Spotlight on Sustainability: No More Palm

Posted by Jenna Purcell on

Sustainability has always been important at Palermo. Natural ingredients are the star of our products, and for us, fully appreciating them means respecting and understanding the limited resources they spring from. We aim to craft products that take good care of both our customers and our planet. For the month of April, we are taking some extra time to focus on our sustainability practices. First topic on the list: Palm oil, and why we've decided to no longer use it in our soaps.

Goodbye, Palm

Chances are, you've heard a thing or two about palm oil—it's everywhere. Palm oil is a common ingredient in processed foods, cosmetics, cooking, and soaps. It's affordable, versatile, and healthier than other inexpensive oils, making it incredibly popular. The issue, of course, is that this level of demand is unsustainable. Processing commercial palm involves de-forestation—a destructive practice that destroys air quality, forcibly uproots communities, disrupts delicate eco-systems, and is a major contributor to climate change.

From Palermo's founding, we have been aware of the issues surrounding commercial palm oil, and have always chosen to find sustainable solutions—we have only ever used "certified sustainable" palm oil in our soaps. Sustainable palm comes from companies whose production practices have been certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). However, we understand that it is impossible to ever know for sure if sources are practicing a level of sustainability that we are comfortable with. Many sustainable palm oil practices are reputed to still leave a destructive, unsustainable footprint despite their certification. In the end, we felt the most responsible choice was to remove palm oil from our line entirely.

Hello, Fabulous New Soap!

It's possible we're a little biased, but we believe Palermo soap is THE BEST natural soap on the market. Our formula is specially designed to deliver all the best qualities you look for in a soap. This means taking extra time to focus on the minutiae and chemistry of soap-making, and thinking about the experience we want our soaps to deliver. As a result, our soap is deeply conditioning for all skin types, and uniquely gentle enough to be both a body and facial cleanser. We also make sure it has a powerful lather for a superior cleansing experience, and that each bar of soap is incredibly dense and firm—so it lasts longer and you get the most out of every use. And they are a dream to use—subtly fragrant, effective, gentle, and creative soaps that look great in sinks and showers everywhere. If you couldn't tell, we are incredibly proud of our process, formula, and the spectacular bars we produce.

We love our soaps and our customers do too. Changing a formula that you have come to love, a formula that we hold to such rigorous standards, is daunting. But we love a challenge! And while our original soap performed beautifully, we see this shift as a chance to make our updated soap even better.

As mentioned above, palm oil is a tremendously useful and versatile ingredient. It packs a punch, offering the benefits of numerous soap-making ingredients in one. Specifically, it has an incredibly unique chemical structure of fatty acids that yield firmness (creating a longer-lasting bar), stable lather (for deeper cleansing), and conditioning (ultra-moisturizing). Clearly, it's a super star for soap-making, and it is the only plant-based ingredient on the planet that can deliver all these benefits at once.

Replacing palm would be tricky. It required a deep dive analysis into the oil's complex structure and close research of numerous potential replacement oils. It was imperative that we find a suite of oils that could deliver the high-standard qualities characteristic of a Palermo soap. After identifying the best new oils, Jess and the Production Team tweaked and reformulated percentages to create a bar that not only meets, but surpasses our standards for conditioning, lather, and firmness. Which oils made the final cut? A dreamy blend of Shea butter, sunflower oil, and rice bran oil.

We're committed to staying up-to-date on sustainable practices, and for those considerations to be reflected in everything we do. We are excited about moving forward with a new and improved soap formula that you can feel good about. Our newly formulated soaps will roll out in the coming months as our new batches cure. We can't wait to introduce you to our new soaps—they're gonna be something special!

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