As the beauty industry’s eco efforts soar, these are key players in the next generation of waterless hair care.
A vegan formula infused with clarifying charcoal, organic coconut oil and shea butter, The Beachwaver Co. Charcoal Bar ($12) cleanses and conditions simultaneously for a healthy scalp and hair. “I set out to create an easy-to-use, travel-friendly, clean formula that is sulfate-free and fragrance-free,” says founder Sarah Potempa. “Just add water, emulsify it in your hands and massage it into your scalp. The packaging is also 100-percent compostable.”
Calling all blondes: Superzero Purple Perfection Conditioner Bar ($18) kicks brassy tones to the curb (it also works on white hair and highlights) with a plant-derived, deeply nourishing formula and subtle botanical scent. “Superzero’s products are anhydrous and contain no or only negligible amounts of water,” says cofounder Dr. Conny Wittke. “One conditioner bar equals about two to three bottles of 8.4-ounce conditioner and saves approximately 16 ounces of water in the product itself, plus the water used in manufacturing oversized plastic bottles and the water used in making the energy and refining the fuels to transport oversized products.”
“While not the largest user of water, the beauty industry is a growing contributor to water waste,” says Dr. Wittke, noting that we’re so used to water “just coming out of the tap,” and therefore we use it abundantly. “Water is ubiquitous in beauty formulations and typically the first—or one of the first—ingredients in bottled beauty products. Liquid shampoo, for example, usually contains 80 to 90 percent water, which doesn’t make much sense given that you have water in your shower. Plus, water in beauty formulations is the key reason why products have to be packaged in plastic bottles. In the U.S. alone, 552 million plastic shampoo bottles are being sold in the U.S. every year.”
Wet your hands in the shower to turn Klorane 2-in-1 Mask Shampoo Powder ($26) into a foamy emulsion that’s great for oily strands, as it combines three oil-reducing ingredients—organic nettle extract, glyceryl laurate and clay—to help extend each blowout. “It is predicted by the World Health Organization that by 2025, with the world’s current rate of consumption, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages,” says Jacqueline Flam Stokes, chief marketing officer of Pierre Fabre, Klorane’s parent company. “As a brand that is committed to protecting the environment, we wanted to provide a product to aide in water conservation.”
Banish excess oil and daily grime with SHAZ & KIKS Unearth Yourself Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser ($42), which counts Multani Mitti—one of Earth’s natural purifiers used in ancient beauty rituals 2,000 years ago—as its star ingredient. “According to Statista, the average American uses six bottles of shampoo a year, and with 75-percent of those formulas being water, that is 99 million gallons of water a year that just the U.S. alone uses for shampoo,” says cofounder Kiku Chaudhuri.
From Jennifer Aniston’s brand LolaVie comes this vegan, multitasking Glossing Detangler ($25), which is 99-percent naturally derived and swaps water for a more sustainable bamboo essence. “Bamboo shoots, stalks and leaves, which are naturally rich in minerals, including silica, are fermented and transformed into a powerful cosmetic material that also creates less waste,” says Ashley Glen, senior director of marketing at LolaVie. “This upcycled, isotonic byproduct minimizes the disruption of the osmotic balance in the scalp’s cells, whereas ordinary deionized water—typically the most utilized ingredient in beauty products—is hypotonic and can cause the scalp’s cells to swell.”
Patent-pending Everist Waterless Shampoo Concentrate ($24) is a first-of-its-kind, plant-based paste that is activated by water in the shower and leaves hair feeling super clean, but never stripped. It’s three times the concentration of liquid shampoo in a 3.4-ounce, recyclable aluminum tube that keeps a healthy planet in mind.
Mix fragrance-free Drybar One-Two Punch Water Activated 2-in-1 Hair Wash ($23) with water in your hand to create a foamy paste that gently cleanses and conditions using moisturizing coconut milk, hydrating aloe leaf juice and antioxidant-rich strawberry seed oil. Plus, it’s TSA-friendly and great for leak-proof travel.