Did you know that shampoo is mostly made up of water? Yup, your favorite shampoo is 80% water to be exact. This means a lot of things, but mostly that 1. your shampoo bottle probably doesn’t need to be that big and 22. considering you’re already taking a shower, you can cut the water – which would make your experience way more sustainable. Enter powder shampoo. Activated with water, powder shampoo is literally the good stuff concentrated, made without any unnecessary water or water-based ingredients. In the ultimate, why didn’t I think of that moment, we sat down with Kailey Bradt, founder of OWA Haircare on everything you need to know about the future of your wash routine.
Like Liquid Shampoo
“Although the hair wash is delivered as a powder, it works just like a liquid,” Kailey explains. It is honestly really easy to use – though it may take a few uses to really get totally used to. When applying the hair wash, make sure your hands and hair are already wet (easy to do when you’re in the shower) and squeeze it out in a zig-zag pattern across one hand. The team recommends a zig-zag because the powder activates faster when it is spread out.
Next, rub both hands together for just few seconds to allow the powder to activate, and work it into your hair and scalp like you normally would – “lather, rinse and enjoy amazing hair,” says Kailey. Keep in mind that, you don’t need to premix water with the powder inside of the bottle—instead the experience is as close to a liquid shampoo as possible without using any prepackaged liquid.
Because OWA cuts out the water, unnecessary additives are also reduced. Moondust is made from only 11 ingredients (or 10 in the fragrance-free version). “In addition to leaving out the water, we leave out other ingredients that are included in liquid-format shampoos to stabilize the product on the shelf. 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 explains.
Fear not – just because you aren’t using water-based doesn’t mean you have to compromise on suds. There is a false belief that if there are no sulfates in a shampoo, there is no lather, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. “A lot of the ingredients used in traditional liquid shampoos (like silicones) decrease the lather effect of the surfactants, which are responsible for cleaning the hair,” Kailey says. “Since sulfates are very strong cleaners and great foaming agents, they can overcome the other ingredients. Using much more mild surfactants in a liquid format makes the lather effect more difficult to achieve,” she continues.
Sustainability Beyond the Bottle
Opting for powder shampoo is more sustainable because it means less waste and less energy used to manufacture and distribute the product. “Consumers have been trained to think that sustainability only applies to the packaging you see on the shelf – but there is so much more than the packaging that needs to be taken into account,” she says, noting that at OWA they emphasize a holistic approach to product development and strive to “think beyond the bottle.”
However,instead of being limited because the shampoo isn’t water based, you actually can enjoy a more concentrated version of the ingredients since nothing is diluting it – that means better hair while reducing your carbon footprint. “The aloe vera you’re getting in OWA’s shampoo is much more concentrated in its powder form,” says Kailey. “You aren’t going to have any build up in your hair from extra unnecessary ingredients in our formulation either, so your hair won’t be weighed down. It’s also travel friendly, so that’s a huge benefit if you’re always on the go!”
An idea this good took time to execute. The brand’s first formulation, The Moondust Collection: Hair Wash, took about 2 years to develop – and was impressively done while Kailey was both working and in grad school. After being burdened by traveling with numerous bottles of hair products, Kailey resolved that there had to be an alternative to liquid haircare, and if there wasn’t, she would create it.
If there’s one thing to keep in mind when trying new products, it’s that being sustainable doesn’t have to mean having to compromise on quality. “A few years back we thought sustainable beauty, natural beauty, and clean products all meant we had to compromise the efficacy and performance of those products. Now, with innovations in raw materials and formulations, these products are performing as well as, if not better than the conventional formulas,” she says. You heard it here first – clean haircare is about to have a moment.