Does Australia have any genuinely palm oil-free shampoo or conditioner?

by Marion O’Leary

I asked myself this recently when trying to find something palm oil free to wash and condition my hair. Like many people, I am concerned at the massive deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia that is due to the enormous demand for palm oil worldwide. Demand for palm oil has escalated in recent years because it is cheap to produce, and is stable compared to unsaturated vegetable oils, which are prone to oxidation (going rancid). Palm oil is now the most commonly used vegetable oil in food, is used in almost all toiletries and detergents, and is an ingredient in many industrial chemicals. Ironically, it is also in demand as a biofuel – fragile and dwindling rainforests are being destroyed in order to produce a more ‘eco-friendly’ fuel. Palm unloading

The rush to meet demand for palm oil has resulted in the imminent extinction in the wild of the orang-utan, Sumatran tiger and rhinoceros, as well as many other rare plant and animal species. Indigenous people are being displaced, and even jailed for trying to defend their own land from illegal clearing by palm producing companies – see ‘The Sustainability Lie’, a documentary on this issue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NAYWHb-xaU&feature=youtube. Watching this might very well make you think twice about ‘sustainable’ palm oil claims as well.  Rainforests are being cleared at an alarming rate to produce palm oil, and the slash and burn clearing techniques of palm oil companies are causing a pollution catastrophe in south-east Asia and rapidly accelerating greenhouse gas emissions.

forest fireClearly there is a good case to stop using palm oil in our homes, or at least drastically reduce our consumption. Because Australia’s lax labelling laws allow palm oil to be listed as ‘vegetable oil’, we can’t always distinguish foods containing palm oil by reading the label.  Luckily, there are some helpful websites you can go to in order to find out including http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palm-oil-free-alternatives.aspx

Now, back to hair care… because the ingredient lists on most shampoos  and conditioners consist predominantly of chemical names, it’s extremely difficult to work out whether these are derived from palm oil since a chemical name does not tell us the origin of the product.  At Mokosh we are often asked to make shampoo and conditioner, and we recently decided to look into the origin of these chemicals more closely. We would love to be able to make a palm oil free shampoo and conditioner. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

The chemical maze

Where an ingredient is present in its natural form, it is stated as such – e.g. coconut oil, or Cocos nucifera – its botanical name. For shampoos and conditioners, synthetic ingredients are needed to perform the cleaning and defrizzing, coating and detangling that we have now come to expect from hair care products, though their origins may be stated e.g. ‘from coconut oil’. The most important of these are known as surfactants, and these are made using the hydrocarbon chain backbone of either a vegetable oil or a petrochemical oil. Where vegetable oil is used these chemicals could be derived from a number of different vegetable oils, but because palm is cheaper, it is the most commonly used.  It is almost certain that a chemical containing one of the following word roots is derived from palm oil:

– ‘stear’, e.g.  glyceryl stearate, stearic acidreading label

–  ‘cet’e.g. cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl olivate, cetrimonium chloride

– ‘laur’, e.g. sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium lauroyl sucroate

–  ‘cap’, e.g. capric triglyceride, caprylic acid

– ‘palm’, e.g.  sodium palmitate, palmitic acid, palm kernelate

– ‘glyc’, e.g. glycerine, glyceryl oleate

Every shampoo and conditioner we have looked at from supermarkets, pharmacies and other mainstream stores are made using these palm oil-containing ingredients.  Our next step was to look at the ingredients used by manufacturers claiming to be palm oil free. To our surprise, some of the above ingredients are found in brands claiming to be palm oil free. These brands containing the above ingredients, most likely palm oil derived, are also listed on shopping guides for palm oil free sites.

Despite this disturbing discrepancy, we carried on in our quest to make palm oil free shampoo and conditioner. After all, it should be possible using chemicals derived from the other most commonly-used vegetable oil – coconut oil…or so we thought.

A search showed that there are a number of surfactants claimed by their manufacturers to be derived from coconut. The presence of ‘coco’ in the chemical name suggests that the ingredient may be from coconut, as when the chemical was first named it was derived from coconut. However, as we now know, the hydrocarbon chain for an ingredient may be supplied by palm just as easily from coconut – yet its chemical name will be unchanged. Therefore, the presence of ‘coco’ in a chemical name does not necessarily mean it was made from coconut.

Let’s look at some ingredients in shampoos and conditioners that we expected to be from coconut oil:

(i) Shampoos

Coco glucoside –most commonly derived from palm oil. The Australian supplier we found made no claim that this is derived from coconut oil.

Cocobetaine– available in a few different forms, the safest form to use has the chemical name  ‘coco dimethyl betaine’, and this one is widely used in organic and ‘palm free’ shampoos. We got excited about this as the brand available in Australia states that it is derived from coconut, as does every source we found on the internet. When I asked the sales representative to give me a written statement that no palm is used to manufacture this ingredient, he was as surprised as we were to find that both coconut and palm oils are used in its manufacture. It is possible that there is a form of cocobetaine that is sourced solely from coconut oil, but we were unable to find one.

Decyl glucoside –the Australian supplier we found stated that this was made from coconut or palm oil. Once again, there was no way to guarantee this is from coconut oil only.

Sodium cocoyl glutamate – once again, every reference put out by the manufacturer stated that this was derived from coconut. After asking for a palm oil free statement from the major Australian supplier, it was discovered once again that both palm and coconut oils are used to derive the ‘cocoyl’ component.

Sodium cocoyl glycinate – the same Australian supplier as that supplying ‘sodium cocoyl glutamate’ stated that this is made from both coconut and palm oils.

(ii) Conditioners

Conditioners commonly contain ‘cetearyl alcohol’ and ‘cetrimonium chloride’ as well as ‘glycerine’, which, as we already know, are almost certainly palm-derived. But there are a few others to look at.

Behentrimonium methosulphate – this product is derived from colza oil or canola oil, but is blended with palm oil-derived chemicals such as cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol.

Sorbitan olivate and cetearyl olivate – an emulsifier comprising two chemicals, commonly used in organic brands of conditioners and skin creams. These two compounds are combined in what is sometimes termed ‘olive wax’, as the major components are from olive oil, albeit hydrogenated olive oil. As you may have guessed by the presence of ‘cet’, the cetearyl component is from palm oil.  Some manufacturers believe that thought this is purely olive derived – it’s not.

Steartrimonium chloride – as its name suggests, this product is palm-derived.

To our surprise and dismay, the claim by a supplier that an ingredient is from coconut often means that it sometimes comes from coconut, and sometimes comes from palm – but we do not know the proportions of each. What we do know is it is absolutely not an indication that the product is palm oil free.

For these synthetic ingredients, the supply chain is long, the factories are far away, and manufacturers are not concerned about whether the starting point is palm oil, coconut oil, or some other oil – the end product is the same and that is all that matters to them. We now know that it is not possible to guarantee that a synthetic chemical is definitely not palm derived, unless you receive a written statement from the supplying company, which has traced the origin back to the starting point of each component of each ingredient. The bottom line is, don’t believe what is stated in the advertising literature – where it is stated that a product is derived from coconut, it may also be derived from palm oil.

It seems that manufacturers of shampoo and conditioners claiming palm oil free status believe superficial claims by suppliers – and it seems that ‘palm oil free’ shopping sites are doing the same. It is only when we start to dig deeper that it is clear that palm oil is in almost everything we use in the bathroom. Yes, it’s not just shampoo and conditioners that contain palm derived chemicals, it’s the glycerine and emulsifiers in water-based creams and lotions too – but that’s a story for another time.

This means just about all of us are unknowingly washing our hair in palm oil and slathering it on our bodies – and contributing to one of the most environmentally damaging practices on the planet. A lot of people are being misled, and the forests are burning faster than ever. This is not going to get better while people believe false claims about palm oil free status. Palm oil will continue to be used to manufacture cocobetaine, coco glucoside and cetearyl olivate – and many people will carry on using it.

So is there a palm oil free shampoo?

We believe that currently the only palm oil-free shampoos are actually palm oil-free soaps, such as the liquid and bar soaps made by Mokosh. Other than these soap shampoos, we have not yet seen a shampoo or conditioner that does not contain one or more of the palm oil-derived ingredients listed above. Soap shampoos are made by saponifying oils with either potassium hydroxide to make liquid soap, or sodium hydroxide to make bar soap. These are what our grandparents or great-grandparents washed their hair with. Below are some brands we know of that sell these products as shampoo.

– Maclyn Grove

– Alex’s Handcrafted Soaps

– Dr Bronner’s

If you know of a brand that is not a soap, that does not contain any of the above palm-derived chemicals, please let us know. We would love to hear about it.

So – what should I wash and condition my hair with?

This is the question I asked myself when I realised I had been unwittingly using palm oil-containing hair products. Here are some alternatives:

1)      Baking soda (also known as ‘bi-carb soda’ or ‘sodium bicarbonate’) followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse – there are many converts to this, who state their hair has never looked better. Take a look at this site http://simplemom.net/how-to-clean-your-hair-without-shampoo/ or this one http://www.vintageamanda.com/2010/11/the-secret-to-ditching-your-shampoo-forever/

2)      Natural bar soap or natural liquid soap followed by a vinegar rinse –

Look at this one: http://frecklestotoes.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/soap-shampoo-experiment-initial-results.html, or this one

http://mypurepursuit.blogspot.com.au/p/shampoo-recipes_19.html

3)      Mud shampoo – see how to make your own here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngX_ZdwQSk0

4)      No shampoo – see a blog here: http://www.theminimalistmom.com/2012/03/noshampoo/

Don’t be confused

It is clear that when looking at synthetic ingredients derived from a natural source, we have no indication which plant species was used to make them. Where a vegetable oil is needed to make a synthetic ingredient, it seems that palm oil is almost always first choice, because of price. The only way to be certain that an ingredient is not of palm oil origin is to obtain a written statement from the supplier, traced back to the manufacturer, that it is palm oil free.

We have not yet discovered a shampoo or conditioner, other than palm-free soap shampoos, that are free of palm oil derivatives. It seems that claims of ‘coconut’ origin for synthetic shampoo and conditioner ingredients cannot be believed, as it is very straightforward to substitute palm oil, without detriment or change to the final product.

It has been stated that palm-oil is driving an ecological disaster so, arguably, manufacturers who use palm oil-derived ingredients are party to this. The manufacturers who use palm oil-derived ingredients, yet claim their products are palm oil free, are perhaps even harder to defend.

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49 thoughts on “Does Australia have any genuinely palm oil-free shampoo or conditioner?

  1. Great article. I have been washing my hair far less frequently in order to cut back on the amount of shampoo I buy. Although at the beginning of doing this, my hair was very greasy the day after washing, I have found that my hair and scalp have adapted well, and become less greasy over time (now I only wash my hair twice a week instead of once a day). Anyway, I would like to ask about dry shampoo, as it help people in boycotting (or at least cutting back on) shampoo. The brands whose labels I have looked at do not contain the chemical names you’ve listed here, so you might like to check for yourself and add that as an option here as well.

    1. Hi Karen

      Your approach of using less palm oil-containing shampoo is a good one. If we can’t stop using palm oil altogether, at least we should drastically reduce its use. It’s interesting that your hair has adapted to the change.

      I haven’t seen the ingredients in dry shampoo – it would be good to check them out, and also to find out how effective they are. Would you be able to send the ingredients list of one of these?

      Other options are washing in true soaps that are palm oil free, followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse – see Jean’s recipe above. A lot of people are also having joy with a bicarb soda wash also followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse. And then there’s the mud shampoo – I haven’t tried this but it sounds interesting! Maybe we need to go back to these old synthetic-free ways – and cut down on our plastic waste at the same time.
      Thanks for your comments!
      Marion

    1. Shampoo bars may be true soaps, or they may be solid versions of standard liquid shampoos, containing ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate, which is most likely palm-derived. You would need to carefully check the ingredients list to know whether the bar contains a palm-derived ingredient. If you can send the ingredient list of your shampoo bar I’m happy to check it out for you.
      Thanks for your feedback!

      1. Thanks MokoshSkinCare!

        The bar I bought is Beauty and the Bees Tasmania. Ingredients: mountain spring water, olive oil, coconut oil, soy wax, castor oil, hemp seed oil, leatherwood beeswax, leatherwood honey, seaweed extract.

        It states on the box that it is “100% natural – Free of SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate) – free of palm oil – free of artificial additives…”

      2. Hi Daisy, it looks like your Beauty and the Bees shampoo bar is a true soap – made of vegetable oils that have been saponified using sodium hydroxide. No sign of palm oil there! Glad to hear this one works well for you – do you find it hard to get a good lather with this bar, or is it very easy to use? Do you follow shampooing with a vinegar rinse? Or standard conditioner? I’m interested because personally I’ve found bar soap more difficult to use than liquid soap – perhaps it’s the oil combination in this bar that makes it work well. To my mind bar soap is environmentally far better than liquid soap so I’d prefer to use that – no plastic waste!

      3. YAY!!!
        Because I have seriously fine hair, the ‘stickiness’ I get when I wash my hair with the shampoo bar works well to thicken it and also boost my natural curl.
        The same company has a vinegar rinse to use afterwards, but to be honest I don’t use it after I wash my hair with the bar. For that I use a conventional treatment conditioner which I have, and which I won’t replace when it runs out, just to get the ends detangled.
        I use the vinegar rinse for those no wash days just to freshen my hair and it works beautifully and makes it lovely and soft.
        So glad I’m heading in the right direction as well as supporting an Aussie company.

  2. You can make wonderful shampoo from a mixture of 1 cup Castile Soap, 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1 teaspoon of lavender oil. Replace monthly.

    1. I haven’t tried your recipe myself. Since I found out about the palm oil content in shampoos and conditioner some weeks ago I’ve been using Mokosh’s own liquid soap, which is actually a Castille soap – diluted around 1:10 with water, and then following with an apple cider vinegar rinse, also diluted around 1:10 with water. This works really well for me, though recently I’ve noticed the ends becoming a bit dry. Maybe the coconut milk and lavender will make a difference – I’ll give it a try. Thanks for your recipe Jean!

  3. I often spend frustrated time perusing the shelves for a genuine palm free anything. I have terribly sensitive skin and the only body wash stuff I found I could tolerate was based around colloidal oatmeal. All brands contain palm derivatives, damn them!
    As for hair, mine is past my shoulder blades and I wash it every second day. My great grandmother’s hair was past her knees and I know she only washed it once a week, as was the go back then when there was no such thing as a shower and a proper bath was taken on a Saturday, while the rest of the week one utilised the jug and bowl that were in the bedroom.
    I believe my great gran washed her hair in pure soap and rinsed with a solution of vinegar and water to take the soap out. One would have to be very careful of their technique because the knots would have been unbearable.
    I hope Mokosh have success in finding suitable non palm ingredients for shampoo and conditioner. It would be wonderful.

    1. Hi Robyn, I’ve been using liquid soap for around 4 weeks now to wash my hair, followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse – see instructions in the comment above. The apple cider vinegar is a must – without it, a deposit is left in the hair and it feels dirty. Also there are no tangles, at least in my shoulder length hair – the apple cider vinegar seems to detangle really well, possibly better than conditioner.

      We’ll keep looking for suitable palm oil free ingredients – hopefully manufacturers of these ingredients will start to see a need to avoid palm as a starting point, but we need enough people to put pressure on them for it to happen! Meanwhile, I’m happy with soap and vinegar, and will try the coconut milk additive suggested by Jean above.

      Marion

    1. Hi Glenys,

      My understanding is that Cocamidopropyl betaine is very closely related chemically to Cocobetaine – and following our experience it is very likely sourced from palm oil, possibly in addition to coconut oil. The only way to know whether it has any palm oil content is to ask the manufacturer of your shampoo to obtain a written declaration from the supplier of their Cocamidopropyl betaine that it is not derived from palm oil. It is only when we asked for this written statement from our potential supplier that it was discovered that palm oil was used to manufacture 3 ingredients advertised as ‘from coconut’. We believe that almost all manufacturers will use at least some palm oil when they are able to (because it is cheaper), but will not change the ‘from coconut’ statement. Your shampoo manufacturer may not be aware of this.

      This is how things seem to be working at the moment.

  4. Hi Mokosh,

    Thanks for that article. I have been making my own skincare for many years now using Cetearyl olivate & Sorbitan olivate believing that it was just made from olives. I only found out last week that the Cetearyl olivate part is the reaction of cetearyl alcohol (palm based) with olive to form the cetearyl olivate. Even my supplier was surprised when I asked about the Palm oil possibility. So now I face the arduous task of reformulating all my products and making a statement to all who use my products that one of the ingredients is mixed with palm oil. A heartbreaking thing to find out when my heart and soul is put into the products I make and I felt I’d been so diligent in making sure I wasn’t using palm oil. I believe this has been the case for a few others as well.
    I have not tried making shampoo or conditioner yet but the above suggestions make a lot of sense.
    Thanks Again
    Rebecca

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      I understand your heartbreak – so many people have been misled by the presence of hidden palm oil in the personal care industry. I guess it’s because it is so easy to hide palm oil behind all the chemical names that are present in toiletries. It is pretty simple for an ingredient manufacturer to say their product is ‘from olive’ or ‘from coconut’, and fail to mention that it is ‘also from palm’. It’s important that people are made aware of this deception by omission, and that we put pressure on manufacturers to make public every vegetable source of their ingredients – not just the ones they want people to know about. This should be done in conjunction with reformation of our food labelling laws – where in Australia the term ‘vegetable oil’ can be used as a blanket term for oil of any origin.

      Good luck with your reformulation, Rebecca. I know this is going to involve a lot of work, time and money. I would suggest you let your supplier know what their deception by omission has cost you on all levels.

      Marion

  5. Does anyone have tips for how to treat dandruff without using products containing palm oil? That is the biggest stumbling block for me.

    My dandruff comes and goes, it’s been terrible this year and I’m reliant on Nizoral. I have tried supposedly environmentally friendly dandruff shampoos before with no benefit. Whilst using one shampoo my scalp proceeded to get so bad that it was terribly itchy and I had sores from scratching. Reading through the preceding comments I have been reminded that I should try treating my hair properly (I generally don’t leave it in long enough), as that may clear up the dandruff for a period so that I don’t have to use Nizoral all the time.

    I’ve also been loathe to change my shampoos/conditioner/leave-in defrizzer because of my dry frizzy hair, but I guess it might be time for a change and I should try apple cider vinegar!

  6. Aussie brand Nature’s Organics (Organic Care) is available in supermarkets, is reasonably priced and does not Animal test or use Palm Oil. They also use recycled packaging for their products.Winner!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sarah. However, according to their website, Nature’s Organics is using palm oil-derived ingredients in their products. They are taking a responsible and thoughtful stance on the use of palm oil, however, making the statement: ‘Natures Organics is actively working toward minimising our reliance on palm as much as technology allows at this time’. Read about their stance on palm oil here: http://www.naturesorganics.com.au/our-environment/natures-organics-palm-oil

    1. We looked into both those ingredients from other suppiers, and although the manufacturers state they are derived from coconut, we found after further probing that they are derived from both coconut and palm oils. This is where so many people are being misled. The only way to be certain that an ingredient has no palm oil input is to obtain a statement from the manufacturer, on their company’s letterhead, that no palm oil was used to manufacture the product. This is the point we are trying to make – you cannot believe a manufacturer’s claim about the origin of their ingredients.

  7. Sorry – one more thing:
    What about all the laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids etc.?
    They usually contain surfactants – I guess nothing palm oil free here either?
    Cheers,
    Judy

  8. I have two Dr Bronners bar soaps – they both contain Palm oil. Here is the INC on one:

    Dr Bronner’s
    Ingredients: Saponfied Organic Coconut Oil*, Saponified Organic Palm Oil*, Saponified Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Glycerin, Water, Organic Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Mentha Arvensis Extract, Organic Mentha Peperita (Peppermint) Oil, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Tocopherol (Vit. E),
    (* Certified Fair Trade by IMO)

    1. Oh gosh, yes they do contain palm oil! In the blog, I was referring to Dr Bronner’s liquid soaps, which are palm oil free, I hadn’t checked the bar soaps. Woops. If you’re using bar soap for the detox, it should be fine, but you’ll need to get a good lather up so that the suds penetrate your full head of hair. Liquid soap is more spreadable through the hair in my experience, but there are plenty of people who wash hair with bar soap and it works perfectly!

  9. I am going to try using a home made bar soap along with the cider vinegar and bicarb treatment – my hair is ultra thin, and drives my hairdresser mad as I am often experimenting with various serums, creams etc which end up getting into my hair at night.
    Your hair looks lovely and fresh – fingers crossed the method agrees with me too.

    1. Well done and good luck! Just be prepared for the tricky detox phase – it might not be pretty! If you manage to take some ‘before, during and after’ photos and don’t mind sharing them, let me know. I’m planning on compiling a series of photos so that other adventurers might know what to expect.

  10. Hi,
    I have been doing the same thing-looking for palm oil free. I have found a great little company called Mukti here in Australia, all of their products except their conditioner clearly state “PALM OIL FREE” and I have cross referenced the indredients with a palm oil ingredients list on an anti palm oil site. I have emailed Mukti to enquire about the origins of their palm oil ingredients in their conditioner. I am hoping that it’s sustatinable sourced as they are an organic company who claim “Mukti is a determined eco-activist and an advocate of truth in labeling.” and that all of their ingredients are “sustainably sourced” I”m looking forward to their reply!

    1. Hi Sylvia,
      I’ve just checked the ingredients in the Mukti shampoo. Two of the ingredients listed – cocobetaine and sodium cocoyl glycinate – are ingredients we considered using when we looked at formulating shampoo, because the manufacturer states they are derived from coconut. However, when we asked for a written declaration from the manufacturer that they were palm oil free, they admitted that both ingredients in fact contain palm oil. However it’s possible that Mukti have found a palm oil free manufacturer of these ingredients. We were unable to do so.

      The people at Palm Oil Investigations – see http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/ – do great work at investigating palm oil free claims in a non confrontational way. Perhaps it would be a good idea to voice your concerns with them and clear up the issue?

      It’s great to find palm oil free enthusiasts – we need more of you!

  11. Hello – I am really passionate about this issue and I found this post really insightful. I hope lots of people read it and take note! Thank you for bringing these labelling discrepancies to our attention. Its very frustrating that even makers of shampoos etc don’t even know if their own products are palm oil derived.

  12. I have been reading the posts with enormous interest and will definitely be making some changes to the products we use. The only concern i have is that if we start using far more coconut oil based products will not th palm oil producers just plant coconut trees instead?

    1. I agree that this is a concern and the issue isn’t straightforward. However there are other oil types which can serve the purpose and can be grown without the massive deforestation we are seeing with palm plantations. The alternatvies may not be as cheap, but cheap food and toiletries are available at a very high environmental cost. Awareness is the key – once there is motivation to find alternatives, the alternative will be found.

  13. I have been using Sukin purifying shampoo, they say its sulphate and paraben free. Does this mean it is palm-oil free? Many thanks for clarification

    1. HI Claude, according to Sukin’s ingredient listing, Sukin purifying shampoo contains Cocamidopropyl betaine and Decyl glucoside, both of which are partly derived from palm oil. These 2 substances are surfactants, the detergent part of the shampoo, which are very difficult to obtain palm oil free.

      1. That is a real disappointment. So you are saying the only palm oil free shampoo is a soap bar, any soaps in particular?, and then a rinse with vinegar, any type of vinegar? where can your products be bought? i live in fremantle. thanks

  14. Does anyone here realize that coconut, olive or just any oil-seed crop (other than oil palm) requires 5~15 times more devastation of lands, forests and wildlife?

    1. I’d love to know where you got that statistic from – a reference would be interesting to see. It’s clear that any agricultural pursuit has a cost on the environment. Demand for palm oil has sky-rocketed because it is cheap – partly because it is a very efficient producer of vegetable oil, however the cheapness doesn’t account for the cost of losing the forest ecosystem and the cost of greenhouse gas emissions from slash and burn clearing. Most alternative oil crops can be grown on already cleared land, whereas current palm oil practices involve planting on freshly cleared forest land, resulting in loss of unique habitat and imminent species extinctions, something we consider quite costly! We don’t pretend to have the answer to this problem, but we feel that increasing awareness in consumers is vital or there will be no impetus to look for solutions. Realistically, reducing demand for oils globally by charging a more realistic price – one that includes the cost of environmental damage -is likely to be the only way to bring about change.

  15. Hi, how about biologika shampoos? Ingredients include:

    INGREDIENTS:
    Purified water, organic aloe vera juice, coco polyglucoside, organic extracts of cucumber and green tea, decylglucoside, locust bean gum, Australian lavender pure essential oil, citrus seed extract, olive leaf extract, potassium sorbate and citric acid.

    1. Thanks for your query. You would really need to check with Biologika and ask them to check with the manufacturer of their ingredients regarding palm oil input of the 2 surfactants, coco polyglucoside and decylglucoside. We have not been able to find a manufacturer of these 2 surfactants which are palm oil free.

  16. This was an interesting read. Didn’t know this was the case until now. Palm oil is such a tangled web. So hard to figure out where it is hidden even for businesses like us asking the right questions from the brands we stock. We are trying our best to stock the safest products and also the most sustainable but when it is hidden in other ingredients, it is so hard to tell.

    1. Hi Avana Australia, yes very tangled indeed! Since we wrote this article in 2013 we have still not been able to find any palm oil free surfactants for shampoo and conditioner. The most trusted authority on this is Palm Oil Investigations (http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/) who independently check palm oil inputs in food, cosmetics and toiletries. They are truly the best authorities I know of and I’m sure they would be more than happy help you answer any questions regarding palm oil input of products you want to look at. So glad that you want to dig deeper regarding palm oil – it’s incredibly urgent that people realise how easy it is to be green-washed on this! Meanwhile the health of our planet hangs in the balance…

  17. Thanks Mokosh Skincare. I have worked with POI for the last couple of years to iron out the hidden palm oil ingredients that are in some of the organic brands that we stock. Some are being phased out due to not getting clear answers from brand owners. It would be nice to see more people would support this issue.

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