What is Waterless Beauty in 2023?

For brands that care about meeting sustainability goals and providing better benefits to customers: waterless beauty is for you. Learn all about what waterless means, how it helps the environment, and formulations available to the market in 2023.

What is waterless beauty?

Waterless beauty – also known as water-free or anhydrous beauty – started trending in South Korea in 2015 before taking the entire beauty world by storm.

Simply put: Waterless beauty refers to beauty products that are formulated with as little water as possible. The idea is that by removing water from the formulation process, more potent active ingredients can be used (good for your customers) and less packaging is required (good for the environment).

Here’s why this is such an important concept for the beauty industry.  

The problem with water in beauty

Water is an inexpensive filler, so it has always been a top ingredient for beauty and skincare solutions. In fact, the average traditional skincare product contains between 60% and 85% water. This high use of water is a big problem in light of a staggering stat: By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortages.

Water is a precious resource – and the use of it in our formulations should not be taken lightly. Here are two other reasons why more and more brands are shifting towards waterless beauty:

  1. Water-based formulas require a variety of preservatives and fillers to keep the product stable, which can be harmful to both consumers and our planet.
  2. Water adds weight, which means products require more packaging (and higher shipping costs) – ultimately adding to a brand’s environmental footprint.

Here’s the good news: Waterless cosmetics are rising in demand because of how it solves the above problems.

How waterless beauty helps save the planet (and your customers’ skin)

A water-free formulation significantly reduces water waste and entirely eliminates unnecessary ingredients, like parabens, dyes, ethanolamine compounds and petroleum. Some of these ingredients are known to cause cancer, and many dyes contain heavy metals and aluminum, which are toxic to the body over time. And when these ingredients are washed down the drain and into our planet’s water sources, they create a chain of problems that impact humans, animals and our environment.

Removing water (and those needless ingredients) mean safer products for your customers and the environment. It also means you can cut down on product weight and packaging, reducing your overall environmental footprint. It’s also important to note that each ingredient used in a formula has its own carbon footprint, so making products with fewer ingredients is always better for the environment. Even better: With waterless beauty, you don’t have to sacrifice performance for sustainability.

The goal of waterless beauty (besides sustainability, of course) is to provide concentrated, efficacious and safe ingredients directly to the skin.

This is possible thanks to two types of formulations:

  1. Nanofiber technology
  2. Water-activated powder solutions

Waterless Beauty Formulations to Try in 2023

#1. Nanofiber technology

Nanofiber technology – first popular in the biomedical and filtration industries – presents an exciting opportunity for cosmetics, specifically skincare. Nanofibers produced utilizing a ball electrospinning process with natural water soluble polymers results in a stable, efficacious skincare delivery system for a wide range of uses and product applications.

This unique waterless delivery system allows brands to experiment with multi-functional formulas that simply aren’t possible with traditional skincare formulation technology. Currently nanofibers are available in the following formats:

Nanostrips are a targeted treatment that delivers a concentration of actives exactly where consumers need it, and they dissolve instantly when applied to wet skin.  

For example, consumers can put water on their face and then put nanostrips directly on their skin – instead of opting to use preservative-filled products. Nanostrips take the place of traditional products but offer a simpler formula with fewer ingredients through a dissolving strip. Formulas have been developed to target a variety of skin concerns, but custom formulas are possible as well, depending on what the brands needs are. These formulas allow nanostrips to function as:

  • A multi-function 3-in-1 cleanser that removes makeup
  • A hyaluronic acid moisture booster that delivers moisture to the skin with sodium hyaluronate
  • A full-face blemish preventer treatment that soothes and brightens skin
  • A calming irritation and inflammation soother that calms skin after chemical peels and sun treatment
  • A CBD soother that deliver medical grade, non-psychoactive CBD to calm skin irritation and inflammation

Nanodrops are pillow-like layers of electrospun nanofibers that are activated by a few drops of water. Just like nanostrips, they can take on many functions depending on what ingredients are incorporated into the nanofiber layers or entrapped inside the nanodrop. They can also be sold by themselves or with a serum for additional benefits.

Because both of these solutions are water-free, they don’t need to be stabilized, so there are no unnecessary ingredients in them. When you use nanofiber technology, your product will only contain the actives and functional ingredients that you want and the electrospun fibers – nothing else.

#2. Water-activated powder solutions

Powder beauty solutions are preservative-free, fragrance-free, and loaded with natural ingredients such as goat milk, oat powder and licorice root. They are made with plant elements that are extracted – scientists use concentrates of bioactive phytochemicals and soak the mixture in a solvent that evaporates later, leaving behind the powder and rich antioxidants.

These powder solutions are sustainable and don’t contain sulfates, parabens, or synthetic colors, meaning that they are great for consumers and the earth. They are available for three functions:

  • Facial powder cleanser – A solution that effectively washes away dirt and polishes, lightly exfoliates and soothes skin for a healthy glow
  • Revitalizing shampoo – A sustainable alternative that outperforms traditional liquid shampoo
  • Anti-frizz conditioner – A sustainable alternative to traditional conditioner that leaves hair smooth and fully hydrated
  • Powder clay masks – Eco-friendly alternatives to sheet masks that require less packaging and gently detoxify and purify the skin.

Final Thoughts

Waterless beauty is transforming the industry in the best way possible. With waterless beauty, you don’t have to sacrifice performance for sustainability – you can have both with customizable solutions for every beauty need.

Want to lead the way with waterless beauty? Contact TaikiUSA today to get started.