Palm Oil-no joking matter

Yesterday I made Gardeners Soap, a good hard soap that has pumice and cornmeal added to help it be nice and scrubby for those times when you’ve got dirt ground in. Perhaps maybe after working on a car or painting an art project, even. It’s good stuff. Now it’s spread out on a rack, curing into bars to use or sell.


Gardeners Soap, like most of the soaps I make, comes from a basic soap recipe that is a combination of 4-5 oils. The primary two are always coconut oil and lard or tallow. I prefer lard because it doesn’t require any rendering or extra trips to the butcher to acquire fat to render, however, I have plans soon to visit a grass fed organic ranch in a nearby town and pick up a large quantity of fat scraps to render out for tallow, which gives me even more control over the purity of what I use in my products. After coconut oil and lard, I use olive and castor oils, and occasionally a “luxury” oil like avocado or shea butter. That, my friends, is my super secret soap recipe. If you want I’ll get you the ratios.

Marie of Humblebee and Me has a great post about all the “whys” it’s appropriate and acceptable to use lard and tallow in soaps and beauty products, starting with environmental concerns over the use of palm kernel oil and ending with the very realistic and reasonable view that these animals have already been sacrificed for food, so using every damn part of them possible is only the right thing to do. If she, as a vegetarian, can get behind that logic, you can imagine how I, as a omnivorous Native person, feels about it. You can read her blog post here.

I understand that a lot of people will argue both that there are concerns with coconut oil production (I agree, and I’m watching that) or that there is now sustainable palm kernel oil so I can stop using meat by-products. Here’s an article about so-called sustainable pko: it’s not really sustainable. Big surprise.

It’s also in everything. Processed food, “vegetable” oil, margarine, cosmetics, hair color, sodium laurel sulfate (the surfactant in your everyday shampoo), etc.; it seems like it’s all derived from palm kernel oil. Do yourself, your body, and the environment a favor and educate yourself. Then buy a bar of real soap, and a eventually a shampoo bar. Including me, there are plenty of people on Etsy who will sell you something crafted with care and love for what we do. I’m even going to play with a 100% vegetable sourced bar soon, for my vegan friends. But for now, my soaps will continue to utilize traditional ingredients and be more environmentally friendly than palm kernel oil.


#diybeauty #diyhealth #soap #soaping #gardenerssoap #coldprocesssoap #palmoil #tallowsoap #lardsoap


Author: scseery

Soap, bath and beauty, jams and jellies, and unique upcycled gifts. That's what I make and talk about here. A lot.

2 thoughts on “Palm Oil-no joking matter”

    1. Apologies! I fixed it. Thanks for the compliment. You’ll notice I carefully didn’t take a picture of the other end, where the last two slices are uneven and too thin. Ah, never can get’em all. 😉


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