Personal care products made with sustainable palm ingredients meet today’s consumers’ needs

Today’s consumers are demanding more from their personal care products. They want products that deliver on their promises, are made with natural, plant-based or organic ingredients, and are safe, reliable and responsibly produced. More than ever before, consumers want to know about the ingredients in their favorite products and where they come from. Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil and palm-based oleochemicals deliver on these needs, helping formulators produce in-demand cosmetics and toiletries.

Consumer interest in natural personal care products is booming

Consumers tend to associate plant-derived personal care products with being milder and more environmentally friendly than petrochemical- or animal-based products. This is contributing to significant market growth. The natural personal care product market size was valued at $1.7 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow significantly (9.6% CAGR) through 2025.1 The organic personal care market is expected to be worth more than $25 billion by 2025.2

Palm oil and palm kernel oil come from the fruit of oil palm trees (Elaeis guineensis) grown in tropical regions. Palm oil comes from the fruit’s flesh while palm kernel oil is extracted from the fruit’s seed. These oils have very different chemical compositions and physical characteristics. Kernel oil has more saturated fat than palm oil making it more solid and ideal for use in soaps, detergents and cosmetics.

Palm-based ingredients naturally support skin health  

Natural palm oil is valued for its moisturizing and texturizing properties. Palm oil derivatives, such as glycerol, fatty acids, liquid wax esters and fatty alcohols, have emollient or foaming properties as well as skin-soothing properties. 

  • Palm oil uniquely contains both vitamin E tocotrienols and Vitamin E tocopherols, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Vitamin E helps to protect cells against oxidative damage. Topical application of palm tocotrienol-rich fractions (TRF) has been shown to help protect skin against UV radiation which may help to reduce wrinkle formation. 
  • Palm-derived vitamin E also contains carotene, squalene and coenzyme Q10 which may help to keep skin moisturized throughout the day. 
  • In cosmetics, palm oil-derived DHSA interacts strongly with the solid surfaces of pigments and inorganic fillers, leading to color and longer lasting skin adhesion. 

Malaysian palm oleochemicals are eco-friendly and traceable

Zain Hassan, regional director, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC)- North America says formulators can feel good about using Malaysian-sourced palm oil. “Many product manufacturers and consumers want assurance that the ingredients in their personal care products are renewable, natural, sustainably produced and eco-friendly. In Malaysia, the world’s second largest palm oil producer, it is the law that all palm oil produced is certified sustainable with our Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification program. Many Malaysian palm oil producers now have dual certification: MSPO and RSPO,” said Hassan, “This means forests and wildlife are protected.” 

The Malaysian palm oil industry has taken steps to make its sustainable practices even more transparent through the use of a blockchain technology app. “It speaks volumes about our trust in our supply chain. And it is yet another way Malaysia is showing the world that we value our people and our planet. We hope that by creating this platform and demonstrating the benefits of using blockchain technology, we will encourage others who are practising sustainable agriculture to follow our lead,” said the former MPOC CEO Datuk Dr. Kalyana Sundram.

The entire industry is focused on being responsible to people and planet. “The palm plantations are net carbon sinks. Palm oleochemicals are biodegradable. And the Malaysian palm oil industry is actively lifting family farmers out of poverty,” added Hassan.

With certified sustainable palm oil ingredients now more readily available, thanks to mandated MSPO certification, these versatile, consumer-friendly ingredients can now be used more frequently as emulsifiers, lubricants, conditioners, humectants and emollients. 

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