Anhydrous or Waterless beauty refers to products that are free from water, using nurturing botanical ingredients and nourishing oils instead to create more potent solutions while diminishing the need for preservatives and unnecessary fillers.
Most skin and body products contain anywhere from 80 to 95% water, while hair shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and even facial toners can contain as much as 95 to 97% water. Check out the ingredient label on any skincare product— if you find the word 'aqua' as the first ingredient, it most likely signifies that the product is mostly made of water.
This means that the products, and the active ingredients are mostly diluted and therefore, less effective. Since the product contains water, which can breed bacteria easily, most likely it contains chemical preservatives and lots of other synthetics to give it varying textures, colours and scents.
Using water as a filler comes at a low cost for corporations, but a high cost for the health of the planet. Since water is a fairly cheap ingredient and can act as a filler, it allows beauty companies to use less of the more expensive active ingredients and to sell the product at a cheaper price.
For a waterless brand like Shae, it's more expensive to opt for high concentrations of potent organic ingredients.
The more water a product contains, the more preservatives it probably has to keep bacterial growth at bay. Parabens are preservatives that are used in skincare, body care, cosmetics and many other products, and help to hinder the growth of microorganisms. Although parabens give products a longer, more stable shelf life, they're also connected to a lot of illnesses and health problems. By removing water, we don't have to use any preservatives.
Contamination aside, the concentration of waterless beauty products are what hold weight and longevity, and may actually be better for skin and hair than traditional products. A waterless beauty product is more concentrated and, in most cases, more effective.
The overuse of water can really dry the skin by stripping away its natural oils — drinking water is a great way to keep skin hydrated, but you don't need it in your products.
water-based products oftentimes remove the protective natural oils from skin as the water evaporates. Then all that is left on the skin is a layer of all the synthetic emulsifiers, chemical colorants, toxic fragrances and preservatives that are added to your water-based skin care, and your skin becomes sensitive, red, inflamed, flaky and can even start breaking out.
Transitioning to waterless beauty might come as unchartered territory for many, and while it might take time to adjust, it can also potentially help to decrease users' carbon footprints. Because the products are sold in more concentrated, compact packages, they can significantly decrease the amount of materials needed to house them.
Going waterless means swapping convenience for global conservation. With something like a powder face mask, there is more work on the user's end than dipping fingers into a jar and wiping a mask onto their face — it requires getting a bowl, adding water or other liquid ingredients and mixing together the mask before application. It may be inconvenient, but you can look at it as though you were cooking a meal at home with fresh ingredients versus grabbing some pre-packaged snacks from the cupboard.
Waterless beauty is the future, it's not a trend as consumers want high-quality products that are sustainable and make a tangible difference in their routines.
Serums, perfumes, toothpastes, face masks, mouthwashes and conditioners are just a few of the beauty categories experts say will go waterless in the next few years.
For those looking to eliminate excessive water usage from their beauty routines, there are a few simple ways to get started: Choose oil-based products over water-based ones, and opt for solids or powders whenever possible.
Check out some of our favourite waterless Shae skincare products here.