Many skincare products contain anywhere between 60-80% water, which tend to be listed as ‘aqua’ on the back of the bottle. The valuable active ingredients are the oils and extracts that make up the remaining percentage of the bottle.
It’s estimated 120 billion units of skincare packaging are produced every year. As the world looks for ways to solve the surmounting waste problem, one solution that’s gained recent traction for both its sustainability and effectiveness, is waterless skincare.
The concept is that instead of filling a bottle to the brim with mostly water, you fill it entirely with the active ingredient that delivers the actual skin benefits. The result is a product that’s more potent and lasts longer because a little goes a long way, so you’ll be replacing it less frequently, meaning less packaging overall.
Waterless products are almost more logical, since they activate when used in conjunction with water which is literally on tap. Applying oil over damp skin for example, effectively locks in the moisture like any other moisturiser would. The moisturising component is the water, the nourishing, restorative part is the oil.
Adding waterless products to your routine isn’t only better for the earth, but it can be better for your skin too. Moisturisers for example, are made with oil and water mixed together. As soon as you add water to oil to make a moisturiser, it requires a preservative to prevent it from developing potentially toxic bacteria.
Emulsifiers are also required to make the oil and water bind together. Both preservatives and emulsifiers can be disruptive to the skin barrier in some people, causing inflammatory skin conditions like acne or rosacea. Cleansing and moisturising with oil is a great way to remove these ingredients from your skincare routine if you think they might be causing damage to your skin.