Palm oil in cosmetics

Kluuf's vegan face cream for men positioned on the leaf of an aloe vera plant

Why palm oil at all

Palm oil is a versatile product for the skincare, cleaning and food industries, so it's no surprise that this ingredient can be found in almost every second item in the supermarket.
The industry likes to use palm oil because it is full of valuable vitamins, it is considered robust and can be used to regulate consistency. In addition, the oil can also be used as a surfactant.
Palm oil is also more fertile than most other oils and is therefore significantly cheaper to grow and buy.

Recognize palm oil

The INCI for palm oil is "Elaeis Guineensis Oil" and can therefore easily be found within the list of ingredients. However, it is much more common for individual active ingredients to contain palm oil, which is not visible to the bare eye in the cosmetics and skin care sector (other labeling requirements apply to food). With the help of apps like Codcheck or Yuka, however, you can easily see which products might contain palm oil.

Why is palm oil criticized?

The combination of high quality and low price means that manufacturers prefer to use palm oil over other oils, therefore creating enormous demand on the market. In order to create cultivation areas to meet this demand, large areas of the rainforest have been and are still being cut down every day (since the oil palm only grows optimally in these areas).
Not only is an important part of our ecosystem lost as a result of uncontrolled deforestation, animal species also lose their natural habitat and are threatened with extinction. To make matters worse, workers often have to work under inhumane conditions on these plantations.
Palm oil in cosmetics is therefore rightly criticized, but not - as is sometimes believed - because the ingredient is inferior or even harmful to humans.

Alternatives to palm oil

"Of course, products that are free of palm oil are best."

You hear that statement a lot, and there is plenty of truth in it. However, it must also be considered that products that are free of palm oil often use substitutes such as soybean oil or others. However, since a significantly larger acreage has to be used to produce the same amount of soybean oil as palm oil, if the oil palm were completely replaced by soybean, this would require a significantly larger acreage, hence causing significantly more CO2 emissions or potentially more deforestation.
So, whereas substituting palm oil with alternatives seem convenient on first glance, the subject is usually more complex.

Sustainable palm oil

There are various approaches to make the cultivation of palm oil more sustainable and to reduce the environmental impact to a minimum. These include, among other things:

  • Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)*, which is committed to controlled and sustainable cultivation (see below)
  • Independent certification bodies that ensure that all or part of the palm oil used is sustainably grown
  • Finally, of course, the complete renunciation of palm oil and its substitutes is one of the most sustainable alternatives.

*The "roundtable for sustainable palm oil" has existed for almost two decades (founded in 2004) and has its origins in the WWF (world wildlife fund).
The founding intention of the RSPO is to make the cultivation of palm oil sustainable in order to avoid uncontrolled deforestation and cultivation. Active ingredient manufacturers can now obtain RSPO-certified palm oil.

Kluuf and palm oil

Kluuf itself does not use any palm oil and will not do so in the future. The INCI "Elaeis Guineensis Oil" can therefore not be found on any of our products and won't be going forward.
In the only case in which a raw material supplier works with palm oil, we insisted on using only verifiably sustainable products. Thus, in our body lotion, the ingredient polyglyceryl-10 stearate (ensures the unique composition of the lotion) uses RSPO certified palm oil.

In the future, we will campaign for more palm oil-free products as well as sustainably certified products, to make our products even more sustainable.

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kluuf's vegan face cream and body lotion for men on aloe vera plant