The vital impact of this one ingredient
Water, Water, Everywhere
A quick glance at the ingredients lists of some of the beauty industry’s bestsellers reveals that the top billing often goes to … water, the most ubiquitous ingredient of all. (The proof is in the contents of Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C, Drunk Elephant Glycolic Serum and IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream, to name a few.) Great—what’s more pure than H2O? Water-rich lotions and shampoos almost seem like little microcosms of the earth, which is covered in over 70 percent water.
Here’s what’s wrong with water being No. 1 on the list: it’s likely diluting the active ingredients—the oils, the extracts and all the other good stuff that hydrate skin, diminish wrinkles and heal breakouts. And anytime water (also referred to as aqua by fancy French brands) is in the mix, products need plenty of preservatives to prevent the proliferation of bacteria and mold. That’s more filler right there.
Below the Surface of Ingredients Lists
Actual water content aside, every single ingredient in the formula—not to mention the final product itself as well as the packaging—has a water footprint, the amount of freshwater resources that are consumed and polluted during production. The more ingredients, the more water goes into making that product, and the higher the potential for water pollution, especially if the ingredients aren’t organically grown. (Pesticides and chemicals used in industrial farming end up polluting rivers, lakes and oceans, killing other plants and wildlife and contaminating the water people drink and shower in every day.)
Ingredient Consciousness Is the New Wave
Look, it’s definitely not easy being a total water-saving hero when shopping for beauty products; in fact, it’s like searching for the perfect pair of vintage jeans that fit like a dream. But making a few smart swaps here and there is a solid start. For example, when blending up a nourishing hair mask or body cream, choose coconut or avocado oil for their relatively smaller water footprints. Need a serum or eye cream that packs caffeine and antioxidant benefits? Look for tea-based ingredients, which are less water-intensive to grow than coffee beans. Also, using double-duty formulas, like cleansers or exfoliators that can multitask as masks, is more water-efficient and saves time.
Getting to know the source is a clever way to deduce whether a product and its ingredients are relatively water-wise. If a certain fruit extract comes from a region with moderate rainfall, it’s likely more sustainable than one from a region with a drier climate like the Middle East. But let’s be real—this approach takes a lot of legwork by the consumer. Unfortunately, transparency from brands isn’t a given; now is the time to demand more of it and hold brands to higher standards. Being prudent about saving water in daily life is important, but systemic change is the real key to making the greatest impact on conservation.
At LOLI, our intentions inform the integrity of all of our ingredients. We don't believe in shipping products that are mostly water. We do believe that every ingredient should serve a purpose. The Waters we create are always infused with elements that give them potency. No filler, ever.