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Personal Care Items for a Palm Oil Intolerance

Personal Care Items for a Palm Oil Intolerance

Palm oil is prevalent in personal care items such as soap, shampoo, lip balm, etc. Palm oil makes our son sick. This is a list of the personal care items he uses in order to stay healthy and live palm oil free.

When we first made the connection that palm oil was causing him to have allergy symptoms, we started logging what he ate. We eliminated foods. At that time, we only knew to eliminate foods with “palm oil” and “palm kernel oil” from his diet. Still, he was having reactions.

We didn’t know why until we came upon the list from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP). We learned there are hundreds of names for palm oil ingredients. Many of them don’t have “palm” in them, making them more challenging to recognize. 

We printed out this list of names for palm oil and didn’t buy any food until we cross-referenced it against their list. It continues to be a tremendous help. 

At that time, we didn’t know palm oil is common in non-food items as well. Our son was still getting sick. Oftentimes it was from personal care products that contained palm oil.

Learn more about his reactions to palm oil in our post about his palm oil allergy or palm oil intolerance. 

palm oil common in self-care products

Palm oil in personal care items 

After we drastically cut down on processed foods, there were other times he would get sick — sometimes right before our eyes. Meaning, he would have an almost-immediate reaction to a product.

During this time, we started to learn how prevalent palm oil is in all types of products, including soap, toothpaste, and shampoo, etc.

In addition to reactions from lip balm, toothpaste, and soap which we explain below, he also had reactions to palm oil in deodorant, lotion, and sunscreen.

Reactions from lip balm

He had such chapped lips that we put a free sample of a Rodan + Fields serum on them before he went to bed. While his chapped lips went away overnight, he woke up with a bad sore throat.

We looked up the ingredients, and sure enough, there were at least two palm oil ingredients in it. (The ingredients had “palm” in the name.)

We learned even brands that seem ethically-conscious often contain palm oil. Eventually, we found lip balm without palm oil.

Reactions from toothpaste

Awhile later, he had dry lips and cracking in the corners of his mouth. When we learned there is palm oil in most all brands of toothpaste, we sought out to find a different one.

We finally found palm oil free toothpaste. The first one we found was Redmond Earthpaste. His lips healed in days. After that, he used Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste. Currently, he uses Grin Natural Whitening Toothpaste.

Reactions from soap

Never again do we use the free samples in hotels, no matter how eco-friendly the packaging. After using soap from a hotel, our son got such a bad sore throat, he was sick for days. Whenever we travel, we bring a palm oil free soap with us for our family to use.

Personal care items without palm oil

It’s important to know that even companies who seem to be environmentally-friendly often use palm oil in their products. You may see companies highlight the “coconut” in their products only to look at the rest of the ingredients and see many palm oil derivative names.

Also, if they don’t spell out the source, as in Tocopherol (Soy) or Tocopherol (Sunflower) it most likely contains palm oil.

Always try to find products with the least amount of ingredients. For non-food products, these tend to be the ones that don’t have scents. 

Smaller, independent, specialty companies also will use higher quality ingredients. Remember, palm oil is inexpensive. That’s why so many companies use it.

We have many lists of personal care products without palm oil in which we list all of these smaller companies and their amazing palm oil free products. Our household uses many of them.

For this post, we are listing what our son uses regularly. 

Please note, we aren’t guaranteeing any of these are palm oil free. These are products our son uses safely. The only way to ensure something is 100% palm oil free is if it earned Palm Oil Free certification from Orangutan Alliance or Palm Oil Free International Certification Programme. 

palm oil in self-care products

Palm oil derivatives in toothpaste


  • Grin Natural Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride

Grin Natural toothpastes are certified Palm Oil Free by Orangutan Alliance.

We are grateful to have found this toothpaste. He likes the texture and the taste. He feels his teeth are clean after using it. 

This is the only fluorinated toothpaste without palm oil that we found.

Typically, there is more than one palm oil ingredient in toothpaste, no matter how eco-friendly it may seem. Some of them include Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and Propylene Glycol.


  • Schmidt’s Original Deodorant
  • Schmidt’s Bergamot + Lime Deodorant

This is a great example of a company who spells out the source. As an example, they spell out the source of each of these ingredients which in other products are typically made from palm oil:

  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil)
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E, sunflower derived)

We are thrilled to find this deodorant at Target now. We also sometimes find it at TJMaxx. Learn more about deodorant without palm oil.

palm oil intolerance

Bar soap

  • Grandma’s Baking Soda Soap / Remwood Products – He uses at home.
  • Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap – We bring on vacation and all use.

There are so many palm oil ingredients in liquid and bar soaps you find at mass retailers. These include Sodium Palmate, Glycerine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, etc.

Look for soap, and all of these products, with the fewest ingredients possible. Choose bars over liquids.


He doesn’t regularly use traditional shampoo. Instead, he uses:

  • Grandma’s Baking Soda Soap / Remwood Products

Our family uses shampoo bars from Ethique. Their products are certified Palm Oil Free by Orangutan Alliance. Learn more about Ethique in my interview with the founder.

Shampoo bars are less likely to contain palm oil than liquid shampoos. Some palm oil ingredients in shampoos include Cetyl Alcohol, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Glycerin.

See our list of conditioner and shampoo without palm oil.

Lip balm

  • Booda Organics Original Lip Balm

Ingredients in lip balms vary greatly. You will find some products with just a few ingredients and many others with 10+ ingredients. Remember, the more ingredients something has, the greater the chance it has palm oil.

Like all of these personal care products, there are many palm oil derivatives to watch out for. Some include Tocopherol, Vitamin E, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, etc. 


  • Badger Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen All Season Face Stick
  • Badger Sport Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream Clear Zinc

Whether you are looking for a cream, lotion, or a spray, it’s difficult to find this palm oil free. The palm oil derivatives are usually in the Inactive Ingredients. There are many to watch for, including Tocopherol, Vitamin E, Glycerin, Glycerol Stearate, etc. 

See our list to learn more about sunscreen without palm oil.


  • Ethique Coconut & Lime Butter Block

You have not used lotion until you have used Ethique’s butter block lotions. We love Ethique’s palm oil free products.

See our post about lotion without palm oil. There is a long list of the palm oil derivatives most every other company uses in lotion. Some of them include Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, etc. 

Personal care products you can use if you avoid palm oil 

We have others items he uses on occasion but these are the ones he uses most often. While we are always looking for more products he can use, we try not to change his products because we know these are working for him. 

Using less overall

By using less products overall, it is better for the environment. It also saves money. In addition, it means less ingredients and chemicals our body has to process. 

Learn how to use less palm oil. One way is by using less of these types of products when you use them. Another is to skip a day, especially for something like lotion. 

These are some items we use which make living without palm oil easier.

Eco-friendly brands and greenwashing

When you start looking at the long list of ingredients in most self-care products and non-food products you buy, it’s incredible. Most of the ingredients don’t have “palm” in the name. 

Before intentionally giving up palm oil, our household never took much notice. Were there always so many ingredients in these products? I don’t think so.

Back in the 1990s, I switched to an eco-friendly brand of shampoo and conditioner. I found the Sodium Lauryl Sulfite and the Aluminum Lauryl Sulfites and similar type ingredients in other products affected my scalp.

Fast forward twenty years, I was still buying from the same company but the products affected me. They weren’t the same “clean” type ingredients they used to be.

This company built an image as being environmentally-friendly — and even though they’ve changed ingredients to lower quality / cheaper ingredients in so many of their products — most consumers don’t know or care.

Why Palm Oil Free labeling certification is important

Palm oil is in all of types of self-care, hygiene, and beauty products. It’s in shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen, and deodorant. It’s in shaving cream, cosmetics, lipstick, nail polish, hair dye, hair gel, and face paint. 

Most consumers have no idea many of the ingredients in these items are derived from palm oil. The only way to know is if the product doesn’t contain them is if earned Palm Oil Free certification. 

If you are avoiding palm oil for environmental reasons, you may be fine with purchasing products that use sustainable palm oil. However, if you avoid it because you have a palm oil sensitivity, you need to know if it has palm oil in it.

When a product has a Palm Oil Free label on it, you will know for sure that each ingredient was thoroughly researched, down to the source.

How to find hygiene items without palm oil

Choose products with the least amount of ingredients. Assume “Glycerin” and “Tocopherol” are made from palm oil unless they state the source. See our other posts for the ways palm oil derivatives are present in these types of products.

Know that most hygiene and personal care items contain more than one palm oil ingredient.

Learn the ways in which companies use palm oil. In this way, you will know what to look for no matter what the product.

When looking for palm oil free personal care type products, it’s best to patronize small businesses and artisans. Go to your local farmer’s market. Check out the label from a bar soap when you are in a specialty shop.

These are the opportunities to support small businesses while also getting a much higher quality product. 

List of favorite palm oil free personal-care products

  • Grin Natural Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride
  • Davids Natural Toothpaste
  • Schmidt’s deodorants
  • Grandma’s Baking Soda Soap / Remwood Products
  • Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap
  • Booda Organics Original Lip Balm
  • Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced Healing Moisturizer
  • Badger Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen All Season Face Stick
  • Badger Sport Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream
  • Ethique Coconut & Lime Butter Block
  • Ethique shampoos and conditioners
Thank you for reading and for being an Informed Consumer! How does our son live without palm oil? This is a list of the foods he eats


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

We worry about cross reactions with coconut, do you know if this is likely? We haven't figured out how similar palm and coconut are.


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

Please see Palm Oil Allergy? Intolerance? Can You Be Allergic to Palm Oil? There is a section in there where I discuss the "Scientific Name for Palm Oil". I list out the scientific classifications for palm and coconut with sources listed. Botanically, they are similar.

Please check with your doctor/allergist about your situation. Regarding my son, he can have coconut. I buy Trader Joe's Organic Unsweetened Coconut Chips in the 8 oz bag. Ingredients: Organic Coconut. I also buy real, whole coconuts from the grocery store from time to time. (I have one on my counter now!) Again, please check with medical professionals; this is not medical advice.


Friday 6th of May 2022

I had odd sensitivities like your son as well. Turned out I had underlying toxicities and don’t detox properly, and am genetically susceptible to hypersensitivities to food and environmental toxins. Mine have resolved since healing the root cause. Wanted to share as I know more and more people are going through these sorts of “rare” conditions. Found your blog while researching health effects of palm oil as part of my learning journey. Thanks for sharing!