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You Should Make the Switch to Waterless Grooming Products

Remember when saving the planet was as simple as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth? These days, a wide-scale climate crisis looms behind every action you take (or don’t take). As a good citizen of the planet, you’re likely already commuting by bike or public transport instead of using your car, grocery shopping with reusable bags, and cutting down on your addiction to Amazon Prime. What else can you do?

We’ve got an answer, and it involves almost no change to your lifestyle or personal comfort. You can switch out your conventional grooming products for waterless versions.

Believe it or not, most of the grooming products you use on a regular basis — shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. — consist of about 80% water. It’s not really meant to be a scam; water is often the most effective ingredient for emulsifying all the ingredients together and activating them for use on your hair or skin. However, this also means that you’re getting just a fraction of the cleansing ingredients you’re paying for.

In contrast, waterless grooming products allow you to DIY the water part, not to mention keeping your conscience as clean as your body. Here are just a few of the ways that waterless grooming products have an edge over conventional versions:

Reasons to Switch to Waterless Grooming

Easier to Store

Water makes up most of the volume in your shampoo, face cleanser, as well as your toothpaste and even your deodorant. By going waterless, you’re cutting down on how much space your stuff requires.

shampoo and conditioner bottles
PhotoAlto/James Hardy/Getty Images

Stronger concentration

Ever wonder why your whitening toothpaste doesn’t seem to deliver the effect it promises? The formula is diluted by water and other liquid solvents, which lower the strength of the active ingredients. Using waterless grooming products lets you get more of the good stuff when you’re washing (or shaving, or moisturizing).


Remember that thing about grooming products consisting of 80% water? Feels kind of silly to spend top dollar on a fancy shampoo with that in mind, doesn’t it? By comparison, waterless grooming products are much more wallet-friendly — you’re getting every bit of the premium ingredients you’ve paid for.

OWA Waterless Shampoo
OWA Waterless Shampoo


No H2O in your hygiene items means nothing for TSA to object to in your carry-on bag. (And no more measuring out 3.4 fluid ounces of each of your grooming accessories.) Sans water, your items will also weigh significantly less, keeping you light on your feet as you trip around the globe.

No Plastic

Microplastics in our groundwater supply are (alas) 2020’s flagship inconvenient truth. And what goes into our water ends up in our hair, on our skin, and in our mouths (gross). Using waterless grooming will cut down on your microplastic absorption and, as a bonus, leave more of the natural luster and texture in your hair and skin.

Better for the Environment

This one’s obvious: Waterless grooming leaves more of our most precious resource in the environment. And remember that thing above about saving space? Smaller products mean less packaging, which means less of a carbon footprint for shipping the products.

It’s true that waterless grooming products can take some getting used to, especially for the kind that you use in the shower or bathtub. Rubbing what looks and feels for all the world like a bar of soap on the ends of my hair wasn’t necessarily more complicated; it just wasn’t intuitive. After all, I’ve been squeezing hair products out of a bottle for 30 years.

shampoo portion
Cherayut Jankitrattanapokkin/EyeEm/Getty Images

However, after a few days, my showers were as streamlined as ever. And I was surprised to notice how much easier “portion control” turned out to be. That feeling when you know you could use just a tad more conditioner or toothpaste, but inevitably end up squeezing out more than you need? Waterless products solve that issue admirably.

Bottom line, getting in the habit of sprinkling, scrubbing, or dusting your grooming products (as opposed to squeezing them out of a bottle or tube) is a small price to pay for good looks, glowing health, and a more sustainable approach to life on this planet. Until they find us another habitable planet, this is the only one we’ve got. For that reason, it behooves all of us to find ways to build sustainable living into our everyday routines, and waterless grooming makes that a lot easier.

Best Waterless Grooming Products

OWA Waterless Shampoo

moondust collection owa
OWA Haircare

This ultra-clean, unscented, vegan shampoo sprinkles out like salt from a shaker. Dust a little or a lot onto your scalp, step under the showerhead for a minute or two, and scrub scrub scrub. Once your hands feel the resulting rich lather, you’ll know what to do from there. Bonus: Each can of OWA Waterless Shampoo provides 8 times as many washes as the same size bottle of liquid shampoo.

Meow Meow Tweet Conditioner Bar

meow meow tweet conditioner bar
Meow Meow Tweet

Don’t be scared by the cutesy name — this company’s waterless products are heavy-duty players in the shower. The brand’s waterless conditioner bar is made from ultra-moisturizing ingredients like hemp seed and jojoba oils, as well as coconut-derived alcohol and a kiss of lavender.

Belif True Tincture

Belif True Tincture

There’s another word for waterless face cleanser: Soap. Of course, for many skin types, typically formulated soaps can be very drying, especially on the more sensitive skin of the face and neck. If your face can’t handle a roundhouse kick of dehydration, this gentle yet powerful cleansing tincture is actually better for you than a traditional cleanser, deploying the magical anti-aging powers of chamomile for a balanced pH and a healthy glow.

BodyVerde Waterless Shaving Cream

 BodyVerde Waterless Shaving Cream Dry Shave Gel
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re used to ultra-foamy shaving cream that requires repeated application, you’re going to fall head over heels for this deliciously thick, moisture-rich shaving gel. This synergistic blend of plant-based ingredients coats each hair to create a super-smooth surface that minimizes friction and prevents burn, bumps, and nicks. No need to rinse off the excess, either — just rub it into your skin afterward for a super moisturized finale to your grooming routine.

Bite Toothpaste Tablets

bite toothpaste
Bite Toothpaste Bits

Is there any bathroom product more controversial than the toothpaste tube? The fights over where to squeeze are a thing of the past when you embrace BITE toothpaste tablets. Just pop one in your mouth, crush it with your teeth, and get brushing. The tablets taste like a less-intense Altoid and are easy to spit and rinse when you’re done. Even the BITE toothbrush is sustainable (made from renewable bamboo) and travel-friendly (disassembles into two pieces for compact storage).

Skinnies Waterless Sunscreen

Skinnies Waterless Sunscreen
Got Skinnies

The extra-strong concentration of waterless grooming products is extra-important when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun. That’s why we were thrilled to discover Skinnies, a water-free SPF-30 sunscreen that is non-greasy, rubs in clear, dries in about 2 minutes, and contains no shady ingredients like parabens, phthalates, or alcohol.

Native Deodorant

native deodorant
Native Cos

Another place where the super-concentrated strength of waterless grooming becomes a key point. Most things designed to keep you from being smelly contain water, including hard stick deodorant as well as anti-perspirant sprays. Native is not one of these. Its active ingredients include coconut oil, magnesium, arrowroot powder, and even beneficial bacteria, all of which nourish your skin while protecting your pits.

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Chelsea Batten
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Chelsea Batten is a writer, photographer, and Kerouac groupie. One of the original digital nomads, she was seduced from life…
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