Special Edition Newsletter: Water Reduction Formulation

Bring Your Own Water: the rise of dry and reconstitutable beauty

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (NitikornIstock)
© Getty Images \ (NitikornIstock)

Related tags Water waterless Sustainability Environment active beauty

More personal care product formulas are coming to market that require the consumer to add water before (or during) application.

Adding water is nothing new. Liquid shampoo and conditioner products commonly require water for application and rinse-off. The same is true of conventional oral care, some color cosmetics, skin cleansers and treatments, and bath and body care.

What is different is that more often now, the water added by the consumer is the only water in the product formula. The urgency of environmental concerns and the convenience of portable products have converged, becoming the momentum behind a new kind of beauty: the kind that’s powdered or otherwise reconstitutable.

Powdered and reconstitutable beauty exists in every category

Just-add-water hair care like OWA’s Moondust Hair Wash​ and Awake Organics’ plastic-free, water-activated shampoo​ are gaining traction with consumers looking for simpler, smarter products.

Even before launch OWA brand founder Kailey Brant spoke with Cosmetics Design about the waterless hair care concept:“we’ve gone waterless,” ​said Brant, “not only because it’s saving water, it’s because we are saving other resources as well.”

And she went 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.”

My Magic Mud​ launched in 2013 with a single product: tooth powder. The personal care brand has grown significantly in the intervening years. And there are now 5 versions of the brand’s popular powdered oral care product. Learn more about My Magic Mud and the brand’s clay-based formulation strategy in this Cosmetics Design video interview with founder Jessica Arman.

Any number of beauty supplements use the just-add-water approach, from dissolvable collagen tablets from Hum Nutrition​, to powdered Miracle Collagen from Imbibe​ and La Sirene’s stir-in collagen powders​.

Dry color cosmetics are a bit quieter than other categories. But just-add-water eyelines cakes from RMS Beauty, 1920 Black Cake Mascara from Bésame Cosmetics, Lip Powder Palettes from Stellar, are helping consumers recognize that not all makeup needs to be damp or dewy.

Skin care including cleansers, masks, and treatments all come in dry, reconstitutable formats too. K Beauty brand Skinesque makes an exfoliating facial cleanser known as Enzyme Washing Powder. And numerous brands, including Ranavat Botanics and Waxing Kara, make powdered masks that consumers mix with any number of liquids (water, serum, tonique, honey, etc.) before application.

Products like the TimeWise Vitamin C Activating Squares from Mary Kay fit in here too.​ The dissolvable vitamin C film activates with a few drops of water and keeps the active fresh and potent until use.

Solid format beauty products are often dry and applied with water too

The most obvious example here is classic bar soap. But now nearly every sort of personal care and skin care is available in solid form from brands like Ethique​. And more recently Unilever’s Love Beauty and Planet have begun selling shampoo and conditioner bars.

Solid fragrance is making a comeback. The popular indie brand Diptique makes solid parfum and a new brand called Othús Perfumery does as well.

Plus, ingredient makers and manufacturers are brining new dry and sold format product options to market regularly now—which can only mean that there will be more just-add-water beauty in the future. Read about Clariant’s new solid product technology here on Cosmetics Design​ and about some of the solid product innovations we saw at this year’s in-cosmetics North America here​.



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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