Why Wendy makes palm-oil free facial products for Glow-Skincare

It’s a shock when you learn that the product you’ve been using for years (or decades) contains palm, or a derivative of palm.

Going palm oil free felt like Mission Impossible creating a moisturiser that not only felt good to use but was also Rainforest Friendly.

I studied aromatherapy in London in 2003 and got fed up of being sold skincare products that were made from palm oil so set out to make an alternative.

soap palm oil free

If you ever asked if Pears soap contains palm oil? Yes, it does. It was originally made in England by Andrew Pears with tallow and coconut, and is now made in India, with palm oil. Many have told me that the scent was changed too. This inspired me to make a healthier version for skin with aloe and frankincense also turmeric – all without palm oil. I call it GlowRevival!

GlowRevival handcrafted soap with tuermeirc aloe and frankincense
Aloe, turmeric and frankincense infused GlowRevival

Palm-Oil Free Products

As an artisan formulator, it’s a metaphorical jungle out there. Swamps, canyons and lots of sharp obstacles enroute.  The biggest challenge was avoiding hidden palm components in the emulsification system. (That’s the technical bit of making oil and water mix!)

I tried alternatives based on lecithin, olive, canola, soya, sugar cane and more. Plenty of tests, hair pulling, tears, sleepless nights, desperate emails. It felt like Mission Impossible sourcing alternatives.

Cynics call it a drop in the ocean. If more formulators insisted on palm free, those drops become streams then rivers…

palm oil free products uk

Why did I go palm-oil free?

So why don’t I use palm oil in my products?  In 2005 I was fortunate to walk the Head Hunter trail in Borneo. I felt sad seeing the monoculture palm plantations and orphaned orangutans at Sepilok. The orangutans that remain are precious indeed, Dr Birute does a huge service to humanity in her daily efforts.  I dont need to create demand to trash more virgin rainforest – there are quite enough palm plantations out there already.  The answer to me was to avoid palm oil in all of my products.

Do we need to use palm oil in face creams or soaps?  No. There are effective alternatives. Of course they cost more.  The human gene is driven by greed, to spend as little (time, money, effort) and get as much as they can. Big Corps epitomise this.  If you are a consumer driven by the cheapest product, no matter the cost to the envoronment you’re not going to loose any sleep over some forest a thousand miles away. And you wouldn’t be reading this either. (If your producer skimps pennies by using palm, chances are every single component has been sourced on lowest cost vs quality or results!)

When I started making face creams from scratch in 2003 using aromatherapy supplies, I didn’t know about palm oil in emulsifiers and thickeners.  When I discovered my ‘corn and coconut’ emulsifier was actually partially palm derived, I freaked out.  With the help of an astute engineer and Zen master, I started reformulating at considerable personal cost (time and money).

fruit on a palm tree

Sustainable palm is a delusion… a lie to make you feel better

When you buy ‘certified’ palm oil it does not mean the palm came from ancient palm plantations. ALL palm types get processed in the same factory, in identical stainless steel vats….When you buy ‘approved’ palm oil, you are simply buying to ease your conscience  – you are deluded.

An analogy:  a chocolate cake is blended eggs, cocoa, sugar and flour, mixed then put in the oven. The resulting cake can’t be separated into eggs vs chocolate anymore. You can’t cut a slice and claim that part was made from ‘approved eggs’ and not any cocoa.

Glow provides a genuine palm oil free alternative if you are looking for luxuriously textured face creams that sink into your skin leaving a matte finish.  No need to suffer with skin that drives you mad, or greasy products .. get a luxury and luxury anti ageing face cream that actually works to make you look and feel better.

Heart of Eternity has been formulated specifically for women with sensitive and dry skin who are nearing or going through Perimenopause. My original recipe It started out as a simple Argan and rosewater cream and evolved into an intense nourishing experience that saves you the time of layering on five, six or eleven vials of nutraceuticals and actives.

You don’t need a series of jars of serum, moisturiser and other things like the Koreans do. You’re busy and need an effective, all natural, all ethical choice that gets you results Getting feedback from my customers that they are getting compliments from colleagues, friends and family on how their skin has improved and taken years off their passport age, really makes my day.

Palm oil alternatives

Instead of palm in soaps you can use: shea butter, cocoa butter, even lard or tallow. All these make a hard, long lasting white bar. In face creams that use emulsifier, there are new options made from lecithin, recycled wheat stalks, coconut, castor bean, sugar cane, sugar beet, with many new alternatives being developed.


What’s inside my creams:

News update-  Big Corp strikes again: Swiss flavour and fragrance giant Givaudan bought Soliance, and decided  to ‘optimise costs’ by switching to palm oil.  (Coconut is much more expensive than palm to make  the fatty acid component cetearyl alcohol). Good news, I stockpiled enough rainforest friendly Xyliance for another few years. Afterwards I’ll switch to Plan B based on either castor oil, sugar cane or coconut.

I use a combination of emulsifiers made with wheat straw waste and coconut (Xyliance made by Soliance in France BN6669-2014-055 while they were in a palm oil free stage) and rapeseed and fermented glucose (GSC made by Dr Straetmans in Germany). I use a preservative- free system with actives that protect the skin while they deter fungi and bacteria. The airless dispensers are another step towards keeping my creams fresh as they eliminate oxygen.

The manufacturer of Xyliance switched back to using palm oil, so I am using up the last of the batch made in a rainforest friendly manner. Once that runs out I will switch to another emulsifier combo. I’ve been testing plenty, including one made from fruits and vegetables grown in Europe!

Knowing your skin looks fresh, clear and vibrant (even though you may be feeling unsure, exhausted or frazzled) gives you confidence and radiates success, whether it’s for an interview, in a meeting or a family reunion where you know photos are going to be taken. We all like to be seen in the best light.

Glow is about artisanal care, attention to detail, ingredients that give you noticeable and long-lasting results.

Of course, no matter what you put onto your skin, it’s not going to erase  issues if you eat foods your body can’t digest. You still need to drink coherent water, prioritise sleep, move in the fresh air daily.. these are the foundations to really glow! And don’t beat yourself up – make small incremental steps using the Kaizen method of tiny steps to improve your health.

How to avoid palm-oil in your grocery cart

Palm comes in many disguises.  There is only one way to avoid palm oil in your groceries:

You need to read the ingredients labels…

  • Cetyl Palmitate (used in bread making)
  • Elaeis Guineensis
  • Epoxidized Palm Oil (UV cured coatings)
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • Hydrated Palm Glycerides
  • Octyl Palmitate
  • Palm (Fruit) (Kernel) Oil
  • Palm Stearine (used in bread making)
  • Palmate
  • Palmitate
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Palmityl Alcohol
  • Palmitoyl Oxostearamide
  • Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 (used in eye creams)
  • Palmolein
  • Saponified Elaeis Guineensis
  • Sodium Kernelate
  • Sodium Palm Kernelate
  • Sodium Palmate
  • Vitamin A Palmitate.
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • decyl glucoside
  • glycerin
  • PKO – Palm Kernel Oil
  • PKO fractionations: Palm Kernel Stearin (PKs); Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo)
  • PHPKO – Partially hydrogenated Palm Oil
  • FP(K)O – Fractionated Palm Oil
  • OPKO – Organic Palm Kernel Oil
  • Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate
  • Palmate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (Can also be from coconut)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (can also be from ricinus oil)
  • Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
  • Elaeis Guineensis
  • Glyceryl Stearate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Chemicals which contain palm oil
  • Steareth -2
  • Steareth -20
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm)
  • Hydrated palm glycerides
  • Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
  • Ascorbyl palmitate (304)
  • Ascorbyl stearate
  • Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (vitamin C)
  • Vitamin A palmitate
  • Vitamin C Ester
  • Yeast with 491
  • Zinc Myristate
  • Zinc stearate
  • sorbitan monostearate (used in instant yeast)
  • Isononanoic acid, C16-18-alkyl esters  (Used by Clarins, Drunk Elephant, Guerlain, Dauphin, Caudalie, Nivea, Dior)


Palm Oil Free Products

Moisturiser – Heart of Eternity, Proposal in Paris, Ultra Radiance, Bespoke

Cleanser- Jardin de Fleurs

Scrub – Harmony facial polish

Soap – GlowRevival,  Limited editions eg Glow Goats milk, ‘Tea at the Ritz’ Marula and Baobab

Facial Products

Palm Oil Free Shampoo

GlowRevival soap is handcrafted with castor bean, coconut, frankincense resin, aloe Vera and turmeric for a healthy palm free soap alternative. I recommend it for use on hands but can also be used as a No Poo alternative to shampoo

Soap without palm oil

Inspired by Andrew Pears of Cornwall, GlowRevival is  made in the hot process manner to be translucent.

GlowRevival handcrafted soap with tuermeirc aloe and frankincense
Aloe, turmeric and frankincense infused GlowRevival

Palm oil free soap

Palm oil free products list UK

Soap without palm oil uk

Look for small artisan makers who use alternatives in the saponification (soap-making) process. Neals Yard Remedies has recently reformulated their Wild Rose soap to be palm oil free. Glow-Skincare make pal m oil free soap.

Chocolate without palm oil

Palm oil free chocolate

Toblerone (it’s emulsified with soya lecithin)

Paul oil free chocolate bars UK

Divine, Beyond Good, Chocolat Madagascar, Pacari, Moo Free, Booja-Booja, Seed and Bean, Montezuma, Tony’s Chocolonely, Fairafric, Vego, Willies, Ombar, Mia

Bread without palm oil

Traditional breads are made with flour, water, salt and sugar. The natural fermenting crates the yeast. Palm is added to supermarket breads to extend shelf life because it acts like butter, keeping bread softer.

Palm oil free bread UK

Iceland, Weight Watchers, Warburtons gluten free and Danish White, local bakers and artisan markets, and homemade sourdough bread Although check what yeast they use as Doves Farm and Allinsons, instant yeast contain sorbitan monostearate at the time of writing. Instant yeast that is palm oil free are Bioreal Organic Active Dry Yeast, Saf Levure Active Dried Yeast.

Palm oil free biscuits

Best is to make your own! Otherwise Island Bakery in the UK.

Palm oil free toothpaste UK

Georganics, Truthpaste, A. Vogel, Lush Toothy Tab (Lush use palm in other products though)

Palm Oil alternatives

For cooking, you can use butter, lard or sesame oil.

For soap making you can use shea butter, coconut, cocoa butter, lard or tallow for hardening soap. All create lovely firm white bars.

Brands that use palm oil

Typically brands switch to ‘sustainable’ palm, certified by RSPO etc which if you research and ponder, does not solve the issue of deforestation etc.  It’s a workaround to continue using palm. Greenwashing. Both ‘sustainable’ and other palm are processed in the very same factory…

Obviously if a brand is owned by BigCorp, it’s likely run for profit… not environmental care. Which is another reason to support small-scale artisans who are able to follow their own ethical policies…  If you really want palm-oil free, then pay the extra pounds/dollars that artisan-made products cost. We do not have massive factories with machines that churn out thousands of labelled bottles in an hour. Neither do we get massive bulk discounts on ingredients, containers, labels, shipping and storage.

Companies that use palm oil

The list is very long. Here are a few. You will need to check the ingredients listings… if in doubt, contact the brand.

  • Mondelez,
  • Cadbury,
  • Colgate-Palmolive,
  • General Mills,
  • Hershey,
  • Kellogg’s,
  • Kraft Heinz,
  • L’Oreal, (who interestingly managed to get themselves listed on an ethical site??)
  • Mars,
  • Mondelez,
  • Nestlé,
  • PepsiCo,
  • Reckitt Benckiser and
  • Unilever

Skincare brands that use palm oil

  • Aveda,
  • Bobbi Brown,
  • Clarins,
  • Clinique and M.A.C,
  • Axiology,
  • Natura Cosmeticos (Aesop),
  • Liz Earle,
  • Neals Yard Remedies,
  • L’Occitane,
  • Fat and the Moon,
  • PHB Ethical Beauty,
  • Neom Organics,
  • Odylique,
  • Chantecaille,
  • Atomic Makeup,
  • Earth Tu Face,
  • Suntory (F.A.G.E),
  • Wahl,
  • The King of Shaves,
  • Lansinoh (Earth Friendly Baby),
  • Baylis and Harding,
  • Koa (John Frieda, Molton Brown),
  • Crystal Spring,
  • PZ Cussons (Morning Fresh, Original Source Charles Worthington, Imperial Leather),
  • WBA Investments (Boots, No7, Soap and Glory, Botanics),
  • Tom’s of Maine,
  • Superdrug,
  • Midsona (Urtekram),
  • Laverana (Lavera),
  • Logocos (Logana, Sante),
  • Li and Fung (Vosene, Clinomyn toothpaste),
  • Church and Dwight (Arm & Hammer, Pearl Drops, Arrid, Batiste),
  • Revlon (Revlon, Almay, Mitchum),
  • Bull Dog,
  • Daniel Field,
  • Clarins,
  • Edgewell (Banana Boat, Wilkinson Sword, Carefree, Bulldog Skincare for men),
  • Holland and Barrett,
  • Procter and Gamble.
wendy gardner

About Me

Wendy Gardner

Skincare specialist helping business women look and feel their best through menopause. 🌺Potent skincare handcrafted with premium organics.🧴✨Trusted Advisor for Introverts, Empaths & HSPs🌌

Diploma in Aromatherapy (ITHMA London, 2003)

Usui Reiki Master.

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