We don’t hear a lot about this brand that is slightly hidden away in the new Marks and Spencer Beauty sections, but Pure Skincare is very special. It’s formulated by Acheson & Acheson – specifically Robin Parker – and what makes it special is that it is formulated without Palm Oil. 

If there is one ingredient that is utterly devastating to environments, it is palm oil, and it is in just about every single beauty product. Emulsifiers, emollients, waxes and thickeners are all available as vegetable derived but it is very hard to guarantee that palm oil or palm kernel oil has not been part of the supply chain. Making beauty formulations without palm derivatives is a massive challenge, and this is why I mention the formulators – if they can achieve it, so can everyone else. Or at the very least, use RSPO certified palm ingredients. Pure isn’t an expensive brand – in fact, I’d call it very purse friendly, with cleanser coming in at £6 and rising to the dizzy heights of £9.50 for a serum. 

There’s no excuse any more for beauty brands not to take responsibility. The natural habitat of the orangutan has been eaten away so extensively for the sake of palm oil that they are a devastated species. 

It’s not actually the cosmetics industry that are solely responsible – food, and more recently and even more devastatingly, biodiesel, are eroding forestation dramatically particularly in South East Asia – listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the country with the fastest rate of deforestation in the world. 

Obviously, I care about the wider environmental issues but what I care about most is the animals that lose their lives and their place to live. I’ve seen documentaries with a lone orangutan, horribly burnt and terrified, clinging to the top of a sole surviving tree – it is one of the most heart-breaking images and it is seared on my brain forever. Despite animal groups launching rescue operations, sanctuaries for orangs and campaigning, the palm oil industry is unstoppable. And not every orang is saved; forestry workers aren’t paid to save orangs – they’re paid to bring down trees so there is no kindness, no empathy and certainly no interest in saving them so they are literally slaughtered. The ones who survive – and these are super-intelligent animals, remember – are so traumatised that they can never live a normal life again. If the beauty industry can find no other reason to campaign against and actively turn their backs on the dirty palm oil trade, then there is always that one terrified, injured and utterly alone orangutan in that tree. If that doesn’t prick your conscience then I despair. 

So Acheson & Acheson have proved you can make beauty without palm – cheaply and effectively. If they can, so can you. 

NB: Have just found this listing from HERE that outlines the name that palm oil can be found under in ingredients:

  • PKO – Palm Kernel Oil
  • PKO fractionations: Palm Kernel Stearin (PKs); Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo)
  • PHPKO – Partially hydrogenated Palm Oil
  • FP(K)O – Fractionated Palm Oil
  • OPKO – Organic Palm Kernel Oil
  • Palmitate – Vitamin A or Asorbyl Palmitate (NOTE: Vitamin A Palmitate is a very common ingredient in breakfast cereals and we have confirmed 100% of the samples we’ve investigated to be derived from palm oil)
  • Palmate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (Can also be from coconut)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (can also be from ricinus oil)
  • Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
  • Elaeis Guineensis
  • Glyceryl Stearate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Chemicals which contain palm oil
  • Steareth -2
  • Steareth -20
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm)
  • Hydrated palm glycerides
  • Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
  • Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (names with palmitate at the end are usually derived from palm oil, but as in the case of Vitamin A Palmitate, very rarely a company will use a different vegetable oil)
*Disclaimer: Through research we’ve found that Vitamin A Palmitate can be derived from any combination of vegetable oil such as olive, coconut, canola and/or palm oil. Though in all the cases we’ve documented, companies use palm oil to make derivatives like Vitamin A Palmitate, it can be tricky to know for sure.


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