• How Palm Oil is Hidden in the World’s Most Glamourous Lipsticks

    February 21, 2018 • BEAUTY

    How Palm Oil is Hidden in the World’s Most Glamourous Lipsticks - products that use palm oil - How the Kardashian's KKW creme lipstick set could help save orangutans

    Biome has made the commitment to only sell products free from all palm oil.  We are passionate about orangutans and other species threatened by deforestation due to palm oil and logging, and this is what we are doing to be part of the solution.

    However, we are a tiny cog in the wheel of the cosmetics industry.  Mega-companies and wealthy individuals are building fortunes from cosmetics and skin care lines that are deeply entangled with palm oil, while around 100,000 orangutans have been killed or removed from Borneo in just 16 years.1

    The glamourous cosmetics industry appears to be concealing this unstylish issue.  Natural brands are particularly guilty of double standards, on the one hand claiming they are pure and cruelty free, while on the other hand not disclosing they use an ingredient that is decimating rainforest and the animals who live there.

    According to CRODA, one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of ingredients to the beauty and personal care industry, palm derivatives are used in 70% of the world’s personal care (PC) products.  In fact, they state that it would “not be possible to go palm free with the 1000 or so derivatives used in personal care as they are major building blocks in most personal care products.” Croda further states that the global PC industry uses two to three million tonnes of these complex derivatives.

    Most companies say it is simply too hard to get rid of the palm-derived ingredients, and because this use of palm oil is hidden, there is no push back from consumers.

    How wonderful it would be if just a few of the industry powerhouses and celebrities made a stand against palm simply because it is the moral thing to do!

    The Kardashians, for example, are phenomenally influential and the beauty businesses of Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian are booming.   With one decision to make their products palm free they could revolutionise the industry and help secure the future of orangutans by reducing world demand for palm oil.

    As Fortune reported:  Kylie Cosmetics raked in $420 million in retail sales in 18 months. Sales projections for 2017 are some $386 million, which puts the company on track to earn a billion dollars by 2022…. Industry sources expect that KKW will blow through the reported 300,000 units that were produced of her $48 Creme Contour & Highlight Kit in less than five minutes, amassing $14.4 million in sales. These estimates are proof that even with no prior experience at the helm of a beauty brand, Kardashian — as well as 19-year-old Jenner — wields a selling power that rivals behemoths in the space from L’Oréal and Estée Lauder to P&G, Coty and Unilever.3

    Anatomy of a Lipstick

    How Palm Oil is Hidden in the World’s Most Glamourous Lipsticks - products that use palm oil - How the Kardashian's KKW creme lipstick set could help save orangutans

    This is the KKW by Kylie Cosmetics crème lipstick set.  When it launched in April 2017,  300,000 of the US$45 kits sold out in minutes, the equivalent of $13.5 million in sales.4

    This is a creme lip stick that we sell at Biome that is similar, Noyah Lip Gloss:

    How Palm Oil is Hidden in the World’s Most Glamourous Lipsticks - products that use palm oil - How the Kardashian's KKW creme lipstick set could help save orangutans

    It is possible to make a great lipstick, lip creme or lip gloss without palm oil and petrochemicals.  Here are the Noyah ingredients to prove it:

    Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Cocos Nucifera (and) Eupatorium Rebaudianum Bertoni Leaf Extract, Vanilla Fragrance. [May Contain +/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI-77891), Iron Oxides (CI-77491, CI-77492, Cl-77499), Turmeric Powder, Kaolin, Mica.]

    Below are what we believe are the ingredients in the KKW creme liquid lipstick.  In our opinion, the ingredients highlighted in orange, were likely created using palm oil in the chemical process.  Two actually use name palm, so they are certainly palm derived.  A side note: most of the other ingredients are derived from petroleum.  See more detail below on each ingredient.

    Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Diisostearyl Malate,
    Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Octyldodecanol, Kaolin, Microcrystalline wax,
    Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Vinyl
    Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite,
    Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Propylene Carbonate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides,
    Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf
    Extract, Tocopherol. May contain: Bismuth Oxychloride, … etc.

    How Palm Oil is Hidden in the World’s Most Glamourous Lipsticks - products that use palm oil - How the Kardashian's KKW creme lipstick set could help save orangutans

    How are these ingredients made?

    Palm oil is a building-block in manufacturing 1000 synthetic compounds made through chemical reactionsand once an ingredient has been altered artificially, it is identified by its chemical name, not its source.  So, let’s look in more detail at how the compounds in the KKW lipstick are made:

    Dimethicone. Either a silicone-based human-made polymer, or if this is Stearyl dimethicone, it is from palm oil. Provides a smooth application. Seals off the skin. Dimethicone can also be found in cooking oils, processed foods and in fast food items such as chicken nuggets and fries.

    Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2. Made by heating diglycerin, adipic acid, isostearic acid, 12-hydroxystearic acid, stearic acid, caprylic acid and capric acid with catalysts. Yellow, pasty substance that is not soluble in water. Used in cosmetics and personal care instead of lanolin. 5

    Diisostearyl Malate. Ester that functions as an emollient in cosmetics. It is created from malic acid and isostearyl alcohol.  Isostearyl alcohol is an 18 carbon branched-chain alcohol, commonly derived from palm oil.

    Hydrogenated Polyisobutene.  Petroleum-based synthetic oil that gives shine to lip gloss. Waterproofing agent. Also called Liquid Isoparaffin.

    Octyldodecanol. Clear colorless liquid that is a long-chain fatty acid produced from natural fats and oils.  Lubricating and emollient properties. Emulsifier.

    Kaolin. Type of clay found in nature. It can also be made in a laboratory.

    Microcrystalline waxes. Produced by de-oiling petrolatum, as part of the petroleum refining process. Characterized by the fineness of its crystals in contrast to the larger crystal of paraffin wax.

    Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides. Derived from oil palm kernels which is saturated with hydrogen. Gives kajal pencils and lip liners a firm texture while nurturing the skin.

    Dimethicone Crosspolymer. As above.

    Silica.

    Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer. As above.

    Disteardimonium Hectorite. Used as a thickener and stabiliser for emulsions. Modified clay compound using vegetable-derived (possibly palm) stearyldimonium.

    Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract.

    Propylene Carbonate. Synthetic solvent used to dissolve other substances. Ester of propylene glycol and carbonic acid.

    Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides.

    Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower)

    Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract

    Tocopherol

    Bismuth Oxychloride CI 77163 Bismuth is a naturally occurring very heavy element found in nickel, tin and silver. Bismuth oxychloride is a synthetically-prepared powder created from bismuth, oxygen and chlorine that is used in cosmetics because of its abilities to create a white pigment, shimmery look, and silky feel in addition to its exceptional ability to adhere to the skin. Skin irritation and many believe to be harmful.

    What can you do?

    It’s wonderful you are reading this article, empowering yourself with the knowledge to make informed purchasing choices.  Shopping at Biome you have peace of mind that there are no products using any palm oil derivatives at all.

    Your Guide to Palm Oil Free Makeup >

    palm oil free make up guide

    More reading

    https://loaskin.com/blogs/loa-skin-care/palm-oil-earth-destroying-ingredient-hiding-cosmetics

    https://www.vogue.com/projects/13535833/palm-oil-controversy-beauty-products-ingredient-sourcing-deforestation-climate-change/

    The Best Palm Oil Free Toothpastes for the Whole Family 

    Learn the types of palm-derivative ingredient names to look out for  Palm Oil Investigations list of 200 names for palm oil


    1. http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-02-16/orangutan-numbers-in-borneo-drop-more-than-100,000-in-16-years/9443326

    2. https://www.croda.com/en-gb/sustainability/material-areas/product-stewardship/palm-oil

    3. http://fortune.com/2017/08/10/kylie-jenner-kylie-cosmetics-worth/

    4. https://www.aol.com/article/lifestyle/2017/06/19/kim-kardashians-makeup-line-kkw/22489709/

    5. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/bis-diglyceryl-polyacyladipate-2-0

    2 Responses to How Palm Oil is Hidden in the World’s Most Glamourous Lipsticks
    1. Tracey
      March 5, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Thank you for this information about palm oil and petrochemicals

    2. Ros Hinton
      May 25, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      I do find it difficult as well as time consuming, to interpret the lists of ingredients in cosmetics. Thanks for doing the hard work.

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