The new frontier of the beauty industry: products without water in the formulation

Oquist’s product packaging is made of terracotta and can be reused for product refills or as decorative objects.

BOLOGNA – A visitor caught the eye of a visitor at the Swedish Oquist exhibition among 2700 stands at the world’s largest beauty fair Cosmoprof held in Bologna, Italy. “Oh, it’s a brand of candles,” he cried out in Italian, seeing small gray clay bottles and containers scattered across a table.

The perception that Oquist produced decorative objects fared far from disappointing co-founder Olga Ringquist. After all, the brand uses clay containers to store multifunctional products that don’t contain water in the formulation, and calls itself “skinterior” (a neologism that intensifies the words “skin” in reference to leather and interior design).

Art and sustainability are at the heart of Oquist. Both appear in Italian terracotta packages that can be filled with cosmetic fillings in the bathroom or living room after use, or even become decorative pieces or flower vases. In addition, the entire cosmetic manufacturing process is always done without water, which is quite different from the average skin care products that normally contain more than 90% of the ingredient in their composition.

As Beautystreams, the American office specializing in future research for the cosmetics market, points out, removing water from the formulation of cosmetics – that is, making them “waterless” – is one of the most prominent trends at Cosmoprof.

“We have come across many examples of brands that introduce this as an innovation and produce without water. It’s a good choice for both the planet and consumers who can buy more concentrated products without preservatives to extend shelf life, says Fernanda Pigatto, Beautystreams’ global marketing director.

“Thirsty,” as pointed out by American office Beautystreams, is one of the most prominent trends at Cosmoprof.

For the Cosmoprof report, Fernanda and her team analyzed the innovations of the 2,700 brands featured at the show, identifying the most recurring ones that will determine the trajectory of the global beauty industry in the years to come.

The “thirsty” recommendation is already timely adopted by big companies. For example, in December 2021 in Brazil, Natura launched the Biomé brand, which includes shampoo, conditioner and bar soap all made from palm oil and stored in recycled and recyclable paper packaging. For now, the line is only sold at Natura’s concept store on Rua Oscar Freire in São Paulo.

Even Chanel embarked on “without water,” but in another format, with dust. On the line named No. 1 of Chanel, which is among the natural and sustainable cosmetics and make-up products, is a facial cleanser that comes in powder form and becomes a foam that cleans the dirt of the skin after it is mixed with a few drops of water.

Wandering through the giant Cosmoprof pavilions, it was easy to spot brands supported by “waterless”. There are quite a few companies around the world that invest, for example, in solid cosmetics – shampoos in soap form, conditioners and the like. In addition to the powder cosmetic versions, which is another innovation in the waterless format, they add the advantage of being easier to carry with less risk than liquids in a suitcase or bag.

Representatives of solid products in Italy include the Simplicemente Solido and Senso Naturale brands – the latter taking the category to a new level, even offering therapeutic serums in a waterless format.

Beauté Mediterranea Cleaning Powder

Beauté Mediterranea, an independent brand from Barcelona, ​​took its most innovative product to Cosmoprof, the Detox Cleansing Powder made with volcanic ash from the South Korean island of Jeju. The company has invested in “waterless” because it understands that being sensitive to the environment is an important value, especially among young people who are looking for more natural and sustainable products.

Oquist is a thirsty native. The choice of this path came from the experience of Olga’s father and partner Pavel Babneev. For 20 years working at major companies in the industry, offering waterless formulas whenever customers wanted “skin-friendly” products. There was technology, but it was not of interest to the industry.

According to him, the need for chemical stabilizers and preservatives disappears, which can cause allergies when removing water and, although not considered toxic to the body, can destabilize water-based ecosystems when returned to the environment.

“The main reason for creating products that do not contain water in formulation is sustainability. In general, 96% to 97% of cosmetics are water. That’s not bad for you, but it’s there to fill the bottle, build volume, and increase costs. This has created an unsustainable model of what skincare is like being less active, 70% more packaged, and the client needs to use too much to be effective.”

Oquist’s first product was a 6-in-1 anti-aging serum that uses vegetable oils instead of water as a base. Its multifunctional features are: day and night care, moisturizing for eyes, neck and décolleté, make-up removal and aftershave. Today the portfolio also includes a moisturizing butter for the body, a lip balm and a cleansing oil.

Olga Ringquist and her father and partner at Oquist Pavel Babneev: the decision for efficiency and sustainability of products

The idea is to not have a large portfolio. “With these products, we have already met all the needs of a person. There are four products that can replace 21,” says Olga. Its aim is to innovate in packaging, to offer customers new decorative objects instead of formulas.

By joining Cosmoprof, Olga plans to open up the market beyond her e-commerce and the few European niche stores where it is currently distributed. “After launching the brand in September 2021, we started looking for distributors from all over the world and realized that the beauty market has this ‘offline’ feature. People do business at the world’s major fairs,” she said. It got the attention it wanted. At least from expert critics. 6′ The in 1 serum stood out as one of the most innovative at the Bologna fair.

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