Why care about water reduction?
Personal care is a consumer goods industry that depends on water: it’s fairly obvious that you can’t groom without it.
But with sustainability now an essential item at the top of any beauty brand’s agenda, water reduction has come firmly into focus in the recent period.
L’Oréal explains it’s recent efforts in this area are driven by the global imbalance in access to clean, safe water.
“Access to water is a growing issue across the world: worldwide consumption of water is growing twice as fast as the population, and according to the UN, in 2025, 2/3 of the world’s population may be living under water-stressed conditions,” the company explains.
“Shampoos and shower gels use a considerable amount of water. Hence the advantage of finding a way to use every drop of water to the best.”
In an age where preservatives are under consumer scrutiny, reducing the water in products in one good way to create ‘self-preserving’ items.
Lush is a key pioneer in this area, and has been offering dry shampoo bars for for many years.
The company notes: “Like all living things, microorganisms need water and nutrients to grow, and so water-based products like shower gels provide the perfect environment for bacterial reproduction.
“To keep perishables safe and fresh, free water must either be reduced or microbial growth must be controlled with a preservative.”
Lush often opts to create products that limit water where possible, describing them as ‘solid, naked products’ that have “a minimal water content which means they don’t need added preservatives.
More than 65% of Lush products are self-preserving, which means that they don't require any synthetic preservatives to keep them fresh. Water reduction is a key tool in these efforts.
Water itself is also becoming a product catergory.
'Novel' waters, that boast specific properties and claims, seem to defy the idea of water reduction, while also participating in the idea that water can be considered a premium ingredient.
Claims like rare, nuanced, and rich in minerals, antioxidants, etc. mean water is becoming a compelling personal care a product in and of itself.
Simple Organic is a natural beauty brand from Brazil that launched its Green Water product earlier this year.
The water comes from the distillation process used to get essential oil from the pitangueira plant.
“An extremely rich and multifunctional product. The hydrolate, extracted from the stem and leaves of the pitangueira…retains the same properties as the oil,” the brand suggests.