The Guide > Personal Care > Hair Care > Shampoo
Palm oil is found in roughly 50 per cent of all packaged products on supermarket shelves including shampoos, baking oil, chocolate, cosmetics, chips, cookies, margarine and soaps.

Unfortunately, not only does palm oil promote heart disease, but the vast plantations that grow oil palm trees have contributed to the destruction of the rainforest of South East Asia and threaten the survival of animals such as the Orangutan in Borneo, the Sumatran tiger, and Asian rhinoceros. Additionally, burning after deforestation accounts for significant greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, it has recently been deemed a potential saviour as a renewable resource for use as a biofuel.
  • Palm oil may be in a product but labelled simply as 'vegetable oil'. An indicator however is if the nutritional panel lists saturated fat and it's higher than 50%, and yet there no animal fat listed as an ingredient, there is likely to be palm kernel oil, palm oil or coconut oil, as a component of 'vegetable oil' (most likely to be palm). See the various names for palm oil Palm Oil Investigations
  • For a list of branded products that do not contain palm oil, see the 'Helping you buy responsibly' section on the Borneo Orangutan Survival website. Borneo Orangutan Survival
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is the foaming agent commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, and toothpastes. It's also found in industrial products including engine degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. Although used in low concentrations in bodycare products, it ends up on the most sensitive areas of our bodies almost every day. It is well known in the scientific community as a common skin irritant. In stripping away oil and drying the skin's surface, it reduces the skin's ability to effectively regulate moisture, and increases the skin's absorption of certain other chemicals such as preservatives, fragrances and colour additives. It's used in our products primarily because it's cheap, often derived from palm oil. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is the alcohol form of SLS. It is slightly less irritating than SLS, but may cause more drying. There is mixed opinion as to whether SLS and SLES are carcinogenic (cancer causing), however, it is possible both may be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which is a probable carcinogen.
  • Avoid if you have sensitive skin. Read the product label and seek and alternative product without SLS, where possible. (i.e. ammonium lauryl sulfate as a surfactant).
  • Seek out products that claim to be 1,4 dioxane free or SLS/SLES free.
Features: B Corporation, plastic free, vegan, cruelty free, palm oil free
Ethique is an ethical beauty business from New Zealand. They produce beauty products in concentrated bar form, rather than as a liquid in a plastic bottle.
Manufacturer: Ethique
Features: B Corporation, vegan, cruelty free, 50% of profits support clean water initiatives
Who Gives A Crap launched their Good Time hair and body care bar in 2022. Who Gives A Crap is B-Corp certified and donates 50% of profits to support clean water initiatives.
Manufacturer: Who Gives a Crap
Features: Certified organic, cruelty free, Australian owned, carbon neutral
Miessence has an extensive range of certified organic products for skin, hair, body, cosmetic and oral. Available online.
Manufacturer: Miessence
Features: 100% Australian owned & made, cruelty free, palm oil free
Australian owned & made solid shampoo, conditioner, face wash and body bars. Vegan & cruelty-free (accreditation pending), palm oil free (certified by Orangutan Alliance), SLS-free, plastic-free packaging. 10% of profits donated to ocean cleanup organisation Tangaroa Blue.
Manufacturer: NueBar
Features: 100% Australian owned & made, cruelty free, plant-based, non-toxic
Founded in 1989, Tri Nature's award winning range of eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products are Australian-owned and made, plant-based, accredited cruelty free, grey water safe and free of nasty chemicals.
Manufacturer: Tri Nature
Find farmers' markets, food coops, farm gate products at Local Harvest
Company Ratings
A Praises, no criticism
B Some praise, no criticism
? No rating
C Praises, some criticism
D Criticism, some praise
F Criticisms
Note: Ratings are based on company record, including parent companies. They are not a comment on the product itself.
> More about ratings
Australian Owned
Outstanding product feature