Waterless beauty products are one of this year’s trendiest buys, and many promise to deliver the goods without plastic packaging. Water has typically been used as an inexpensive filler in some formulas to make products easier to apply, but many beauty brands are beginning to ditch the water to help reduce the need for plastic packaging. Manufacturers are then able to use recyclable boxes or metal tins for smaller, lighter packages that reduce environmental impact, and cost less to ship. Does losing water content diminish the effectiveness of products, though?
“No water? No problem,” say beauty brands. Removing water, which makes up about 70 to 80 percent of most skin-care formulas, leaves behind the active ingredients that make the most impact. Waterless formulation produces bar shampoos and conditioners that leave hair soft and supple, and toothpaste tablets that beautifully polish teeth and freshen breath. Products that don’t come in liquid form require surprisingly small amounts of water to be effective. Chew a toothpaste tablet and you’ll produce foam. Rub a moisturizer bar, and the warmth of your skin melts hydrating oils that will soothe chapped hands.
Simplicity and Sustainability Drive The Demand
The appeal of these new waterless formulas can be traced to consumer desire for simpler beauty routines and more sustainable options. Amy Jargo, global beauty buyer at Whole Foods Market, says product trends are reflecting a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Customers are looking to streamline their beauty routines, while also seeking out brands that align with their values, like those that limit their environmental impact with waterless and upcycled products,” says Jargo.
The increasing demand for streamlined beauty is expected to continue. The Harris Poll recently conducted an online survey for Whole Foods Market and found that 85 percent of those who pared down beauty routines during the past year plan to continue simplifying. The survey found that buyers are interested in what is going into their beauty products and some 57 percent of those surveyed wanted to learn more about the ingredients.
If you’re ready to dip into the waterless pool of beauty products, here are a few to check out.
Ethique Solid Shampoo Bar, ($16, shop here)
Switching to just one bar of Ethique Solid Shampoo saves about a liter of water. This solid shampoo is the equivalent of three bottles of regular shampoo, and is perfect for normal-to-dry hair that’s seen a little too much heat styling or ocean dipping. Cocoa butter, peppermint oil, and coconut oil give your hair the TLC it needs.
hello Antiplaque with Whitening Toothpaste Tablets, ($17.98, shop here)
Super refreshing, whitening toothpaste in tablet form is flavored with real, farm-grown peppermint for gentle daily whitening. These tablets remove surface stains and plaque while crushing tartar and freshening breath.
Bawdy Beauty The Bawdy Wash, ($30, shop here)
Trade in five traditional bottles of body wash for this powder-to-foam body cleanser that’s rich in nutrients such as seaweed and kaolin, to nourish and hydrate the skin. Just add water and lather up!
J·R·LIGGETT’S All-Natural Shampoo Bar ($24.99, shop here)
This vegan shampoo bar promotes a radiant, healthy shine that’s never greasy, so much so that may find you no longer need a conditioner. Each bar is approximately the equivalent of 24 ounces of liquid shampoo. A blend of olive, coconut, and castor oils nourish with antioxidants and Vitamins A, B, and E to rejuvenate dull hair.
Peach Strengthening Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Set, ($22.95, shop here)
This strengthening shampoo bar lasts as long as two 8.5-ounce bottles of shampoo, and comes in 100 percent recycled, FSC-certified paperboard packaging. The frizz-fighting formula is infused with nourishing monoi oil to improve hair elasticity. Coconut oil and shea butter deeply hydrate, detangle, and soften hair.
Moon Valley Organics Herbal Lotion Bar – Lavender, ($11.99, shop here)
Your body’s heat will melt the bar to soothe and restore dry, chapped skin. The beeswax formula naturally seals in moisture twice as long as water-based moisturizers. The decadent, lavender-scented moisturizer draws healing power from the natural anti-inflammatory properties of calendula and comfrey herbs.
Susteau Moondust Hair Conditioner, ($29, shop here)
This powder-to-liquid hair conditioner detangles and moisturizes hair with hints of ylang ylang, geranium, black currant, and clove. It leaves hair soft and manageable without weighing down strands. One bottle is the equivalent of four bottles of an 8 oz liquid conditioner.