How do I know if a product contains palm oil?
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand allows palm oil to be labelled simply as 'vegetable oil' and indeed its presence can be even less visible as many of the more minor components of a product - colourings, flavourings, emulsifiers and humectants are commonly palm oil derived. A quick test - if the saturated fat content is around 50% the likelihood of the vegetable oil being palm is high.
In cosmetics, palm oil is labelled Elaeis guineensis but as with the food industry, its presence is often less obvious. Any ingredient which includes the word palm (palmitate, palmitoyl or simply palm) will include palm oil. Other ingredients which commonly but not always use palm oil include cetyl alcohol, isopropyl, sodium lauryl sulphate, steareths, fatty alcohol sulphates, glycerine, cocoa butter equivalent and cocoa butter substitute.
How do I make an informed choice?
BOS Australia has put together a list of products which manufacturers tell us are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil.
The clean beauty revolution has resulted in companies formulating products that rely less on harsh synthetics and more on sustainably sourced plant based ingredients. These products are natural and healthy ways to nourish skin, without the hidden ingredients, but with equally effective results.