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Sustainability has been at the heart of technological developments taking place across the globe, and consumers are certainly not far behind. Increased consumer awareness has led to close scrutiny of aspects such as energy and water consumption during manufacture, as well as usage and the overall global warming implications.  Waterless products are considered to contribute to sustainability, provided water consumption is restricted throughout the product’s lifecycle – from harvesting and processing of raw materials, to formulation, finishing, packaging, transportation and consumer use. [1] Use of reduced or nil amount of water can lead to reduced amounts of materials used for packaging, and hence reduce waste generation. Waterless formulations are lighter in weight, require less storage space and less fuel for transportation, thus with a potential to decrease carbon footprints. [2]

Global warming has led to climate change, which in turn has had a significant impact on water availability. According to United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, by the year 2025, 1800 million people are expected to be living in countries or regions with “absolute” water scarcity.[3] To address the issue, several companies have adopted measures such as minimizing the use of water during production process, re-treating the wastewater, etc.[4] Unilever has announced that it has reduced the usage of water in its manufacturing sites by 49% per ton of production since 2008.[5] L’Oréal has committed to a 60% reduction in water consumption per finished product by 2020 as compared to 2005. [6]Several companies in the personal care space are replacing water with other ingredients in their final products, with similar objectives.

Skin and hair cleansing products contain more than 85% water, and therefore, substituting water in these products is not simple. A few techniques adopted to minimize water usage in products are listed below.

  • Obtaining water-like materials or extracting water from plant sources such as seaweed
  • Using hydrosols, which are byproducts in essential oil distillation processes
  • Using waxes such as carnauba wax
  • Using essential oils.

The concept of free-of-water or anhydrous cosmetics originated in South Korea. It is gradually being adopted by several beauty brands throughout the globe. A few products or brands that incorporate the waterless concept are presented here.

Free-of-water Products / Brands

In its face cleanser product, Ingredients has used 78.5% of Neroli Hydrosol as the main ingredient instead of water.  Hydrosol and Neroli essential oil in the product rejuvenate the skin, while the Selaginella Lepidophylla extract in the product provides intense hydration, highly concentrated Aloe extract soothes the skin, and the probiotics support the skin microbiome. [7]


The Bawdy Wash from Bawdy offers a sustainable and non-toxic body wash in powder form, which is to be activated with water at the time of use. The formulation contains seaweed, which nourishes the skin. As the formula is a water-activated lightweight powder, it reduces water consumption during the production process, and reduces fuel emissions during transportation. Additionally, one bottle of The BAWDY Wash replaces five bottles of traditional liquid body soap, further diminishing its overall footprint. Finally, vegan ingredients leave the skin and the drain clear of harsh, toxic chemicals. [8]


Bathing Culture:
Refillable Mind & Body Wash from Bathing Culture is a super-concentrated formula comprising organic ingredients such as coconut and olive oils. It produces a delicate lather that leaves the skin silky soft. Shea butter present in the product contributes to deep moisturization, while aloe vera makes the skin feel calm and cool. A carefully crafted blend of steam-distilled essential oils creates a fresh, earthy aroma. The product is considered to be sustainable not only based on its ingredients but also due to its innovative packaging using reclaimed plastic, and refillable aluminum and glass. [9]


Dew Mighty:
The jelly serum bar from Dew Mighty is a water-free solid skin serum with an omega-rich formula that is based on jojoba, oliva squalane, and lush floral actives. This bar is activated by simply swiping across the clean skin, resulting in long-lasting bloom (nourish + calm) effect to the skin. [10]


LOLI Beauty (LOLI for Living Organic Loving Ingredients), launched in July 2014, is a zero-waste brand with a comprehensive approach to sustainability. It uses organic, wild-harvested ingredients that are raw, fair trade, non-GMO and upcycled from food, to create its waterless skincare line. Its waterless products are packaged in reusable glass jars with fully compostable labels. The products are packaged in compostable bags and recycled boxes. [11]


BioMod’s dry masks come with 90% active ingredients containing no water that help to leave the skin richly nourished when the mask is applied. According to Biomod, its Biomimetic MicroVector Technology (BMV), is a water-free active ingredient delivery system that allows the prolonged release of actives, powering them deeply into the epidermis. The actives loaded into the BMVs are infused into all layers of the epidermis as the skin is nourished with the lipidic biomimetic matrix. BioMod’s dry masks come in a variety of shapes to address skincare concerns on numerous parts of the body, including the face, hands and neck with formulas for detoxification, protection from environmental stresses and more. [12]


Superzero is a sustainable hair-care line of bar shampoos and conditioners that are free of plastic and microplastics. The products are formulated with plant based, vegan, silicone-free, sulfate-free, palm-free materials. [13] These bars are packaged in 100% recyclable no-plastic packaging.

Shampoo Bar for dry, damaged, frizzy Hair:
Superzero’s shampoo bars contain a blend of sulfate and soap-free cleansing agents, avocado oil, shea butter and plant-based silicone alternatives that nourish the hair without weighing it down. [14]

Superzero’s conditioner bar for dry, damaged or frizzy hair comes with a rich blend of moisturizing cocoa butter and natural silicone alternatives.[15]

Superzero shampoo
Superzero conditioner

Love Beauty and Planet:
Love Beauty and Planet’s line of products originate from Hindustan Unilever’s premium beauty business unit. A fast-rinse conditioner that can make every shower a little more earth-friendly by saving water, it coats the hair like safety glass — when water hits, it “shatters” into dozens of tiny pieces, enabling it to be washed out easily and speedily. Apart from reducing washing time, it facilitates better conditioning effect because the tiny molecules coat and penetrate the hair cuticle better. [16]


Designed and launched in Cape Town, South Africa during the water crisis in 2018, Waterl<ss launched a full range of flexible no-wash hair products for all hair types that can all be used without a single drop of water. Dry Shampoo No Residue contains micro-fine tapioca starch, which instantly absorbs oil without residue and refreshes the hair without leaving residue behind, all without the use of water. Free of parabens and sulfates, it is easy to use. One needs to simply shake the can, spray on the roots and brush out. [17]


Pinch of Color:
Pinch of Color’s Honey Glow Waterless Balm is formulated with honey extract and botanical ingredients. It is a paraben-free formula that moisturizes and instantly highlights skin with a dewy and healthy glow. [18]


Ghost Democracy:
The waterless daily brightening serum named Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum from Ghost Democracy is a blend of Vitamin C (18%), Vitamin E (1.9%), Bakuchiol (0.5%), and Bisabolol (0.5%). The serum evens and enhances the skin tone and texture. It does not contain sulfates, silicones, essential oils, drying alcohols, added fragrance, phthalates, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, TEA, PEG compounds, or EDTA. [19]



These products are made with P&G’s proprietary technology that eliminates water from the final product, removing 80% of its weight while reducing 70% of space required. It is easier and cheaper for P&G to ship DS3 to retailers or consumers, which helps decrease the product’s carbon footprints. The compact size of DS3 products makes them travel-friendly. The DS3 product is a square dry “swatch” that foams and lathers to tackle specific tasks in different ways, when water is added, such as the Throne Foam Toilet Cleaner that is designed to be dropped in the toilet overnight; whereas to wash one’s hands, water added to the swatch transforms into a foam. [20] For grooming products, P&G advises dissolving the swatch in hands with water and then applying the lather to wet skin or hair. [21] However, P&G also advised that children shouldn’t handle DS3 swatches, even if supervised. [22]

P&G’s granted patent US9545364 discloses a consumer product formed from a processing mixture comprising active agents such as surfactants, water soluble polymeric structurants, and plasticizer and spinning the composition in the presence of a pressurized gas stream to remove majority of water and produce solid fibers and forming the fibers into a web with a desired final moisture content of 0.5% to 15% moisture. The article may be in the form of flat sheets or pads of an adequate size to be able to be handled easily by the user. It may have a square, rectangle or disc shape or any other suitable shape. The article may be for personal care, oral care, personal health care, household care, and other cleaning applications.


L’Oréal has developed an anhydrous sunscreen with enhanced antioxidant properties using liquid carnauba wax that protects the formula from oxidation and avoids sensory degradation. The sunscreen products may be in the form of liquid, cream, gel or stick. [23]

L’Oréal’s patent WO2020154779A1 discloses anhydrous sunscreen compositions having enhanced antioxidant properties, as well as high Sun Protection Factors (SPF), comprising silica aerogel, liquid carnauba wax (1-10% by weight) and an UV filter system. The stability of the anhydrous sunscreen compositions was tested and it was concluded that an anhydrous sunscreen composition with liquid carnauba wax preserved the original color and fragrances of the sunscreen product, even when subjected to the stability tests, thereby presenting enhanced antioxidative properties. However, it was observed that the direct use of solid carnauba wax was unsatisfactory, since changes in the original color of the composition was still noted.

Ultimate Blends:

Garnier has launched solid shampoo bars across Europe. These bars last up to two months and save one bottle of water per wash because of fast-rinse technology. This accounts for a reduction in environmental impact of 25% over classic liquid shampoos.

Soap bars are made by using blends of 94% plant-based ingredients, and are packaged in FSC-certified cardboard with zero plastic waste. They require 70% less fossil energy for transportation compared to conventional shampoo bottles. [24]


Waterless hair care in Space:
Astronauts use a special shampoo with a minimal amount of water for hair care in space. Water is a precious resource in outer space and while washing hair, astronauts must be extra cautious to avoid the droplets of shampoo flying into the air.

To overcome the challenges, Japan’s Kao Corporation has launched 2 new waterless products for astronauts, namely “3D Space Laundry Sheet” and “3D Space Shampoo Sheet”, which are going to use onboard the space station in 2022 by International Space Station (ISS). These products can be used in the space as well as on earth to overcome the sustainability challenges.

Kao’s 3D Space Shampoo Sheets are non-woven fabric sheets with an uneven, three-dimensional shape for cleaning hair. The raised bumps wipe away dirt and sebum from the scalp and roots of the hair, and do not need water. [25]


Dry-shampoos for Pets:
Bathing a pet is not an easy task if the dog does not enjoy getting wet. One can still clean the pet quickly without use of water, by using dry shampoos.

Captain Zack:
Bling on The Shine, the dry Shampoo for dogs, contains natural extracts like chamomile, coconut, aloevera, papaya, oats, and lavender essential oil to hydrate the pet’s coat within a few minutes. [26]


Tearless and extra gentle, pH-balanced and formulated with hypoallergenic ingredients, No Rinse Foaming Dry Shampoo from Petveda give puppies and kittens the loving care of their sensitive skin and coat. It has been specially curated to clean, detangle and provide long term odor control, making it easy for the pet owners to keep their pets clean without the need to frequently bathe them. [27]


Startups in this domain:

A few startups working in this area are presented below.

Everist Inc:
Everist Inc, a zero-waste beauty company, unveiled its patent-pending haircare concentrates in early 2021. It entered the market with the waterless concept in the haircare category and expanded the concept to body care category. The brand’s debut line of haircare products features a waterless shampoo concentrate and a waterless conditioner concentrate, both of them being packed in 100ml travel-friendly aluminum tube. As the products are three times concentrated, this is the equivalent of 300-ml sizes of traditional shampoo and conditioner. [28]


Green + Bare:
Green + Bare is an Australian green beauty brand that was launched in November 2020 by its founder Janelle Changuion. The brand carries a range of clay masks, floral waters and plant oils. The masks are prepared in powder from natural ingredients such as purple Brazilian clay and hibiscus. The users need to mix it with water and make into a paste before applying it on their skin. [29]


Mirage Waterless LLC:

Mirage Waterless LLC, a New York-based startup founded in Feb’2020 [30], offers an innovative powder shampoo that transforms into a rich, nourishing lather with just a small sprinkle on damp hands. Simply rubbing one’s palms together will activate the luxurious foam that effectively cleanses and revitalizes hair [31].

The new shampoo powders are made from plant-derived foaming agents and a blend of botanical ingredients such as coconuts, aloe vera powder, coconut milk powder, grapefruit peel oil, morrocan argan oil, tea tree oil, activated charcoal, and provitamin B5. [32]


Bare Me:
A Canadian beauty start-up launched in 2018, Bare Me has introduced an innovative water-free, reusable (up to three times) textile mask technology created by Biomod Concepts. [33]

The brand’s dry sheet masks are 100% natural, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, made from entirely plant-based ingredients. While the first ingredient in both of the brand’s masks is shea butter, the brightening Superfood Elixir contains potent ingredients such as apricot kernel oil and turmeric root extract. The soothing Skin Zen mask nourishes the skin with grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil and carrot root extract. [34]


Angela’s Lab:
Introduced as the UK’s first waterless beauty brand, Angela’s Lab, founded by Angela Obric, a former medical student, specializes in creating products such as face oils, lip balms and body oils. A product from this brand simply named as ‘Body Butter’ is packed with nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa seed butter and Vitamin E. [35]


In February 2020, Beiersdorf [36], acquired natural cosmetics brand STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME, whose product range comprises solid, waterless, body and hair care products as well as shower, hand, body and oral hygiene items. The two Hamburg-based partners have planned to pursue joint sustainability initiatives in the future and create high-impact solutions for more sustainable action. [37] Orange Wild Herbs Shower Gel is formulated using high-quality fragrance oils from organic orange blossom water and wild herbs. A small, evenly distributed amount is sufficient for deep cleansing of the skin [38].


Taiki USA, a large global supplier of sheet face masks, with its Bōshi Fiber Technology, in collaboration with Stellenbosch Nanofiber Co, has been offering waterless beauty products. [39] Bōshi Fiber uses a nanofiber manufacturing process, creating high performing, instantly dissolving waterless products. [40]


Bōshi Patches:
Electro Spun Bōshi fiber technology uses just a few active ingredients to create simple, advanced formulae. In its Multi-Function 3-in-1 Cleanser, the infused Jojoba oil helps breakdown makeup, while the massaging motion of the bio-degradable cellulose initiates the transformation into a gentle exfoliator. The resulting foaming form lifts away all the makeup residue, leaving behind cleansed, moisturized skin treated with Abyssinian Oil & Vitamin E. [41]

Boshi CBD soothing patches dissolve to deliver 10 mg of CBD with a blend of hyaluronic acid to soothe, calm and hydrate the skin. The “Electro Spun Bōshi fiber technology” uses just a few active ingredients to create a simple but advanced formulae. The patches leave the skin moisturized, thus offering a solution for troubled, stressed out and irritated skin. Boshi is open to customization using the brand’s own special source or blend of CBD. [42]

Reduced water consumption during the manufacture of products certainly reduces the carbon footprint; however, there are other benefits too. The absence of an aqueous phase minimizes the risk of microbial contamination of the finished products, which simplifies its storage and transportation. The current research focuses on understanding how waterless shampoos affect the physiology of the scalp. There is a concern that in the event the washing is not proper, it may leave the consumers with a dry and itchy scalp. Companies in the beauty space are also considering alternate approaches to save water. Devices such as low-flow showerheads that can divide the flow of water to create 10 times smaller droplets while being accelerated for more effective rinsing have already been marketed, and consumers may get to see more such inventions in the days to come.


    1. Waterless beauty could help save your skin and the planet—here’s why
    2. ‘Waterless’ Formulas Are Making Beauty Products More Potent And Sustainable
    3. Waterless beauty – A new era to dawn upon!
    4. Formulating Forum Every Drop Counts
    5. Water stewardship
    6. 2019 Progress Report
    7. Ingredients Face Cleanser
    8. Body Wash
    9. Refillable Mind & Body Wash
    10. Dynamic Duo Essential Skin Starter Kit
    11. How This Indie Beauty Brand Is Stirring Up The Sustainable Beauty Scene
    12. BioMod Makes Waterless Dry Masks Packed with Rejuvenating Balms
    13. Superzero
    14. Avocado oil + shea butter shampoo bar for dry, damaged hair and light frizzy
    15. Squalane + shea butter conditioner bar for dry, damaged hair & light frizz
    16. Love Beauty and Planet
    17. Dry Shampoo No Residue
    18. Honey Glow Waterless Balm
    19. LightbulbVitamin C Serum
    20. P&G’s DS3 Is Up & Running
    21. P&G Launching Liquid Free Cleaning Products
    22. Liquid Free Cleaning Products on the Way From P& G
    23. L’Oréal files patent on ‘superior stability’ waterless sunscreen using carnauba wax
    24. ‘Real impact at scale’: L’Oréal launches green beauty Garnier solid shampoo bars
    25. Two Kao Products Chosen for Use at International Space Station
    26. Dry shampoo for dogs: Ideal options for a quick bath session
    27. PETVEDA
    28. Everist Inc
    29. Blue gold: Waterless beauty the next eco-trend as consumers look for ‘next step’ in sustainability – Green + Bare
    30. Mirage Waterless
    31. Mirage Waterless
    32. Mirage Shampoo Powder
    33. Bare Me Beauty brings Dry Mask technology to IBE
    34. Waterless Sheet Masks
    35. Waterless Beauty Brands
    36. Beiersdorf
    37. Beiersdorf Acquires Natural Cosmetics Brand Stop The Water While Using Me!
    38. Orange Wild Herbs Body Wash
    39. february_2021 Mobile Paged Article
    40. Waterless Beauty
    41. Boshi Patches
    42. Boshi Cbd Patches


  • This document has been created for educational and instructional purposes only
  • Copyrighted materials used have been specifically acknowledged
  • We claim the right of fair use as ascertained by the author
  • Ms. Bhagyasri

    Bhagyasri is a senior knowledge scientist level-II at Scitech Patent-Art, where she provides patent and technology research services to various clients. She has a master’s degree in organic chemistry and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Patents Law. She is interested in multidisciplinary projects and has worked on different types of requests, such as prior-art searches, FTO, landscapes, inventor & company portfolios in domains like surfactants, chemistry, packaging, cosmetics, paper sector, and more. She has extensive experience in conducting invalidity searches and analysis for different domains. She is passionate about delivering high-quality and insightful reports that help clients make informed decisions.

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