Waterless, aka Anhydrous is in essence a beauty product that does not contain water within the formulation (think oils, shower cubes, soaps or powders). As a skin and beauty expert, this is a relatively new concept that I am hugely excited about due to its positive benefits, not only for the skin but also for the planet. Water will become a rare commodity in the future as the UN have predicted by 2050 that over 50% of the world's population will be living in areas of 'water stress' so it's vital that we change our habits now.
So why is waterless beauty important?
To understand the concept of waterless, it's important to first understand how beauty products are formulated. Did you know that most skincare products such as cleansers or moisturisers can contain between 60-90% water? On the back of your products, you can check the ingredient list, commonly referred to as an INCI. Traditional products list ‘aqua’ or ‘eau’ (water) at the top. This hierarchy also indicates the highest ingredient quantities within that product. Water is usually added for texture or as a filler; ultimately, it’s cheaper for brands to produce. Unfortunately, this is driving a huge drain on water resources globally and encourages the use of plastic packaging to hold the product. Waterless can be a positive start in addressing this huge environmental issue and will appeal, if like me, you are conscious of your own carbon footprint.
It's not all doom and gloom though, as positive change is happening. In fact, in 2020, 79 percent of Millennials surveyed by IBM and the National Retail Federation said they consider the sustainability or environmental responsibility of a product before purchasing it. So, all of us should be supporting brands who are committed to driving positive environmental change.
I personally will never use any brands on my clients that do not meet my core values of transparency, ethics or environmental responsibility. With added water, any active ingredients that may offer skin benefits sometimes only account for 5-10% of the formulation and are literally ‘watered down’, reducing potency. In some instances, these products can also dehydrate the skin. Water can also breed bacteria so it requires the addition of synthetic preservatives for skin safety, which can sometimes be toxic.
So why do I love waterless?
Well, when in my treatment room, my favourite non-toxic eco-products to work with are dry powders that I activate with a dash of floral water (a by-product of aromatherapy) for cleansing, as a treatment mask; or a massage balm formulated with only natural oils. By activating and delivering ingredients this way you create an exciting sensory experience, and it yields amazing results, as skin literally glows with appreciation; particularly if the product is massaged in to boost circulation!
Waterless can create a fun, DIY spa-like experience at home. A skincare routine can sometimes become monotonous (especially in lockdown!) but doing a bit of extra work within your routine can inject freshness into your daily skincare usage, and it's satisfying knowing you are doing your bit for the planet. Waterless products have more potency and longevity (often longer shelf-life), and require minimal natural preservatives, (or often none- at all) = happy skin! Less packaging or eco-refillables are required to house the product, and this then reduces CO2 emissions by reducing shipping weight = happy planet!
In summary, waterless provides a wonderful sensory experience and amazing skin benefits. It requires less packaging, CO2 emissions and drains on water resources and…
It is super fun to use-so what's not to love?
About the author
Jo Givens is a trained Facialist, Make-up Artist, Skincare and Trend Analyst, Massage Therapist, Health and Wellness Coach, Treatment Designer, Beauty Expert and Public Speaker with three decades of global experience across the Spa, Cosmetics and Wellness Industries. She has trained hundreds of five-star Facialists and advised top global cosmetic brands, as well as presenting and demonstrating her facials on QVC Beauty and How to Look Good Naked. Her skincare tips have been featured in Elle and Vogue UK. She has previously worked for brands such as Liz Earle, Carol Joy London, Barefoot Botanicals and Face Gym.