The water-free beauty movement

The water-free beauty movement
By Lydia House
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We can no longer take it for granted, and smart cosmetic brands know it.


While we make positive moves to reduce the amount of plastic we use, the one commodity we constantly take for granted and waste is water.

Shockingly, the UN predicts that by 2025, 5.7 billion people will live in a water scarce area and with a rapidly growing global population, demand for water is expected to increase by nearly one-third by 2050 - meaning that we can no longer take it for granted, and something needs to change, fast.

How can we use less water?

The obvious action is to take less time showering and to turn off the tap whilst brushing our teeth, but there are also other ways to cut back, and your beauty regime is a great place to start.

When used in cosmetics, water is often used as a cheap filler to bulk out beauty cleansers and creams and up the volume. It can also facilitate bacteria, so removing it from our favourite products means the shelf life can be lengthened and preservatives like parabens, (which can be harmful to our skin), are no longer needed.

Plus, another beauty benefit is that most water free formulations are actually creamier and more luxurious. They can also slide through airport securities with ease, as the under 100ml rule doesn’t apply to them. Winning.

What are beauty companies doing to reduce water wastage?

With water becoming increasingly threatened, beauty corporations are starting to explore ways to tackle their reliance on the precious resource. The need to develop innovative products, which deliver results while preserving the world's reservoirs is imperative.

Formerly a crusade led by smaller companies like A Pinch of Colour and Lush Cosmetics, the water-free movement is now reaching out to the masses, and bigger formulators, such as L’Oréal and Unilever, are getting in on the action.

With L’Oréal committing to reduce their water consumption by 60% by 2020 (compared to the amount used in 2005), and Unilever launching a new water smart initiative, which will aim to create products that reduce their water footprint. Consumer demand for water and plastic free formulations is also adding to the pressure put on big corporations.

This March will also see the launch of OWA Haircare, the world’s first powder hair wash. Claiming to be the future of personal hair-care, OWA delivers a scientifically created cleanser into a unique powder form. Working just like a dry exfoliator, the grains lather up, with the addition of water, and cleanse your strands so they’re supremely soft and clean. We are yet to try it, but needless to say, we’re excited to give it a go.

With such good practice starting to form, it is actually becoming increasingly easy to support the water free beauty movement.

The best water free beauty products

Shop these planet loving products and do your bit to reduce the use of H20.

Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo, £23.50

Absorbing oils and reviving hair with a more natural method. This non-aerosol powder mist will keep your hair in check between shampoos. It is also 99.8% naturally derived and smells delish.

Shop now

Lush Naked Shower Gel Avocado Wash, £8.95

Lush are making exceedingly clever products to help our planet and this shower gel is one of them. Eliminating both the need for plastic packaging, and water, it lathers up in the shower and lasts three times longer than normal washes.

Shop now

Pinch of Colour, Pinched with Beauty Set, £45

Pioneers of the waterless beauty movement, Pinch of Colour show how the majority of cosmetics can be created without the use of water. ‘Yes it is challenging, but it’s not impossible’ Pinch of Colour founder Linda Treska, told us.

Shop now

Nuddy, Lime & Lemon Soap Bar, £4.95

These shea butter soap bars are our new favourite way to wash. Deliciously scented, they keep bodies feeling clean, and fully cared for.


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The Sign Tribe, Remove & Chill Nail Polish Eraser Cream, £14.95

A revolutionary no-spills cream, that nourishes with vitamin E, macadamia and argan oil, whilst removing your nail polish. Seriously clever stuff!

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Bare Minerals, Skinsorial Mix Exfoliate Smooth, £18

You need to add a small amount of water to make this work, however removing it from the formulation, means that it both reduces the amount needed and the length of time that the product lasts for. Which by the way, is a long time.

Shop now


Mai Couture Glow Duo - Bronzer & Highlighter Makeup Paper, Light- Medium, £15.50

Genius water free papers made from hemp pulp and kaolin, that remove the need for bulky packaging. Containing a luxury powder, which delivers a beautiful colour onto your skin they are perfect for an on-the-go application or taking on the plane.

Shop now

Writer: Lydia House

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