The Waterless Wave: 5 Startups Disrupting Traditional Formulations

Skincare products have relied heavily on water as a primary ingredient, not only due to its solvent properties but also for its perceived hydrating benefits. 

However, this reliance poses significant environmental challenges, including the excessive use of water resources and the carbon footprint associated with transporting largely water-based products. 

Additionally, the preservatives required in water-based formulas to maintain shelf stability often raise concerns about their impact on skin health and the environment.

The need for more sustainable and efficient solutions has never been more apparent, leading to the rise of waterless formulations to tackle these challenges.

Waterless, or anhydrous, formulations represent a promising frontier in cosmetic technology, aligning with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly and potent skincare options.

This article highlights five startups redefining skincare through waterless formulations.

Interested in more Cosmetic Trends in 2024? Fill out the form to get the latest trends report for the Cosmetics Industry:

1. Shea Yeah – Use Shea Butter to Replace Water

Founding Year2017
HeadquarterZurich, Switzerland
Total Funding Amount€110K
Last Funding Round/AmountAngel/€110K

Shea Yeah is on a mission to revolutionize how we combat dry skin. It is shifting away from water-based moisturizers that can evaporate quickly, leaving skin dry again. This startup leverages the natural, intensive moisturizing properties of shea butter, enhanced with other potent botanicals, to deliver long-lasting hydration without a drop of water.

They further ensure that the shea butter and Swiss herbs are sourced from the regions where the plants naturally thrive.

By celebrating the stories behind these ingredients and their intrinsic value for skin care, Shea Yeah offers customers a connection to nature’s bounty while promoting sustainability and ethical sourcing practices.

It was founded by Sandra Fischer, whose passion for sustainable and effective skincare solutions drives the startup’s vision.

In May 2022, Shea Yeah received an Angel investment of €110K.

2. Conserving Beauty – Offer Water Soluble Wipes

Founding Year2021
HeadquarterVictoria, Australia
Total Funding AmountPublicly Not Disclosed
Last Funding Round/AmountPublicly Not Disclosed

Traditional makeup wipes pose a significant environmental threat. Made from synthetic materials, they take an extremely long time to biodegrade, often up to 100 years. This leads to pollution in our waterways and contributes to sewer blockages, with some countries experiencing blockages as high as 93%.

Conserving Beauty’s InstaMelt™ offers a revolutionary solution to these problems. Made from a patented water-soluble polymer, InstaMelt wipes dissolve instantly upon contact with water. Alternatively, they biodegrade in 14 days, significantly reducing their environmental impact. This innovative fabric allows you to remove makeup conveniently without the long-lasting consequences of traditional wipes.

Conserving Beauty Wipes GIF


Its founder, Natassia Nicolao Grace, has a Bachelor of Science from Deakin University. 

The startup hasn’t raised any funding yet. 

Intrigued by these innovative startups in waterless formulations?

Subscribe for insights into more such skincare startups solving core industry challenges.

Subscribe to us

3. True Skincare – Addresses Dilution Issue Prevalent in Water-based Cosmetics

Founding Year2018
HeadquarterOxfordshire, United Kingdom
Total Funding AmountPublicly Not Disclosed
Last Funding Round/AmountPublicly Not Disclosed

Based in the United Kingdom, True Skincare offers pure, potent, and environmentally friendly skincare solutions. The brand addresses the dilution issue prevalent in water-based cosmetics, which can diminish the effectiveness of active ingredients. 

By removing water from their formulations, True Skincare enhances the concentration of active substances, ensuring maximum benefits with minimal environmental impact.

Their innovative approach includes developing solid skincare products that transform into luxurious textures upon application, catering to the needs of all skin types. The brand’s commitment to purity and potency has resonated with consumers seeking transparent and impactful skincare options.

Emma Thornton, the startup’s founder and CEO, has led its commitment to affordable, high-quality, sustainable beauty products.

The startup has yet to raise funding.

4. Solidu – Offer Entirely Waterless Solid Personal Care Products

Founding Year2018
HeadquarterVilniaus Apskritis, Lithuania
Total Funding Amount€131.7K
Last Funding Round/AmountEquity Crowdfunding/€131.7K

Solidu is pioneering the no-waste beauty movement by offering an array of solid personal care products that are entirely waterless. This innovative approach addresses the overuse of water resources and the plastic pollution crisis, as Solidu’s products are packaged in biodegradable materials.

Their technology revolves around creating highly concentrated solid bars that deliver exceptional performance without the environmental toll. These products conserve water and reduce the carbon footprint associated with shipping water-weighted products. Solidu’s effectiveness in providing sustainable yet luxurious beauty solutions has made it a favorite among eco-conscious consumers.

Its founder and CEO, Vaiva Zvirblyte, has a Bachelor’s Degree from Vilnius University.

Solidu raised €131.7K in Equity Crowdfunding in Nov 2023.

5. Pinch of Color – Use Botanical Ingredients, Hydrating Natural Oils, and Fruit Butter

Founding Year2016
HeadquarterNew York, United States
Total Funding AmountPublicly Not Disclosed
Last Funding Round/AmountPublicly Not Disclosed

Freshwater scarcity is a pressing global issue. Over one-third of the world’s population lives in water-stressed countries, and this proportion is expected to rise drastically by 2025. Notably, around 800 million people lack access to safe drinking water, highlighting the urgent need for solutions to ensure access to clean water.

Pinch of Colour prioritizes sustainability by utilizing botanical ingredients, hydrating natural oils, and fruit butter instead of water for moisturization. 

Their product lineup includes lip colors, oils, and face tints, all naturally sourced and without water content. Pinch of Colour extends its commitment to making a positive impact by allocating some of its business proceeds to philanthropic endeavors. 

The brand provides safe drinking water to underprivileged communities worldwide through collaborations with organizations like Healing Waters Organization, Clean Water for Children, Ekenywa, and Blue Angel Charity.

Its CEO and founder, Linda Treska, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Cosmetics, and Fragrances from the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

The startup hasn’t raised any funding yet.

Partner with these cutting-edge startups to tackle your industry’s toughest challenges and stay on top of the competition. 

Get in touch to discover how GreyB helps you find similar ventures that perfectly fit your needs.

Get in touch

Authored By – Vipin Singh, Market Research

Leave a Comment

Become a part of GreyB’s insider list

Get our distilled learning delivered to you.

Get the Sample Report

Fill out the form and get the report.