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written by Ipek Karakaya

In the not-so-distant past, the beauty industry has started to act with a more sustainable, eco-friendly fashion. First, product packages have got replaced with recycled materials. Then came the ethical ‘naked’ brands. Now, the time has come to re-think our water consumption. So brace yourselves; water-free beauty is happening – finally.

Water-free or ‘anhydrous’ beauty refers to makeup and skincare products that are not formulated with water at all. Instead, plant-based ingredients and oils are used to replace water, allowing to achieve more concentrated solutions, a prolonged shelf life, an eco-friendly option and an enabler to reduce the number of preservatives used.

Given the data and predictions about the environment and climate, water-free beauty is a trend that has grown out of necessity. According to WWF, that by 2025, two-thirds of the population may face water shortages. It’s not a big deal, except it’s horrifying, and 2025 is only 4 years away.

Switching to anhydrous beauty makes so much sense, and here is why:

1- More Sustainable.

70% of our big, fat, ethically deranged but still beautiful planet Earth consists of water, but only 3% is clean water, and two-thirds of clean water is out of reach, as in the form of glaciers and home to penguins. So better hold on to that 1%, right? 

Fortunately, the world is becoming more and more conscious of global water shortages. Water-saving is not about turning off the tap while brushing your teeth anymore. It’s a precious resource, and it’s been already getting wasted vastly every day. It was about time that the beauty industry took one step toward environmental-friendly options.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is usually the substitute to water in water-based products, but keep in mind that the process of obtaining Aloe Vera Extract requires water usage nevertheless. 

2- More Potent. 

Aqua is usually the additive that comes first on the list of ingredients on the package of a beauty product. This sadly means your product is most probably 80 to 95% water, and the rest is what makes your product pretty and enticing. Water is used to dilute the active ingredients in products. This comes at a low cost for beauty companies, enabling them to use less expensive components. On the other hand, water-free products tend to be more costly since the active ingredients exist in higher concentrations.

Take your beauty products how you take your coffee. Now, to make the most out of a morning coffee, would you prefer a double shot espresso or a latte?

There are, of course, some exceptions to water-free beauty. For instance, it’s okay if your Vitamin C serums are water-based; since ascorbic acid is soluble in H2O. Vitamins like D and E, however, are soluble in lipids.

3- Fewer Preservatives. 

Water-based beauty solutions make good nests for bacteria, making it inevitable to add preservatives and filler ingredients to the product. Although the filler products and preservatives bring lovely smells, colors and textures in, they’re known as irritants and carcinogens, i.e. harmful for the skin barrier. We all look for ‘paraben-free’ statements on packages, but the reason they’re inside a bottle is usually that water is also in it. Waterless products are less likely to face mold, yeast, and bacterial growth.

Nevertheless, if you are not quite good at reading ingredient lists, it might be helpful to do research or consult a dermatologist before using water-free products known for high-potency ingredients. And, if I may, please quit lattes.

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