(Having their habitat destroyed for our food and beauty products).
English: Ongoing deforestation and palm oil plantations leave no room for the orang-utan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If like me you have become aware of the damage being done to Orangutan habitat, you will want to avoid using products which contain palm oil and palm oil derived ingredients.
(There are sustainable sources of palm oil available, but even then, the Orangutan seems to loose out. Every product needs to be assessed individually).
If you want to learn more, these two links should be of help.
1) Palm Oil and Orangutans – orangutans.com.au
www.orangutans.com.au/about Sustainable palm oil products can help save the Orangutan habitat
Orangutan Facts: Borneo Orangutan Survival
2) The Orangutan Project – Orangutan.org.au
www.orangutan.org.au/ Meet the orphans who urgently need your help today.
From my perspective as a producer of organic and natural skin and body care products and a person who loves and respects all animals and wildlife, I am totally against the use of palm oil and also animal testing.
I pride myself and my products on being both cruelty free and palm oil free, made of the best possible quality, eco friendly, organic and natural ingredients I am able to source.
Due to my decision to review each ingredient that I use, giving its origin and properties, I have come across a stumbling block in the palm oil issue!
I have found that it is extremely difficult to find out if a product or ingredient is actually free from palm oil or palm oil derivatives.
So far I have been assured the ingredients I use are OK. However, due to the difficulties involved in gaining certainty, I am following up these assurances with more questions to suppliers and more research of my own.
Why is palm oil used in skin care products?
Cleansing & Moisturising.
Palm oil is found in shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, creams, foundations etc.
It has the ability to remove oil and dirt from hair and skin and also contains a refatting agent that helps restore natural oils to the hair and skin which many soaps and shampoos strip away thereby allowing moisture to escape.
In soap making, palm oil and palm kernel oil produce a nice hard, long lasting bar of soap.
Palm oil provides a conditioning agent useful in shampoo and conditioners.
In skin care products it is added because of its anti-aging and moisturising properties.
Anti Ageing Properties.
Palm oil contains antioxidant toctrienols, which are related to vitamin E, but are much stronger in action. As with regular Vitamin E (tocopherol) when used topically, the toctrienols penetrate deep into the skin’s layers enabling healing and protection from the base upwards.
How do you know if there is palm oil in a product?
This is not a straight forward question!
The problem I have found is the huge range of individually named palm oil derivatives which are being used. (See list below).
The ingredients on this listing are used in food and beauty/health products throughout Australia and worldwide.
The confusion arises by the fact that almost all of these ingredients are also available derived from sources other than palm oil. Often coconut or other vegetable oils are the base ingredient, sometimes even animal fats.
So how do you tell if the product you are using or the ingredient listed, is palm oil based or palm oil free?
Unfortunately there seems to be no easy answer
From a consumer point of reference, purchasing only products labelled as being palm oil free should be sufficient. Our labelling laws are quite strict and a direct statement such as “Palm Oil Free” needs to be correct or the company issuing the statement could be in severe trouble.
From a small batch, hands on manufacturing reference point, I have to gain assurances from my suppliers that the ingredients I am purchasing from them are indeed palm oil free. These companies in turn must gain assurance from their own suppliers and the chain continues.
It all seems very messy and uncertain to me!
I want to know definitely that I am using and supplying ethical products.
At least 50% of my reason for making these products is that I believe they are filling a vital role as products that actually do work, are clean, organic or natural, green and healthy, and totally eco friendly. I.E. “No rainforest was denuded or animal was harmed in the making of this product”!
(The other 50% of my reasoning is that I love to make “stuff” and use my wonderful herbs within the products).
For now I am placing my trust in my suppliers’ integrity and following up on the information I am being supplied. I hope you will bear with me in this quest for truth and confidence in ingredient provenence!
Below you will find an enormous list of ingredients which could potentially be derived from Palm Oil!
The origin of this listing is the following web site link –
I have also re-provided some of the valuable information supplied on the palm-oil-investigations site which may help you sort through the plethora of products on the supermarket shelves, so you can understand from their labelling which is or is not likely to contain palm oil.
You will also find below, details of a free download on the palm-oil-investigations site, which gives you a fold up wallet sized list of the alternative names given to palm oil derivatives.
Using this and the information about product saturated fat content (explained below), you will hopefully be able to sort the “Palm Oil Free” products from among the nasties!
Alternative Names for Palm Oil in Products:
The above FREE copy of a fold up wallet sized list of alternative names for palm oil, supplied by graphic designer Jenny Allen at Mojito Creative, can be downloaded via the following site –
Oils Ain’t Oils!
In Australia and New Zealand a percentage of the population suffers from allergies to certain nuts and oils. There for, three vegetable oils are required to be labelled in food products. These oils are peanut oil, sesame oil and soy bean oil.
All other vegetable oils are able to be labelled simply as “vegetable oil”.
However, due to the fact that labels must state the amount of saturated fat contained in each product, it is possible to determine if an oil with a high saturated fat content has been used.
Most vegetable oils are un-saturated.
So if the label does not have animal fat listed, but lists vegetable oil, and then goes on to state a certain amount of saturated fat, you can be certain the vegetable oil used, is either – palm kernel oil, palm oil, or coconut oil.
This is potentially a method of identifying wether a product could have palm oil in it. (Though it is not definitive and also causes us to eliminate coconut oil from our purchases and using coconut oil is a good thing, both for our health and our skin!)
Another hint to the high saturated fat vegetable oil being palm oil is that palm oil is a bland flavoured oil which does not add flavour to food products.
Foods containing coconut oil however, are likely to be identified by the distinctive flavour of their coconut oil content.
If a vegetable oil product’s saturated fat content is above 40% of its total fat content, it will almost always have palm oil in it.
Here is a comprehensive list of alternative names for Palm Oil.It is in alphabetical order for easier reference.
Please Note: This is a guide only, for 100% confirmation that a product has Palm Oil or Palm Oil derivatives in it, it is necessary to email the company who makes the product and find this out.
Note: PALM SUGAR is NOT Palm Oil. Palm Sugar is manufactured and harvested in a completely different way, so palm Sugar is safe. Vegetable Gum is also NOT Palm Oil so it is also safe.
A – Z of Alternate names for Palm Oil
Acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472a/E472a)
Alkyl Poly Glucoside
Aluminium, calcium, sodium, magnesium salts of fatty acids (470/E470a; E470b)
Ammonium laureth sulphate
Ammonium lauryl sulphate
Ascorbyl palmitate (304)
Calcium oleyl lactylate
Calcium stearoyl lactylate (482/E482)
Caprylic / Capric Glycerides
Carotene (Sometimes made from palm)
Castile soap (often from palm)
Citric and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472c/E472c)
Cocoa butter equivalent (CBE)
Cocoa butter substitute (CBS)
Diacetyltartaric and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472e/E472e)
Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate
Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate
Distilled Monoglyceride Palm
Elaeis guineensis oil
Emulsifier 422, 430-36, 470-8, 481-483, 493-5
Epoxidized palm oil (uv cured coatings)
Ethyl lauroyl arginate (243)
Ethylene glycol monostearate
Fatty alcohol sulphates
Glycerin or glycerol (442)
Glyceryl stearate SE
Hydrogenated palm glycerides
Isopropyl titanium triisostearate
Lactic and fatty acid easters of glycerol (472b/E472b)
Lauryl glucoside (from palm)
Mixed tartaric, acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472f/E472f)
Mono-and- di-glycerides of fatty acids (471/E471)
Mono-glycerides of fatty acids
Myristic Cetrimonium Chloride Acid
Octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate
Palm fruit oil
Palm kernel oil
Palmitoyl myristyl serinate
PEG-15 stearyl ether
PEG-80 sorbitan laurate
Polyethylene (40) stearate (431)
Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids (475/E475)
Polyglycerol esters of interesterified ricinoleic acid (476/E476)
Polyglycerol-2 oleyl ether
Polyglyceryl-4 oleyl ether
Polysorbate 60 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (435/E435)
Polysorbate 65 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate (436/E436)
Polysorbate 80 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monoolate (433/E433)
PPG-15 stearate ether
Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids (477/E477)
Propylene glycol laurate
Propylene glycol stearate
Saponified elaeis guineensis
Sodium cetearyl sulphate
Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye
Sodium lactylate; sodium oleyl lactylate; sodium stearoyl lactylate (481/E481)
Sodium laureth sulfate
Sodium laureth sulphate
Sodium laureth-13 carboxylate
Sodium lauroyl lactylate
Sodium lauryl ether sulphate
Sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate
Sodium lauryl sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
Sodium lauryl sulphate
Sodium palm kernelate
Sodium stearoyl lactylate
Sorbitan monostearate (491)
Sorbitan tristearate (492)
Stearic acid (vegetable oil)
Stearic acid or fatty acid (570)
Sucroseesters of fatty acids (473/E473)