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WATERLESS SKINCARE: Do cosmetic products without water exist? YES!


“At Bumi, we make waterless (anhydrous) skincare. When I started formulating, I realised quickly that products could be far more powerful, cost-effective and versatile without water. I made a decision early on to leave out the water; not only for the environmental implications, but because I wanted to create potent skincare with pure botanical goodness inside.” - Imogen Wakerley, Founder, Bumi



Hydrated skin does not require water.


Water (or aqua as it is listed on the label) is an inexpensive material, and often added to ‘bulk out’ the product. You’ll often notice that it is listed first on the ingredients list, which means that it is the most prominent ingredient in the formula. Some light products such as eye creams have up to 90% water inside, which means that only 10% is left for beneficial ingredients like extracts and plant oils.


Water facilitates the absorption of active ingredients by the epidermis as it’s molecules are of similar size to the skin, but oil and butter based products hydrate by sealing in moisture and restricting water loss through the skins barrier. There are advantages for both waterless and water-based products, so it really depends on your ethical stance and preference to determine which is best for you.


Now let’s get down to some science…


What is the hydrolipidic film?


The hydrolipidic film is a protective barrier that contains lipids or fatty substances (sebum) and water (sweat) and is secreted by the skin throughout the day and night. Each of these compounds play a specific role in protecting our skin against external factors that we come into contact with on a daily basis, such as pollution, sun, cold, stress, or a poor lifestyle. These factors can also play a part in breaking down our hydrolipidic film, and we secrete less and less sebum with age, which explains why mature skin can become increasingly dry.


For this reason, it’s essential that we give our skin a helping hand with plant-based fatty acids, vitamins and minerals which regulate sebum production and encourage cell growth. The secret to radiant skin lies in the good health of this hydrolipidic film. Products containing vitamin A are highly effective at strengthening the skins barrier, such as our rich and beautiful Night Repair, made with Broccoli, Cucumber and Rosehip oils.


What are the benefits of using waterless skincare?

Waterless skincare is powerful


Water-free cosmetics contain a high concentration of lipid compounds, often found in organic butters, vegetable oils or waxes. These compounds support the role of sebum by providing a layer that limits water loss and protects against damage from free-radicals. Look out for ingredients such as Shea Butter, which as well as being an antioxidant, seals in moisture without clogging the pores. We use Shea Butter in most of our products, including our Juniperberry, Sage & Volcanic Ash Face Polish, which as well as regulating sebum production with Bamboo Stem Powder, leaves a protective layer on the skin even after you have rinsed the product off.


Waterless products are also full of vitamins and minerals that encourage cell regeneration. By using a waterless formula, you are effectively getting a more potent shot than you would with products that contain a high percentage of water. You can add water to products like body scrubs and face masks to make them easier to spread, which means that a little bit goes a long way and the products last longer.


They reduce the need of preservatives


Water is highly contaminable so preservatives are required in water-based products so that bacteria does not grow and be transferred to our skin. Although important from a safety perspective, synthetic preservatives have been linked to skin sensitivity and inflammation. Most waterless products do not require a preservative to keep them safe, as bacteria can not grow without water. That said, we made the decision to include an eco-friendly, natural preservative in our polishes and masks, as they are highly likely to come into contact with water when they are used and stored in the shower or bath.


With climate change, water is becoming a rare and precious resource.


Water is at the heart of the global concerns of the 21st century. Did you know that:

75% of the planet is covered with water – Less than 1% of the water on the planet is naturally drinkable and accessible, on average, a standard cosmetic product comprises between 70 and 80% of water. – At the current consumption rates, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that by the year 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be at risk of water scarcity.


With shortages and climate change becoming more and more of an issue, it seems counterproductive to create products that contain water, when we can get all the benefits we need for healthy skin from waterless formulas. A little bit goes a long way, which also saves you money and decreases carbon footprint as you don’t need to purchase the volume of products that you would with water-based skincare products.


You can help the planet by choosing to refuse water in your beauty stash, and support local businesses that create organic, waterless products and are committed to the environment - especially those with recyclable packaging. It’s positive on all levels!


What is your opinion on waterless cosmetics? Tell us more and follow us on Instagram @bumi.naturals


BUMI waterless skincare products are highly concentrated, and contain certified organic ingredients, formulated to provide the your skin with exactly what it needs. Discover our range here.



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