Waterless Beauty: What It Means and Why You Should Try It

Natural ingredients, cruelty-free products, and reusable packaging are all great ways to reduce the environmental impact of your hair and skin care products. But this is just one part of the equation. After all, the cosmetics industry is heavily dependent on an increasingly uncertain resource.

A growing trend, waterless beauty means incorporating water-free products into your beauty routine. Reducing water consumption in personal care has gained momentum in recent years, as the harmful effects of climate change become abundantly clear.

The beauty industry has already made great strides in reducing plastics and eliminating harmful chemicals, but the use of water leaves much to be desired.

Instead of attempting to hydrate your skin or hair with diluted and water-filled products, consider some equally effective alternatives that rely on luxurious powders and oils. Both your skin and the environment will thank you.

Ready to dive into the world of waterless beauty? Here’s what you need to know.

What is waterless beauty?

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Traditionally, waterless beauty refers to products that do not contain water. The practice originated in Korea, more for the benefit of the skin rather than a conservation effort. By removing what often serves as a filler ingredient, healing oils such as coconut, jojoba and argan can treat your hair and skin more effectively.

More recently, entire beauty brands have emerged based on this waterless concept such as Loli Beauty and Waterless Hair products.

While beauty treatments that don’t require washing off with water are beneficial to the planet, that’s not what most “waterless beauty” labels mean.

Why go waterless?

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Let’s start with some personal benefits. Waterless products are more compact than products that contain water, as there is less total volume. This means releasing water from your hair and skin care products makes them lighter and smaller to stash in your suitcase—not to mention, they require less packaging and consume less carbon to ship. .

Waterless products also have a longer shelf-life, making them more economical over time than their waterless counterparts.

If eliminating water from your beauty routine seems too extreme, think about the number of times you use water to wash your face, rinse your hair, or remove makeup, not to mention all but water. It’s sometimes listed on the ingredient label as “aqua”—already in your favorite shampoos, lotions, and creams.

Given these grim facts, it may be time to try waterless beauty products. But it is not really an act of sacrifice; Waterless beauty can really enhance your skin and hair with concentrated ingredients that aren’t diluted with water. The following products are an easy place to start.

waterless shampoo

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When it comes to waterless shampoo, look to zero-waste brands like Everist, which comes as a paste and activates when it comes into contact with your shower water. Shampoo powders, such as those manufactured by Sustau, act in a similar way. And for people on the go, TrendHunter’s waterless hygiene travel kit includes essentials.

Perhaps the most popular waterless shampoo option is dry shampoo, which can come as a spray, powder, or foam that you mist or dust onto your hair. Dry shampoo absorbs excess oil and residue. You simply apply it to your hair and then brush, comb and style as usual.

The most popular dry shampoo brands are used among regular shampooers to give body a body to the hair and keep it from looking oily and dry. You can easily make your own DIY dry shampoo with a few natural ingredients and even personalize it to match your hair color.

A different option, solid shampoos and conditioners obviously require water to wash off, but they’re still a great option for minimizing your effects. In addition to benefits for your hair, shampoo bars help eliminate plastic waste and reduce water usage. And the shampoo and conditioner bars are perfect for travel—no big bottles to lug around inside a suitcase and no worries about spillage.

The SuperZero brand offers an excellent zero-waste version that is specially formulated to match salon-grade products, only with no water. As the company’s co-founders explain, “The beauty industry has drawn with water for decades because water is cheap, bottled water is very profitable to ship, and plastic bottles create a nice large footprint on the shelf, which helps because consumers have been educated for a long time that ‘bigger is better’ – which we clearly disagree with.”

You can also make your own at home by following our four recipes for eco-friendly shampoo bars for every hair type.

waterless cleanser

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Along with shampoo, a variety of waterless face and body cleansers are available, including non-rinse and oil-based options. Even more innovative are the 100% waterless body wash capsules manufactured by companies like Haekels. Similar to powder shampoo, cleansing powder is a great way to achieve clear skin without excessive water consumption.

When thinking of completely waterless skin care, masks and moisturizers also come into play. For an easy water-free alternative, consider applying aloe vera gel. As a moisturizer after cleansing your face. For quick, on-the-go skin care, Alleup’s waterless cleansing wand can remove makeup and dirt in a pinch.

Finally, a great DIY option for skin care is this luscious vanilla body butter. With just four ingredients—you guessed it; There’s no water whatsoever—cocoa butter and plant-based oils can hydrate your skin at full strength.

waterless makeup

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Waterless cosmetics are surprisingly easy to find, and you likely already have some of these products in your makeup bag.

Mineral foundations, powder blushes, and oil-based serums all have cleansing water on their ingredients list. But if your makeup could use an eco-friendly and waterless refresh, Vapor makes a waterless wand that can be easily applied to lips, cheeks, or eyes for a pigmented look.

One of the more innovative products available, reusable blush papers remove dirt and oil while adding a pinch of color to your cheeks. These blush papers are recyclable and also biodegradable.