The natural skin-care industry often promotes vegan or organically grown ingredients, but paleo-approved? That's different.
Lake Tahoe-based brand FATCO is a new beauty line that's doing just that, by creating products that are composed of ingredients that are in line with the paleo philosophy. FATCO's products clean, moisturize, and balance skin with the help of one key component—fat, as the name suggests—which is derived from both vegetables and animals.
"We use [different types of] fats depending on what's best for a certain part of the body," founder Cassy Burnside says. For example, she notes that animal fat does not work well in skin-cleansing agents, so the facial cleansing oils are vegetable-based. Although, tallow (another word for animal fat, in this case from cows) is significantly used in FATCO's body butters, creams, and deodorant.
Burnside's use of tallow in her products encouraged her to get the lineup "certified paleo" by the Paleo Foundation—which issues a seal of approval based on a set criteria. "It must be made with food-grade ingredients, nourishing to the skin and the internal systems, and be devoid of potentially harmful chemicals and ingredients," she says. The reason why tallow is often used in paleo products is because it was eaten by our paleolithic ancestors, which is the most basic benchmark for the diet—if cavemen ate it, you're in the clear!
Other paleo brands, such as Primal Care and Nefertem Naturals, include tallow in their products, but Burnside says it's still a new idea for many potential customers. "Our products are a tough sell to most because, let's face it, slathering your body with cow fat is [still] not yet the norm," she says.
But the alternative to natural fats can often be harmful chemicals, a fact that inspired Burnside to create FATCO. "The laws governing cosmetics and personal care are so limited and relaxed that known carcinogens and eco-toxins are legally allowed in products," she says. "Carcinogens such as formaldehyde, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are common, while others are less common, but exist—often unchecked and unnoticed by the consumer."
If you want to transition to using natural products, Burnside has a couple of tips for you.
Embrace (Slow) Change
"Be patient! Many of us have been using harsh cleansers and chemical-laden moisturizers for a long time," Burnside says. "Your skin is going to take some time to adjust to any new regimen."
Treat Your Entire Body
So you've changed what you apply onto your skin, but you also need to pay attention to what goes into your body, as well. "I cannot stress enough the role that lifestyle plays in how your skin looks and feels," Burnside says. "Doing things such as eating a clean diet, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of exercise and rest plays a huge role in skin health."
Don't Trust Just Any "Natural" Label
"Unfortunately labels like 'natural' and 'organic' have become completely [meaningless], so learn to read the ingredient lists for the products you use," Burnside advises. Her rule of thumb: if you can't pronounce the word and you're unsure of what it is, don't use the product.
"There are lots of great, emerging apps like Think Dirty and the Environmental Working Group's Healthy Living app which allow you to scan an item and get a rating of how dirty or clean it is," she says. "Using apps like these are a great and easy way to cut through the B.S. and know which products are good (or not) for you."
See more of FATCO's products below!