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Why Big Brands Love Sustainable Palm Oil: Cosmetics


Palm oil is an essential component of a wide range of beauty and personal care products due to its unique qualities and versatility. It has become an indispensable ingredient for cosmetics manufacturers, who now, like manufacturers in other sectors of the economy, collaborate closely with growers and institutions to secure a steady source of sustainable palm oil. This ensures that there is enough supply to meet growing industry demand. This collaboration boosts product quality and allows various industries to meet their environmental responsibilities.

Making cosmetics with palm oil not only protects consumers’ investments in their beauty products, but also shows how the cosmetics industry is providing makeup and skincare that is good for the environment, works well, and lasts a long time. 

Versatility and Functional Benefits of Palm Oil for Skin

Palm oil’s adaptability and versatility make it the preferred choice of vegetable oils among cosmetics manufacturers, and many make up brands use palm in in their products. Its proven advantages have been widely recognized and the benefits of palm oil for skin care are very well documented.

Palm kernel oil and palm oil fatty acids have emerged as vital ingredients that profoundly elevate the quality and performance of cosmetics and makeup products. Renowned for their exceptional properties, these derivatives of the palm fruit offer a multifaceted range of benefits to the realm of beauty and personal care.

By imbuing cosmetics with these remarkable components, beauty brands can elevate the overall user experience, delivering products that not only adorn but also nourish and protect the skin, establishing palm-derived derivatives as indispensable allies in the pursuit of cosmetic excellence.

  • Moisturizing and Emollient Properties: The rich composition of palm kernel oil and palm oil fatty acids imparts a luxurious texture and smoothness to cosmetics, resulting in blendable formulations that glide onto the skin. Their inherent emollient nature ensures deep moisturization, enhancing the longevity of makeup while preventing dryness and flakiness. These botanical derivatives also possess antioxidant properties, which contribute to the preservation of product integrity and help safeguard the skin against environmental stressors. Palm oil helps nourish the skin and hair, providing hydration and leaving them soft, supple and luxuriously smooth.
  • Texture and Stability: Palm kernel oil and palm oil fatty acids play a pivotal role in stabilizing pigment dispersion within cosmetics, yielding vibrant and true-to-colour makeup applications. Their compatibility with a wide range of cosmetic ingredients further facilitates the creation of versatile and innovative formulations, accommodating various skin types and makeup preferences. Palm oil in cosmetics greatly influences formulation texture and stability, and plays a pivotal role in achieving velvety and cohesive consistencies across lotions, creams, and lip balms, providing a luxurious sensory experience for consumers.
  • Shelf Life and Preservation: The palm oil used in cosmetics helps preserve products by preventing oxidation and rancidity. The potent natural antioxidants found within palm oil derivatives effectively thwart the degradation of cosmetic products caused by exposure to air, light, and environmental stressors. By inhibiting oxidation, they extend the shelf life of cosmetics, ensuring potency and efficacy over time. The ability of palm oil derivatives to combat rancidity not only maintains the olfactory integrity of cosmetics but also assures consumers of the safety and quality of the products they apply on their skin. 

Major Cosmetic Manufacturers and Palm Oil Usage

Global make up brands that use palm oil include L’Oréal and Estée Lauder. Cosmetics with palm oil ensure consistent quality and competitive pricing.

  • L’Oréal: As one of the world’s largest cosmetic companies, L’Oréal uses palm oil derivatives in a wide range of its products, including skincare, haircare, and makeup. Palm oil derivatives are used for their moisturizing properties and their ability to enhance product textures. L’Oréal is committed to sourcing sustainable palm oil and has set targets to achieve traceability and responsible sourcing.
  • Estée Lauder: A renowned cosmetics manufacturer, utilizes palm oil derivatives in its beauty and personal care products. Palm oil derivatives contribute to the formulation of creams, lotions, and cosmetics, providing moisturization and stability to the products. Estée Lauder is actively working towards sustainable palm oil sourcing

Job Creation in the Cosmetic Manufacturing Sector

The use of palm oil in cosmetics contributes significantly to job creation within the cosmetic manufacturing sector. Palm oil cultivation, processing, and distribution provides global employment opportunities. 

Malaysia, a key player in the palm oil industry, is estimated to employ around 70,000 people in the cosmetics and personal care sector. The palm oil used in cosmetics creates jobs that span across various stages, including formulation, production, quality control, and distribution.

Indonesia, another major palm oil producer, also generates employment opportunities in the cosmetic manufacturing sector. While specific numbers are not readily available, the sector creates significant employment through ingredient sourcing, product manufacturing, and packaging.

Palm oil holds immense importance for cosmetics manufacturers due to its versatility, functional benefits, and role in enhancing the quality of cosmetic products. Make up brands that use palm oil, such as L’Oréal and Estée Lauder, heavily rely on palm oil derivatives in their formulations. Additionally, the palm oil industry contributes to job creation within the cosmetic manufacturing sector, providing employment opportunities for individuals involved in various stages of the value chain.