Lately we have heard a lot about waterless beauty and waterless cosmetic products. Although the agricultural sector is still the largest water user, the beauty and cosmetics industry is a growing contributor. As the sector grows, so does water use, despite increasing pressure on beauty brands to create sustainable solutions not all cosmetic brands respond to this demand. Just go to your bathroom and read the ingredients in your shampoo, face cream or cleanser. You will often find that the word “aqua” appears as the first ingredient of the cosmetic formula. When this happens it is because it is used as a base, becoming 70% – 80% of your beauty product. This is because water is a much cheaper ingredient than other cosmetic ingredients, and makes the final product more cost-effective to produce.
Reasons why reducing the use of water in cosmetic formulas is a good idea:
- Skincare products that contain water as a base, do more harm than good. Your skin naturally secretes oil to help protect itself from unwanted elements and to supply the outer layers with antioxidants and vitamins to keep the skin hydrated and strong. Unfortunately, with so much pollution, our pores become clogged every day with particles that hinder the effects of those natural oils, making the need to use facial cleansers to remove dirt build-up and allow the skin to breathe more vital than ever. The problem with the high concentration of water in hair and skin care products is that they counteract the skin’s ability to regulate itself. As a result, your skin could start producing more oil and you could end up with oily skin. That’s right: water-based beauty products will remove your natural oil barrier, because as the water evaporates it takes away the skin’s natural oils.
- When the cosmetic product contains the same amount of water and oil, an emulsifier is added to mix them. The most commonly used emulsifiers are cetyl alcohol, sorbitan oleate, stearyl alcohol, stearic acid and triethanolamine. In foaming cosmetic products such as shampoo, sodium laurel sulphate is usually present. If you have read our post “The INCI guide for cosmetic lovers” you will already know that these are ingredients to be avoided.
- Analyse the labels of your cosmetic products and get ready to realise that those 50€ spent on that facial cream that promised miracles just bought you water. Unfortunately, many cosmetic brands follow the rule of cutting costs and using the brand and celebrity endorsement to drive up the price.
- Water is the new luxury. Clean, fresh water is a limited resource. While almost 70% of the Earth is made up of water, many parts of the world suffer from a shortage of clean water. Conserving water means using our water supply wisely and being responsible.
- While you strive for a moderate water use in beauty, you should also keep in mind that today, billions of people still live without clean water – their homes, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggle to survive and thrive. Marginalised groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes discriminated against, when trying to access and manage the clean water they need.
Don’t get fooled by those brands that define themselves as 100% waterless. Even if in their formulas they do not use water, water is used in the production process or in other parts of the business. And it is just as important to avoid using water in our formulas as it is to use water responsibly in the laboratory. That is why at Uzza Skincare, we prefer to say that we are water-responsible. We are aware that this is a challenge we have to face together and that it goes beyond the use of water in our beauty products. At Uzza Skincare we try to make moderate and responsible use of water in all parts of our business.