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Beauty

The Waterless Beauty Movement: How The Industry Is Scaling Back On Its Key Ingredient

And how you can do your part as a consumer.

Notice how water is usually the first thing you see on the ingredients list of most of your skincare and personal care products? And since ingredient lists are arranged in descending order of concentration, what this tells us is that the main component of many products is in fact, water.

With the world faces a looming water shortage — it’s estimated by The Water Project, a non-profit organisation which aims to provide clean water and proper sanitation to developing communities around the world, that nearly ten per cent of the world’s population do not have access to clean and safe water — many big beauty companies are now recognising the importance in scaling back on water usage. Many of them are taking the lead to pledge a decrease in water usage in the coming years.

Furthermore, as the general public becomes more concerned with the impact of their consumerism, it is inevitable that they will be more interested in water-free products as well as reducing their water use when using such products. What this means is the waterless beauty movement is not only here to stay, but is also set to get bigger. Here are the five things you need to know about the actions being taken by the industry, as well as how you can do your part as a consumer:

  1. Industry Giants Are Taking Lead

  2. As an answer to the world’s declining supply of fresh and clean water, large companies in the beauty and personal care industry have taken steps to ensure their sustainability by pledging to reduce water consumption in the coming years. For example, L’Oreal has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, generation of waste per finished product as well as water consumption per finished product by 50 per cent by next year (with a baseline of 2005). Similarly, Unilever also aims to halve its usage of water from a baseline of 2010. And that’s not all, as it is also committed in making products that require less water consumption from consumers. For example, its SmartFoam technology found in some of its laundry powder and detergent bar only uses about half the amount of water for rinsing, making it a popular choice for consumers living in water-scarce areas.
  3. Streamlining Your Routine

  4. Since the first thing you see on the ingredients lists is water, this means that reducing the number of products you use also equals reducing the amount of water used to make them. So instead of going through a ten-step routine, even just eliminating one or two steps can help reduce the amount of water used to make the products you use personally. And if a large group of consumers make a commitment to do so, it can significantly impact the industry in its bid to save water.
  5. Choose Your Products Wisely

  6. Just because a product doesn’t contain a high concentration of water doesn’t necessarily mean that it didn’t require the usage of a large amount of water in its manufacturing process. And since most products contain dozens of extracts and chemicals, it might be difficult to tell how much water is actually used by the companies to make them. The only way to be sure is to contact the brand directly and ask for accountability. And when consumers as a whole demand this transparency, companies will be pressured to seek out partners, suppliers and methods that truly make a real impact.
  7. Water-Free Products Means Cleaner Products

  8. We all know that products with a high water content are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. This is why there is a need for preservatives to help keep skincare formulas stable and safe even after months after opening. Now, imagine if your skincare products are completely free of water. This means that the use of preservatives will be completely eliminated, leaving you with cleaner, non-toxic products to use with a peace of mind.
  9. Water-Free Products Make Travelling Easier

  10. Who doesn’t find it a pain to source for fitting travel-sized bottles and pots to contain your various products when you travel? If you’re using solid perfumes instead of packing travel-sized vials of fragrances, and swapping out cream masks for a dry sheet mask, traveling will be so much easier without carrying all that liquids. Above, the most innovative waterless products to try.
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DCL Express Waterless Makeup Remover, about $46
Tough on all traces of makeup, and gentle on the skin, this one-step cleanser removes all traces of makeup, impurities and dirt without the need for water. This hardworking makeup remover is also infused with botanicals and algae complex to condition the skin and strengthen its moisture barrier — a true overachiever in every sense of the word. The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum, about $14
Since vitamin C reacts when it comes in contact with water, it seems only appropriate that this vitamin C serum is made completely anhydrous. With an impressive 30 per cent concentration, this waterless formula is stable and specially calibrated to be mild on the skin while delivering multiple benefits such as supporting collagen production, inhibiting melanin proliferation and neutralising free radical damage. Pinch Of Colour Skin Therapy Waterless Face Elixir, about $89 A
As one of the first waterless beauty brands, Pinch of Colour swaps out water and uses botanical oils and butters in place to create non-toxic, skin-loving formulas. Case in point: This nourishing facial elixir that is made with neroli and jojoba oils to calm, hydrate and brighten your complexion. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone, about $10
Featuring pure vitamin C, or L-Ascorbic acid, at a 30 per cent concentration, this formula uses silicone to maintain its stability and integrity so your skin reaps the maximum benefits. Recommended for use at night, this powerful treatment product forms a smooth barrier on the skin, thanks to its silicone content, so you wake up to smoother, plumper and brighter skin each morning. Mai Couture Blush Papier, about $22
While we’re on the topic of sustainability, it might seem ironic that we’re recommending a disposable product. However, each of these blotting sheets are made with recyclable material. And that’s not all: each sheet is coated with oil-absorbing powders that eliminate shine while leaving a rosy glow on skin.