Care about the rain forests and orangutans? Make sure you’re using palm oil free beauty brands like these!
By Lora O’Brien
It seems like everyone is talking about palm oil right now. But…why? I mean, it seems to be so innocent: it’s just vegetable oil extracted from the fruit of oil palms. It’s all natural, and it’s used in everything from chocolate and cookies to beauty products and household cleaners. So what’s the big deal?
Well, if you’re in the UK, you’d know from Iceland’s Christmas ad campaign, which actually went viral after being banned due to it being too ‘political.’ If you haven’t seen it yet, do so, below – it will break your heart because it outlines how palm oil is basically evil on a tree. It’s a monoculture crop that’s responsible for deforesting the Amazon and other lush areas of the Earth that are protecting our planet from global warming. It’s also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of animals, and is pushing the orangutan to the brink of extinction.
That’s why we here at Eluxe do NOT regard palm oil as vegan friendly, though it’s a plant based material.
Sad Truths About Palm Oil
Most consumers aren’t aware of the evils of palm oil, and chances are your bathroom and kitchen shelves are harbouring palm oil products. But the campaign against palm oil growing, and thank heavens. Just look at how damaging this stuff is:
- it is responsible for 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions
- it has killed at least 100,00 critically endangered Bornean orangutans and countless other animals
Humans are consuming a staggering 50 million tonnes of palm oil each year. Not sure what that means? Well, basically every hour, an area of rainforest that is the equivalent size of 300 football fields is cleared to make room for palm oil production. And with it, the habitat for many orangutans that call the forests home is destroyed in the process.
The Greenwashing Begins
Global beauty brands are taking note. For example, L’Oréal has pledged to achieve 100% traceability on the palm oil it buys and Estée Lauder has adopted a no deforestation policy where palm oil suppliers must prove no trees were felled in their processes.
But savvy consumers don’t really trust these huge beauty conglomerates, who have broken promises about not testing on animals in international markets, and who generally use loads of nasty chemicals in their products.
The only way to really protect the planet and its animals is to avoid palm oil at all costs. Luckily, it’s easier than you’d think! But be careful – a lot of online publications (yeah, Bustle, we mean you!) are touting products that don’t contain palm oil. But guess what? By buying those, you’re actually contributing to the profits of unscrupulous companies who use the stuff in their other products. Can you say ‘greenwashing’?
Palm Oil By Any Other Name?
You might think that all you need to do is search for Palm Oil on a beauty brand’s packaging. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Palm oil comes in many forms, and several typical ingredients in beauty products are derived from palm oil, but have a different name. Below is a small sample of such ingredients:
- HYDROGENATED PALM GLYCERIDES
- ISOPROPYL ISOSTEARATE
- ISOPROPYL PALMITATE
- PALM FRUIT OIL
- PALM KERNEL OIL
- PALM OLEIN
- PALM STEARINE
But there are many, many more. You can check this list to be sure, or even better, look for Palm Oil Free certifications on the label. There are quite a few of those, too. Let’s explore them below.
You would think that Cruelty Free and Vegan certified beauty products wouldn’t use palm oil. But that’s not the case.
‘Cruelty Free’ simply means the products were not tested on animals. Vegan certified products generally relate to brands that don’t use animal parts in their creations.
As mentioned, there are some Palm Oil Free certifications, too, but the criteria for these vary. For example, the Orangutan Alliance allows for certification of palm-oil free products – not full brands, though, necessarily.
The Rainforest Alliance works with companies to trace their palm oil supply chains back to mills, as an essential step in implementing a deforestation-free policy. Still, they support palm oil – just ‘more sustainable’ palm oil. However, currently only four percent of palm oil smallholders are certified, meaning the vast majority of palm oil is not at all sustainable.
They claim palm oil isn’t all bad. It requires less land, fertiliser, and pesticide than other vegetable-oil crops, and they claim oil palms store more carbon than other oil crops. However, it’s vital to also note that the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations has fueled deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and the displacement of indigenous forest communities and wild animals.
Our favourite palm oil free certification is a wordy one: The International Palm Oil Free Certification. This is one of the most stringent labels. They are an independent, not for profit Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark approved to certify products and brands in 20 countries.
With the help of these labels, I’ve found 15+ beauty brands that are 100% palm oil free. They don’t use that crap in ANY of their products, meaning you can buy anything you like from them with a totally clear conscience.
I hope these labels set a good example for all others. Given all the damage it does, there really is no excuse for using palm oil, ever.
100% Palm Oil Free Beauty Brands We Love
Think your go-to lipstick is safe from palm oil? You may want to double check that, as many unethical brands sneak this cheap oil into makeup, because palm oil holds colour well and doesn’t melt at high temperatures. But guess what? There are plenty of other equally effective ingredients to use in natural lipsticks, and Axiology doesn’t use products that damage the environment in the name of vanity.
Their lipsticks will nourish your lips and provide a long-lasting pop of colour. But here’s what we love best: the brand donates a percentage of profits to the Orangutan Foundation International, a charity that helps to save orangutans who are under threat due to palm oil production.
We love: Their total dedication to saving the orangutan
Price range: $14 – $48
Oh, but we love this organic skincare brand! It’s ethical, transparent, and of course, fully vegan, cruelty free, and organic. There’s zero palm oil in any of their products, and they’ve been certified by the Rainforest Alliance for their dedication to conserving the most important jungles on our planet.
We love: Whether you choose a serum, toner, cream, soap or cleanser, it’s guaranteed to smell amazing! Pangea Organics works hard on blending their unique, natural scents. Canadian Pine and White Sage (hand soap) is one of our favourite combos, as is Italian Green Mandarin and Sweet Lime (toner).
Price range: $10 – $50
When it comes to both the planet and animal conservation, French brand Chantecaille is leading the masses towards both ethical and clean beauty.
Not only are their products free of phthalates, sulphates, detergents, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic colours, synthetic fragrances and GMOs, but they’re using their platform for the greater good by working alongside a number of environmental charities, one of them being The Rainforest Alliance, a charity dedicated to protecting wildlife and tropical rainforests.
We love: The Parisian quality of this stuff, and their dedication to the Rainforest Alliance
Price range: $18 – $420
PHB believes that the earth provides us with everything we need to have happy healthy skin, and with this ethos behind them, they’ve created a range that is not only certified vegan and cruelty-free, but also 100% palm oil-free, too!
From skincare to make-up, the brand provides us with the purest and effective products that are 100% naturally derived and ethical while also using their brand as a platform to raise awareness to the destructive use of palm oil in the cosmetics industry. What I love most about PHB is that they sell ALL your beauty needs, from skincare to makeup and even hair care.
We love: The huge selection this brand offers. Is there anything they don’t make?
Price range: £7.95 – £108
Odylique Skincare want to ensure that they do everything as ethically as possible, so they not only source the very best plant-based skincare ingredients for our health and planet (and have done for over 25 years), but they discourage the use of palm oil in beauty.
They’re proud to state that they never use it in any of their products, and encourage their consumers to say NO to using it, too. Another great thing they do is contribute to charities such as Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
We love: The fact that these products are great for eczema, psoriasis and super sensitive skin
Price range: $3 – $220
If you rely on drugstore products for convenience, you’re more than likely funding the palm oil industry in some form – big time! But you can easily swap over to a palm oil-free brand instead, and one that covers pretty much every beauty item you’ll need is Fat and the Moon.
Founder Rachel Budde creates handcrafted and herbal products are all 100% vegan, natural and quirky. The best part? They sell everything from makeup and body cream to mama and baby products.
We love: The kinda cute, recyclable, hippie-ish packaging
Price range: $8 – $44
Atomic Makeup is a vegan brand that is slaying when it comes to popping shades of lipstick! Zero palm oil is used! In fact, the vitamin E in their lippies is not only gluten-free but is formulated with the maximum amount of pigment, providing full coverage that is both weightless and matte and won’t leave your lips dry and cracked.
In fact, the lipsticks are super comfortable and will hydrate your lips are you wear them. And with a multitude of shades available, there’ll be one suitable for all skin types.
We love: The stunning range of colours! Especially those metallics…
Price range: $8 – $16
One question Earth Tu Face find they’re always asked is whether it’s difficult to create an entirely palm oil-free line of organic skincare products. Their answer? Heck, no! In fact, Earth Tu Face is proud to focus on one thing: skincare solutions. And one way to cut the demand for palm oil is to find healthy alternatives that are as good for our body as they are our planet.
The label has chosen to use sustainable ingredients that are easy to propagate such as lavender, chamomile, geranium and coconut oil, and their ethos is to create skincare products that are as supportive to the people using them as they are the planet creating them.
We love: The fact that herbalists work hard to create skincare here that works, thanks to the power of plants.
Price range: $15 – $78.00
The brand may look simple with their minimalist packaging, but CAMP is a luxury line of small-batch beauty products in Toronto that uses botanical ingredients of the finest quality to nurture and treat skin – all without using a drop of palm oil!
Believing that healthy, safe and powerful ingredients should be readily available to all, this natural skincare range is natural, organic and cruelty-free.
We love: The clean, minimalist packaging
Price range: $$
Bloomtown founders Preyanka Clark Prakash and her husband Medwin Culmer actually spent two years in Indonesia seeing the damage palm oil production was doing. What they witnessed caused them to launch the first ever certified palm-oil-free cosmetics company in the UK.
Today, Bloomtown uses tons of organic ingredients to create its masks, body oils, soaps and many other grooming products, as well as gorgeous, naturally scented candles!
We love: How the founders actually witnessed palm oil damage themselves, and decided the just had to do something about it!
Price range: £3.75 – £87.50
Handmade in bonnie Scotland, Amaranthine is a range of luxury skincare products that are 100% natural, preservative and palm oil free. Their range has products to suit all skin types and is particularly beneficial for acne and rosacea prone skin.
The brand believes that skincare should never be a chore, but more of a ritual to look forward to – “time-out’ from your busy schedule to indulge in some self-care. Their products are formulated with essential oil blends that are chosen not only for their skin benefits, but because they smell incredible and can positively affect your mood, too.
Of all the palm oil free beauty brands here, Amaranthine was the first skincare company in the world to receive a Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark, and they’re proud of it! A Certification Trademark enables consumers to see at a glance if a product is palm oil free.
We love: The packaging! Gorgeous cobalt blue glass and overall modern, clean look.
Price range: £3.50 – £17.05
Melbourne-based brand Remeie Botanicals has a deep respect for traditional remedies that have been carried on for centuries around the world. They believe that using herbs and natural plants is the best way to both nurture our skin and promote wellness. But that being said, Remeie isn’t afraid to innovate: they are one of the few companies in Australia to currently use Phytoplenolin, a native Australian plant indigenous Australians have used for centuries to treat wounds, infections and inflammations.
All of their products are vegan, ethical and free from nasties – especially palm oil. The latest scientific advancements merge with tradition to help us all achieve healthy skin with minimal fuss.
We love: The minimalist style packaging and the fact it’s 100% recyclable.
Price range: $24.95
13. The Perfect V
We all want to look and feel our best from top to toe, right? Well, now it’s easier than ever to groom your ‘intimate’ areas, thanks to NYC based brand The Perfect V!
The Perfect V is a luxury skincare line designed especially for the bikini area. It treats that area like any skincare brand cares for the rest of your body, by moisturising, nurturing and cleansing the skin. All of their products are pH-balanced, dermatologist and gynaecologist tested, and paraben and palm oil-free. Finally, the natural ingredients that are packed into the Perfect V’s products come directly from Scandinavia.
We love: Everything about this brand and its products! Now our V area can look as beautiful as the rest of us!
Price range: $25 – $54.00
This is another one of our favourite palm oil free beauty brands! It’s as pure as pure can be. In fact, the ‘five’ dots represent the number of ingredients used for these products. You got it, five! That’s it. The brand prides itself on its minimalism. And of course, their purity, transparency, sustainability, and avoidance of palm oil.
We love: Wondering what to do with the packaging when your products are empty? No problem! Go to Five Dot’s site and they’ll tell you exactly how to recycle each component
Price range: £24.00 – £38.00
15. Queenie Organics
Sustainable packaging? Check. Vegan? Check? Organic? Check. Palm oil free? Check! There’s basically a lot to love about Queenie Organics.
The British based brand offers everything your skin needs to stay healthy, from cleansers and toners to balms and creams.
We love: Their sample set, which allows you to try 4 sample sized products in recyclable packaging for a small fee.
Price: £7.50 – £75.00
For more information on palm oil free beauty brands, please click here.