Waterless Skincare Products - Marketing Fad or Real Deal?

Waterless beauty products are a multi-billion dollar South Korean beauty trend that eliminates water as an ingredient in skincare products. If you ever looked at the ingredient list in your skincare products, you would notice that water or aqua is listed either first or close to the top of the ingredient list.

Key takeaways:
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    Waterless or anhydrous beauty products are relatively new to the market.
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    Waterless products are smaller and require less packaging and fuel to ship, which helps decrease our carbon footprint.
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    Waterless products put less strain on our dwindling freshwater supplies.
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    By removing water from beauty products, waterless products are more concentrated and potent and should deliver better faster results.
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    More studies need to be conducted to determine if waterless products are superior.

Most skincare products are about 70% water. You are probably wondering why products contain mostly water. Read on to find out.

What is waterless beauty?

The concept behind waterless skincare products, also known as anhydrous beauty, is to make them better. By removing water, the product is more concentrated and more potent. There will be higher levels of active ingredients, which should translate into better and faster results. Oils, butter, botanical extracts, or waxes replace the water. These replacements often contain vitamins and antioxidants to help repair and protect the skin better than water.

Why is water added to beauty products?

Water performs several functions in skincare products. It helps with product application, allowing it to glide effortlessly over the skin. It helps the ingredients dissolve. Water often improves the texture of the products, making them feel more aesthetically pleasing. Finally, mineral-rich thermal water contains antioxidants to help protect the skin.

Is waterless beauty better for the environment?

The impact of removing water from skincare products is several-fold. Without water, the product is lighter and smaller. This means it will require less packaging. Some packaging is not recyclable and hurts the environment. It will also cost less to ship because it is smaller. Less fuel is needed, which will decrease our carbon footprint. Also, less water use decreases the strain on our freshwater supplies, which have been dwindling.

What are the benefits of waterless beauty?

Waterless beauty is beneficial for the environment, but is it good for you? Theoretically, yes, but more research needs to be conducted. Without water, the formulas are more concentrated, meaning you do not need as much product, and it will last longer. This is good considering most waterless products are more expensive than their water-containing counterparts. Waterless products should work better since the active components are more concentrated. Since water cannot be organically certified, many products will be deemed 100% organic if they remove water. Finally, since water breeds bacteria, preservatives are added to all beauty products. Without water, no toxic or irritating preservatives are required. This is a bonus for patients with sensitive skin.

What types of waterless formulations are available?

There are wet and dry varieties of waterless products. The dry types are powders and solids (sticks/bars). They require you to mix them with water before using them. Such products include soaps, cleansers, and other bath and shower products.

The wet types of waterless products consist of liquid oils, balms, and creamy butter. These do not need water to work. They are just applied and left on. These products include antioxidant serums, cleansing oils, and sunscreens.

Waterless beauty products are environmentally friendly and may deliver better results because they are more concentrated. More concentrated products have higher levels of bioactive, which may also yield faster results. They should last longer. However, more studies need to be conducted to determine their benefits.


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