All about waterless beauty

Recently I’ve been exploring waterless beauty.

The stress of many home moves has been showing itself in my skin, so I’ve been looking for a gentle and effective skincare formula.

I’m also increasingly aware of the cost of cosmetics on the environment, so with all this in mind, I’ve been looking into waterless beauty.

waterless beauty

What is waterless beauty?

Waterless beauty is basically any cosmetic that doesn’t use water as an ingredient or filler.

However, technically it’s impossible for cosmetics to be 100% water free – all ingredients have some level of ‘water footprint’. In other words all ingredients rely on water at some stage of the production process. However, some cosmetics and production methods have a much lower impact.

The waterless beauty concept first originated in South Korea. The idea was that in removing the water filler, consumers were left with a much more concentrated, potent formula.

Why choose waterless products?

You might embrace waterless skincare for reasons of sustainability. While the planet is made up of over 70% water, only 3% is freshwater suitable for everyday use, such as in cosmetics. So using water in cosmetics could be considered a waste of precious resources.

Alternatively you might seek out waterless cosmetics as they’re more concentrated, and therefore generally more effective.

And as products are concentrated, they tend to last longer too. While they’re not always the cheapest, they’re often better value.

I always use shampoo bars instead of liquid versions on my kids. They’ve often dropped the bottle, or poured half the contents on their heads, and it’s such a waste!

Do water-based products really help your skin?

I’ve been using waterless skincare brand True Skincare for over three months now and I’m really happy with the range.

I have dehydrated / combination type skin – dry patches around my chin, occasional oiliness around my T-Zone with some patches of dehydration here and there.

If you haven’t used waterless skincare before, might take you some time to get used to washing your face with oils. If you’re used to cleansers with rich, foamy lathers it might feel a little odd at first. But cleansing using oils doesn’t leave my skin feeling as if it’s been stripped. It feels deeply clean and hydrated.

Also, if you’re prone to spots, or the occasional break out, it might feel wrong to use oils to hydrate. However, I find that good quality oils soak in really fast. They don’t feel greasy.

I live with psoriasis and eczema, and I’m sensitive to many cosmetic ingredients. If products are too harsh, I break out in red blotches. I generally find oils kinder to my skin.

I won’t say all waterless skincare is great though. The term isn’t regulated so I’m not convinced all products are as waterless as they might claim to be.

true skincare

Why should I use waterless skincare?

If you’re concerned about your water footprint, then you might like to give waterless skincare a whirl.

On a sustainability level they’re more compact, so they’re lighter and take up less space to transport.

A typical moisturiser can contain up to 85% water. Now, as waterless cosmetics use concentrated formulas which skip water fillers they tend to be effective.

And while they can be pricey, they might work out better value. My bottle of hydrating oil lasted months.

natural facial oils

What’s the catch?

As mentioned water is still used in general production, so if you want to get really technical there is no such thing as waterless beauty. You can trace the chain of production and find water used at some stage. It’s more about keeping water usage to the absolute minimum.

Furthermore, some cosmetic ingredients require water as agents to make them work.

Other cosmetics rely on floral waters. Floral waters are waters distilled with floral essential oils – they need water in the distillation process. In the same way, you need water to extract aloe vera.

The brand I’ve been using, True Skincare, doesn’t use floral waters. To replace water it uses pine extract or sea algae extract instead.

One major down side is for globe trotters. If, like me, you spend a lot of time abroad, you might not be able to get your hands on waterless skincare. So if you’re looking to lower your carbon (and water) footprint but then use international shipping, it rather defeats the purpose.

For many brands, products are shipped in recyclable glass bottles, which is great for the environment. However if you’re on the go a lot like me then you might need to decant them into a lighter plastic bottle for travel.

And while it’s good value, waterless beauty is generally more expensive than regular cosmetics.

My verdict

I’m a convert to True Skincare. The range feels a lot more luxurious than its price tag.

However waterless beauty is huge so of course I haven’t tried everything on the market. With combination sensitive skin I’m mindful that waterless products aren’t all necessarily kinder on my skin.

Using waterless products has got me thinking more about the environment and any chemicals I put on my face. Where waterless skincare is concerned, less is most definitely more.


True Skincare, from £12 GBP. Available to buy online and in selected Holland and Barrett stores in the UK. International delivery from £15, and subject to local custom regulations.

While all sponsored posts always reflect my own opinions, this is not a sponsored post. I paid for all aforementioned products in full. 

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