Will waterless hair wash from OWA upend the category?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (ktasimarr)
© Getty Images / (ktasimarr)
The beauty startup led by Kailey Bradt is preparing to launch its first product—a powder shampoo—in the weeks ahead. What this means for the hair care category is yet to be seen. But Moondust Hair Wash is already distinctive. Cosmetics Design checked in with Bradt to find out about OWA’s product development strategy, packaging design, and her larger plans for the brand.

Kailey Bradt isn’t the only one thinking about reducing water usage when it comes to shampoo. Privately owned brands like Ethique and Lush make shampoo bars that are quite popular. And late last year L’Oréal partnered with Gjosa to develop a shampoo that requires substantially less water to rise out.

But not being first isn’t keeping Bradt from thinking creatively about what’s possible in hair care. “OWA stands for Out of this World Amazing,” ​she tells Cosmetics Design. And, “it’s in the brand’s mission to not only think out-of-the-box, but create out-of-this-world innovation.”

That sort of thinking informs the brand’s approach to language as well. In personal care, notes Bradt, “We have face wash and body wash, so why not hair wash?”

“We aren’t calling our shampoo ‘shampoo’,”  ​she says, “because consumers think of shampoo as a liquid and dry shampoo is already defined as a known styling product. We are calling our shampoo ‘hair wash’ because it implies washing and just makes sense to us really.”

Just add water

There are powdered, waterless color cosmetics products, skin care products, and body care products on the market.

Asked about the thinking behind the forthcoming OWA Moondust Hair Wash, Bradt tells Cosmetics Design, “we’ve gone waterless…not only because it’s saving water, it’s because we are saving other resources as well.”

And she goes on to explain: “Think about shipping heavy, bulky bottles of liquid shampoo. If you remove the water from these bottles, you’re also reducing the volume of plastic needed to house this water. When you remove the water, reducing the weight of the product reduces the amount of fuel (energy) consumed to transport these products from point A to point B. This is even more impactful when looking at an ecommerce brand that ships bottles individually to the customer’s doorstep. In short, we’ve considered each stage of the product’s life cycle during the development process of Moondust Hair Wash, and in our products in development.”

Product development

Bradt has a background in R&D as well as chemical engineering; and she brought that experience to bear on the development of hair wash.

Describing the concept of hair wash and the ground work that led to the formulation of Moondust Hair Wash (OWA isn’t sharing the ingredient list prior to launch), Bradt asks, “Was water functionally needed in a shampoo? Yes. Did the water need to come from a limited freshwater source and be purified in a manufacturing facility? No. The fact that water from a showerhead could be used to activate a powder formula and produce the same end result to a user, shaped the development process itself.”

While the Moondust Hair Wash will be the brand’s first product. There are already plans to develop more hair care, styling, and treatment products that are “Out of this World Amazing.”

“The Moondust Collection is planned to be hair wash (shampoo), hair conditioner, hair mask (treatment) and a hair lotion (styling product),” ​Bradt tells Cosmetics Design.

She believes “there is a huge opportunity in the space of styling treatments as there are minimal, sustainable, and zero waste options for styling products for the hair.”

Packaging design

For her product’s initial packaing design, Bradt looked to powdered beauty items that consumers are already familiar with.

“The packaging for the hair wash is similar to that of a powdered face wash,” ​she says. “Hair wash comes in a bottle with a plug to reduce flow and internally create a funnel-effect so that it pours out easily without pouring too much. The powder stops itself from over pouring due to the internal design of the flow-reducing plug.”

“Our bottle is 4 fluid ounces in size, but holds 2 ounces by weight of hair wash," ​says Bradt "This equates to about 60 washes if you were to use 0.5 fl ounces per wash of liquid shampoo. Therefore, 1 bottle of Moondust Hair Wash is equivalent to about three and a half 8 fluid ounce bottles of liquid shampoo.”



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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