Here's a scary fact: by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live in countries with absolute water scarcity, while two-thirds of the world's population may live under water-stressed conditions. Considering water is crucial to maintaining life on earth, it is important that we try everything to preserve it, right?
The beauty industry thinks so. In the last few years, beauty companies with big names have included L & # 39; Oréal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble have made it their mission to significantly reduce water use in an effort to conserve this endangered and vital natural resource. While these big beauty companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing water consumption, other, smaller brands are boycotting water use entirely by creating completely waterless formulas. & # 39; & # 39; Waterless & # 39;, & # 39; anhydrous & # 39; or & # 39; anhydrous & # 39; refers to water-free products and uses soothing botanicals and nourishing oils instead of creating more powerful solutions while reducing the need for preservatives and unnecessary fillers, "says Kili Anderson, co-founder of Skin and Senses.
According to Tina Hedges, founder of Loli, most skin and body products contain anywhere between 80 and 95% water, while hair shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and even face tails can contain up to 95 to 97% water. "Just turn around any beauty product and look at the ingredient label – if you find the word & # 39; aqua & # 39; as the first ingredient, it most likely means the product is mostly water," Hedges says.
This means that the products, and the active ingredients that the brand markets to consumers, are mostly diluted and therefore less effective. "And because you have water that bacteria can easily breed, the product probably contains chemical preservatives and many other synthetics to give different textures, colors and flavors," explains Hedges.
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Using water as a filler is a low cost for businesses, but a high cost for the health of the planet: "Since water is a fairly cheap ingredient and can serve as a filler, it can allow beauty businesses to use less expensive, more active ingredients and sell the product at a cheaper price, "Hedges says." For a waterless brand like Loli, it is more expensive to opt for high concentrations of potent organic ingredients. "
The more water a product contains, the more preservatives it needs to inhibit bacterial growth. Parabens are preservatives used in skin care, body care, cosmetics and many other products, and help to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Although "parabens gives products a longer, more stable shelf life, it is (also) associated with many illnesses and health problems," says Anderson. "By removing water, we don't have to use preservatives."
Without water, beauty products will be less likely to have bacterial growth problems, which means they will also last longer. "The absence of water from a formulation can increase the stability of the shelf, especially from a product consisting of natural ingredients that are mostly formulated with water," says Kailey Bradt, founder and executive head of OWA Haircare. & # 39; Moisture, however, is a breeding ground for fungal, yeast, and gram-positive and negative bacteria, which a user cannot see, and since consumers ask little to no preservatives in formulations , it is difficult to give an all-encompassing statement that a waterless beauty product will last longer. "
The concentration of waterless beauty products is objectionable and takes into account its longevity, and may actually be better for skin and hair than for traditional products. "& # 39; A waterless beauty product is more concentrated and, in most cases, more powerful," said Carter + Jane co-founder Susan Carter. "The overuse of water … can really dry the skin by removing (its) natural oils – drinking water is an excellent way to keep the skin hydrated, but you don't need it in your products . "
Hedges agree, noting that water-based products often remove the protective natural oils from the skin when the water evaporates. "Then you are left with all the synthetic emulsifiers, chemical dyes, toxic scents and preservatives that are added to your water-based skincare, and your skin becomes sensitive, red, inflamed, flaky and may even start to break out," she says.
Switching to waterless beauty can be an uninhabited territory for many, and while it may take some time to adjust, it can also help reduce users' carbon footprints. Because the products are sold in more concentrated, compact packaging, this can significantly reduce the amount of material needed to house them (read: much less plastic!). What's more, shipping waterless formulas (which have a lighter weight than their water-filled counterparts) requires less space and therefore less fuel. It is these apparent fringe benefits that have the potential to make a real impact.
"Like any new routine, it takes time to get used to a new way of thinking or doing something," Hedges explains. & # 39; We have, for example, been given some tranquil cleaning with disposable towels (it ends up in landfills!), Or are content with our millennial pink, water-based soap cleaner that is overpacked in plastic. & # 39;
Getting waterless means being comfortable with global conservation. "With something like a powder face mask, there is more work on the end of the user than dipping fingers in a jar and wiping a mask on their face – it should 39, get a bowl, add water or other liquid ingredients and put on the mask before use, "says Bradt. "It may be inconvenient, but you can look at it as if you're cooking a meal at home with fresh ingredients, and grab some prepackaged snacks from the cupboard."
As we began to see a surge in water conservation in the beauty industry, every expert I spoke to agreed that it was not just a greed. "Waterless beauty is the future, it's not a trend. I see waterless beauty is the new norm," says Bradt. "We are seeing the fall of fast fashion, and we will see the same drop in fast beauty as consumers want high quality products that are sustainable and make a tangible difference in their routines."
Rex Chou, founder of Ghost Democracy Skincare, agrees, but warns to watch out for "water replacements." "The future is bright for waterless beauty, as long as other proven active ingredients are involved," he says. "Waterless beauty that replaces water as a base with & # 39; cucumber water or other infusions that have no proven effect is just as detrimental to the industry as alternatives to overpriced."
Serums, perfumes, toothpastes, face masks, mouthwashes and conditioners are just some of the beauty categories that experts say will become waterless over the next few years. "The waterless beauty revolution will only take place if brands create easy-to-use products, as well as water-filled (consumer) products," Bradt says. "We ask product makers to rethink everything they think about formulating a product, and to completely rethink their product development process."
For those who want to eliminate excessive use of water from their beauty routines, there are a few simple ways to get started: choose oil-based products over water-based, and choose as long as possible to use solids or powders. "In my personal life, I try to turn off the water tap when I brush my teeth, cut into showers, wash my hair less frequently and style, use soap and waterless products instead of liquid products containing water, and I recycle too," says Linda Treska, founder of Pinch of Color. "Nothing will change overnight, but every effort brings us closer to a more eco-conscious way of life, and our efforts will guarantee a better future for our children."
Ready to test the waterless beauty water? Check out some of our favorite choices below.
OWA Haircare Moondust Collection Hair Wash, $ 29, available here.& nbsp; & # 39; A little goes a long way when it comes to this water-activated powder shampoo. Wet your hands, sprinkle the powder on your hand paper, rub the hands together a bit to activate, and then begin massaging it into the scalp. & Nbsp;
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Carter + Jane The Everything Oil, $ 128, available here. & Nbsp;Carter + Jane contains organic sweet almond oil, avocado oil and aloe vera. It contains everything good, including brightening, improving skin structure, promoting collagen, hydrating, anti-aging, reducing dark spots and acne scars and pores & nbsp.
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Ghost Democracy Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum, $ 34, available here. "By choosing to go waterless, though more expensive, we oxidize or tan our light bulb vitamin C serum, and retain its maximum power and stability to provide these end-user skin benefits without losing efficiency," says Chou .
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Kate McLeod Daily Body Stone, $ 45, available here.& nbsp; This solid moisturizing stone melts during contact with rose, incense and neroli oils to soften the skin.
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Loli Beauty Match Coconut Paste, $ 38, available here. & Nbsp;Thanks to the matcha, chlorophyll and coconut milk, this face mask works wonders in combating acne and minimizing pores – just add water.
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Pinch of honey color glowing waterless balm, $ 35, available here.& nbsp; The waterless balm is the perfect sunlight for any skin tone. It is packed with honey, shea butter, camellia oil and vitamin E to moisturize, while adding a soft sheen to the high points of the face. & nbsp;
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