Why Waterless Products Are Making Waves in the Beauty Industry

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waterless beauty
Photo: Courtesy of @marieb.photography

When it comes to the latest in beauty innovation, nowhere on the planet can compete with South Korea. The country that brought us serum-infused sheet masks, skin-loving essences, pimple patches, and powerful ampoules, it’s constantly paving the way towards more effective beauty products and revolutionary ingredients.

But the new K-Beauty trend that Savoir Flair is embracing in honor of World Water Day isn’t about what to use more of. Instead, it’s about what to use less of or eliminate completely. The ingredient in question? Water. Less water translates to more potent, more effective ingredients that give our beauty buys more bang for their buck and make our skincare routines more eco-friendly – win-win.

waterless beauty skincare makeup
Photo: Courtesy of @marieb.photography

The average person in the Western world consumes upwards of 140 liters of water a day, but with our global population said to hit 10.2 billion people by 2050, the world’s demand for water is set to drastically outpace supply. In fact, The World Wildlife Fund predicts that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population could face a H2O shortage. So, if there was ever a time to turn off the tap to water-filled beauty, it’s now.

And whilst waterless products are already being championed by brands such as Lush and Pinch of Colour (the world’s first completely water-free makeup brand), the concept is making waves – excuse the pun – in the industry thanks to new developments in solid, powdered, and dissolvable products and formulas made sans aqua. Take away the water, and you also take away the need for huge amounts of plastic packaging. Why? Because they can be turned into solid products, like shampoo bars. Even beauty giants like L’Oréal pledged to reduce water usage by 60 percent last year.

lush naked waterless beauty
Photo: Courtesy of @twygmag⁠

Not only is this trend great for the globe, but it’s also good news for our skin. The average cream or lotion is made up of 70 percent water (some up to 90 percent), which means there’s little room for any actual beautifying ingredients. Also look out for the word ‘aqua’ or ‘eau’ on the ingredients label – they’re just fancy ways of saying water.

No water means no preservatives (sensitive skins, rejoice), less dryness (the water used can actually dry out skin), concentrated formulas (read: you use less), and fewer chemicals and plastic packaging. Plus, they keep your products travel-friendly, taking some stress out of packing – which is always a bonus. It’s time to say no to H2O in your beauty bags.

Solid Shampoos

As Lush’s Product Inventor Alessandro Commisso revealed to Goodness, “When you remove the water or minimize it, you remove the preservatives [because they are there to make sure there’s no interaction between the water and the oils] and you get the most concentrated formula possible. For example, with our shampoo bars, one little bar is the same as three bottles of shampoo – because there is no water! And no water means no bottle, no preservatives, lower transportation costs [one small item is being transported rather than three big bottles], and it means no recycling cost, no waste, and when it’s gone, it’s gone!” So, make the switch and ditch your bottles for these lock-loving bars.

Waterless Skincare

From clever cleansing balms to solid toners, beautifying bars, and even water-free exfoliators – the world of waterless skincare is as all-encompassing as it is impressive. Sheet-mask aficionados need not panic because there are even H2O-free face masks that work just as well – if not better – as their water-drenched counterparts. Take Charlotte Tilbury’s best-selling ‘Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask’ as an example. It’s infused with droplets of oils, peptides, and botanical extracts to boost hydration and glow in just 15 minutes.

Another waterless wonder? Aesop’s ‘Remove’, which gently cleanses away all traces of makeup and grime without a drop of water in sight. We’re also obsessed with Drunk Elephant’s ‘Juju Bar’, a solid cleanser that deeply exfoliates, detoxifies, and nourishes. You’ll wonder why you didn’t go water-free sooner.

No H20 Makeup

Although more challenging to find, there are more and more makeup products emerging that shun H2O in favor of nourishing oils and skin-loving ingredients. As Linda Treska of Pinch of Colour says, “We know that water is best used as a vital natural resource. And because when we formulate products without water, we can use soothing botanicals, hydrating natural oils, and skin-loving fruit butters in its place.” Makeup that looks after our skin and the planet? Sign us up.

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