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:
Industry Giants Are Taking Lead
- 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.
Streamlining Your Routine
- 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.
Choose Your Products Wisely
- 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.
Water-Free Products Means Cleaner Products
- 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.
Water-Free Products Make Travelling Easier
- 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.