Dry spell: the beauty world is tapping into the concerns about global water shortage

Waterless beauty products
From left, cuticle exfoliator: Melt Away cuticle exfoliator, £15, by Butter London. Soap: The Silver Soap, from £39, by Cor. Moisturiser: Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Sphere 2%, £5, by The Ordinary, for Deciem. Cleanser: Green Ceremony Cleanser, £50, by Odacité, from Cult Beauty. Make-up remover: Express Waterless Makeup Remover, £26, by DCL, from Selfridges. Set design: Matthew Morris
(Image credit: Studio K+H)

As the World Wildlife Fund declares that, by 2025, two-thirds of the world could face water shortages, a new cosmetics category, dubbed ‘waterless beauty’, is emerging.

Korean brands, such as Whamisa and The Lotus, as well as European brands, like Cor and Butter, are trading on the back of their waterless credentials. Often, some water must still be added to make the product effective, but the small inroads into reduced water consumption and the shrinking packaging needs are effective at ringing environmental alarm bells. Not to mention the fact that when the water is replaced with oils and botanical ingredients, the product is likely to pack more of a punch. 


As originally featured in the September 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*234), and shot inside London’s Royal Opera House, which has been newly reconfigured by Stanton Williams.