nose-to-tail” living in the community around me, ensuring also that butchers weren’t just tossing tallow
that I could use.
Tallow is growing in the clean skincare industry because of its nourishing properties and its pure quality
as a fat. Fat or oil in some form is required in soap-making to saponify with lye so the lye does not
chemically burn one’s skin. Most bar soap on the market is made with oils that are rancid even before
being purchased. Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), like vegetable oils/shortening and palm
oil, are considered unstable for shelf life because they oxidize so quickly, so they must go through a
bleaching and “refining” process to keep them from going rancid on a shelf before a consumer comes
along and purchases it. Animal fats, especially rendered tallow (fat from cows) and lard (fat from pigs),
are low on the PUFA scale, meaning they are shelf stable without needing to go through the refining
At Cotton + Sage, we purchase tallow straight from a local butcher, choosing the purest part of the fat,
the suet tallow around the kidneys of the cow. We then heat this tallow with filtered water and sea salt
until the fat has melted and the impurities have disconnected. Everything is then strained through
cheesecloth and refrigerated, where the tallow rises to the top of the bowl and hardens, leaving
gorgeous white unscented purified tallow, perfect for making soap.
As a business, it is our priority to use only tallow as our fat source for soap, rather than mixing other oils
(even organic lower-PUFA oils) to create a fat base. As a result of my own personal history of struggling
with fragrances, even essential oils, we’ve chosen to infuse our tallow with whole plants, herbs, and
spices, for color and fragrance. We try to source our plants as locally as we can (even picking from our
own backyard!) and purchase organic herbs and spices when we cannot source them locally.
Join our family and the dozens around us who have chosen to care as much about the purity of what
goes onto our bodies as of what goes into our bodies.