Last August, the water supply in Sao Paolo, Brazil, fell to below 40 percent of its capacity, due to climate change, and put the city’s seven million people in potential peril.
Capetown, South Africa, a city of 4.5 million, also suffered a severe drought last year, and rationed water, when it looked as though they were going to run out.
Threats to global water supplies caused by climate change and pollution (including microbead pollution), are inspiring beauty brands--and consumers--to think harder about how they can avoid wasting water. For consumers, some of it is a no-brainer: install water-saving shower heads in your home, turn off the water when you brush your teeth and shampoo your hair, cut back on those long, languorous showers. Meanwhile, the beauty industry is working on ways to reformulate and create new products that don’t require as much water to manufacture and don’t require consumers to use as much.
Many natural and organic brands already have a head start, and have been researching ways to reduce water, in order to and pack more botanical ingredients into their products. Odacite relies on aloe vera as a first ingredient, instead of water. Vapour Beauty is water-free and uses camellia-seed oil and beeswax instead. Ethique, from New Zealand, features a range of 30 skin- and haircare bars that are not only water-free, they are highly concentrated and last six times longer than traditional liquid versions. Balanced Guru features preservative-free, powder masks that require only a few drops of water to activate. And oil-based cleansers, like Olive + M Cleansing Oil Purify and Rejuvenate, are, of course, water-free.
Micellar waters, like Desert Essence Cucumber and Aloe Micellar Cleanser, use much less water than traditional face washes or cleansers, for removing makeup and cleansing the face. And Stop the Water While Using Me has built an entire brand around spreading awareness about water conservation. Most recently, the cult favorite French hair care brand Phyto repackaged, and, by eliminating outer boxes and aluminum bottles, and replacing them with 100 percent recyclable PET bottles, the brand will increase the product in each bottle by 25 percent and save 10 million liters of water each year.
Every little bit helps. --Rona Berg