Palm Oil Free Beauty Brands

Choose top beauty brands that offer the best skincare products without using palm oil or its derivatives in their formulas. Shop for anti aging products, organic shampoo, sulfate free shampoo and the best eye creams and wrinkle creams that use ingredients from fairly traded and ethically produced sources.

If you’re wondering why you should buy palm oil free products, find out by reading related posts in this palm oil free series:

Palm Oil Free Anti Aging Products – Part I
Palm Oil Free Anti Wrinkle Cream –Part II
Palm Oil Free Wrinkle Cream Reviews – Part III

The Demand for a Single Raw Ingredient

One of the reasons that certain ingredients (such as palm oil) have become a global problem (although natural and promoting healthy skin), is due to mass consumer (and manufacture) demand of ONE single substance that may only be feasibly produced or grown in a particular climate or geographical region.

Let’s explore why this is a central issue.

The Evolution Behind Beauty Brands that Mass-Produce Skincare Products

Mass-produced and internationally distributed beauty brands attempt to supply the demand for their skincare products by buying cheap ingredients (such as palm oil) in bulk to create affordable products for mass consumption.

That’s the key problem (and perhaps the solution) to the palm oil issue. While palm oil, harvested from naturally occurring palms in Southeast Asia, Africa or South America, as an ingredient in some anti wrinkle cream formula made by a local beautician or chemist, presents no problem, consider what happens when that jar of effective eye cream becomes known, and gets so popular that the whole world wants to buy it.

What happens is that land gets cleared to plant more palms so there’s enough oil, and then a factory extracts the essence more efficiently and tests better and better formulas, filling jars with the cream which is then packaged and shipped to anxious buyers around the world. As more people hear about the cream, how natural and effective it is, the more people want to buy it, and therefore the cream gets cheaper and cheaper to produce and even more people can afford it. So more land is cleared and …
This same evolution could occur with other natural ingredients such as cypress oil, olive oil, calendula extracts, rose hip oil, and macadamia, which are all used in beauty formulas. Should any one ingredient become so essential to thousands of beauty brands or an integral part of billions and billions of jars of the best eye creams, then the same problem could occur – land masses may be cleared to plant herbs or flowers, and instead of boycotting Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil products, we could find ourselves against rose growers or macadamia plantation owners.

What’s the solution?

How do we put an end, not just to the massive abuse of palm oil, but to other natural extracts not ending up being the next main ingredient in cheap cosmetics and causing other environmental disasters elsewhere? The answer is to buy products that are grown, harvested, or produced locally, or to only support the products that, while being sold globally, support and enhance a local or regional environmental and economic structure. Look at each of these two possibilities:

1. Buying Local Beauty Brands

Depending where you live, perhaps you can choose to shop for some of the best skincare products offered by Beauty & the Bees in Tasmania. Although they’ll ship their unique beauty and skin care products to international destinations, they primarily supply clients on the island of Tasmania and the Australian mainland with organic moisture creams that are “so organic” and fresh they’re safe enough to eat.

Their products are made from ingredients like Tasmanian Leatherwood beeswax and honey, organic herbs, nut and cold pressed vegetable oils, and fruit. Beauty brands like Beauty & the Bees aren’t about supplying the world with Tasmanian honey until the bees are overworked to extinction, but about offering a few customers a unique local product.

Their wrinkle creams are rich and concentrated, with no chemicals, and they’re handmade without preservatives, therefore they have to be kept chilled until shipping so they don’t go bad. That’s a true sign of natural quality that mass-produced products won’t ever be able to provide – the ability for an eye cream to be so fresh it needs to be kept in the fridge.

By the way, Beauty & the Bees don’t use palm oil in their products, and they offer lots of ingredient information at their website.

EVOHE Skincare is another one of the small beauty brands (based in Australia) that creates some of the best skincare products available. Once again, they are a unique company and not some massive distributor of cheap cosmetics. Evohe’s claim to fame includes buying fair trade ingredients from sustainable sources, not using glycerine or any palm oil derivatives and being orangutan friendly.

Editors note: Here in Spain, I use a local product that’s made from olive oil. The wrinkle creams are light and effective, part of an olive leaf/ oil collection called Activa that offers a complete series including: Crema Reparadora, Lift Ojos, and Crema Antiedad Total – Oja de Olivo, and a lovely lip balm – Reparador Labial. The manufacturer is so small they don’t have a customer website, and every jar or tube of their anti aging products are customized and sold through local chemist shops or pharmacies.

2. Buying The Best Skincare Products from International Companies

Some of the large beauty brands that use either sustainable palm oil or no palm oil at all are ones that are really trying to create the best skincare products from quality ingredients through ethical and sustainable sources that are also fairly traded. One such large company is LUSH.

Although Lush did use palm oil in the past, they have made an effort to stop. Here’s what they have to say:

“LUSH North America has now switched all of its soap production to this new palm-free base, and we are also using palm-free glycerin. Our end goal is to remove palm oil from all of our products, and we are currently investigating our surfactants which might be palm oil derived. Here at LUSH we understand that if the rainforests have any chance of surviving, retailers are going to have stop putting palm oil into their products.”

We believe that supporting companies who are TRYING to make positive changes in their cosmetic and body care formulas merit our support. This is good news for lovers of Lush products such as Dream Cream Body Cream, Ocean Salt Cleanser, the Celestial Moisturize and their ultra rich Skin Drink Moisturizer, along with a zillion other fresh creamy delights that LUSH creates and that smell good enough to eat! (although maybe you should stick to using them to exfoliate, tone, soften and moisturize your skin.)

Buy LUSH right now by clicking on your favorite skincare products and you’ll be taken to Amazon for a luscious shopping experience.

Note from the editor: If you haven’t tried the Aqua Marina Cleanser by LUSH, you should. It’s soothing for irritated or sensitive skin. A very little bit goes a really long way. It also smells fresh and natural – not as strong as some of the other seaweed products. Give it a try, I think you’ll like it even though it looks a little strange – like a slice of a strawberry roll!

The Body Shop – Do They Still Offer the Best Skincare Products?

A company that many of us have loved for a long time, believing they had some of the best skin care products ever, is the Body Shop. It seems that what we’ve loved most about their natural, organic and ethical practices is not as perfect it once was under the tender loving care of Anita Roddick who sold out to L’Oreal. The Body Shop beauty brands are now part of one of the largest cosmetics companies on this planet, and although we must admit that the marketing is still lovely, as are the scents and decorative packaging, here’s what the Body Shop officially has to say regarding Palm Oil and their ethical sourcing and environmental practices:

“The devastating environmental effect of palm-oil plantations on deforested land has been well documented. That’s why, as members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), we’ve worked to create new standards designed to help protect natural biodiversity and workers’ rights. We are proud to say that all of our 7.5m soaps sold annually are now produced using palm oil sourced from a plantation that is successfully audited in line with RSPO regulations.”

While the above statement from one of the world’s largest beauty brands may be a step in the right direction, and we’re really happy about the soaps that are palm oil free, we may need to consider buying from smaller local sources. Why? When a company gets so large, has so many different branding and marketing strategies and so many products that require massive amounts of raw materials, it may be difficult to ethically source every ingredient while maintaining consumer costs low and corporate profit where it needs to be.

For example the Body Shop Coconut Soap (3.5 oz) states clearly that it contains palm oil, and although it appears they source their palm oil from Columbian sustainable plantations, there have been rumors that the sustainability and eco-friendliness of those who own the plantations (from which The Body Shop may buy their raw palm oil), haven’t always been friendly to local Columbians. Are the rumors true? Does the Body Shop sometimes slip-up and do nasty non-eco-friendly deeds? Are they as ethical as their posters suggests?

Despite rumors, media reports and gossip, the Body Shop (as a mass-produced, international consumer brand) still seems to be one of the better ones – at least they state that they use glycerin and sodium palmate while showing consumers their sources and maintaining he position that they don’t buy palm oil from non-sustainable plantations. Is it just good a marketing strategy? We have to leave that for you to decide.

Aveda – The Art & Science of Pure Flower & Plant Essences

Aveda continues to top the list of mass-produced beauty brands that offers the best skincare products (that appear to be) ethically sourced and in some cases palm oil free. Since 1978 Aveda has been making botanical products that have gained mass popularity, forcing the company to search for more and more ethical sources for their raw materials. In many cases their ingredients come from small Brazilian and African plantations, as well as producers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Their products are clearly labeled as to what they contain, and by going to the glossary of ingredients provided by the Aveda official website, it’s possible to see what ingredients actually are (pictures included), find out what purpose they serve, and where Aveda buys them.

The products they create using the science of flower and plant essences have become so popular that they’re now available in 24 countries, primarily as “professional” products used in salons and recommended by cosmeticians, aestheticians and hair care professionals. Their collections include some of the best wrinkle cream formulations, body care solutions, organic shampoo and conditioner as well as essential oils in a collection of fragrances called Pure-Fume. Their product lines have also expanded into makeup that reflects earthy tones and is derived from organic plant sources.

Complete Aveda treatments can be had at concept salons and spas around the world, or the products can be purchased and used at home. For healthy skin and hair, some of the most popular products are now available online, such as the Rosemary Mint Shampoo & Conditioner, and the original Shampure Shampoo and Conditioner.

Aside from their collections of sulfate free shampoo and conditioners, they also have some of the best wrinkle cream preparations as well as the best eye creams that are effective against the signs of aging, for example their Tourmaline Charged Radiance Fluid.

There’s a complete skincare collection called Botanical Kinetics that includes cleansing, Toning Mist and creams.

Also the Aveda Green Science collection offers the best skincare products for the face, neck and décolletage.

While it’s impossible for us to investigate every product manufactured under the Aveda label, or to know for certain that all their raw materials are in fact ethical sourced and fairly traded, there’s no evidence to indicate that this company is not everything it claims to be.

We suggest that if you can’t find beauty brands that are locally produced, or skin care products that are made from regional fresh ingredients, and you must buy a commercially mass produced product, then Aveda appears to be a good choice.

For more information on the best eye creams and other organic shampoo, please see related posts in this VII part series on palm oil free anti aging products for healthy skin and a healthy planet. Continue to Part V: Healthy Skin…

One Response


body shop products have may chemicals in them i was a rep.
also now they are owned bye Loreal who still test on animals we should all boycott these companies
The thing that i find most offensive about the bodyshop is that they project the image that they are clean and use sustainable methods.

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About the editor

Nena Argent, editorial director of EbT magazine since 2009, oversees online editorial content in English and Spanish. She joined EbT after ten years as an investigative journalist in Asia where she researched oriental health, nutrition and beauty treatments. Now based in Europe, she reports on the latest beauty trends, health issues, high-tech medical advancements and state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures from around the world.

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