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In a world where climate change and environmental degradation are becoming more pressing issues each day, sustainable beauty practices are urgent. None more so than where water is concerned. Water is the most precious of our natural resources and it is essential to our daily lives. According to Waterwise, the average person in the UK uses 145 litres of water per day, which is 70% more than in 1985. Cue one of the latest innovations in eco-friendly skincare: waterless beauty. In this blog post, we'll be exploring how waterless skincare can benefit you, and help save our planet at the same time...
True waterless skincare is a type of sustainable beauty that doesn’t require any water to work. Here we're talking about products that don't contain water and don't need water to wash them off. So everything from solid deodorant to cleansing oils, moisturising balms and dry shampoo.
Then there is another type of waterless skincare, which we'll call low water footprint products.
These don't contain water, and will likely consume less water in manufacturing, but you need water to use them. Think shampoo and conditioner bars, soap bars, gel cleansers, water-free sun cream, body scrub, toothpaste tablets. They're still better for the environment than liquid products - more on that below.
You might think that waterless skincare is all about saving the planet, but it has some more immediate user benefits too:
1. Waterless skincare tends to be rich in natural ingredients that are kind to your skin. Plant oils, butters and powders lend themselves very well to waterless beauty formulations.
2. Since there is no water in waterless skincare products, there is less risk of bacteria or mould growth, which can occur in traditional wet products. This means fewer or even no preservatives are needed - good news for those sensitive to cosmetic preservatives. Caution though - don't leave your dry powders wet for more than a few days - they will start to develop bugs!
3. Waterless skincare products are more concentrated, so you need less of them to get the same results as you would with a water-based product. This means that waterless skincare products last longer, which is better for your wallet (and for the environment).
Flushing the loo and personal washing account for over 60% of water usage in the home. We can cut that down by using single rather than dual flush, reducing showering time and turning the tap off when we brush our teeth. But waterless skincare can play its part too. Here's how:
1. Rather obvious, but waterless products don't contain water. So there's a saving there. Your average bottle of shampoo or hand wash will comprise at least 60% water.
2. Without water, products are less bulky and lighter to transport, significantly reducing their transport carbon footprint. Think of an 80g shampoo bar that yields the same number of hair washes as a 500ml bottle of shampoo. You can fit several shampoo bars into that same volume and weight!
3. Waterless skincare is often packaged in more sustainable materials like paper or card. The products aren't liquid, so don't need (plastic) bottles to transport them. On the whole, they generate a lot less waste.
4. Waterless formulas often need less manufacturing resource. Compare cold-blending powder or oil to the multiple processes required to create and wash down after a complex lotion emulsion.
5. Many water-based skincare products rely on ingredients derived from palm oil. Palm oil is a major driver of deforestation in Southeast Asia. Waterless skincare doesn’t necessarily mean palm oil free, but it's a little easier to avoid palm oil in a waterless formulation.
However, remember that a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres of water a minute. So, taking simple actions like turning the tap off when brushing our teeth and when washing our hands is still really important in reducing our personal water footprint.
We've curated a list of some of our waterless beauty heroes:
10. Zao Makeup
Check out our recipe book which is full of ideas. For example...
1. Make your own DIY facial scrub with ingredients like coffee grounds or oatmeal. These natural exfoliants will leave your skin feeling soft and refreshed, without using any water at all!
2. Mix your own clay mask to detoxify and cleanse your skin, without using any water whatsoever. Just make sure to remove it with a damp cloth when you’re done.
3. Create your own hand cream or face cream from plant oils and butters.
You can also use a dry brush or cleansing cloth to remove dirt and makeup from your skin. This will help exfoliate your skin and unclog pores, without using any water.
We hope this article has shown you how waterless skincare is a step towards a more sustainable beauty industry. By choosing waterless beauty, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste and carbon emissions released into our environment.
Beyond that, and only turning on the bathroom tap when you really have to, there are many other aspects of daily life that can make a difference. For example, only putting on full loads of washing help save huge amounts of water every day.
The production of just a cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans requires 20,000 litres of water.
What we eat impacts water demand. 15,400 litres of water are required to produce 1 kg of beef and 4,300 litres to produce 1kg of chicken meat. The requirement for plant foods is much lower.
So reducing water-intensive food consumption and avoiding fast fashion will also lower our virtual water footprint and address some of the global water inequality issues that our lifestyles contribute to.