Powder beauty products are the cost-effective and eco-friendly way of the future

As makeup giants begin to gravitate towards sustainable packaging and cleaner formulas, it only makes sense that skincare and haircare brands continue to unveil new beauty breakthroughs with environmental sustainability in mind. While many brands are taking steps such as using ethically sourced ingredients, others are finding way to develop waterless formulas that cut down on waste and energy consumption.

Budding haircare brand OWA, for example, offers a water-activated powder shampoo that effectively (and gently!) cleanses the hair without any harsh ingredients. And unlike traditional liquid shampoos, which rely on liquid solvents, OWA CEO and founder Kailey Bradt argues that consumers get more for their money when investing in powdered products.

“With a waterless formula, we aren’t taking water out of the bottle—we aren’t even putting it in,” Bradt tells HelloGiggles. “Less water in the product means more uses for the consumer, and less waste and less energy used to manufacture and distribute the product.”

Skincare brands are taking note. 100% PURE‘s new powder cleanser and face mask products were released in September of this year, and indie brand Acaderma also plans on bringing powder products to your daily routine, with a new series of boosters (which will include powdered skincare) slated to launch in 2020. But it’s not just the indie and traditionally clean brands that are leaning this way. Drugstore brand Bioré also offers a powder cleansing scrub—for only $11.

Sustainability factor aside, Shuting Hu, Ph.D., a biological research cosmetic scientist and founder of Acaderma, even says that powdered products are more effective than their liquid counterparts since powder formulas tend to allow active ingredients to be more stable.

“Powder is used to make the active ingredients in skincare more stable, which ultimately, would make them more effective,” Hu told HelloGiggles. “When powder is added to the base formula before the final stage, it maximizes how effective the product will be.”

While powder-based skincare and haircare products are undeniably the eco-friendly way of the future, we spoke more with Hu (plus other cosmetic chemists) to answer all your burning questions surrounding these type of products. From what ingredients to look out for to how powdered products could potentially save you more money, below is full 411 on powdered skincare and haircare products.

Look for the right powdered skincare ingredients.

The rule of thumb in selecting beauty products is to always read the ingredients, says the founder of 100% Pure, Susie Wang: “You’ll always want to understand what you are putting on your skin and hair, as there could potentially be a harmful effect once it’s absorbed. One of the most harmful ingredients to avoid in powdered skincare and haircare products is talc, which could potentially contain asbestos, a substance that is known to be poisonous to humans when it’s ingested or inhaled.”

Talc aside, Hu says that there are some powdered ingredients worth looking into. These include vitamin C and Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), which she explains can help ward away signs of aging and keep the skin looking clear and radiant. “These ingredients are known for their abilities to brighten skin, and assisting to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” she says.

Powdered skincare can be very customizable.

When it comes to powdered skincare essentials, cosmetic chemist and founder of Freelance Formulations Vanessa Thomas explains that detoxifying clay and powdered cleansers are some of the most common products on the market, and since powered products are also very customizable, you can easily use them as boosters in your daily regimen.

“Essentially, you can customize these products to meet your specific needs,” Thomas tells HelloGiggles. “This also works by obtaining powdered vitamins, and adding them to your daily creams and moisturizers.”

Powdered vitamin C, for example, is one way to keep your skin glowing all winter long. One product that delivers this powerful ingredient is the Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C ($30), which contains 10 percent vitamin C to purify, brighten, and retexturize dull skin.

Powdered beauty products can be more cost-effective.

When it comes to saving money, Bradt suggests that powdered products tend to be much more cost-effective than many liquid shampoos on the market, and even though one bottle of the brand’s Moondust Collection: Hair Wash costs $29 for one two-ounce bottle, she says it’s equivalent to 3.5 eight-ounce liquid bottles, giving you more bang for your buck.

“One bottle of OWA Hair Wash contains 60 washes, which is seven times more than an average liquid shampoo,” Bradt explains. “With this said, you’re getting the same quality and efficacy of salon-grade shampoo (that is free of water, sulfates, parabens, silicones, and synthetic colors and fragrances) with a longer shelf-life.”

However, because water is an ingredient in most shampoo products, Thomas confirms that the quantity you receive with powdered products is likely to be on the smaller side. She also says that while powdered products do boast longevity compared to liquid products, it really depends on the formula and the person using the product.

“You might be used to squeezing a quarter-sized amount of product onto your hair or skin, but with these products, a dime-size amount might be appropriate,” Thomas tells HelloGiggles.

Be careful when mixing powdered skincare products together.

While Thomas argues that powdered skincare can fit nicely inside any regimen, she also stresses the importance of exerting caution when mixing products together: “Some raw materials just do not mix well, and the consequences can be as dire as an allergic reaction, or as minor as the product breaking the emulsion (or changing the thickness) of the product.”

With this in mind, she suggests consulting your dermatologist before you begin to use (and mix) powder products altogether.

Powdered skincare and haircare ingredients tend to be more potent than liquid products.

Since powder skincare and haircare products are made without water, thickeners, and emulsifiers, Wang says that these formulas tend to be much more potent than their liquid counterparts. “These ingredients are more active than standard products,” she explains. “With that said, these products are great for a more customized, concentrated texture experience based on how much water is added when activating the formula.”

Similarly, Bradt says that OWA delivers a potent and concentrated product with no diluted water. “Since we don’t need to develop a liquid, shelf-stable format, we can deliver only the ingredients you need in a concentrated format, not diluted with water,” she adds.

Powder products may be better on the skin and the planet.

Since water is not present in powdered skincare products, Wang says it tends to have a good effect on your skin because it typically doesn’t contain any skin-irritating preservatives. She further notes that powder beauty products are also better for the planet, as many of these formulas in question are biodegradable. “Powdered products also weigh less comparatively,” she adds. “This cuts down on the environmental impact of shipping them to customers.”

Now that you know what to look for in powdered skincare and haircare products, below are five products to definitely consider adding to your arsenal this winter.

1Bioré Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub


Shop it Available at Walgreens

This powder-based scrub aims to combat irritation during cleansing thanks to its gentle blend of hydrating active ingredients and enzyme powder.

2OWA The Moondust Collection: Hair Wash


Shop it owahaircare.com

Free of water, sulfates, and parabens, this water-activated shampoo lathers brilliantly, leaving your tresses feeling fresh and clean.

3100% PURE Vitamin C Mask


Shop it amazon.com

This powdered exfoliating vitamin C mask can easily be added to your routine in order to promote clearer-looking skin, making dark spots a thing of the past.

4Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant


Shop it ulta.com

This rice-based enzyme powder fuses green tea, ginkgo, and colloidal oatmeal to promote new cell turnover and deep clean clogged pores.

5Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C


Shop it Available at Nordstrom

This radiance-boosting powder conveniently comes in these little packets, which makes them perfect for traveling. Plus, they’ll leave your skin feeling supple and smooth.

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