photo: Bjorn Vaughn
Transparency has become an important part of any modern business that desires to let their customers know more about how they operate and what is in and entailed in their products. Regarding skincare, it occurs to me that there are some companies that are either complacent or worst, liars. I’m not speaking about companies that make promises that their products will age backwards, I am referring to claims of cruelty free and more specifically, regarding palm oil*.
Recently, I read on one website of a skin and haircare brand, ‘…we promise to never test on animals, nor use derivatives that cause them distress’. Although much of their range seems animal friendly, their skincare range, like many other companies, include the use of Cetearyl Alcohol which is in part, made from palm oil and thus is, by definition- a derivative. Cetearyl Alcohol is cheap, easy to use and has many applications, much like palm oil itself. It is widely used as an emulsifier or thickener for creams. It is also complicit in deforestation and the loss of habitat and lives of Orangutans.
Cetearyl Olivate is an emulsifier some companies use and have laid claim to being palm free as it is made from oiive oil. Technically, this is true, but the process of making it involves using palm oil and therefore it is not. Some of these companies who had claimed to be palm oil free before discovering, this was not true** subsequently informed their customers or removed their products from the shelf altogether.
In my research, I also came across a site which lists palm oil free products and by and large, the products seemed free of palm oil until I saw a moisturiser made from Glyceryl Stearate Citrate. GSC is 95% Stearic Acid which is either animal or palm oil based. There is a palm oil free version available made from rapeseed oil though I suspect, if a company was to use this- it would clearly state that this ingredient was indeed, 'palm free' (just as the manufacturer of this specific GSC palm oil free does).
Moreover, one of the companies I have mentioned is registered with the Leaping Bunny program*** who are an anti animal testing standard. It is a curiosity that the standard does not exclude ingredients such as palm oil. If that was the case, I suspect a majority of their clients would not be able to hold certification.
It is not that within an ingredients list one will come across the words, 'palm oil kernal' but one is likely to come across an ingredient made using palm oil which will be called something entirely different- typically, it will be the emulsifier of the cream. If this concerns you, an online search of the name and 'palm oil' may give you an answer.
I can attest that manufactures of ingredients of emulsifiers are transparent about the raw ingredients and this information is openly available.
I accept that most consumers don’t know what the ingredients are in their skincare with names like Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate-80, and it is within our means as a company to correctly inform our customers about what our ingredients are, not the contrary. If you would like to know the names of what palm oil comes under, please see the link below****.