Most of us use multiple personal care products daily. These products nourish our skin, make us feel good and help us get that special glow when we’re getting ready for the day. Many of the ingredients essential for making these products are derived from palm oil. So, whether we realize it or not, this means we are consuming some form of palm oil every day.
Founder of Oh, Oh Organics, Gay Timmons, is very passionate about greening the ingredient supply chain of our personal care products, including palm oil. This has been her mission since she founded her organic ingredient company 21 years ago. According to her, “We are all in agriculture.” She believes that the personal care industry will find more creative ways to innovate once we all realize this.
Need For Change
To date “the industry is complacent,” says Gay, a scientist herself. Many manufacturers stick to the chemical ingredients they know, instead of using more innovative plant-based sources. She believes we need more creativity and explore new solutions. Change is on the horizon though, with more brands demanding green ingredients. Gay has seen the demand for organic palm oil, as well as other organic ingredients growing, especially from mission-driven businesses that want to create positive impact.
New Generation Brands
A push towards green ingredients is coming from a new generation of personal care brands, founded upon a mission to do things right and a strong set of principles. The founders of these brands choose to work with plant-based, vegan and organic ingredients. Many of these businesses also decide to sell their products direct to consumers, to have all options open to tell their full story.
Business owners pushing the shift to plant-based and organic ingredients also demand full traceability to the sources of these ingredients. They want to know the farmers and communities behind their ingredients, to make sure they are creating the positive impact they seek. “The value has to be inherent in the ingredient,” says Gay, who serves a growing number of customers seeking organic, traceable ingredients.
Two leading brands, that understand that connection and have been taking their responsibility seriously are Dr. Bronner’s and Dr.Hauschka. They began growing their own ingredients many years ago.
In the recently launched book Honor Thy Label, Gero Leson describes how Dr. Bronner’s started to develop its own supply to ensure the production of clean, green and ethical ingredients, while at the same time generating positive impact for farming communities. They have gone to great lengths to ensure transparency and fairness to benefit farmers, workers, as well as their families and communities. In the book Leson also recounts the company setting up their organic palm oil operation in Ghana, and how producing palm oil using fair and regenerative organic practices makes it one of the more expensive, yet one of the most impactful palm oils on the planet.
It’s All Agriculture
Manufacturers and brands that make commitments to use more plant-derived ingredients, are basically stepping into the agricultural sector. They are not just a personal care company, they are impacting agriculture and the way crops are grown. It is important to be aware of that. And the chemical industry, producing palm-based ingredients, needs to realize they are in agriculture, too.
There is still much to explore explains Gay: “In order to adapt to the pressure of climate change and what’s going to happen to the chemical industry, the industry needs to innovate, more than it has done so far.”
What You Can Do
Just as personal care companies need to realize that they are impacting agriculture by the way they are sourcing their ingredients, we, consumers need to view the personal care products we buy as agricultural products as well. “It is really, really important that we start to understand that relationship,” says Gay.
Brands like au NATURAL, Tonic, Moon Valley Organics and Uviña Skin have launched a beautiful assortment offering green personal care products. And online retailer Grove Collaborative, focused on the direct sales of clean beauty products, has launched their own vegan, plant-based skin care brand products. Now it’s up to you, to choose a new generation of products and push the shift towards green products forward.
All-natural Grove Co. Handcrafted Soap Bars are made with moisturizing glycerin, organic palm, coconut and olive oils that create a sudsy lather to thoroughly moisturize the skin after each wash. They are hand poured to last longer (and fall apart less!) and are made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, synthetic fragrance, artificial colors and dyes. Their soap bars are 100% plastic free and are packaged in a fully-recyclable FSC®-certified paper box made from recycled paper and responsibly harvested wood.
Grove is committed to ensuring that their supply chain is free from any ingredients or materials that directly or indirectly contribute to deforestation and forest degradation. Grove is a proud partner of Palm Done Right and is committed to working with suppliers to ensure their palm oil is fully traceable.
Moon Valley Organics
Moon Valley features a pure, organic, high-quality product line brought to you by Mother Nature that will cleanse, heal and moisturize your skin in the most effective and beautiful ways. Their sustainably farmed herbs are 100% USDA certified organic and grown using permaculture practices. They are carefully dried, processed and packaged on site. Moon Valley sources from local organic farms and suppliers who support fair trade and (RAN) Rainforest Action Network and proudly uses Palm Done Right palm oil in their soaps.
Nourish your skin and soothe your senses with gentle and effective body care by Tonic Naturals.
Made fresh from the finest ethically sourced oils, like organic Palm Done Right palm oil, butters, essential oils, clays and plant extracts. These formulas feature the warmer scents of sandalwood, cinnamon, cardamom and other sacred resins and spices that feel especially comforting as the nights grow longer and our bodies turn towards winter. All Tonic products are made in small batches from thoughtfully sourced ingredients that are good for your skin and gentle on the earth.
Uviña (“you-vee-nuh”) Skinis a clean, vegan, and cruelty-free wellness brand inspired by minimalism & Latinx-heritage. They make highly effective products for the health-conscious person who knows what they want and wants to get there quickly. Under the mantra ‘Minimal Steps. Maximum Results’, the debut line is designed to cleanse, soothe, brighten and hydrate in 3 simple steps.
“It was important to us to make sure we were weaving sustainable practices into our company fabric from the very beginning. As a small business, that can be challenging. We are so thankful for organizations like Palm Done Right who make it so easy to do the right thing!” Jelitsa Legarreta, founder, Uviña Skin
Au Naturale Cosmetics
Au Naturale Cosmetics is on a mission to prove that clean beauty can be high-performing and colorful while also maintaining standards of health and ethics. su/Stain Matte Lip Stain proves to have serious staying power while imparting nourishment and moisture. The entire line is vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free and non-toxic.
Palm oil from Palm Done Right is the primary ingredient in ethically sourced and immaculately crafted su/Stain Matte Lip Stain. Changing the name of the green beauty game with an unprecedented combination of formulation standards.
Spinster Sisters is committed to creating safe and gentle skincare products that benefit people and the earth. They use essential oils, minimally processed plant oils, and botanicals in their products; while avoiding sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. They also incorporate biodegradable materials and sustainable processes to ensure they live up to their commitment to protecting our delicate ecosystem while providing quality products.
Paid partnership with YOGA + Life.
Monique van Wijnbergen is director of sustainability and corporate communications at Natural Habitats, a supplier of organic and fair-trade palm oil. She is also a spokesperson for Palm Done Right.