Waterless Beauty

Water is important for our bodies to function; however, it is not necessarily the case when talking about personal care products. 

Hold the Water!  Creating Waterless Cosmetics

When we think about water on a day-to-day basis, yes, it is essential!  Our bodies are made up of 45-60% water.  We do lose some water everyday through breathing, daily excretion, and other aspects.  Therefore, we need to replenish to maintain the balance.  For example, we hydrate after a hard workout to replenish what we have lost through perspiration.

Water is important for our bodies to function; however, it is not necessarily the case when talking about personal care products. 

Water is usually the main component in finished products, especially haircare.  Skin/body products can contain 85% water, too.  Products with high water content do help promote hydration for skin and hair.  However, over time, if the water does not penetrate into deeper layers, it evaporates, dehydrating the skin, and stripping it of the natural oils, which is the 1st line of defense.  Also, high levels of water in products mean that there is a higher level of preservatives, and a lower level of functional actives.

Water & Sustainability

There have been recent studies done showing that the earth’s changing climate is decreasing the water levels at an exponential rate.  In the next 10-20 years we may start to see shortages in water availability.  This can impact our daily water accessibility.  Some countries already limit the amount of water available to the general public, so as to contain “waste”. 

So, how can we slow or prevent the depletion of readily available water from happening?  We as individuals need to become more mindful about the choices we make every day. Taking shorter showers, not throwing away ½ a bottle of water, but rather saving it for later.

Personal Care companies have also started to actively look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint by creating innovative cosmetic products.  Reducing water content in cosmetics is just one way to achieve this goal.  By creating products with a limited number of ingredients, we can create a more concentrated product, eliminating this need for “fillers”.  Brands can then provide more targeted and efficacious products using ingredients at active levels.  This approach also eliminates the need for preservatives and can improve product shelf life.

The waterless product trend has seen the emergence of various innovative formats

In skincare, concentrated products mean smaller dosage, in turn the need for smaller packaging, requiring less storage space for more product.  It makes it easier to travel with smaller products and can eliminate the need to check-in baggage for your trip too.

On a larger scale, personal care companies, need less cargo space for transport of these products, which allows for increased freight space, in a smaller number of shipments.  Reduction of freight frequency and volume, in turn reduces fuel consumption and costs.

Fig.1 Face mask in a jar. Just add water


Emergence of oil-based products

When you take away the water, you also remove the need for preservatives, which tend to cause irritation on some skin types. With the addition of oils directly you can replenish skin lipids which might have been disrupted via various aggressors.  

Fig.2 Facial Oil


Single-Dose Application

Single dose packaging has also increased with these new formats, so you do not need to expose the entire jar to contaminants.  Shelf life also improved because there is less worry of bacterial contamination.

Fig.4 Skincare capsules. Use once a day and discard.



Haircare products have also followed through with this trend.  The launch of shampoos, resembling bar soaps is very unique.  An added benefit, you can travel with it, without risk of it exploding in your luggage!  In terms of output, it requires less energy and time from a production standpoint.  In turn, haircare manufacturers can produce products faster to get to marke

Fig.3 Shampoo bar. Use just like soap. Lather and apply to hair, rinse.


Get Formulating!

Mibelle biochemistry provides many active ingredients solutions to keep up with this new trend of Waterless Beauty Products.  Many of our actives are available in powder, or oil-soluble form to target your skincare, haircare, and body care needs.

Check out our products page for more information.  Happy formulating!

Written by

Sonal Patel