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Water: Our most precious resource

How can the beauty and personal care industry contribute to water conservation? Enable consumers to use less water by directly reducing the water content of formulations and providing fun, effective solutions to reduce the need to shampoo hair every day!

Published On: 04/15/21

Although 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, only 1% of that is available for human consumption. The tough reality is that by 2025, the UN predicts that 1.8 billion people will be living in areas with absolute water scarcity, and by 2030, half the world’s population will be living in high water stress areas.

By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in areas with absolute water scarcity

Even though water crises have become more urgent and more prominent in the last several years, are we ready to change our behaviors to help conserve this precious resource? In 2019, Cape Town, South Africa turned to behavior change to save itself from the brink of a complete water shut off.

For many of us, water is everywhere in our daily lives. Nowhere is it more literally in our faces than in the shower. According to the EPA, showering is the biggest drain on home water usage, making up almost 17% of total household water usage. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 1.2 trillion gallons (4.5 trillion liters) of water in the U.S., just from showering!

The average showerhead uses about 2.5 gallons per minute, and the average shower in the U.S. is 8 minutes – so in the course of a year, we’re each using 7,300 gallons of water just for showering, if we shower every day. What if we reduced each shower by 2 minutes, and on some days replaced our standard shampoo with dry shampoo? That would start to make a real impact on our personal water consumption, and our carbon footprint. Let’s not forget, all of that hot water requires electricity or gas to heat it!

On average, Americans use 7,300 gallons of water per year showering – almost a swimming pool’s worth!

The beauty industry is stepping up to the plate to address the water crisis in a number of ways. From pledging to reduce overall water footprint, to inspiring consumers’ conservation efforts at home, to manufacturing water-free formulations, players across the value chain are contributing innovation.

Water can make up 80% or more of a formulation, and it’s a prime opportunity to start reducing consumption with waterless formats. In addition, why not help consumers with solutions to keep looking great, even if they’ve skipped a wash day to conserve water?

Check out these low water formulations from BASF to get started:

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