Waterless Cosmetics

Water is added to the formulations of many different cosmetics -  creams, lotions, moisturisers, facial cleansers, foundation, mascara, shampoo, conditioners the list goes on. Cosmetics can contain as much as 70-80% of the total weight being water, hence the first ingredient listed on the label is aqua. Water is also used in the manufacturing process of cosmetics.

Cosmetics Manufacturing

The Production Process of the actual cosmetics being manufactured requires the use of large amounts of water. Water is used during the cleaning and pumping processes after the equipment has been used. When equipment has been used to manufacture oil based formulations, it requires several hot washes to fully remove all oily residue before it can be used again.

With concerns in Asia over the shortages of water, some cosmetic brands are supporting the move towards carbon neutral businesses committed to lowering water usage. Rainwater is an excellent example of how Cosmetics Companies can lower their use of water, by incorporating this into the actual manufacturing process to production cosmetics.

The good news is with some changes during the manufacturing process for example, re-susing the water required during a cleaning process, can reduce the total amount of water used during the entire process of cosmetic manufacture.  Wastewater can be managed to 'Achieve Sustainability' ensuring a cleaner environmental footprint via safe solutions for wastewater disposal while reducing CO2 emissions.

Why is water used in Cosmetics? 

Water allows the formulator to add water soluble ingredients into a product formulation, water also helps cosmetics companies cut costs as water is less expensive than active ingredients a good example being essential oils.

Water is primarily used as a solvent (substances, usually liquids, that are used to dissolve other substances.) In cosmetics and personal care products in which it dissolves many of the ingredients that impart skin benefits, such as conditioning agents and cleansing agents.

Water also forms emulsions in which the oil and water components of the product are combined to form creams and lotions. These are sometimes referred to as oil-in-water emulsions or as water-in-oil depending on the ratios of the oil phase and water phase. 

There are various types of water needs in our daily care but the type used as a cosmetic component [ingredient] is the most demanding on purity levels. An ultra-high purity level water is the basis for a safe formulation with the least amount of preservatives possible.

The quality of water used in the production of cosmetics and personal care products, called process water, is monitored according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

Only Water that is free of toxins, pollutants and microbes can be used in the formulation of cosmetics and personal care products. Water used for this purpose is also referred to as distilled water, purified water and aqua.

Waterless products aka anhydrous products

UK based market research company Mintel estimate that by 2025 "1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions" Water is therefore set to be come a precious commodity as consumptions outstrips supply. 

Anhydrous Products require water only in the actual extraction process of the plants or herbs to be used [ingredient], but water itself is not included as an ingredient in the product some examples include:

  • Dry Masks - some require water to perform, some can be mixed with botanical oils instead of water
  • Dry Shampoos
  • Deodorant Paste
  • Powdered Toothpaste (require water to perform)
  • Balms
  • Facial Oils
  • Cleansing Oils + Balms
  • Mouthwash Tablets
  • Skincare Blotting Paper infused with Vitamins or tinted serum // moisturiser


  • A waterless product does not offer a breeding ground for micro-organisms, which means the product will have a longer shelf life without the need to add harsh preservatives
  • Waterless products tend to be less drying on the skin
  • Preservatives used in cosmetics can be some of the most common reasons behind skin allergies and irritations
  • Powdered products are light lowering the distribution costs of the product

- I have asked myself the question many times - is it eco­logically irresponsible to make products that are 70% water? This is one of the reasons I have decided to launch FIFITY7KIND hero product as an anhydrous one. Without water in the formulation there is basically 70% more space for active botanical ingredients, less chance of skin irritation due to the absence of preservatives, resulting in a more potent action-packed formula delivering high performance and therefore actual results. 


Until next time..

be human | be kind | be you









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