Palmolive Softening Aloe Vera & Chamomile Handwash


Softening Aloe Vera & Chamomile
— Handwash

Palmolive Softening Aloe Vera & Chamomile Handwash  Noema Product Review-3.jpg

The Palmolive Softening Aloe Vera & Chamomile Handwash is at an unbelievable price of $2.99, found in almost all supermarkets and pharmacies across Australia. The product contains only two naturally derived ingredients, Aloe Vera and Chamomile, both labelled at the end of the ingredients list signifying the lack of concentration in the product. At first glance, the ingredients don’t look promising in the slightest, and at the price point noted, we aren’t too surprised.

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Brand integrity

This product claims to be 'Naturally Derived'
What does this mean?

Palmolive Naturals has been an Aussie go-to for years. Stacked on shelves of supermarkets, chemists, pharmacies and 7-elevens alike, this is the most accessible product range on offer. The brand is part of the Colgate-Palmolive group, an international organization that houses many “trusted” household brands.

Palmolive was initially founded in 1864 in USA, through soap, and its equity is now sold in over 88 countries in 54 variants. For an organisation as large as this, there will always be compromises made to the integrity of the product. In saying that, Colgate-Palmolive participate in sustainability practices, through their investment to worldwide sanitary education, commitment to improving the recyclability of their packaging, and consciously reducing their water usage in manufacturing processes. Although bigger organisations aren’t an ideal model of sustainable practice, we can acknowledge these initiatives are more favourable than ignoring the fact.

Palmolive Naturals evokes a sense of wholesomeness and use of natural ingredients via their  Instagram .

Palmolive Naturals evokes a sense of wholesomeness and use of natural ingredients via their Instagram.

First impressions

The scent is subtle and refreshing, with a herbal twist due to the chamomile component. It is a slightly more synthetic fragrance due to the limited amount of herbal ingredients.

The texture is a pearly-coloured gel and forms a thick lather when contacted with water.  

The hand wash leaves hands feeling soft and clean after use, however slightly stripping due to the thickness of the gel.

Palmolive Softening Aloe Vera & Chamomile Handwash

Ingredient watch

read our full Formulation Analysis

The good

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, a soothing, anti-inflammatory plant extract.

Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (Chamomile) is a gentle ingredient in relieving inflammatory skin conditions.

The Questionable

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is commonly used in the cosmetics industry but is considered a moderate hazard by the EWG.

Cocamide MEA, when dermally applied may be associated with toxicity.

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Packaging review

This product uses 3 types of plastic in its packaging and a plastic label.

Bottle: PET- See more about PET and its impact

The Colgate-Palmolive group has committed to 100 percent recyclability of plastic in packaging across all its products by 2025. So far, they have made significant progress for their 2020 goals, and currently 98 percent of the packaging is PVC-free.

They are increasing the recycled content of key packaging materials such as PET, polypropylene, and paper pulp, which are favourable alternatives to other types of plastic, despite still having some concerning properties.

The rate of which these bottles will be recycled however, is still up to the consumer, and having multiple compartments to pump bottles such as metal springs makes it difficult for consumers to do so.


Formulation full analysis

The good

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract is soothing for many skin types, and serves as an anti-inflammatory. It’s incredibly hydrating due its high-water content and includes many rich antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C, as well as active enzymes that nourish the skin surface. Many manufacturers find this ingredient particularly useful in large quantities due to its effectiveness as a skin moisturizer, as well as its ability to cool the skin. Not only is this music to a beach-goer’s ears, but those who naturally hold more heat in their skin will benefit from buying skincare products that use Aloe Vera as a core component. 

Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (Chamomile) is a gentle ingredient in relieving inflammatory skin conditions and helps calm sensitivities. Chamomile provides some antioxidant protection and assists in inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

The Questionable

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) has one job when it comes to hand wash, and that’s to make it foam under the tap. This is the second most potent ingredient in Palmolive Naturals’ Softening Aloe Vera & Chamomile Hand Wash after Water – so we thought it was important to dive into the details. Many studies have reported the dangers of SLS and SLES, in particular skin and eye irritations and organ toxicity. After all, these ingredients are strong enough to cut through grease on motor vehicles, and work by corroding surfaces. Originally these ingredients are derived from coconuts. Manufacturing SLS and SLES means many other chemicals are added to the process, however they can also become contaminated by ethylene oxide, nitrates and 1.4-dioxane, making SLS and SLES toxic and even carcinogenic. As we wash our hands more than once a day, it’s particularly important to check for these ingredients, how much is concentrated within the product, and how often you plan to use it. The over-exposure of these ingredients can cause some incredibly detrimental effects to skin, making it more work and even more expensive to reverse.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is the next ingredient found in this product. This ingredient is used as a surfactant in cosmetic and personal care products, which means it helps clean skin by helping the water to mix with the oil and dirt to be rinsed away. It’s often marked as “natural” as it originally comes from plant oils, however it is a harsh skin and eye irritant, has an overall health concern hazard of moderate” on EWG, and was voted allergen of the year in 2004 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Cocamide MEA is made by mixing fatty acids from coconut oil and monoethanolamine (MEA). This works as a thickener, foaming agent and an emulsifier, to opacity a formulation which would explain the pearly-white colour in this product and enhance the properties of the surfactant. According to the FDA, this ingredient may contain traces of Cocamide DEA, which may lead to carcinogenic nitrosamines. The EWG has labelled the health concerns of Cocamide MEA as ‘moderate’, and the Proposition 65 list has listed ingredients containing amines as having cancer-toxicity.



Did you grow up using Palmolive?

Knowing the correlation between cancer-toxicity and this hand wash would you purchase it anytime soon?

Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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