Most of us use multiple cosmetic 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 (kernel) oil. So, whether we realize it or not, this means we are consuming some form of palm oil every day.
Recently, I wrote a series of articles for Global Cosmetics Industry Magazine where I interviewed Gay Timmons, founder of Oh, Oh Organics. Gay is very passionate about greening the ingredient supply chain for cosmetics manufacturers, including palm oil. This has been her mission since she founded her company twenty-one years ago. According to her “we are all in the agricultural business”. She believes that the industry will find more creative ways to innovate once everyone realizes this.
Palm (kernel) oil is a popular base ingredient and for good reasons. Its derivatives are superior ingredients for making good quality balms, creams, salves, lipsticks, and many other cosmetic products. It mixes easily with other ingredients, makes our products creamy and improves product stability and shelf live. It is also cheap; however the price often does not take into consideration the damage it causes to the environment and local communities.
With palm (kernel) oil-based ingredients present in approximately 70% of cosmetic products, the cosmetics market has a big impact on the tropical landscapes where palm oil is produced. The chemical industry, with companies like BASF and Croda processing the raw material into high quality ingredients, is well positioned to lead the shift to greening the supply chain. Yet, according to Gay, the chemical industry is complacent.
Need for change
Gay, a scientist herself, explained that “creativity is lacking”. Changing sourcing strategies, using new materials, reformulating recipes, as well as using new technologies is complex and expensive. Many chemists, for example, prefer to stick to petroleum-derived ingredients, instead of using plant-based sources. Adopting a green sciences approach to research and innovation is still in its infancy.
Yet change is on the horizon. A growing number of manufacturers are starting to demand…