Waterless Beauty: What You Need To Know & Our Fave Products
If you take a quick survey of your bathroom cabinet, you’ll soon realize that the majority of your beauty products contain water. Unfortunately, it’s predicted that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. How can the beauty world help? In comes waterless beauty (products that don’t contain water), a skincare concept born out of South Korea, which was originally created to increase the potency of skincare products. So, while waterless beauty products can help to cut down your water consumption (as can taking shorter showers!), they can also amp up your beauty routine. Plus, they’re typically travel-friendly and more cost-effective. Here’s everything you need to know, as well as our go-to formulas!
How To Create a Water-Conscious Beauty Routine
Water is one of the most common ingredients found in beauty products, which is just slightly alarming when you consider that water may be deemed a luxury commodity in less than 10 years’ time. And while eliminating water from your beauty regimen entirely would be very difficult, it’s good to know how you can be more mindful and begin to see how you could incorporate waterless beauty into your routine.
In many cases, you’ll notice water (or aqua) listed as the first ingredient, which means this is the ingredient of the highest concentration in your formula. However, it’s commonly used as a filler ingredient rather than actually serving a skincare purpose. Overusing waterbased products may also take its toll on your skin, as when the water evaporates, it can take away the skin’s healthy and natural oils along with it. For this reason, try to only use water-based products that are formulated with water-soluble vitamins and fruit acids, in which case, the water is serving a purpose.
Then, wherever possible, add waterless formulas such as cleansing balms, facial oils, body butters, cold-pressed serums, and dry masks into your daily routine. Here are some of our fave waterless beauty products…
Water L<ss is an incredible haircare brand, born out of necessity. During the 2018 Day Zero water crisis in South Africa, if you had access to water, you could only have a 90-second shower. Waterl<ss offered an easy solution to stretch time in-between washes while still nourishing and hydrating your locks. Now, thanks to the insane innovation and success of their formulas, Water L<ss is available for the wider eco-conscious community to enjoy.
This dry conditioner is one of their hero products, which has garnered rave reviews online. The lightweight formula will moisturize dry ends while helping detangle your tresses on no-wash days, which RN is almost daily! We love it as it leaves our hair feeling super smooth without any greasy residue.
2. No20 Hydrating Dry Face Mask, $26
This dry-to-touch textile mask is infused with a potent combination of active ingredients and peptides that’ll hydrate and plump the skin, without a drop of water. Enriched with sodium hyaluronate, shea butter, rosemary extract, and glycerin, it’ll work overtime to moisturize and brighten, leaving your skin super soft with a radiant glow.
Simply apply the printed side against clean skin and gentle massage to activate. Wear it for 15 minutes (or more), then remove and place back inside the reusable sachet, ready for its next (and final) use.
3. Loli Beauty Plum Elixir, $68
There’s nothing we love more than a do-it-all beauty product, and this cold-pressed plum elixir is the real deal. The main ingredient; plum oil, is packed with a nourishing cocktail of restorative vitamins including vitamins A, C, and E, that’ll hydrate and restore both your skin and hair while protecting them against harmful free radicals. The formula is also enriched with a blend of soothing sea buckthorn oil, brightening pomegranate seed oil, and tea seed oil to calm and balance skin. Another major bonus? It’s packaged in a recyclable glass bottle.
Place two or three drops into the palm of your hands and warm up the oil with your fingers. Massage into your skin as the final step in your daily routine or apply the elixir to dry hair to smooth and add shine. You can also massage it into your scalp pre-shampoo for a nourishing hit of hydration.
4. The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum, $10
If you’re looking to achieve #glowyskingoals, you need to incorporate a vitamin C formula into your routine, and this waterless cream is the bomb. Enriched with 30% pure L-ascorbic acid, it’ll restore uneven tone and texture, brighten the appearance of hyperpigmentation and acne scars, all the while protecting your skin from aging free radicals. It also has a rich and creamy texture that leaves the skin feeling soft and plump, plus, it wears well under makeup.
Apply to cleansed, toned skin before you apply moisturizer or SPF.
5. Moondust Hair Wash, $29
If you’re looking to cut down your shampoo consumption, this hair wash is about to become your BFFL. In fact, one bottle of this vegan rinse is the equivalent of four standard bottles of liquid shampoo. The powder formula is activated with a splash of water, ready for you to lather and cleanse your hair and scalp. Formulated with plant-based rice proteins, coconut extract, and aloe vera, it’ll add fullness and shine while hydrating and detoxifying your hair. It’s also suitable for all hair types and textures.
To use, pour the powder into the palm of your hands and add a couple of drops of water. Massage into wet hair and rinse with warm water.
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If anyone understands the need for waterless beauty it’s Founder of Pinch of Color; Linda Treska, who grew up affected by water-infrastructure issues in her home country Albania. Not only are the products formulated without water but approximately 10% of the proceeds are donated to communities in need of clean water. We’re obsessed with this moisturizing lip oil that’s enriched with a hydrating blend of avocado, apricot, and macadamia oil to soften and plump your pout. It also provides a sheer tint that’s perfect for those no-makeup makeup days.
7. Ethique Bliss Bar, $17
Formulated with mega-hydrator coconut butter, detoxifying kaolin clay, and nourishing glycerin, this creamy bar will cleanse deep into your pores, without stripping your skin of its natural oils. We love it as it doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight, as it’s 100% soap and fragrance-free.
To use, just run the bar under some warm water, lather, and massage into your skin. Rinse and pat dry.
8. Aesop Remove, $23
If you’re a makeup lover like us, it’s time to ditch the makeup wipes (for the sake of your skin and the environment) and opt for a waterless solution instead. This oil-based makeup remover is made from a combination of grape seed oil, sunflower, and blue chamomile oil to gently wash away makeup residue while softening and restoring the skin. It’ll also help calm inflammation and soothe redness making it ideal for sensitive skin.
Apply the remover to a damp cotton pad or muslin cloth, and gently wipe across your skin to remove any makeup residue.
We’re always on the lookout for new ways to maximize our skincare routine, and this C-shot powder is perfect. Vitamin C is purest and most effective in powder form, therefore by adding this formula into your daily moisturizer, you’ll provide a surge of brightening, restorative properties leaving your skin smoother and glowier than ever before.
Simply add two shakes of the silky powder to your daily moisturizer or serum.
Enriched with an ultra-hydrating blend of shea butter, cocoa butter, as well as coconut and sweet almond oil, this waterless balm will keep your skin moisturized, soft, and supple. It’ll also help to improve skin tone and texture while brightening dark circles.
Apply the formula after you’ve cleansed, toned, and applied any serums.
Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. We never take payment to review products, however, some brands allow affiliate links, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.