Beauty Industry’s Sustainable Approach to Water 

The times are a-changing, and the beauty industry is leading the trend in sustainable alternatives.


Scientists predict that two-thirds of the global population may live under water-stressed conditions as early as 2025. While most of the water usage occurs in agriculture, personal care and cosmetics are a growing contributor. Consumers are placing more pressure on brands to create sustainable solutions, and the industry is responding.


Anhydrous Beauty


While the term may be new to most consumers, it refers to products that are free from water. Because cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, and foundations can contain 80 to 90 percent water, old habits are changing. Water, traditionally used as a filler, provided a low price point and made it more profitable to use in the past. Today’s consumers, especially young ones, are willing to pay a higher price and give up the ease of use if the new products help create a sustainable future.


Advantages of Reduced Water in Beauty Products


When companies sell products in more concentrated packages such as beauty bars, there is a reduced need for materials to house them, and reduced demand for plastics that make up the packaging. Waterless formulas are lighter in weight than traditional products, and the smaller packaging translates to less space and less fuel for shipping. Companies can pack a water-free cosmetic in compostable materials or choose to sell it naked. The individual consumer can relax about the three-ounce rule when traveling through airport security with a waterless beauty product.


Benefits of Powders and Oils Over Water


There are skincare benefits when powders, exfoliators, and facemasks eliminate water. Vitamin C deteriorates over time in water, whereas powder keeps it naturally preserved. The use of water-free cosmetics reduces the need for preservatives, a leading cause of skin irritation.


The minerals and metals in water can strip the skin, even though the industry markets it as a hydrate. Soothing botanicals, natural oils, fruit waters, and butters provide innovative and effective alternatives, and the aromas and feel of these new ingredients make the change easy for consumers.


New Products Emerging


Creative alternatives are showing up online and in retail centers across the country. The pleasing and natural ingredients are keeping consumers fascinated with each new product.


  • Makeup and lipsticks created using fruit and plant oils such as coconut, jojoba, and strawberry
  • A cleanser powder containing coconut to cleanse, aloe vera to soothe, and matcha to purify which consumers can activate at home with water from their tap.
  • A hydrating shampoo bar, which contains nourishing fruit oils.


When consumers believe they can elicit change, and the beauty industry leads with products to address this change, a sustainable future is possible.