Waterless beauty products: Benefits for skin and environment


If you are someone like me who reads all the ingredients of whatever product you buy, chances are you have seen ‘water’ listed on almost all of the skincare products in your bathroom cabinet. But what makes water an extremely popular ingredient in beauty products? The answer is quite simple, water is a very cheap ingredient that is also abundantly available. It also helps that the majority of the water in liquid shampoo, conditioner or face wash is just creating the illusion of value by filling a big bottle. Basically, it’s filler – kind of like when you would pad out essays at college with “thus” or “it’s important to note” to hit the word count.

But, we live in a world where water scarcity is a very real concern. According to Unicef, four billion people experience water scarcity at least one month each year. It also predicts that half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025, which to be honest is pretty scary.

But what exactly is Waterless Beauty?

In simple terms, Waterless Beauty refers to skincare and cosmetic products that are formulated without water. Instead, they use various butters, oils or waxes and oil-soluble actives as ingredients. Waterless beauty products are typically more concentrated than beauty products with water because the active ingredients have not been dissolved by the water. 

A major issue in using water as an ingredient in beauty products is that water supports bacterial growth. So when a product is formulated with water, it necessitates the use of  chemical preservatives that prevent bacterial growth and improve shelf life. But these chemical preservatives are not always good for your skin. So as waterless beauty products do not have these chemical preservatives, they are mores suitable for your skin too. Waterless beauty products come in a variety of forms including, cleansing balms, solid shampoos, concentrated serums and stick moisturisers. 

Waterless Beauty and Sustainability

For a long time the beauty industry has been criticised for its contribution to environmental issues, including excessive water usage. Waterless beauty products offer a sustainable alternative by addressing a few of these concerns.

Obviously, the most significant environmental benefit of a waterless beauty product is the reduced consumption of water. Traditional beauty products comprise about 80% of water, and also waste a tremendous amount of water during its manufacturing process. As mentioned earlier by eliminating water, we can also eliminate chemical preservatives which are often harmful to the environment. 

Further benefits are seen in the areas of packaging. Due to the absence of water, we do not need bulky bottles and jars for packaging. Instead we can use much smaller packaging that is compact and eco-friendly. Further these decrease the usage of plastic and also promote reusing and recycling. 

Waterless beauty also aligns with the concept of “Conscious consumerism”. Conscious consumerism is an attitude and a lifestyle, which mainly deals with two matters: consuming less and ensuring that what we do consume is as sustainable as possible. New consumers are increasingly growing aware of the environmental impacts of their purchases. These conscious consumers are seeking products that share their concerns. So brands that promote sustainable beauty are not only meeting this demand, but also setting themselves to be major players in this ever evolving market.

Some products to keep an eye out for

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask

Infused with vitamins, peptides, nourishing oils and floral extracts, this dry sheet mask delivers deep hydration to dry skin while improving skin tone and texture in as little as 15 minutes, leaving your skin soft and smooth.These waterless mask can be used up to three times.


Dew Mighty Bloom Jelly Serum Bar

Smoothen your skincare routine with this water-free bar that cleanses and tones the skin in one go. The antioxidant-rich bar also contains chamomile and licorice extract to soothe redness and inflammation.


Bawdy Beauty Body Wash

This is a powder-to-lather body wash, packed with kaolin that gently exfoliates and smoothes skin. While antioxidant-rich seaweed feeds the skin cells with essential hydration.


Vapour Beauty Lux Organic Lip Conditioner

Made with organic botanicals, this creamy lip balm provides lasting hydration to the delicate skin—leaving your lips soft and plump.


In the larger scheme of things, embracing waterless beauty is a modest but important step toward a sustainable beauty industry. Waterless beauty is an example of the groundbreaking potential of innovation and thoughtful consumer choices as brands and customers alike address the health of both our skin and the environment.