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Why brands are pivoting to waterless products

Dust & Glow’s range of waterless products in pink and grey bottles
Dust & Glow’s range of products have 100% waterless formulas/Dust & Glow
Oct 08, 2022 By WGSN Insider

In the shadow of the cost-of-living crisis, we feature water-efficient products that combat water waste. Why are they set to become the next big thing in the industry?

Global water crisis

By 2025, around 1.8 billion people are estimated to be living in areas plagued by water scarcity, and 785 million people could be without access to clean water.

“Consumers are more eco-conscious than ever before and focusing on sustainable formulations that do not sacrifice effectiveness and appeal to post-pandemic, hygiene-minded consumers,” says Megan Bang, Beauty Analyst at WGSN. She adds: “Waterless formats exclude inexpensive fillers and waste while providing optimal potency that is sensitive to increasing water resource scarcity and increased utility bills. These products appear to be novel at first, but have absolute staying power and interest among consumers as a benefit to their wallets and the planet.”

Pair of hands under open tap

Waterless product innovation

Water-free beauty products can also benefit from greater formula potency and reduced CO2 and packaging – pivoting away from high-water-based formulas. New Zealand-located Dust & Glow’s 100% natural hair and skincare powders activate in the water of your shower, while South Korea’s OHIOHOO freeze-dried skincare cubes are applied to skin with drops of toner or serum.

In the beverage industry, Austria-based company Waterdrop is changing the way consumers drink tea by replacing teabags with small cubes dissolvable in hot water. Its flavoured vitamin microteas claim immune-system benefits.

Dust & Glow’s Powder Based Shampoo
Dust & Glow’s Powder Based Shampoo/Dust & Glow

Low-cost, water-free sanitary products could benefit poorer communities. Brunel University graduate Archie Read has designed toilet concept Sandi that ‘flushes’ using sand and a conveyor belt. Easy to use and fix, the loo doesn’t need electricity to run it and waste can be used as fertiliser.

Water-efficient dyes are colouring apparel. Singapore-based textile tech solutions firm Next Technologies & Xvantages launched its production-ready NTX Cooltrans tech that can colour almost any fabric without heat, and uses 90% less water and 40% less dye, winning interest from brand partner adidas.

Asian holding freshly dyed fabric
Teona Swift/Pexels

How to action this 

Ensure messaging around waterless and water-efficient products is transparent. As water is used in almost every part of a product’s manufacture, 100% waterless products are hard to achieve.

Read the full Sustainability Bulletin: September 2022 for a round-up of the key sustainability happenings this month.

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