A Substitute for Palm Oil

In the article Palm Oil Soap Making, which was previously published on this site, the benefits of using this ingredient and what it can do for your soap were discussed. Following the discussion, a recipe for soap using palm oil was also given. The article was written prior to the now highly publicized facts about how the farming of palms for the harvesting of palm oil and palm kernel oil have wrecked ecosystems and have impacted the global environment. As a result, a substitute for palm oil is being widely sought.

The global demand for palm oil increased when it was discovered that it is a healthy oil. It was also found to be a good bio-fuel, and a great oil for soap making. As a result of the demand, countries like Indonesia and Malaysia began growing palm oil, using existing agricultural land as well as clearing areas of rainforest and peat bog to grow the crop. This, however, greatly affected the ecosystems that had once supported some endangered species. It also affected the level of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere, and caused a food shortage for the people in the area due to the fact that the agricultural sector shifted its focus to another crop.

Since the reports have surfaced, many environmentally conscious individuals have chosen not to purchase or support the product. This does mean, however, that a substitute for palm oil is needed. Luckily, they have been found.

In the field of soap making, there are several ingredients that can serve as a substitute for palm oil or palm kernel oil. Like the ingredient they are trying to replace, these substitutes are high in their fatty acid content or saturated fats, which is what made palm oil so desirable in the first place. They are listed below:

For palm oil:
Beef tallow
Cocoa butter
Kokum butter
Mango butter
Olive wax
Shea butter
Sheep tallow

For palm kernel oil:
Coconut oil

It is important to note that the above ingredients will not behave exactly like palm oil and it will take some experimenting to acquire the results once acquired from palm oil. However, none of these ingredients have the same environmental impact as the now infamous ingredient. Soap makers should start with the butters if they have never worked with tallow or lard, and practice on some soap recipes that use these two ingredients before using them as a substitute for palm oil.