The Problem With Palm Oil In Beauty

The truth about palm oil and the beauty industry.

What’s the most common oil used around the world you ask? It’s actually none of the ones you use in your kitchen—it’s palm oil. Around the globe, 50 million tonnes of palm oil is consumed each year alone and it is wreaking havoc on the environment. Palm oil is found in 40 per cent of the items on supermarket shelves and in up to 70 per cent of cosmetics.

What Is Palm Oil?

As the name suggests palm oil is a vegetable oil which comes from oil palms. Duh. But why so much palm oil? Palm oil is used in so many products across the food and beauty industries because it is super versatile and has so many amazing properties. Palm oil helps items set and stops them from melting easily (think chocolate, ice cream and bars of soap), it has great moisturising properties (think skincare) and also is a good preservative (think everything else). 

Why Is Palm Oil So Problematic?

So if it is so great then why stop using it? Palm oil farming plays a significant role in the detriment of our environment. Every hour, 300 football fields worth of forest in South East Asia is cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Such mass deforestation negatively impacts biodiversity, carbon sequestration and leads to habitat loss for thousands of animals like elephants, orangutans and Sumatran tigers, and numerous other endangered animals.  

How To Avoid Palm Oil In Beauty?

Okay so now you’re ready to cut out palm oil? Hoorah! Unfortunately it is easier said than done, you won’t see palm oil labelled clearly on the ingredients list on your favourite products, you will find it disguised under one of 200 different names. Yes really, it’s like playing Where’s Wally?

What Are The Alternative Names For Palm Oil?

Some of the most common “alternative names” include:

Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol.

You can read the full list here.

Note: You might find some products which state “sustainably sourced palm oil,” these products are made of Sustainably Certified Palm Oil and are marginally better. This oil is being farmed utilising honourable sustainability commitments, look for the RSPO label or the Green Palm label.

Take the guesswork out of your next purchase and download the Palm Oil Scanner app, as the name suggests simply scan your next potential purchase and you’ll get a green or red light.

Palm Oil Free Beauty Brands

Here are our favourite palm oil free beauty brands.

Retreatment Botanics

Retreatment Botanics is proudly one of the first skincare ranges to be luxury spa quality and palm oil free. Each product is formulated with a unique Phyto-Active Complex of Australian native botanicals in their most potent, active form. Their best selling Ultra Rich Moisturiser is rich in vitamins C, A, E, and essential fatty acids while being formulated with natural and organic ingredients.

Shop now

Eco Tan

Forget chemically, smelly fake tans, Eco Tan ticks all of the right boxes; they’re organic, vegan, cruelty free, toxic free and, you guessed it—palm oil free. Crafted by Gold Coast mother-of-two Sonya Driver who taught herself how to formulate products from her kitchen table, 22 years later Eco Tan is an Australian fave. With over 750 five star reviews, it’s no wonder that their Face Tan Water is constantly sold out in stores. 

Shop now

Mukti Organics

Female founded and Australian owned, Mukti Organics has something for all skin types and concerns. Their whole range is formulated with “clean ingredients and native Australian extracts” without palm oil.

Shop now

Flavedo & Albedo

With zero plastic, zero palm oil and zero nasties, Flavedo and Albedo are what a sustainable minimalist dreams of. With just four multi-purpose products in their plant-based make up range a little goes a long way. Their Dewy Tint can be used as a cream blush, lip tint and eye shadow. 

Shop now

January 18, 2022

The Problem With Palm Oil In Beauty

The truth about palm oil and the beauty industry.

What’s the most common oil used around the world you ask? It’s actually none of the ones you use in your kitchen—it’s palm oil. Around the globe, 50 million tonnes of palm oil is consumed each year alone and it is wreaking havoc on the environment. Palm oil is found in 40 per cent of the items on supermarket shelves and in up to 70 per cent of cosmetics.

What Is Palm Oil?

As the name suggests palm oil is a vegetable oil which comes from oil palms. Duh. But why so much palm oil? Palm oil is used in so many products across the food and beauty industries because it is super versatile and has so many amazing properties. Palm oil helps items set and stops them from melting easily (think chocolate, ice cream and bars of soap), it has great moisturising properties (think skincare) and also is a good preservative (think everything else). 

Why Is Palm Oil So Problematic?

So if it is so great then why stop using it? Palm oil farming plays a significant role in the detriment of our environment. Every hour, 300 football fields worth of forest in South East Asia is cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Such mass deforestation negatively impacts biodiversity, carbon sequestration and leads to habitat loss for thousands of animals like elephants, orangutans and Sumatran tigers, and numerous other endangered animals.  

How To Avoid Palm Oil In Beauty?

Okay so now you’re ready to cut out palm oil? Hoorah! Unfortunately it is easier said than done, you won’t see palm oil labelled clearly on the ingredients list on your favourite products, you will find it disguised under one of 200 different names. Yes really, it’s like playing Where’s Wally?

What Are The Alternative Names For Palm Oil?

Some of the most common “alternative names” include:

Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol.

You can read the full list here.

Note: You might find some products which state “sustainably sourced palm oil,” these products are made of Sustainably Certified Palm Oil and are marginally better. This oil is being farmed utilising honourable sustainability commitments, look for the RSPO label or the Green Palm label.

Take the guesswork out of your next purchase and download the Palm Oil Scanner app, as the name suggests simply scan your next potential purchase and you’ll get a green or red light.

Image credits: Orangutan Foundation International Australia

Palm Oil Free Beauty Brands

Here are our favourite palm oil free beauty brands.

Retreatment Botanics

Retreatment Botanics is proudly one of the first skincare ranges to be luxury spa quality and palm oil free. Each product is formulated with a unique Phyto-Active Complex of Australian native botanicals in their most potent, active form. Their best selling Ultra Rich Moisturiser is rich in vitamins C, A, E, and essential fatty acids while being formulated with natural and organic ingredients.

Shop now

Eco Tan

Forget chemically, smelly fake tans, Eco Tan ticks all of the right boxes; they’re organic, vegan, cruelty free, toxic free and, you guessed it—palm oil free. Crafted by Gold Coast mother-of-two Sonya Driver who taught herself how to formulate products from her kitchen table, 22 years later Eco Tan is an Australian fave. With over 750 five star reviews, it’s no wonder that their Face Tan Water is constantly sold out in stores. 

Shop now

Mukti Organics

Female founded and Australian owned, Mukti Organics has something for all skin types and concerns. Their whole range is formulated with “clean ingredients and native Australian extracts” without palm oil.

Shop now

Flavedo & Albedo

With zero plastic, zero palm oil and zero nasties, Flavedo and Albedo are what a sustainable minimalist dreams of. With just four multi-purpose products in their plant-based make up range a little goes a long way. Their Dewy Tint can be used as a cream blush, lip tint and eye shadow. 

Shop now

Shop

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