The return of bar soaps has been one of sustainable beauty’s wins in recent years.
Arguably one of the first beauty products and known to have been used for hundreds of years, their simplicity and efficacy can’t be denied.
Along the way we were gradually won over by liquid products in plastic dispensers, but a desire to minimise bottles heading to landfill, combined with bar soap’s development into viable shampoos and conditioners and even body lotions and serums has seen their popularity return.
Now, there’s another waste-minimising option vying for our attention.
Dissolvable face wipes, dehydrated sheets of body wash and other products that offer waterless alternatives to our regular routines.
New Australian skincare brand Conserving Beauty has just launched InstaMelt Deep Exfoliating Day Dissolver Wipes. Made from innovative patented fabric technology that instantly dissolves in water, the wipes rinse away with no microplastics left behind.
Infused with a nourishing blend of Hemp Seed, Jojoba Oil and Jojoba Esters, Squalane, they’re kind to skin and the planet and are certified safe to flush. With traditional wet wipes responsible for 75% of sewerage blockages in Australia according to the brand, it really is remarkable dropping them into the sink while you’re brushing your teeth and watching them disappear into the water.
If they do happen to end up in landfill they are 100% biodegradable in just 14 days. The outer sachet is made from R28 Film, a recyclable laminate essential to keep the wipe dry.
Another early standout, a US-based brand called Plus, offers a waterless body wash that comes individually wrapped in flat sheets that emulsify when you add water. What’s more, its outer packaging is also completely dissolvable. Made of wood pulp from responsibly managed FSC forests and printed with biodegradable ink, it disappears swiftly in water at the bottom of your shower.
The company claims it uses 38% less water in manufacture and given its lighter weight lowers emissions created during transportation by 80% vs. liquid body wash. It also offsets 100% of what emissions it is responsible for through Pachama, a company that invests and oversees global reforestation and conservation efforts.
Celebrity favourite, NYC-based Evolve Together also has a waterless, dissolvable personal care line called ‘Gone Today’. It includes flat, paper-like hand soap discs activated with water and outer plant-based packaging that also washes away for a completely zero-waste wash.
A gimmick or a useful development? Considering their portability we see their appeal for the handbag, travel or the gym and while not yet widely available here, we expect a wave of similar options this year and beyond.
Serum-soaked skincare sheet masks, while popular, have also faced waste criticism given their single-use nature. Usually made of fine cotton fabric or tissue, it’s not surprising biodegradable options, including biocellulose gel ones like those from Dr Dennis Gross and The Body Shop are becoming widespread, though outer packaging, usually made of foil also needs to be addressed.