You may have heard of palm oil in relation to its controversial position in the beauty industry in regards to some producers using unsustainable methods and being involved in human rights issues. But what is palm oil and what do we know about it?
Palm oil is a carrier oil extracted from the fruit of oil palm trees, which were native to Africa and are now prevalent in Indonesia and other areas of the world. It’s a common ingredient in many skincare/beauty products.
Keep reading to find out more information on this well-known carrier oil, from how it’s made and its uses/benefits, to its appearance, scent, and potential substitutes.
What is palm oil made from?
Palm oil is made from the fleshy fruit of oil palm trees, by pressing the fruit to extract the oil within.
Oil palm trees are native to Africa, however, palm oil is now generally produced in Indonesia and Malaysia where over 85% of the world’s palm oil is produced and refined.
Palm oil is similar to coconut oil in texture being a soft, semi-solid oil, and also produces palm kernel oil as a byproduct.
Uses for palm oil
There are many uses for palm oil in the beauty industry including the following:
- Cosmetic products
- Lip products (lipsticks and balms)
- Hair finishing oils
Benefits of palm oil
There are many benefits to using palm oil on your skin/hair. Here are some of our favorites!
- High in Vitamin E
- Helps to prevent skin damage/aging
- Very hydrating to the skin and hair
- May help to prevent/reduce the appearance of stretch marks
- Slow, deep absorption into the skin
- Suitable for dry and normal skin types
- Has a long shelf life of up to 2 years
- No major allergens
- Can be used with other carrier oils or with essential oils
Appearance and scent of palm oil
Palm oil is naturally dark red in color due to containing high levels of carotene and lycopene. When refined, its color tends to be paler and almost yellow in some cases due to heavy bleaching in the refinement process.
It does not have a strong scent, making it popular with those that prefer lightly fragranced products in their beauty regime. Palm oil is said to have a very light earthy scent that isn’t overpowering.
Substitutes for palm oil
Some popular substitutes for palm oil include the following carrier oils:
Shelf life and storage of palm oil
Once you’ve purchased a bottle of palm oil, it’s recommended that you keep it in a cool, dark space away from sunlight. This is because heat and direct sunlight can cause it to spoil – if you notice any chances at all in your palm oil we recommend disposing of it and repurchasing
When stored correctly, palm oil can last for up to 2 years.
Here are some quick-fire frequently asked questions to give you a better understanding of palm oil and its properties.
Palm oil is a common ingredient in many beauty products, predominantly used in balms, creams, salves, lipsticks, and other moisturizing products.
It has a creamy texture which is why it’s a popular ingredient, along with the fact that it has no scent/taste and blends well with other products.
The main disadvantage of using palm oil on the face is that it has a comedogenic rating of 4, which can cause clogged pores for almost all skin types.
Because of this, it’s recommended that you use palm oil sparingly on the face or that it’s avoided completely if you have oily/normal skin. You may find it beneficial if you have dry skin, but only small amounts should be used to avoid breakouts.
Palm oil is a good product to use within skincare as it’s very hydrating and helps to seal moisture in the skin.
It’s high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is beneficial in preventing skin damage/aging, and it may help to reduce the appearance of/prevent stretch marks.
There are a few bad aspects to using palm oil on your skin. One is that it’s highly comedogenic, which means it can cause acne/breakouts particularly if you have oily skin.
It may also give the skin a yellow tinge if over-used as it contains high levels of carotenes.
Palm oil has a high comedogenic rating of 4, which means it is likely to cause clogged pores in all skin types.
To avoid clogged pores and acne, use palm oil sparingly (especially when applying to the face), and you may wish to avoid it completely if you have oily skin.