Let’s talk about waterless beauty! How often do you look at your ingredients list and notice that the first ingredient of it is Aqua/Water? I imagine that it is quite often, as it’s often a primary ingredient in creams, lotions etc.

Water is very often used as a filler in skincare, sometimes making up to 90% of the formulation. This alone, with the sheer number of products being created, is having an impact on the amount of water wasted across the world. Out question is: is all this water really needed for a product?

Let’s talk about water in beauty and how removing it from beauty products could make a big difference in saving our environment.

In a study by UNDESA, it is said that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries with absolute water scarcity, while two-thirds of the world’s population might be living under water-stressed conditions. These are quite terrifying statistics. The beauty industry is certainly not blameless in this statistic – and waterless beauty could be one step towards making a change.

Why Waterless Beauty?

Water is often used as a filler in products and therefore does not give any additional benefits to the users.

Not only could waterless products be better on the environment as less water is being used, it could also make products more eco-friendly. Let’s face it: water is a fairly cheap filler ingredient and this often allows brands to therefore use less of their expensive actives and sell the product at a cheaper price. Without water in a product, you’re left with a more concentrated and often more powerful product. So, what could this mean in the future if more brands do this? Smaller, more concentrated formulations sold in more compact packages, which is better for the environment.

In many cases by removing water in formulas, it not only increases the potency of the other ingredients in it, but it also means that products may not need preservatives as water is what causes the bacteria to form. This would lead to cleaner, less inflammatory formulas that have a longer shelf life. Vitamin C serums also benefits from waterless formulas for example.  Water can make the notoriously unstable vitamin less effective and less stable when combined.

Just because it’s not diluted with water doesn’t mean a product can’t be substituted with another affordable filler, or a nutrient rich alternative, as you’ll find out more about from Henua. You should also be aware that you may find that the texture of some waterless products are slightly different than usual.  Water often plays the part of making a product easier to apply and easier to absorb – sometimes giving the product that sort of slip.

There’s certainly more to discuss in regards to waterless products, but we certainly think it’s something we’re going to see more of, not only to save the planet but to lead to lesser packaging for products and more stable, concentrated and more effective products. Brands are starting to move toward saving water – in fact, L’Oreal has pledged to reduce its water consumption by a whopping 60% (per finished product unit) by next year while other brands are formulating products with zero, or minimal, water and those that can be used without (or with less) water.

Here are some brands that are leading the way with Waterless Beauty:  

True Skincare Waterless Skincare

We’ve been testing out a Cleansing Oil and Facial Oil from True Skincare. Here’s what Emma, founder of True Skincare has to say about Waterless Beauty:

A typical moisturiser can contain up to 80% water in its formulations as it is often used as a bulking agent. With the absence of water in our formulations, not only are we trying to preserve one of the world’s vital resources, but by not using artificial preservatives which are essential in water-based formulations, we’ve also avoided using harmful chemicals which can end up spiralling down our drains and into the very element which makes up your typical moisturiser. It’s no secret that we are a growing population, but with only so much water in the world, demand is outgrowing supply. Furthermore, by not using water, it allows us to fill our products to the brim with carefully selected, sustainable ingredients to benefit the skin.-Emma Thornton – founder of TRUE Skincare

Certified Organic Clarifying Safflower & Geranium Cleansing Oil

This has a beautiful scent to it and the packaging feels very luxe, particularly for the price tag! I wouldn’t use it to remove eye makeup, but it doesn’t irritate the eye area at all which is nice and can be used on the eyes. It lifts makeup and grime easily and feels nice on the skin.

Key ingredients:

  • Safflower: rich in Linoleic Acid, an omega-6, locks moisture into the skin whilst helping to unclog pores.
  • Geranium and Jojoba: tones, calms and nourishes the skin.

Great for normal to oily skin.

Find out more about the cleansing oil for £12 from Boots

Certified Organic Rehydrating Rosehip & Rosemary Facial Oil

This is a lovely facial oil to help nourish the skin and seal in moisture. It is quite light in texture and sinks into the skin, giving you a beautiful glow without feeling oily.  If you’re sensitive to fragrance or essential oils, this might be one to avoid. I personally really love the scent – the rosemary is beautiful and clean.

Key ingredients

  • Organic Rosehip seed oil: rich in linoleic acid, vitamin a, antioxidants to even brighten and hydrate the skin.
  • Organic sunflower seed oil: rich in vitamin e for smooth, supple skin.
  • Organic frankincense oil: protects skin cells whilst reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Fab for dehydrated skin.

Buy the facial oil from £13.50 from Boots

Pinch of Colour Waterless Beauty

Pinch of Colour have a vision to change peoples perspectives.  They also partner with a lot of charities and events talking about water scarcity, with a mission to conserve precious water for drinking, something we will be talking about in more depth in another post about the brand. For now, we asked for a quote from the founder Linda about what the importance of Waterless beauty is, have a look:

“Waterless beauty for me means water-free formulas, or to be less wasteful with water, when manufacturing our products. It means replacing precious fresh water with plant-derived oils and botanical butters. It also means most products can be formulated without the preservatives, including parabens, that are used to fight bacteria in water-based formulas. I’m excited to say that this approach to beauty doesn’t compromise on quality or luxury; on the contrary, it allows us to create beautiful, long-wearing formulas that are very efficacious due to the high amounts of concentrated ingredients.

As a beauty company we work towards creating sustainable water solutions for communities around the world. Through our own Blue Angel Charity, we partner with other local water NGOs to create and sponsor water programs and initiatives that bring clean water and sanitation in under developing countries.” – Linda at Pinch of Colour

The Waterless Tint

I was excited to try this makeup product from the brand as it’s something that would usually include some kind of water in the formulation. As this product is of course waterless, I wanted to see what the texture and formulation was like and how it performed.

As it doesn’t have any water in the product, it’s a little more of a concentrated formula.tint

I have to say: it doesn’t feel dry at all, it has a good slip on the skin and a richness that must come from the shea butter. It’s closer to a foundation than something like a tinted moisturiser as it does have a thicker consistency.

I used the little brush that came on the other side of the tint, but I found that I preferred using a sponge.  It has nice light coverage just to even your skin out and gives your skin a subtle glow.

It feels nice on the skin without feeling heavy or greasy.

One thing I will say is that I would like them to bring out a few more shades.

Key ingredients

  • Honey Extract: to soothe the skin
  • Shea Butter: hydrates and adds luminosity

Check out the tint for £30 from Fenwick

Henua Organics

Henua Organics offers a premium natural skincare line in its purest form, containing organic and only active ingredients, using birch sap instead of water.

“At Henua, we don’t use plain water in our skincare. According to WWF no later than in a year of 2025 two third of a population of the world is suffering from the lack of clean drinking water, so cosmetic Industry should consider this serious issue while developing new products. We have replaced regular water in our products with e.g. natural Finnish birch sap. This nutrient and vitamin rich elixir is at the heart of our skincare philosophy of utilising only the most potent natural ingredients. So not using plain water is not only ecological but also very beneficial for the skin.” – Jenni at Henua Beauty

Energising Body Lotion

This Luxurious body lotion feels deeply nourishing and nurturing went on the skin it’s designed to be energising and feels cool on the skin: it has a gorgeous soft  but uplifting scent  of lemongrass Essential oil and the ingredients include sea buckthorn and birch sap to provide hydration, promote elasticity and regeneration. It also boasts therapeutic benefits thanks to the inclusion of cornflower to help reduce swelling. Easily a new addiction.

Discover the Henua Energising Body Lotion from Henua