Clean Water Market

type - big idea
Big Idea
sector - health & wellness
As clean water continues to outstrip supply and its toxicity becomes a growing concern, a new generation of innovators are stepping in to radically reshape consumers’ beauty and wellness routines.

Drivers: what’s happening

Clean water access is a global issue. Although we've made progress towards a more positive water future, it's not enough to keep up with population growth and climate change. As a result, there are still more than 2bn people who live in water-stressed countries (source: UN).

While America ranks as the wealthiest continent, some of the region's states and cities are still experiencing water stress. Las Vegas, for example, faced less than 30 days of clean water supply following the recent droughts, and in the UK, the government is facing a backlash against the privatisation of water. Camilla Cavendish from the Financial Times claims that: 'England's water companies routinely discharge raw sewage into rivers and onto beaches – leaving the UK bottom in Europe for bathing water quality.’

Furthermore, while there is an increased level of water scarcity, there are concerns over water toxicity globally. According to the University of Stockholm, global rain water is now unsafe to drink due to containing 'forever chemicals', which are chemicals that do not break down in the environment and can be found in household items like food packaging, electronics, cosmetics and cookware. 

Published by:

3 October 2022

Author: Olivia Houghton and Jessica Smith

Image: Nomad by Seymourpowell, UK


Left: Clean: The New Science of Skin and the Beauty of Doing Less by James Hamblin, US. Right: Swair, US.

Market shifts: what’s new


To ameliorate concerns about water scarcity and skin health, an anti-showering movement is growing. Since 2016, LS:N Global has been tracking the rise of Waterless Beauty, a microtrend that examined the rise of brands adapting how they manufactured and formulated their products to alleviate concerns about water scarcity. As droughts persist, this has become a Civic responsibility, and governments are advising citizens to shower less frequently. With studies that suggest that over-showering can damage the human microbiome, this might not be such a negative thing for our skin health. The Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah claims that ‘disrupting our microbial eco-systems can cause disease’ and washing too often may damage these micro-organisms, which are vital for our health.

Furthermore, according to dermatologist Lucy Chen, the right number of showers per week is two to three, and washing too much can be bad for your hair, cause acne and may make allergies worse. 'Showering every day may be bad for your skin because it can remove essential oils and dry out your skin. Dryness can lead to eczema or skin inflammation, or make your skin red and itchy,' Chen tells Brightly.

Rinseless Beauty

Beyond waterless innovations such as solid shampoo bars that need water to activate, brands are innovating rinseless products that don’t require water at all. Swair’s showerless shampoo, for example, cleans your hair without suds, rinsing or residue. Unlike dry shampoo, which masks grease in the hair, Swair’s product interacts with the dirt and sweat so it can be towel-dried away. Other innovations include Yuni Beauty’s range of waterless Shower Sheets and Flash Bath No-Rinse Body Cleanser and Hanni’s Shave Pillow, which promises a smooth shave and nourished skin without a drop of water. Leading the rinseless way in oral care, Pärla’s solid toothpaste tabs are activated through saliva to create a paste at the point of brushing rather than including water in the formula.

‘England’s water companies routinely discharge raw sewage into rivers and onto beaches – leaving the UK bottom in Europe for bathing water quality’
Camilla Cavendish, weekly columnist, Financial Times

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