Waterless Beauty: Products To Conserve Water In Your Beauty Routine

January 23, 2023

woman holding serum

If you love k-beauty, then life just got better with this beauty trend that’s serving looks and saving the environment.

Originating in South Korea, waterless beauty represents a growing segment of beauty that lessens the beauty industry’s water footprint.

And with an estimated 1.8 billion people expected to face water scarcity by 2025, considering water use in your beauty routine is more important now than ever.

What Is Waterless Beauty?

If you look at that bottle of shampoo, lotion, foundation or face wash in your bathroom closet, chances are water or ‘aqua’ is one of the first ingredients. That’s because water is an important aspect of cosmetics—acting as the delivery system that transports active ingredients into the skin. Water aids overall skin health, representing 64 percent of skin’s composition.

That said, with water comes additional preservatives in beauty and makeup products. According to Linda Treska, Pinch of Colour (a waterless beauty brand) founder, “once you introduce water into a formula, you run the risk of bacterial growth.” Makeup manufacturers tend to combat that by adding preservatives that are often harsh on sensitive skin types.

For that reason, waterless beauty contains more of the ‘right’ ingredients, for a more potent, concentrated product. Filling their products with butters, oils, waxes, and oil-soluble actives, these waterless beauty products often outperform their water-based counterparts given the oil’s ability to penetrate deeper into the skin for a non-greasy glow.

Waterless Beauty Environmental Benefits

Beyond waterless beauty product’s benefit to the skin, it also addresses a massive problem of beauty-related waste. By creating more compact and concentrated products, waterless beauty manufacturers are able to reduce the size of packaging, using less plastic. And, with lighter and smaller products, waterless beauty decreases the overall carbon footprint between shipping and packaging. “No water in formulas,” says Krysia Boinis (CEO of Vapour Beauty), “also means smaller packaging made of significantly fewer materials.”

And, if none of this convinces you to invest in waterless beauty, then let the thought of never having to worry about checking bags or fitting your beauty products in your carry-on ever again. With waterless beauty, it’s both sustainable and on-the-go-friendly.

What To Consider When Investing in Waterless Beauty

As with most trends, greenwashing is prevalent in the beauty industry and can hide the true production costs of waterless beauty. When researching waterless beauty brands, consider the amount of water utilized in the production process and what the brand is doing to decrease their overall water usage. Waterless beauty brands should look to Finnish-beauty company, Lumene, for ways to reduce water. By introducing its WaterSmart program (investing in water purifying systems and renewing its cleaning procedures for equipment), Lumene has reduced its water usage by 40 percent. If a product is waterless but a plant is not, consumers ought to reflect on the true goal and vision of that company.

Waterless Beauty Swaps To Help You Reduce Your Water Waste

Ready to start going water-free with your beauty routine? Consider swapping to one or all of the waterless beauty products below. 

Switch to Shampoo/Conditioner Bars: Cast aside those liquid hair products for bar-form instead. Lightweight, packable, and highly concentrated, a little bit goes a long way in keeping your hair glossy and thick.

Recommended Product: Ethique Shampoo Bar

Try out a Powder-based Body Wash: If soap bars aren’t for you, don’t lose hope. Powder-to-liquid body washes are low-waste and easy-to-use. 

Recommended Product: Bawdy Powder Body Cleanser

Create Kissable Lips with Waterless Lip Products: Pinch of Colour, one of the leading waterless beauty manufacturers, offers a variety of waterless lip products, from lip balms to lip tints. Incorporating healing extracts that melt on the skin for ultra-hydration, these cruelty-free, paraben-free lip balms will turn that pout into a smile.

Recommended Product: Pinch of Colour Matte Velvet Waterless Lip Colour Larah

Moisturize with Reusable Sheet Masks: Craving that luxe sheet mask sensation without the water footprint? Switch to dry sheet masks that hydrate the skin without water or liquid. Simply loop the sheet mask over the ears and leave on for fifteen minutes for softer and smoother results.  Made from textile fabric infused with vitamins, floral extracts, peptides, and oils, this sheet’s bio-mimetic system gives a prolonged release of ingredients, allowing for time for the ingredients to soak into the skin. 

Better yet? You can use these sheet masks up to three times compared to typical sheet masks with a one-time use.   

Recommended Product: Charlotte Tillbury’s Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask


Transform your beauty routine with these easy, sustainable waterless swaps. Happy skin and happy earth – it’s a win-win decision for your body and for the environment.

Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!


Photo: Koolshooters via Pexels

Dana Drosdick
Dana is a marketer living in Saratoga Springs, NY with a passion for all things related to stewardship, faith, wellness, and personal enrichment. Her work has been featured in various Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, The Odyssey Online, and The Banner Magazine. Follow her at @danadrosdick on Instagram for foodie trends, her latest book recommendations, and far too many photos of clementines.


always stay inspired!