Did you know that skincare products are about 80 percent water?
aN-hydra is an exceptionally sustainable, high-performance skincare line whose name refers to the chemical state of "anhydrous", without water. There are currently three products in this system (cleanser, hyaluronic acid serum, Vit C serum), none of which contain water. This means that every frosted glass bottle holds nothing but actives—no fillers, no preservatives, no waste.
The brains behind this concept is Susanne Langmuir, whose decades-long career in the beauty industry includes early success as a perfumer and later as the creator of Bite Beauty, which was sold to LVMH in 2014. She's back now with her latest entrepreneurial project, set to disrupt our notions of packaging and products.
Susanne's light-bulb moment came while browsing through a pharmacy and realizing she was surrounded by endless shelves of products, which amounted to mostly water and waste.
"Most products are 80 percent water and some up to 97 percent water," she explained in a video interview from her Toronto lab. "Fifty years ago, bars were everywhere [for cleansers, shampoos, even mascaras]. But then [the mentality of] 'bigger is better' happened so we added water to everything... and also increased packaging and waste."
Removing the water from skincare seemed the logical evolution as she developed aN-hydra, and what she's now created is essentially three months' of skincare in three bottles that you can hold in one hand.
Bottle 1 is the Microbiome Cleanser, which features microencapsulated vegan probiotics, meant to feed the skin's microbiome, giving it a chance to heal itself. The idea of using probiotics in skincare originated when Susanne's son was prescribed a harsh but common medication to treat his cystic acne, which carried side effects ranging from inflammation to disruption to the central nervous system. Susanne knew there had to be another way, a better way. So she researched everything she could about the body's microbiome, about good and bad bacteria, about balancing pH levels, and how all of these can potentially correct conditions like acne.
Thinking inside-out, she applied what she learned about internal bio-chemistry to the outwards applications of her professional industry and realized there was a natural synergy to be explored. Skin has its own microbiome, just like the gut does. And once the cleanser powder is activated with water, the probiotics enter the biome, helping skin's own defenses self-correct anything that's off balance.
Bottle 2 is the Hyaluronic Hydrator, a powder-in-oil formula that contains two different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, allowing one to penetrate deeper into the skin and the other to provide surface hydration. Hyaluronic acid is not only an incredible binder of moisture, it can also help increase collagen production and improve skin's elasticity. Just 3 to 4 drops mixed onto damp hands will create a light serum that leaves a matte finish. Pro tip from Susanne: use this on lips topped with an occlusive lip balm to keep them plump and hydrated.
Bottle 3 is an 80 percent concentration of Vitamin C powder. Another superhero skincare ingredient, it's well known that Vitamin C will help brighten skin, smooth texture and even skin tone. But it's equally well known that traditional Vitamin C serums are unstable, gritty and have that odd "hot dog water" smell. This powder actually contains 2 percent hyaluronic acid, which helps give it a smooth texture once the powder is activated with water. And no hot dog smell.
All the products are vegan and preservative-free and come in small frosted glass bottles packaged in a minimal (but sturdy) cardboard box that weighs a total of 380g—for three months' of skincare. Told you this would be a disruptor!
Microbiome Cleanser, $70; Hyaluronic Hydrator, $80; Vitamin C Brightener, $80. Available at ah-hydra.com