Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Palm Oil in Soaps and Shampoo - How to Avoid

The Emotive Messages

Greenpeace advertising campaigns certainly tug at the heart strings, habitat destruction is very very emotive topic. 

However, as per usual, when Greenpeace jump on a subject, there is hardly any useful information. They would see you writing strongly worded letters in Unilever and the likes, which we all know does not do a lot of good. 

The way to win here of course is DO NOT BUY SOAP AND SHAMPOO WITH PALM OIL IN THEM. So if it says Palm Oil on the label, then do not buy it. . . . . . . read on for other complications.

List of Chemicals with Palm Oil 

There are a lot of indirect soap and shampoo ingredients that can MADE FROM PALM OIL, and as such are not as easy to spot. I have included a list below which is sourced from official EU documentation, and as such should be a trusted source.

Chemical Derived From
Fatty acid Palm kernel oil
Methyl esters Palm oil
Fatty alcohols Blend of palm oil and palm kernel oil*
Tertiary fatty amines Palm kernel oil, reflecting their primary production from Fatty Alcohol C12- C14
Primary amines Shall be considered in line with Fatty Acids and Methyl esters
Glycerine Palm based glycerides (also available as non-palm based material)
Cocoamidopropyl betaine (fatty acid derivative) Palm Kernel Oil
Sodium laureth sulfate Palm Kernel Oil
Sodium laureth-1 sulfate
Sodium laureth-2 sulfate
Sodium laureth-3 sulfate
Palm Kernel Oil
Sodium stearate Palm oil
Sodium palm kernelate Palm Kernel Oil
Laureth-7 Palm Kernel Oil
Steareth-2 Palm Kernel Oil
Cocamide MEA (fatty acid derived Palm Kernel Oil
Cocamide DEA (fatty acid derived Palm Kernel Oil
Stearamidopropyldimethylamine Palm oil
Cetyltrimethylammonium chloride Palm Kernel Oil
Isopropylpalmitate Palm oil
Isopropylmyristate Palm Kernel Oil
Caprylic/capric triglyceride Palm Kernel Oil
Fatty Isethionates (SCI) Palm Kernel Oil
Alkylpolyglycoside (APG) Palm Kernel Oil
Laurylamine oxide Palm Kernel Oil

Other Tips

Labels such as RSPO and the EU Ecolabel are not really helpful. RSPO regularly takes flack for not providing an adequate solution, and rain forest destruction continues under its watch. 

The EU Ecolabel does consider palm oil in it assessment of new products but, it relies on RSPO principals which are flawed. 

If you buy soaps and shampoos which advertise having other oils in them such as:
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
These will likely have less or no palm oil in them, so are a good place to start. Just remember what ever you buy, it comes from a plant or tree somewhere, so you will always have an impact when you shop. 

Also do not rule out animal based soaps including Tallow based compounds. If you can get past the yuck factor, even these may be a better choice.