Shampoo Without Palm Oil ~ List of Palm Oil Free Shampoo

palm oil free shampoo


Most shampoos contain palm oil ingredients. You really need to be a proactive consumer to find shampoo without palm oil.

There are many palm oil derivatives in shampoos. Oftentimes, shampoos contain more than one palm oil ingredient.

Palm oil ingredients in shampoo

Common palm oil derivatives in shampoo include:

  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Cocamide MEA
  • Glycerin
  • Glycol Distearate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Stearyl Alcohol

Manufacturers use palm oil derivatives in shampoo for many reasons. Below we explain why companies use it in shampoo.

Shampoo without palm oil


We were thrilled to find Ethique. According to their website, all of their products are palm oil free.

This eco-based company was awarded New Zealand’s most sustainable business. They don’t use plastic… and they don’t use palm oil!

In the United States, you can find Ethique on Amazon. They have many choices for palm free shampoos, depending on your scalp and hair condition.

shampoo without palm oil

Dry or frizzy hair: Ethique Frizz Wrangler

Dandruff or scalp problems: Ethique’s Heali Kiwi

Normal-Dry hair: Ethique Damage Control

Normal hair: Ethique Pinkalicious

Oily hair: Ethique St Clements

To volumize hair: Ethique’s Sweet and Spicy Shampoo Bar

Kid’s shampoo without palm oil:Ethique Oaty Delicious

Multi-purpose shampoo bar: Ethique Tip-to-Toe — can use for shampooing and shaving

Unscented: Bar Minimum

Ethique’s newest bars:

  • Wombar
  • Tone It Down

palm oil free shampoo and conditioner

It was difficult to choose among Ethique’s shampoos and conditioners. Their conditioners are also palm oil free.

Ethique Hair Sampler

We were happy to see they Ethique offers a Hair Sampler pack.

It comes with five small bars: three shampoos and two conditioners.

We bought this as a way to try them. We loved each one. Each lasts a long time. And amazingly, they produce foam and lather. Having never tried a shampoo bar before, they were easy to use.

Also, the scents weren’t strong. Even better: They are natural and not made from chemicals.

The Hair Sampler is great way to try a few to see which work best for your scalp and hair needs.

Ethique’s hair products don’t leave residues on your scalp, nor will they inflame your scalp. Since the 1990s, I’ve reactive to SLS and other chemicals in shampoos. I don’t have any issues since using Ethique’s shampoos and conditioners. It’s been incredible.

Since purchasing the Hair Sampler, I bought the full-sized Heali Kiwi. I liked it but want to try another one. Now that it’s running low, I’m ordering Ethique’s Frizz Wrangler.

Palm oil free conditioner and shampoo

Ethique Hair Sampler includes these shampoos:

  • St Clements
  • Frizz Wrangler
  • Heali Kiwi
  • The Guardian – conditioner
  • Wonderbar – conditioner
  • Tone It Down

In addition, Ethique donates 20% of profits to organizations including: International Animal Rescue; The Orangutan Project; World Animal Protection; HUHA (Helping You Help Animals)

Note: Of all the conditioners we looked at, so far this is the only brand of conditioner without palm oil we were able to find available in the United States.

On a personal note, after using the Sampler, I chose to purchase The Guardian. I’ve used this conditioner for months; the bar lasts a very long time. My hair was always tangly after getting out of the shower but now I comb through it easily.

Fat and the Moon

dry shampoo without palm oil

All of Fat and the Moon’s products are palm oil free. They offer an extensive line of products.

They have a dry shampoo without palm oil.

Lavender & Cocoa Dry Shampoo

With just four ingredients, this dry shampoo includes lavender essential oil and cleans your hair and scalp without stripping away your natural oils.

Kilted Suds

This is a company who makes all of their products palm oil free. This includes their shampoo bars, hair oils, bar soap, and lotions. They highlight that they are palm oil free.

Their ingredients are easy to find on their website.

In addition, their products are Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free and vegan friendly. Even more, they don’t use parabens and sulfates.

palm oil free shampoo bar

They make four different shampoo bars, 3.5 ounces each.

All hair types:

  • Shampoo Bar with Shea Butter & Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Beach Hair Shampoo Bar

Thick hair and curly hair: Citrus Shine Shampoo Bar

Dandruff prone; oily scalp: Not a Flake Shampoo Bar – made with tea tree oil and lime oil

Unearth Malee

Based in California, Unearth Malee is a palm oil free company.

palm free shampoo bar

Their products are also vegan and organic. And, they advertise they are palm oil free on their labeling.

These bars are between 4.5 oz and 5 oz.

Normal to Dry hair:

  • Agave Nectar Aloe Shampoo Bar
  • Coconut Milk Thai Lime Shampoo Bar

Dry scalp: Rosemary Mint Green Tea Shampoo Bar

Shampoo for thin hair: White Orchid Ginseng Shampoo Bar

They give back to non-profits, including Orangutan Foundation International.

Read about Unearth Malee’s stance on palm oil.

Viva La Body

Available in Australia, Viva La Body makes their products palm oil free.

shampoo without palm oil
Natural Balance Bar shampoo

They also advertise being palm oil free on their website.

They have palm oil free shampoo bars and conditioner bars. These bars are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way.

In addition to being certified palm oil free, their products are vegan, silicone free, completely plastic free, and biodegradable.

Shampoo bars without palm oil: 

Available in Salon and Natural formulas:

  • Balance Bar
  • Creamy Curls
  • Every Day People
  • Keep It Calm
  • Lifesaver Detox
  • Rescue Bar
  • Scalp Solution
  • Toning Bar
  • Vitamin Boost
conditioner without palm oil
Creamy Curls conditioner

Conditioner bars without palm oil:

  • Toning Bar
  • Scalp Solution
  • Rescue Bar
  • Keep It Calm
  • Every Day People
  • Balance Bar
  • Vitamin Boost
  • Lifesaver Detox
  • Creamy Curls

Palm oil in shampoo

There are many reasons companies use palm oil in shampoo. Manufacturers use it to:

Create lather and foam

There are many palm oil derivatives in shampoos as lather-builders. Consumers like lather and suds.

Stabilize ingredients

When companies are combining ingredients — and there are many in most commercial shampoos — they need a stabilizer to keep the ingredients together so they don’t separate.

As a preservative

Some palm oil derivatives work to keep contaminants out. These ingredients also:

Remove oil



Condition hair

Make the product easy to smooth through hair

Soap stand for shampoo and conditioner bars

We’ve found SoapStandle to be an easy and convenient way to air out our shampoo bars and conditioner bars.

By resting the bar on the stand, the bars can dry completely and not disintegrate from sitting in water. This solution allows air to dry out the bottom of the soap as well.

This stand is easy to use and easy to clean. It’s a great counterpart to use with your eco-friendly soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars.

Palm oil free shampoo

Most likely, whatever shampoo you are using has palm oil in it. Like with most self-care products, when something has less ingredients, it’s usually better.

In order to find shampoo without palm oil, you absolutely have to be a conscious consumer. Most shampoo has several palm oil ingredients.

We have posts with specific self-care and hygiene products as well:

Please support these brands of palm free shampoos and palm oil free conditioner. Have you found others? Please add them to the Comments so we can check them out. See our lists of Palm Oil Free Products.

Use this list as a starting point. It is not guaranteed. Look for Palm Oil Free labeling from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme which is recognized in 20+ countries, including the United States.




Medicine Without Palm Oil ~ Find Palm Oil Free Medication

medicine without palm oil


Over-the-counter medicine without palm oil is difficult to find. Palm oil derivatives are common in capsules, tablets, pills and liquid medications. 

We seek out palm oil free medications because our son has negative reactions to palm oil. In the past, we didn’t realize the antihistamines and other medications were making him worse due to the palm oil derivatives in them.

He would get sore throats. Some of them would lead to longer illnesses.

(Note, palm oil derivatives are also most always in vitamins, minerals, and supplements.)

Palm oil free medication

Recently, we found a palm oil free solution for antihistamines, allergy medications, fever reducers, etc. We have these over-the-counter (OTC) medications without palm oil.

Please note, this is not medical advice. Discuss with your healthcare provider what medications you should take.

Here we are sharing our experience. This is the way we were able to acquire palm oil free medicine.

Medicine without palm oil

First, it’s important to know some of the common palm oil derivatives in medications. They include:

  • Calcium Stearate
  • Glycerin
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Stearic Acid

Read the labels for the vitamins, supplements, and medications in your home.

Chances are, you will see at least one of these ingredients listed on each bottle or package because there are many palm oil uses in medicines.

Ingredients such as Propylene Glycol keeps liquid medications shelf-stable.

Manufacturers use stearates such as Magnesium Stearate to help lubricate capsules and tablets. Also, stearates help ensure the tablets don’t stick to the machine

Polysorbate 80 helps bind ingredients together and to improve the consistency in gel caps.

There are many other reasons as well, including using them as stabilizers and fillers.

Using a compounding pharmacy

If you have a compounding pharmacy in your area, you may be able to get medicine without palm oil. You will need a prescription from your doctor.

First, know what OTC medications you are trying to replace. Next, call the compounding pharmacy to ask if they have the active ingredient available.

Ask the compounding pharmacy for approximate pricing before you call your doctor’s office to ask for a prescription.

Most likely, the compounding pharmacy will not accept health insurance. Therefore, you will be paying for the medication out of pocket. It’s important for you to know the charges before you order the medicine.

Find out as much as you can before you call the doctor’s office to minimize questions later.

Read below to learn our experience buying four compounded prescriptions without palm oil:

  • Pain medication in the form of Ibuprofen
  • Cough medicine
  • Two antihistamines (Claritin equivalent and Benadryl equivalent)

Pain medication without palm oil

We didn’t realize the OTC children’s liquid Ibuprofen we were giving our son had palm oil derivatives.

We wanted a palm free option on hand to be able to give him for fevers or pain relief. Because every label we read in the stores contained palm oil derivatives, we called a compounding pharmacy.

We asked if we could have the Ibuprofen itself — the active ingredient in these OTC medicines — in some form.

The person at the compounding pharmacy said we could with a prescription from our physician. They explained if it was a liquid, it would only last for 30 days (without the palm oil derivative-type of ingredients such as Propylene Glycol).

In order for it to be shelf-stable longer than 30 days, we asked about them making it into a capsule form.

After speaking with the compounding representative, I called my son’s pediatrician’s office. I explained what I wanted.

The doctor was able to write and prescribe 400 mg of Ibuprofen in capsule form with additional notation on the prescription to include “hypoallergenic medicine.” The doctor added “not to include Propylene Glycol and Magnesium Stearate.”

medicine without palm oil
Ibuprofen in veggie cap with no filler

We now have 90 capsules, each with 400 mg of Ibuprofen, to have as the need arises.

The receipt / label states: 90 CAP IBUPROFEN (NO FILLER) (VEGGIE) 400MG CAPSULE

Talk to the pharmacist

It’s essential you talk to the pharmacist once he/she has the prescription from your doctor. Our compounding pharmacist called us after she received it.

You have to clarify what the pharmacy will make the capsule with.

Originally, when I spoke with the rep, she said it would be derived from pine bark.

Upon pressing further in the conversation with the pharmacist, I learned the capsules would contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as well.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is often made from palm oil.

After much consulting with the pharmacist, they were able to make it without the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

(Note, I should have asked the doctor to include “no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate” on our other prescriptions. This is something you may want to do. If you don’t, remember to tell them you don’t want Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in the medication.)

Again, this is not medical advice. At the store, the pharmacist said to be sure we give him food when we give him Ibuprofen (adults too). She suggested a banana or yogurt, even if it was at night. She said the medicine is hard on the stomach.

Cough medicine without palm oil

During the calls for the Ibuprofen, with the compounding pharmacy and doctor, I also asked for a palm oil free cough suppressant medicine.

cough medicine without palm oil
Cough medicine without palm oil

The doctor wrote a prescription for Dextromethorphan. They didn’t have it in stock and had to order it. The minimum they would fill was 90 capsules.

Based on my son’s age and weight, the doctor prescribed 30 mg capsules.

I picked up the Ibuprofen and asked about the capsule for the cough medicine. The representative again assured me it would be made from pine bark.

After I pressed further, she said they would need to add a filler because each capsule was only 30 mg. It was too small an amount to fill with only the Dextromethorphan. If they did it by hand, it would be time-consuming and cost more.

After discussing the options, we agreed upon baking soda, Sodium Bicarbonate, as the filler.


We are very relieved to have these medicines on hand for the times our son is sick.

Update: I am happy to report the Ibuprofen and cough medicine both relieved his symptoms and didn’t cause additional problems and reactions as medications have in the past.

It is a huge relief to have these medications. We threw away our other OTC pain and cough medicines so we wouldn’t give them to him in error.

Antihistamines without palm oil

A week after we picked up the above medicines, I ordered allergy medications.

The OTC children’s liquid allergy medications we had in our medicine cabinet all had what-seemed-to-be palm oil derivatives in them. When my son took these medications, he would get a sore throat.

(The companies have yet to respond to my email inquiries asking them to confirm if the ingredients in question are derived from palm oil.)

Benadryl equivalent

First, I wanted a stripped-down Benadryl equivalent. The active ingredient in Benadryl is Diphenhydramine, a histamine-blocker.

Allegra equivalent

Second, I wanted an OTC allergy medication for typical allergy symptoms. I was hoping to get the active ingredient in Allegra. We had never used Zyrtec or Claritin.

I called the same compounding pharmacy I used to get the Ibuprofen and cough medicine to ask if I could get these antihistamines. They had the active ingredient in Benadryl which they could make for me with a prescription.

However, they were unable to get Fexofenadine, the name of the active ingredient in Allegra. The pharmacy rep said they could use the active ingredient in Zyrtec which is Cetirizin. She explained, however, “it would be expensive,” and dissuaded me from it.

She needed to verify and call me back to see if they could get Loratadine, the active ingredient in Claritin.

Calling another compounding pharmacy

While I was waiting, I called another compounding pharmacy in our area. This second compounding pharmacy had the Benadryl equivalent, Diphenhydramine, in stock.

They too were unable to get the Fexofenadine. However, they did have the Claritin equivalent, Loratadine, in stock.

From this second pharmacy, I was able to acquire these antihistamines without palm oil.

I phoned my son’s pediatrician’s office and explained exactly what I wanted in the form of these two medications. The pediatrician called me back. He was able to write the prescription like he did for the other two medications.

When the pharmacist had the prescriptions, he called me to clarify and confirm what I wanted. We had a detailed conversation to ensure there wouldn’t be any palm oil derivatives in the capsules or as fillers.

The labels read:



Now with four common OTC medications being palm oil free, we feel much better about giving these to our son when it’s necessary.

Cough drops without palm oil

Typically, the cheaper the cough drop, the more likely it contains palm oil.

Many store brand cough drops include these palm oil derivatives:

  • Glycerin
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides

Name brand cough drops often contain Glycerin.

Unless you contact the company directly to ask them the SOURCE of these ingredients, you won’t know if they are derived from palm oil.

However, generally, companies are looking for inexpensive ingredients, and palm oil is cheap.

We have not yet researched cough drops without palm oil. However, a brand to consider may be Halls Cough Drops. If you are at the store, you may want to keep this brand in mind.

We found these cough drops without Glycerin or Medium Chain Triglycerides and use them exclusively:

Young Living Essential Oils Thieves Cough Drops

The active ingredient is 8 mg of menthol.

cough drops without palm oil

Ingredients include 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Also, they are free from preservatives, dyes, artificial flavors, and sugar.

Talk to your doctor

If you are seeking medicine without palm oil, it’s important to speak with your doctor. Most medications contain fillers, lubricants, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and more.

In order to get a “stripped down” version, you will most likely need to go to a compounding pharmacy.

Talk with your doctor about options for medicines.

For us in our situation, it’s been reassuring to know we can give our son these palm oil free medications when he needs them.

Many people avoid palm oil due to the environmental issues. Once you know names for palm oil derivatives, it may surprise you to learn how prevalent palm oil is in everyday products.

Read labels. Be an educated consumer. See our list of palm oil free products and support them when you shop. What’s in your medicine? Please leave a note in the Comments.

Palm Oil Uses ~ What is Palm Oil Used For?

what is palm oil used for


Palm oil in many products. But why? Here we explain uses for palm oil.

Companies use palm oil in foods, medicine, self-care and beauty items, cleaning products, and more.

According to The Wall Street Journal, palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Approximately half of packaged products in supermarkets contain palm oil or palm oil derivatives.

Uses for palm oil

Palm oil is an inexpensive and versatile oil which makes it practical for companies to use.

There are hundreds of names for palm oil derivatives; most do not contain the word “palm-” in the ingredients. Print this list to use as a reference.

So, what is palm oil used for? What are the ways companies use palm oil?

Why palm oil is used in food

Here are some of the reasons and ways food manufacturers use it:

what is palm oil used for

Replaces trans fats

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in foods. These are known as trans fats.

Before the 2018 ban, food companies used trans fats in baked goods, ice cream, margarine, butter spreads, canned frosting, shortening, frozen products, dough, candy, frozen meals, and more.

Companies turned to palm oil which is virtually free from trans fats.

Food manufacturers now use palm oil because it mimics “what’s good about” trans fats.

Makes foods creamy and thickens

Palm oil helps to thicken foods, adding creaminess.

Manufacturers use palm oil for this reason in foods such as ice cream, margarine, buttery spreads, frosting, chocolate and hazelnut spread, salad dressing, gravy in jars, chocolate, caramel, whipped topping, etc.

Makes foods easy to stir

You may see palm oil in brands that highlight their “no stir” labeling.

Companies use palm oil in peanut butter, canned frosting, ice cream, hazelnut and chocolate spread, buttery spreads and margarine and other foods in which consumers want to be able to spread or stir the product.

Preserves freshness

Keeps food from drying out; keeps it crispy and crunchy; and extends the shelf-life 

Palm oil acts as a preservative.

Companies use palm oil and palm oil derivatives so products stay fresher longer on store shelves.

They want the crackers and cookies to stay crunchy, the sliced bread to stay fresh, and the cereals and granola bars to stay crispy.

For this reason, palm oil is used in these types of foods: boxed cake mix, snack foods, pre-packaged bakery, canned shoestring potatoes and potato crisps, canned French fried onions, jerky, candy and gum, etc.

Makes foods chewy

Palm oil is used to make foods chewy, gummy, or stretchy.

This is especially common in these types of non-chocolate and chocolate candy.

It’s also very common in ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals as well as in snack and protein bars.

Keeps foods stable and acts as a moisture barrier in frozen conditions

Palm oil helps in foods stay intact while frozen.

You will find it in frozen desserts, including ice cream, sherbet, cake, pie, ice cream novelties, frozen meals, and in frozen pizza.

Helps emulsify

Companies use palm oil as an emulsifier to stabilize processed foods and prevent them from separating.

It’s used for this purpose in margarine, baked goods, packaged frosting and icing, salad oils, whipped cream topping, condensed and evaporated milk, non-dairy creamer, peanut butter, and caramel.

Coats foods

If you read ingredient labels for foods that have a coating or that are meant to coat, you will likely find palm oil or palm kernel oil.

Some examples include fondant, almond bark, yogurt-covered and chocolate-covered pretzels, snack bars, chocolate candy, baked goods, ice cream toppings, and chocolate coating on ice cream cones.

Creates shiny appearance

In addition, palm oil is able to create the shiny appearance in foods.

You will find palm oil in confectionery, coated snack bars, in yogurt- and chocolate-covered foods, and in bakery.

Replaces cocoa butter, milk fat, dairy in foods

Another application for palm oil is to replace ingredients.

Palm oil can be a substitute while still maintaining the integrity of the product — providing stability, mouthfeel, texture, etc.

Manufacturers use palm oil in caramel, butterscotch and many candies, in baking chips, dairy-free and low fat cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts, creamer, condensed and evaporated milk, and more.

Many gluten free and vegan foods such as crackers, butter, and cheese will use palm oil as replacements.

A candy or product labeled “chocolate flavored” typically contains palm oil as a less expensive substitute for cocoa butter.

A carton of “frozen dairy dessert” usually contains palm oil as a cheaper substitute for dairy fat.

Enhances mouthfeel and texture

Even in foods in which companies aren’t eliminating ingredients, one of the big uses for palm oil is to enhance the mouthfeel and texture in foods.

You will find it in pizza dough, candy, whipped topping, refrigerated cookie dough, gravy, hamburger, sausage, ice cream, buttery spreads, margarine, creams and fillings, and cookies and desserts.

Helps with pre-cook process

Manufacturers use palm oil to pre-cook foods before selling them.

what is palm oil used for

Think of foods such as ramen noodles in which the consumer adds hot water before eating.

Palm oil is mac ‘n cheese, noodle soups, and other RTE instant foods.

For anti-caking; keeps foods from sticking together

There are many uses for palm oil derivatives in foods, including Propylene Glycol.

This is one of several palm oil derivatives that works well as an anti-caking agent.

Manufacturers use these anti-caking agents in soup and dip mix, powdered drink mix, grated cheese, pizza dough, candy, spices, cake mix, in addition to many more foods.

Prevents products from sticking to the machines

A candy manufacturer wrote us back to say this about Magnesium Stearate, a palm oil derivative:

Magnesium Stearate is used in candy to help candy not stick to the machinery as they are produced. It’s also used to maintain the shape of the candy.”

Palm oil increases volume and fluffiness

Manufacturers and bakers use palm oil to increase volume in biscuits, bread and baked goods.

As a result, palm oil gives these products a better appearance.

Also, according to, it’s the only vegetable oil with an approximate 50/50 makeup of unsaturated fatty acids and saturated fatty acids. It acts similarly to butter in baked goods.

Absorbs water and retains moisture

Some products need to be able to absorb water and/or to retain moisture.

Companies use palm oil for this purpose in extracts, such as vanilla and almond, and some brands of food coloring.

What else is palm oil used in? As a humectant, companies use palm oil in baked goods, prepared foods, drink mixes, fondant, and cake mixes.

Replaces lard

Another one of the uses for palm oil is to replace lard.

Palm oil works well in this capacity because its saturated – monounsaturated – polyunsaturated ratio is similar to lard.


Palm oil uses include fortification.

Companies use palm oil derivatives to supplement milk, RTE cereals and other foods which require fortification.

As an example, if you see a Vitamin A content of 10% or greater, it’s most likely in the form of Vitamin A Palmitate, a palm oil derivative.

You will see Vitamin E in the form of Tocopherols or Tocotrienols (typically from red palm oil) which is in foods, vitamins and more.

Learn more about palm oil products.

Uses for palm oil in medicine and vitamins

Supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are products that contain palm oil.

uses for palm oil

Palm oil is used in all forms: capsules, chewables, gel caps, liquid medications, and tablets.

Common palm oil derivatives to look for are Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Polysorbate 80, Polyethylene Glycol, and Magnesium Stearate.

See medicine without palm oil for our experience with a compounding pharmacy.

Maintains moisture

Manufacturers use palm oil to maintain moisture in supplements, vitamins and medications.

Helps ingredients dissolve in liquid

Glycerin helps the ingredients to dissolve in the formula.

To make capsules, chewables, and tablets

Manufacturers use palm oil derivatives to coat capsules and to maintain the shape of the capsules, etc.

Magnesium Stearate ensures the capsules and tablets don’t stick to the machines.

To preserve medications

Additional uses for palm oil are to help extend the shelf-life of medications. You will find it in liquid formulas especially for this reason.

As a solvent

Companies use palm oil as a solvent in liquid formulas, including many OTC children’s and adult pain relief medications, allergy medications, and fever reducers.

Propylene Glycol is a common vehicle for many drugs. Glycerin is often used as a solvent.

Palm oil uses in self-care and cleaning products

Companies use palm oil and palm oil derivatives in many common self-care products, beauty products, and household cleaning products you use regularly.

Here are some of the ways and the products that contain palm oil.

palm oil uses

Creates foam and lather

Palm oil is used to create the sudsy attributes consumers associate with cleaning products.

This is one of the many palm oil uses for hair.

You will find palm oil derivatives in these types of products: liquid and bar soap, bubble bath, baby wash, mouthwash, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, etc.

Keeps dirt in suspension

Manufacturers use palm oil to keep dirt in suspension in products such as pod-type laundry and dishwasher detergents.

As a cleaning agent

Palm oil makes for an inexpensive cleansing agent.

This is one of the many palm oil uses for skin and household cleaning products.

You will see palm oil derivatives used for this purpose in shampoo, 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, liquid soap, liquid and powder laundry detergent, and toothpaste.

Gives a pearly appearance

If you see products that have a pearlized look, they very well may contain palm oil derivatives.

Examples include: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, moisturizer, creams, serum, etc.

Keeps products together

Palm oil helps in hair gel and wax, shaving cream, solid deodorant, bar soap, sunscreen sticks, liquid foundation, creams, and more.

Also, companies use palm oil so products can remain solid at room temperature.

palm oil uses
Palm oil is in cosmetics

Some examples include lipstick, lip balm, bar soap, stick deodorants and sunscreens, etc. (It’s also in candles.)

Palm oil is tasteless, so it works especially well in lipstick and lip balm.

Helps ingredients mix together and combine

Palm oil is used as a processing aid for ingredients to combine.

Some examples of products that contain palm oil are pod-type detergents, liquid detergents, sunscreen, cosmetics, and more.

As a humectant to provide moisture

Just like with some food products, companies use palm oil to provide moisture.

You will find it in teeth whitening strips, cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, and other products.

Hydrates the mouth

Some examples of the ways companies use palm oil to hydrate the mouth are in mouthwash and toothpaste.

As an emollient to soften

Palm oil derivatives enable products to spread on the skin easily.

Because of this, uses for palm oil are common in lotions, moisturizers, serums, foundations, and creams.

Helps clean in hard water

Products that contain palm oil for this purpose include laundry boosters, liquid laundry detergent, powder laundry and dishwasher detergents, etc.

As a surfactant

Companies use palm oil as a surfactant in liquid and powder laundry detergents, flushable wipes, shampoo, solid deodorant, and more.

As an emulsifier

You will find palm oil in products such as flushable wipes, solid deodorant, and sunscreen.

It’s also in cosmetics, including eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, powder, and foundation.

Helps products glide over skin

It’s in tissue with lotion. According to a large manufacturer’s website, it enables tissue to glide over skin.

Keeps products absorbent

Products that contain palm oil include wet floor cleaning cloths, tissue with lotion, teeth whitening strips, and more.


Manufacturers use palm oil in lotions and in face and body polish and scrubs to exfoliate the skin.

To replace oils

According to, palm oil is in shampoo to help restore natural oils that shampoos strip away.

Stabilizes lather

Body wash and soap manufacturers use palm oil in their products to help stabilize the lather.

Products that contain palm oil

Most people use many products with palm oil ingredients every day.

In addition to all of the above products, you can also find palm oil in bio-fuel, industrial lubricants, waxes, polishes and more.

Here are some ways to find palm oil free products.

Why is palm oil in everything?

Above we explained some of the uses for palm oil in foods, vitamins and medicine, self-care products, beauty products, and cleaning products. When you account for the hundreds of palm oil derivatives, you can see how it is able to take on many forms for many different types of applications.

Some consumers avoid it for environmental reasons. Learn about the problems with unsustainable palm oil.

Palm oil doesn’t contain trans fats

Palm oil and palm kernel oil do not contain trans fats.

Because the FDA banned companies from using artificial trans fats, food manufacturers had to find replacement ingredients. They are now using palm oil.

Palm oil has unique characteristics

Frequently, palm oil and palm oil derivatives work to serve more than one purpose in a product, making it that much more valuable.

what is palm oil used for
Oil palm: Elaeis guineensis

Some of palm oil’s characteristics:

  • Odorless and tasteless
  • Inexpensive
  • Has a low melting point
  • Can remain solid or semi-solid at room temperature
  • Enhances texture
  • Remains stable under high cooking temperatures
  • Has a good shelf-life
  • Extends shelf-life in foods
  • Helps keep foods crispy and crunchy
  • Has a good mouthfeel
  • Is free from trans fats
  • Adds creaminess to foods
  • Enables foods to be fluffy
  • Has good oxidative stability 
  • Is non-GMO
  • Is rich in heart-healthy and brain-healthy vitamin E tocotrienols– when it’s not processed

Palm oil is inexpensive

In addition to being a versatile oil with many applications, palm oil is inexpensive.

According to industry experts, oil palm produces 4 – 10 times more oil than soy, sunflower and rapeseed. It’s a very productive crop with the highest yield of any oil crop.

It has the most oil produced per hectare per year.

As a result, palm oil is the cheapest vegetable oil to produce and refine.

Palm oil products list

If you’ve read this far, you have learned about palm oil uses in the following:

  • Processed foods
  • Hygiene and personal care products
  • Cosmetics and beauty products
  • Detergents for dishes and clothing
  • Cleaners for floors, sinks, windows, counters, bathrooms, kitchens, furniture, cars and more

There are many companies who promote their healthy, green, eco-friendly, and/or plant-derived ingredients. Read labels as oftentimes, these products contain palm oil derivatives.

To summarize, there are many applications for:

  • Using palm oil in foods
  • Using it for beauty:
    • Palm oil uses for skin
    • Palm oil uses for hair
    • In cosmetics
  • Palm oil in hygiene products
    • Oral care
    • Palm oil uses for body care
  • Using palm oil in cleaning
    • House cleaning in all types and forms: powder, liquid, spray, wax, polish
    • Detergents for carpets, clothing, dishes

Even products consumers consider to be “good” contain palm oil. As an example:

Most castile soap brands contain palm oil and/or palm oil derivatives.”

Uses for palm oil

Because palm oil is trans fat free, has many unique characteristics, is a versatile oil, and is cheaper than other oils, global demand for palm oil has nearly tripled since 2000.

There are numerous uses for palm oil in foods, cleaning products, medicines, self-care products, and cosmetics.

Many chemicals in everyday products are made from palm oil.

Companies have found many ways to use palm oil. It’s a versatile oil with unique properties.





Thanksgiving Without Palm Oil ~ Enjoy a Palm Oil Free Holiday

Thanksgiving without palm oil


You can enjoy this food-centered holiday and still have a Thanksgiving without palm oil. Here we discuss some ways palm oil may be hidden in your celebratory dishes.

Once you know what to look out for, it’s much easier to make palm oil free choices when cooking from scratch.

When you read labels and make these easy substitutions, you can have a palm oil free holiday. 

Thanksgiving without palm oil

Here are some Thanksgiving foods and ingredients which often contain palm oil. Below we explain what to watch for and offer palm oil free solutions.

  • Margarine, buttery spreads and butter alternatives
  • Milk
  • Refrigerated canned crescent rolls and biscuits
  • Crispy fried onions
  • Salad dressing
  • Instant potatoes
  • Stuffing mix
  • Cornbread mix
  • Gravy mix and gravy in jars
  • Shortening
  • Whipped cream, whipped frozen toppings
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Canned frosting
  • Pie crust
  • Desserts

Does that seem like palm oil is everywhere? The good news is cranberry sauce is typically palm oil free. You can easily make your own with fresh cranberries, sugar, and orange zest.

Margarine, buttery spreads, butter alternatives

Depending on the brand, margarine and buttery spreads will typically contain Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Distilled Monoglycerides, Vegetable Mono- and Diglycerides, and Vitamin A Palmitate.

Instead, choose real butter for your bread and rolls, baking, and potatoes.


Unless you choose whole milk, there is probably palm oil in your milk. It’s in the form of Vitamin A Palmitate.

This is the case for skim milk, low fat, 1%, 2%, chocolate, soy, nut, and other milks as well.

When you use milk to make your mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes, be sure to choose whole milk.

Choose whole milk but read the label before buying. Some whole milk brands are also fortified with Vitamin A Palminate; however, the majority are not.

Many plant-based and nut-based milks are also fortified with Vitamin A Palmitate. Make your own!

Refrigerated canned crescent rolls, biscuits

Any refrigerated bread dough in a can is sure to have palm oil ingredients listed many times.

Look at all of these palm oil ingredients in just one can of refrigerated crescent rolls:

Palm Oil, Shortening (Palm Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Fractionated Palm oil), Mono- and Diglycerides, Monoglycerides

Instead, buy bread from your grocery store’s bakery. Just be sure to read the ingredients to ensure it’s free from palm oil and Mono- and Diglycerides.

Even better? Make your own rolls and breads in a bread machine. (It’s easier than you think!)

Crispy fried onions

Is green bean casserole one of your favorite Thanksgiving foods? It’s those crispy fried onions, isn’t it?

Typically, the French fried crispy onions contain palm oil.

We found a few brands made with sunflower, safflower, and canola oil instead of palm oil. Read labels before buying.

Remember to use whole milk in your green bean casserole.

Salad dressing

Many dressings list soybean oil so you may assume they are palm oil free.

Watch for hidden palm oil derivatives, including Propylene Glycol and Mixed Tocopherols.

If you buy salad dressing, choose the ones with the least amount of ingredients. You can easily make your own with olive oil, vinegar and fresh garlic and herbs.

Thanksgiving without palm oil
Photo credit

Boxed and instant mashed potatoes

Avoid buying packaged instant potatoes if possible.

Most boxes and packages of instant potatoes contain Mono- and Diglycerides, Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, and Mixed Tocopherols, all palm oil derivatives.

Citric Acid may also be derived from palm oil and is used to preserve freshness.

Make your own mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes with whole milk and real butter.

Stuffing mix in a box or bag

Do you make your own stuffing/dressing?

If so, make sure your bread doesn’t have Mono- and Diglycerides. When you choose broth and spices, the less ingredients the better.

If you buy a stuffing mix in a box or bag, read labels. Many store brand labels contain palm oil; however, some of the name brand ones do not.

Buy the ones that don’t list “palm oil.”

Cornbread Mix

When buying baking mixes, it’s essential to watch out for Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil.

We found some cornbread / muffin mixes without palm oil. Read labels.

Of course, you can make cornbread without palm oil on your own.

Gravy mix and gravy in jars

You must read labels when buying gravy. Most are free from palm oil; however, some brands contain it.

There are lots of chemicals in gravy mixes and gravy jars so it’s best to make your own. It’s easy with turkey drippings, flour and real butter.


Whether you choose canned shortening or shortening sticks, read labels. Don’t be swayed by labels that state “all vegetable shortening.”

The palm oil products in shortening will likely include more than one of these palm oil ingredients: Palm Oil, Fully Hydrogenated Palm Oil, and Mono- and Diglycerides.

You will find shortening in crispy fried foods, frosting, pie crusts and other baked goods — even homemade and from the bakery.

To avoid palm oil, replace shortening with butter.

Whipped cream, frozen whipped toppings

Whipped cream in cans and frozen whipped toppings in tubs contain palm oil.

They often may include Polysorbate 60 and Sorbitan Monostearate, palm oil derivatives.

You can make your own using heavy cream. Choose heavy cream without palm oil, and blend with sugar.

Heavy whipping cream

Whipping cream often contains Mono- and Diglycerides and Polysorbate 80.

Read labels and choose palm oil free options.

You can use palm oil free heavy whipping cream in sauces and to make whipped cream (see above).

Canned frosting

Avoid buying canned frosting as it is laden with palm oil.

We pulled one random name-brand canned frosting off the shelves, and it contained all of these palm oil ingredients in descending order:

Palm Oil, Mono- and Diglycerides, Propylene Glycol Monostearate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Mixed Tocopherols, Vegetable Oil (palm and palm kernel)

Another leading brand’s frosting contained these palm oil ingredients:

Palm Oil, Distilled Monoglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Even the organic versions typically contain palm oil. offers an easy recipe to make your own frosting using (real) butter, (whole) milk, pure vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar. It includes palm oil free ways to make vanilla, chocolate, coffee, mint, strawberry, peanut butter, and lemon frosting.

Pie crusts for pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, sweet potato pie

As stated above, your pie crust will most likely contain palm oil unless you make it from scratch without shortening. 

There are many recipes for pie crusts using butter online from 


Most all prepared desserts at the grocery store contain palm oil ingredients. This includes cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, scones, tarts, and more.

If you make your own desserts, you can ensure they are palm oil free. As we stated above: Use real butter and whole milk, and avoid shortening.

Before you do your Black Friday shopping, see our post, Holiday Candy Without Palm Oil.

Palm oil free Thanksgiving

Palm oil is in many of our favorite Thanksgiving foods.

When you prepare your shopping list, use the suggestions above to be sure you can enjoy your Thanksgiving feast without palm oil.

Healthy cooking from scratch means less palm oil.

The turkey, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce should be free from palm oil. When you make your sweet potato casserole, be sure to use real butter.

All year long, when you choose processed and pre-made foods, choose the ones with the least amount of ingredients. Read labels. You can choose palm oil free options most of the time.

See also:

Palm Oil Uses

Names for Palm Oil Derivatives in Everyday Products

Disclaimer: Read labels at the point of sale. Manufacturers change ingredients. This list isn’t guaranteed and is meant to be a starting point. Products should be certified Palm Oil Free by the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme.




Halloween Candy Without Palm Oil: Palm Oil Free Candy

Halloween candy without palm oil


Before you buy Halloween treats, use this list to find candy without palm oil. By taking a few seconds to look at ingredient labels, you can choose orangutan-friendly Halloween candy.

Even on the same shelf, for the same type of product, the ingredients may vary. For example, BRACH’S has several different kinds of candy corn with palm oil and several without it.

This is the same with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They have different recipes — some contain palm oil and some do not — so it’s important to read labels and buy accordingly.

For a list, click to download and print Orangutan-Friendly Candy Without Palm Oil for 2019 then continue reading below for tips. (This list is a guide only; it is not guaranteed.)

Candy without palm oil

Less ingredients = Less chance of palm oil

At Halloween, candy companies sell big bags with a mix of different candies. When you buy a bag with just one type of candy, it’s easier to avoid palm oil.

Buy just one type of candy per bag, and make your own mix!

Read labels

Manufacturers change their labeling regularly. This list of candy without palm oil is intended to be a starting point. We researched online, in stores, and emailed companies and used this list of hundreds of names for palm oil. (Most don’t include “palm” in the ingredients.)

We regularly update this candy list. You make a big difference when you support orangutan-friendly palm oil free candy and treats at Halloween and all year.

Chocolate without palm oil

These convenient options make it easy for the Everyday Consumer to make an impact.

chocolate without palm oil

Hershey’s Bars: 
  • Milk Chocolate 
  • Milk Chocolate with Almonds 
  • Skor
  • Special Dark 
  • Special Dark with Almonds 
  • Halloween labeling: Glow in the Dark Snack Size Wrappers Milk Chocolate (shown)

Note: Bags of Hershey’s Miniatures may contain palm oil derivatives. See below. Mr. Goodbar Chocolate Candy with Peanuts includes palm oil.

palm oil free chocolate

Hershey’s Kisses:
  • Milk Chocolate – silver foil
  • Milk Chocolate with Almonds – gold foil or holiday colors
  • Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate – purple foil
  • Halloween labeling:
    • Fall Harvest Milk Chocolate – autumn-colored foil
    • Monster Kisses Milk Chocolate – green, blue, purple (shown)
    • Spooky Kisses Milk Chocolate – purple, green, orange foil with Halloween patterns

Give a handful to trick or treaters!

Hershey’s Nuggets:
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Milk Chocolate with Almonds
  • Special Dark
  • Special Dark with Almonds

Note: Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment bags may contain a flavor with palm oil.palm oil free Halloween candy

  • Milk Chocolate – plain, regular brown bag; all sizes plus holiday labeling
  • Almond – beige/tan bag
  • Dark Chocolate – purple bag and winter holiday bag
  • Mint with Dark Chocolate – green bag and winter Holiday Mint; (not the Crunchy Mint)
  • White Chocolate Peppermint holiday bag
  • Pretzel – blue bag
  • Mini’s Milk Chocolate Minitube – 1.08 oz
  • MEGA 3x the Chocolate
  • Halloween labeling:
    • M&M’s Fun Size Milk Chocolate Glow in the Dark Trick-or-Treat Packs (shown)
    • Cookies & Screem 
    • White Candy Corn 
    • White Pumpkin Pie 
    • Milk Chocolate Ghoul’s Mix (not Peanut Ghoul’s Mix, Caramel Ghoul’s Mix, nor Peanut Butter Ghoul’s Mix; only Milk Chocolate Ghoul’s Mix)

Note: M&M’s Dark Chocolate Peanut – purple and yellow bag – contains palm oil.

In 2018, Peanut M&M’s (yellow bag) changed their recipe and now includes palm oil. Labels now list palm oil as an ingredient.

Be sure to read all labels. Some newer flavors may contain palm oil derivatives, including Mixed Tocopherols.

Please note, Mars Wrigley Confectionery does not make claims these M&M’s are palm oil free. In addition to researching labels, I am using personal experience to say these M&M’s flavors are palm oil free. My son gets very sick from palm oil and derivatives and has enjoyed these M&M’s safely.

  • Goobers Milk Chocolate Covered Peanuts
  • Raisinets Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins
  • Sno Caps Semi-Sweet Chocolate Nonpareils
  • Peanut Butter Cups: some individually wrapped snack size and standard size

Note: They’ve confirmed they have different recipes for their Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

You must read labels. Look for the BAGGED, INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED snack size or standard-sized cups in the candy section without a holiday theme. Many are palm oil free.

See below for an explanation about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Tony’s Chocolonely
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Milk Caramel Sea Salt
  • Dark Almond Sea Salt
  • Dark Chocolate
  • White Raspberry Popping Candy
  • Milk Honey Almond Nougat
  • Milk Hazelnut
  • Dark Pecan Coconut
  • Dark Milk Pretzel Toffee
  • Halloween labeling: Milk Caramel Sea Salt Halloween Tiny Tony’s

They wrote to say they don’t use palm oil in any of their chocolate.

chocolate candy without palm oil

York Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Patties:
  • All varieties and sizes, including Halloween labeling:
    • Halloween Snack Size – purple spiderwebs on bag (shown)
    • Halloween Pumpkins – autumn-colored bag
DOVE Chocolate Simply Smooth:
  • Milk Chocolate Promises
  • Dark Chocolate Promises 

Candy without palm oil

  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Boston Baked Beans
  • Candy Corn – read labels to find it without palm oil; see below
  • Dots – including bag with 17 mini boxes for Halloween 
  • Dum Dums Original Pops – all flavors
  • Good ‘N Plenty 
  • lollipops without palm oilJolly Rancher:
    • Hard Candy – All flavors of their Hard Candy is free from palm oil derivatives. This includes their bags of Original, Fruit ‘N’ Sour, Fruit Bash, plus individual flavors. Give a handful!
    • Lollipops Spooky Sweets (shown)
  • Nerds:
    • Rainbow
    • Grape and Strawberry “For the Love of Nerds”
  • Red Hots Original Cinnamon Candy
  • Ring Pop:palm oil free candy
    • 22 Halloween Ring Pop bag
    • 36 Halloween Ring Pop box (shown)
  • Saf-T-Pops Lollipops
  • Wholesome Organic Lollipops – 30 count
  • Yum Earth:
    • Organic Pops:
      • Assorted Flavor Lollipops: 80 count; at Target
      • Hot Chili Lollipops
    • Organic Candy Corn: 24 count; at Target
    • Organic Hard Candies:
      • Wild Peppermint
      • Favorite Fruits
      • Cheeky Lemon
      • Pomegranate Pucker
      • Roadside Rootbeer
    • Gummy Bears:
      • Assorted Flavor
      • Organic Pomegranate Pucker
    • Assorted Flavor Gummy Worms
    • Organic Sour Beans
    • Gummy Fruits
      • Organic Fruit Snacks: 12 pack at Target
      • Organic Tropical Fruit Snacks

YumEarth very transparently lists all of their ingredients on their website.

Candy corn without palm oil

candy without palm oilBRACH’S:
  • Candy Corn Treat Packs – 55 and 70 treat packs bags (shown)
  • Classic Candy Corn
  • Mellowcreme Pumpkins
  • Mini Candy Corn & Chocolate Peanuts
  • Mini Candy Corn
  • Naturally Flavored Candy Corn
YumEarth Organic Candy Corn

candy corn without palm oil

  • 24 pack Halloween packaging; at Target (shown)

You must read ingredient labels before buying candy corn.

You can find some flavors, shapes and varieties of brand name and store brand candy corn without palm oil and palm kernel oil but it often contains it.

Gummy snacks without palm oil

  • Black Forest Organic Fruit Flavored Snacks – 24 pack
  • Kirkland Signature Organic Fruity Snacks – 72 pack; at Costco
  • Surf Sweets by Wholesome Organic Halloween Spooky Shapes – 20 pack; at Target
  • Yum Earth Organic Gummy Fruits – 24 pack; at Target

Palm oil free Halloween trick or treating

Many candy companies report they are working toward sustainable palm oil. We support the candies and treats that don’t use any at all.

Click to download and print the 2019 list of Orangutan-Friendly Candy Without Palm Oil. Use it all year to choose candy without palm oil.

The non-profit organization, Orangutan Outreach, explains how the palm oil industry affects the orangutan population.

Chocolate without palm oil

  • Nuubia Chocolate:  Makes all of their chocolate without palm oil.
  • Nelly’s Organics: They make all of their chocolate bars without palm oil.
    • Caramel Nougat
    • Coconut
    • Double Chocolate
    • German Chocolate
    • Nutty Nougat
    • Peanut Butter Coconut
  • Tony’s Chocolonely: They make all of their chocolate without any palm oil. See above.

Also, it’s great The Hershey Company and Mars, Inc. still make some palm oil free chocolate. This makes it easy and accessible for the Everyday Consumer to choose palm oil free chocolate.

When possible, choose fair trade chocolate to make an even greater difference.

Fair Trade Chocolate without palm oil

There are other chocolate manufacturers — usually Fair Trade Certified Chocolate — who make their candy without palm oil as well; however, they may not be as practical to hand out for trick or treating.

We will be adding more to this post to include Fair Trade Certified Chocolate.

Some brands to consider — that as of now we believe to be palm oil free — but haven’t thoroughly researched yet — are:

  • barkTHINS Read labels; most of their flavors are palm oil free.
  • DAGOBA Organic
  • Divine Chocolate
  • Equal Exchange Chocolates
  • Theo
  • Tony’s Chocolonely — All of their chocolate bars are palm oil free.

See our post of holiday candy without palm oil.

How to find candy without palm oil

Read labels.

This is the very best thing you can do.

Do not buy products with the obvious “palm oil” words: Palm oil, palm kernel oil, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, etc.

You make the biggest difference — at the store — when you choose the candy that is palm oil free.

Avoid big variety packs.

Around Halloween, you will see the “candy mix” bags. These are the big bags with a variety of candy types and flavors.

Do not buy them.

As an example, you might see a bag with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate combined with Twizzlers and Whoppers. Only one of these candies is palm oil free.

Instead, if you like a mix to offer to trick or treaters, you can buy the individual bags.

Make your own mix!

For example, you can buy a bag of Milk Chocolate M&M’s, a bag of Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars with Glow in the Dark Wrappers, a bag of Jolly Rancher Hard Candies, and a bag of Dum Dum Lollipops.

Look for less ingredients.

When you have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that’s then stuffed with Reese’s Pieces, you have even more ingredients to be concerned with.

With simple candies, you have a better chance of them being palm oil free.

Don’t buy chocolate-flavored.

The FDA has different requirements for “milk chocolate” versus “chocolate flavored,” “chocolate candy,” and “chocolately.”

Read the package description.

Less expensive holiday candy, especially at dollar stores, are often chocolate-flavored.

Chocolate-flavored candy has imitation cocoa butter (mostly from palm oil) which we explain next.

Don’t buy candy with cocoa butter equivalents or substitutes.

Avoid candy with Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE) or Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBS) listed in the ingredients.

The FDA allows for these enzymatically-produced fats made from palm oil to be used in:

  • Coatings on soft candies
  • Confections and frostings
  • Sweet sauces and toppings

Real cocoa butter is expensive. It’s one of the most widely used raw materials in the chocolate and confectionery industries.

Palm oil mimics what cocoa butter can do. Cocoa butter is responsible for the flavor release, mouthfeel, snap, gloss and the shelf life (of the final product).

Learn more here. (Go to pages 17-19.)

Learn why candy companies use palm oil.

Most chewy, creamy, caramel, toffee, peanut butter, coated, and nougat type candies contain palm oil.

magnesium stearate in candy

Palm oil derivatives — such as Magnesium Stearate — keep candy pieces from sticking to the machines.

If a company uses coconut oil or other higher quality oils in some of their products, there is a greater likelihood they aren’t using palm oil.

Palm oil is a cheap oil, and it’s very versatile; that’s why companies use it.

The FDA’s ban on trans fats went into effect in July 2018; candy companies have been using palm oil as a replacement.

Learn common names for palm oil derivatives in candy.

In addition to avoiding candy with the word “palm” in it, take it a step further.

  • Don’t buy candy with Mono- and Diglycerides.
  • Next, don’t buy candy with Magnesium Stearate and Calcium Stearate.
  • Then, avoid candy with Tocopherols and Mixed Tocopherols.
  • If you can take one more step, work to avoid Glycerin on candy labels.

Print out this 2019 list of palm oil free candy. 

Click to download and print this list of Orangutan-Friendly Candy Without Palm Oil. Use it when you shop.

Palm oil ingredients in candy

Remember, just because it doesn’t say palm oil, palm kernel oil, or hydrogenated palm oil, it may still contain it.

There are many ways candy manufacturers use palm oil in candy. These ingredients are usually derived from palm oil.

In chocolate-type candy, these may appear as:

  • Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBS)
  • Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE)
  • Glycerin
  • Glycerine
  • Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil
  • Monoglycerides
  • Mono- and diglycerides
  • Mixed Tocopherols
  • Tocopherols

In non-chocolate candy, these ingredients may be derived from palm oil:

  • Calcium Stearate
  • Citric Acid – often but not always
  • Glycerin
  • Glycerine
  • Glycerol
  • Glycerol Monostearate
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides
  • Mixed Tocopherols
  • Mono- and Diglycerides
  • Monostearate Glycerol
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Stearic Acid
  • Tocopherols
  • Vitamin A Palmitate

Finding candy ingredients online

The Hershey Company is a company who very clearly and transparently lists all of their ingredients online. It’s very easy to find the ingredients for all of their candy products.

Some of the other candy manufacturers list their ingredients but you really have to search for the information. Most of it is just colorful, animated advertising.

Some candy companies’ websites don’t have ANY information about their ingredients.

The Hershey’s site is by far the most transparent system of any of the mainstream candy companies, including Mars, Inc., Nestle, Wrigley, Wonka, Ferrara Pan, Goetze, Spangler, Mondelez International, Tootsie Roll Industries, and the others.

Additionally, we researched in stores.

We also emailed the companies to confirm their candy is palm oil free. We are waiting for confirmation on some, especially as to where the “source” of their ingredients come from.

Many candy companies will not answer the question of the SOURCE of some of their ingredients.

Meaning, it may say “Citric Acid” on the package but was that citric acid sourced from palm oil? (We have confirmed it is the red whips, licorice type candies.)

Many companies didn’t write back to disclose the source of their Mixed Tocopherols, Mono- & Diglycerides, etc. which are common in candy.

International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Programme

palm oil free candy labeling
U.S. candy companies can apply to have their products assessed for Palm Oil Free certification.

The International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Programme certifies products that are 100% palm oil free. To date, they are recognized in 20 countries, including the United States.

We used their list — which includes hundreds of palm oil derivatives — to research ingredients in candy.

Using Palm Oil Free labeling is the only way to know for sure if something is palm oil free. Please use this list as a reference only.

Palm oil free Halloween candy

Please note, we continue to update this list to include what we believe to be palm oil free candy, chocolate and treats.

Our intention was to compile an updated list of Halloween candy without palm oil. We wanted it to be easy for consumers to find in stores so we focused on popular candies.

While there are many specialty candy companies who do make palm oil free candy — and we want to support them — it’s not always practical to buy them, especially when you want to buy in bulk for lots of trick or treaters.

Also, while it’s tempting to buy a big bag with a variety of candies, it’s better to buy individual bags of each candy.

It’s rare you will find a mix of candy without palm oil all in one bag.

Note, many manufacturers change ingredients for their Halloween and holiday candy. They may offer different sizes, packaging and flavors.

Disclaimer: We obtained this ingredient and product information from researching online, contacting companies, and in stores. Please note, manufacturers change their labeling regularly. We have compiled this information for reference purposes only. Use this list as a starting point as you read labels and do your own due diligence. This list is not guaranteed.

This is not meant to be medical advice. As the consumer, please read ingredient labels for each product you plan to purchase. Contact companies if you have questions about their ingredients.

Sometimes even on the same shelf, for the same exact-looking product, the ingredients vary. (This is especially the case for Brach’s Candy Corn and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Some state “Palm Oil” ingredients and some do not.)

Candies with palm oil ingredients

While this site strives to focus on and highlight products and candy without palm oil, we want you to know the candies we researched to show you how prevalent palm oil is popular candy brands.

We researched each of these candies and treats. If they are appear below it is because their labels list “Palm Oil,” “Palm Kernel Oil,” “Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil,” or due to their ingredients, they contain what appear to be palm oil derivatives.

We emailed companies to confirm and will continue to update as they get back with us. If they didn’t get back with us, we included them on this list because they didn’t confirm with us.

Many companies wrote to say they use sustainable palm oil and that they are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). However, we choose candy without any palm oil.

Remember, with so many orangutan-friendly candies to choose from (above) you can easily choose those that don’t contain palm oil.

List of Halloween treats and candies which have flavors that contain or may contain palm oil ingredients

palm oil free candy
By reading labels, you can choose palm oil free.
  • Airheads – You have to read the label on each package and variety; most contain Palm Oil, Glycerol, etc.
  • Almond Joy
  • Baby Ruth
  • Bit-O-Honey
  • BRACH’S:
    • Mellowcreme Autumn Mix
    • Harvest Corn
    • Football Candy Corn
  • Bull’s Eyes – Goetze’s Original Caramel Creams & other flavors
  • Butterfinger
  • Candy bracelets
  • Caramel Apple Pops (Tootsie)
  • Charleston Chew
  • Dove:
    • Pumpkins- Mixed Harvest
    • Pumpkins- Caramel & Milk Chocolate
    • Milk Chocolate & Cookie Crisp
  • 5th Avenue
  • Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Haribo Gold-Bears

List of more candies which may contain and do contain palm oil

  • Heath
  • Hershey:
    • Cookie Layer Crunch Bar
    • Cookies ‘n’ Cream Bar
    • Hershey Gold
    • Kisses: Read labels; many list palm oil
    • Mr. Goodbar: Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar now includes palm oil (summer 2019). You may find both of these on the shelf:
      • Milk Chocolate with peanutsdoesn’t list palm oil in ingredients
      • Chocolate Candy with peanutsincludes palm oil in ingredients
    • Hershey’s Miniatures Assortment

A note about Hershey Miniatures: This is a mixed bag of their mini candy bars. It will include some combination of Special Dark, Milk Chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackel. Most all varieties with Mr. Goodbar now contain palm oil.

  • Jolly Rancher:
    • Awesome Twosome Bites
    • Crunch ‘N’ Chew
    • Filled Pops
  • Kit Kat
  • Krackel
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Milk Duds
  • Milky Way
  • M&M’s:
    • Caramel
    • Peanut
    • Peanut Butter
    • Thai Coconut Peanut
    • White Chocolate Peanut
  • Mr. Goodbar: See above under “Hershey”; their “Chocolate Candy with Peanuts” now contains palm oil
  • Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar
  • Payday
  • Quaker Chewy Halloween Mini Chocolate Chip Granola Bars – 28 count for Halloween
  • Red Vines – There is a minute amount in their Citric Acid which is derived from palm oil.
  • Reese’s:
    • Fast Break
    • Peanut Butter Cups: Miniatures, Halloween versions (Pumpkin, Bats, Ghosts, etc.), Stuffed with Reese’s Pieces
    • Nutrageous
    • Reese’s Pieces

A note about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s makes so many different versions and flavors, with different ingredients and suppliers.

They usually list palm oil, palm kernel oil, etc. so read the label in advance. If it says Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil and doesn’t cite the source, there may be palm oil in it, according to what it says on their website.

We wrote to them about their Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: Snack Size; 10.5 oz;  UPC: 3400040211

When we sent them the UPC code, their nutrition expert confirmed they do not contain any palm oil or palm oil derived ingredients.

Also, they went on to explain:

Not all of our REESE’S products, however, are made with the same recipe.

For example, we do include palm oil as an ingredient in our unwrapped REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups, Minis, and some of the other variations of REESE’S products such as our White REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups and our Halloween White REESE’S Peanut Butter Ghosts.

In addition, the REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups that we manufacture specifically for International markets may also contain palm oil.

The great news: You may be able to find Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups without palm oil! (THANK YOU, REESE’S!)

However, you must be diligent about reading the labels. If it says palm oil, palm kernel oil, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, etc., put it back, and look for another one.

Look for the BAGGED, INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED snack size or standard size cups in the candy section without a holiday theme.

More candies that may contain or do contain palm oil

  • Rice Krispies Treats Original – 12 count
  • Rice Krispies Treats Original Mini Squares
  • Rolo
  • Sixlets
  • Skittles
  • Snickers
  • Starburst
  • Take 5
  • 3Musketeers
  • Tootsie Roll Midgees
  • Tootsie Roll Pops
  • Twix (all, including Twix Ghost)
  • Twizzler
    • Pull-N-Peel
    • Twists
    • Nibs
  • Welch’s Fruit Snacks Mixed Fruit (with Vitamin A Palmitate)
  • Whatchamacallit
  • Whoppers
  • Zagnut

Zoos support orangutan-friendly candy

Many zoos have a Halloween event — Zoo Boo, Boo at the Zoo, Boo Zoo, etc. — in which guests are encouraged to wear costumes and trick or treat throughout Halloween-themed areas. These are fun, family-friendly events.

Oftentimes, zoos publish lists of orangutan-friendly candy in order to create awareness. However, sometimes these lists are outdated.

Additionally, many of them focus on candies that use sustainable palm oil. These lists are important because they increase awareness around candy and palm oil.

We want to highlight and showcase the candy companies and brands who have found ways to make candy WITHOUT ANY palm oil. These are the companies we want to promote and tell consumers about.

Why choose candy without palm oil

In many areas in our world, and especially in Sumatra and Borneo, palm oil plantations are devastating tropical rain forests. Native people as well as populations of wildlife, including orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and more are affected.

orangutan-friendly candy
Photo by @darmfield

Learn more about the endangered species threatened by unsustainable palm oil production.

Companies sometimes use sustainable palm oil. Yet, when companies use any type of palm oil, it creates more demand.

Therefore, we support candy and treats without any palm oil.

Many people and innovative companies seek palm oil free alternatives for environmental reasons.

Learn more about the effects of palm oil related to Halloween candy.

Support palm oil free candy

  1. Reach out to companies to encourage them to make more palm oil free candy.
  2. Contact candy manufacturers via email and on social media to tell them you want them to stop using palm oil in candy.
  3. Thank companies for making their candy without palm oil.
  4. Remember, you vote with your dollars when you buy candy without palm oil.
  5. Learn how to find products without palm oil. It’s essential to read labels before you buy anything.

Remember, when you don’t buy products that list Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, and Red Palm Oil, you will make a big difference!

We have compiled this information for reference purposes only; it is not guaranteed. This list is meant to be a starting point in order to help you find palm oil free Halloween candy and candy throughout the year.

We also want to inform you about how prevalent palm oil is in the candy industry.

Click to download and print Orangutan-Friendly Candy Without Palm Oil for 2019.

Palm oil free treats besides candy


  • Lay’s Regular Potato Chips
  • Pepperidge Farms Goldfish – 24 count
  • Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts + Bats – 12 count (shown)

Halloween treats without palm oil

Fruit-type snacks:

  • GoGo Squeez Fruit On the Go – Organic and non-organic
  • Stretch Island Organic Fruit Strips – 36 pack at Costco
  • Raisins, cranberries, dried fruit – must read labels

Note: Fruit Roll-Ups contain palm oil.

Granola bars

Granola bars usually contain palm oil and aren’t a good choice to pass out for Halloween. Glycerin is a common palm oil derivative in them as well.

palm oil free Halloween


  • Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn – 12 count; Halloween packaging
  • Kathy Kane Popcorn Balls – 12 count for Halloween; at Target
  • Skinny Pop Halloween Original Popcorn – 12 count (shown)

palm oil free Halloween


  • Synder’s of Hanover Halloween Pretzels – 30 count (shown)

Read ingredient labels; we saw one major brand contains Palm Oil.


  • Glee Gum:
    • Sugar-Free: Peppermint; Bubblegum; Wintergreen
    • Peppermint, Cinnamon, Bubblegum, Spearmint, Mixed (Triple) Berry

Note: Gum without palm oil is difficult to find as it usually contains Glycerin or Glycerine, typically palm oil derivatives.

Other things:

Think of other things to pass out besides palm free snacks and candy to trick or treaters. This can be nice for kids with food allergies.

  • Coins – Give a quarter, dimes or nickels. You can give a half dollar if you don’t have many trick or treaters.
  • Glow sticks, Halloween toys – Wal-Mart, Target, Oriental Trading all sell glow sticks, Halloween balls, necklaces and trinkets. Watch for the environmental impact of these items.

Here’s an alphabetical list of palm oil free candy.

List of Orangutan-Friendly Halloween Candy Without Palm Oil

  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Boston Baked Beans
  • BRACH’S:
    • Candy Corn Treat Packs
    • Classic Candy Corn
    • Mellowcreme Pumpkins
    • Mini Candy Corn
    • Naturally Flavored Candy Corn
  • Divine Chocolate
  • Dots 
  • DOVE Chocolate:
    • Milk Chocolate Bars
    • Milk Chocolate Promises
    • Dark Chocolate Bars
    • Dark Chocolate Promises
  • Dum Dums Original Pops
  • Endangered Species
  • Goobers
  • Good ‘N Plenty 
  • Hershey’s Bars:
    • Glow in the Dark Snack Size Wrappers Milk Chocolate
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Milk Chocolate with Almonds
    • Skor Toffee
    • Special Dark
    • Special Dark with Almonds
  • Hershey Kisses:
    • Fall Harvest Milk Chocolate
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Milk Chocolate with Almonds
    • Monster Kisses Milk Chocolate
    • Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate
    • Spooky Kisses Milk Chocolate
  • Hershey’s Nuggets:
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Milk Chocolate with Almonds
    • Special Dark
    • Special Dark with Almonds
  • Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
  • Jolly Rancher Lollipops Spooky Sweets 
  • M&M’s:
    • Almond
    • Cookies & Screem
    • Dark Chocolate
    • Fun Size Milk Chocolate Glow in the Dark Trick-or-Treat Packs
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Mini’s Milk Chocolate Minitube
    • Mint with Dark Chocolate
    • Pretzel
    • White Candy Corn
    • White Pumpkin Pie
  • Nerds Grape and Strawberry “For the Love of Nerds”
  • Nerds Rainbow
  • Raisinets – Milk and Dark Chocolate
  • Red Hots Original Cinnamon Candy
  • Reese’s – must read labels; snack size, individually wrapped cups may be palm oil free
  • Ring Pop
  • Saf-T-Pops Lollipops
  • Skor
  • Sno Caps
  • Wholesome Organic Lollipops 
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Yum Earth Organic Candy Corn
  • Yum Earth Organic Pops 

List of candy without palm oil

Is your favorite candy palm oil free? Do you know of others? What do you think about companies using palm oil in candy? Leave a message in the Comments.

candy without palm oil
Trick or treating haul: Can you guess which pile is palm oil free?

We continue to update this post. It’s important to buy palm oil free candy all year. When you shop for holiday candy — think Valentine’s Day candy and Easter candy — read ingredient labels. They often change for holidays.

You can have a Happy Halloween and still be orangutan-friendly.

Read all labels. Manufacturers change ingredients. This list is meant for reference only and to be a starting point. 

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for daily tips to avoid palm oil in candy and other products. We are also on Pinterest.

While we read labels, reference the list of names for palm oil derivatives, and email companies asking about their ingredients, the only way to be certain a product is Palm Oil Free is if it has been certified through the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme

Support Palm Oil Free labeling.

This list is not guaranteed; it shouldn’t be used for medical advice. Please do your own due diligence.