5 formats in waterless, solid and low water cosmetics on the market today

By Ravyn Cullor

- Last updated on GMT

Waterless personal care has come a long way since the days of bar soaps, at companies across cosmetics are using multiple formats to appeal to eco-interested consumers. © Getty Images -  puhimec
Waterless personal care has come a long way since the days of bar soaps, at companies across cosmetics are using multiple formats to appeal to eco-interested consumers. © Getty Images - puhimec

Related tags waterless Sustainability Formulation solid beauty water reduction

Waterless formulation isn’t an entirely new concept, evidenced by bar soap, but with increased consumer interest in eco-conscious formulas the selection of solid, waterless and low-water formats has grown.

In today’s market, led by small and indie companies, personal care products from cleansers to sunscreens, serums, face creams, perfumes, haircare and lotions are being put in waterless, solid or low-water formats in a global market which is expected to surpass $8.9 billion, according to Future Market Insight​.

Below are some of the formats brands are using to get their foot into this international marketplace, and some of the brands using them.


Bar soaps are no stranger to the average consumer, but brands have expanded the bar format to encompass more personal care products.

Flag shipped by Lush​, bar haircare, namely shampoo and some conditioners, have spread out through direct-to-consumer brands and some mass market brands like Unilever’s Love Beauty and Planet​. Some mass market retailers, like Target, are carrying bar shampoos instore.

Non-cleansing skincare items have also been converted to bar form. French brand Balade en Province offers a bar night cream​ and a few brands carry bar serums, like Ethique​ and Dew Mighty​.

Many bar-style skincare cosmetics are also available in a stick format, which is also popular among solid color cosmetics including foundation, blush and highlighters.


A number of companies have released tablet hand soap options, like Blueland​, where a consumer would add a dry tablet to a reusable soap dispenser.

Company Earthsubs​ offers a collection of shampoo, conditioner and body wash tablets, advertised as a travel product, which a consumer would crush and rub with water in the shower until the product is liquid.

In the oral care sector, brands like Bite​ and Hello​ have introduced tablet-form toothpaste and mouthwash.


Plus​ sells a body wash sheet, which turns into a foam when in contact with water and is packaged in a 100% dissolvable package, so there is essentially no packaging waste from the product.

Brand EC30​ carries single-dose shampoo, condition, body wash and hand soap kits, along with other home-care detergents.

During NYSCC Suppliers’ Day distribution partner IMCD showcased a prototype serum sheet, for which a user would put water on their face and then rub the sheet around their skin to turn the algae-based serum into a creamy texture.


In the haircare space, Susteau offers multiple collections of “hair wash” powders, which when added to water lather like liquid shampoos.

Bawdy​ carries a powder-to-lather body wash which they claim can replace up to five bottles of liquid body wash.

A powdered serum, by Versed​, is designed to be mixed with a liquid moisturizer and Honest’s​ Skin Sweep Exfoliating Powder Cleanser only requires consumer to wet their hands.

Of course, many color cosmetics classically come in powdered forms, from foundation to eye shadows and highlighters.


The Everist ​brand is built around personal care concentrates, in the form of paste and packaged in a metal tube. They carry formulas in bodywash, shampoo and conditioner which claim to fit an entire bottle of product into a 100 ml tube.

Other brands, like Ethique​, also care fully solid concentrates, which have similar appearances to bars.

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