By Vic Smith
Whether a skincare product is made up of natural or synthetic ingredients, something most of us breeze over is the water content in the product.
Hydration is key for glowing skin, and your diet plays a significant role in the appearance and health of your skin. However, a new generation of waterless beauty brands are demonstrating that water should not be coming from your skincare itself. Instead, we should ditch the fillers and focus on formulas containing 100% active ingredients, without the nasties.
Let’s delve into the issues with water-filled skincare products and why we should be buying waterless.
In terms of the health of our skin, when water is added to a skincare product, there are a string of extra ingredients that must be considered too, such as bulking agents, emulsifiers, and synthetic colourants. Because bacteria thrive in water, these products need preservatives to prevent bacteria growth, and these can irritate the skin, cause breakouts, and even be known carcinogens.
This produces a real disconnect between what we expect from the products we use on our skin, and what they can actually deliver.
We are lulled into a false sense of security by the promise of super-foods for the skin and natural ingredients, when in reality they are used almost solely for marketing purposes. Suneeta, of waterless brand Suneeta London told me, “this is an issue of transparency, and is emblematic of consumerism culture.”
With nothing except profitability in mind, the $3.14 trillion-dollar beauty industry has transformed water into a multi-product regimen for your skin, hair and body, with products lining your bathroom cabinet up to 90% pure water.
On an environmental level, using water as the main ingredient for skincare products just doesn’t make sense when around 700 million people across 43 countries are currently experiencing water scarcity.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, this could increase to almost half of the global population by 2030 without urgent action – an alarmingly real possibility.
Freshwater scarcity not only affects humans, but animals too as populations of freshwater animals have declined by more than three-quarters since 1970 and one third of all freshwater species are threatened with extinction.
Founder of LOLI Beauty Tina Hedges told me “the environmental impact of the skincare industry’s water consumption is staggering and, put simply, needs systematic change.”
With an exponentially increasing human population, it is crucial that we refuse to put further strain on our finite resources of freshwater for products which effectively aren’t actually beneficial to our skin.
How to go WATERLESS
Big beauty brands might be cementing the fate of our freshwater reserves, but there are a selection of passionate companies who are creating natural products without the use of water. We need to step away from consumerism culture, and reject the plethora of watered-down skin, hair and body products being marketed to us in every shape or form.
Here are my top picks for waterless brands that are changing the beauty conversation:
Funky US brand LOLI Beauty’s mission is to stir up clean and conscious beauty. LOLI creates 100% organic, natural products that include just a handful of ingredients which are all active, and actually add something to the product.
Founder Tina explained “By only using potent levels of powerful organic, upcycled superfoods, you need less product for effective results — our products aren’t diluted! If we are telling you about our amazing plum kernel oil, it’s in our product at a significant level, not fairy dusted.”
Tina is also on a mission to eliminate the 129 billion units of wasteful beauty packaging that end up in landfills every year, instead providing a recycled, reusable, recyclable and 100% compostable approach.
Suneeta’s handmade waterless products are based on the ancient philosophy of Ayurveda, renowned for enhancing well-being, and are completely natural, cruelty-free and zero waste. Suneeta passionately told me, “I believe that skincare products should be made up only of ingredients that each serve a function in caring for the skin in some way. I wanted to create products that do not contain filler ingredients, which starts with not adding water.”
Suneeta goes against the grain and proves that the age old myth of oil being bad for your skin has no footing, as her powerful Golden Turmeric Skin Cream with natural oils boasts numerous five star reviews.
Brother and sister duo Alex and Nicole founded NINI Organics after Alex was left with dry, sensitive and scarred skin from antibiotics prescribed for his acne, and needed a natural plant-based solution. NINI’s products deliver a blend of powerful superfoods, antioxidants and herbs, without any water to dilute their effectiveness.
Their first ever product Natura Miracle Mask comes in a powdered format which enables you to add your own liquid such plant milk, yogurt, mashed fruit to form the mask, and removes the need for any water at all.
Vemel’s ethos is based around honesty, and the brand only use 100% naturally pure potent botanicals, free of preservatives, synthetics and toxins – which means water is off the table.
Made from just a handful of almost completely organic ingredients, Vemel’s nourishing skincare products pack a powerful punch. Founder Agi has also made a striking commitment to not use essential oils in any product, due to their toxicity to aquatic life, and the potential to have a long lasting negative impact on marine ecosystems.
British made waterless skincare brand Meadow use soothing botanical ingredients and nourishing oils to create concentrated, potent solutions that your skin will love.
Founders Kelly and Wendy source their ingredients from local British suppliers – lucky enough to have a lavender farm on their doorstep for beautifully fresh lavender oil.
Like all our top picks, Meadow focus on honesty and transparency, delivering high levels of nutrients without the nasty additives that come with using water as an ingredient. The Meadow Skincare collection is packaged in Miron glass jars that are infinitely recyclable, and can be reused and refilled, or upcycled into beautiful displays.