Solid cosmetics: Beauty in a bar

Sustainability has become a driving force in consumer behaviour in this century. At least 65% of consumers want to make the right consumption choices to live healthier and more sustainable lives.

While there is no consensus on a single definition of sustainable consumption, we can think of it in terms of several dimensions: environmental sustainability, which focuses on the impact on the environment and is the focus of this briefing; social sustainability, which focuses on issues such as working practices, living conditions and the impact on local communities; and economic sustainability, which focuses on the ability of economies to survive and companies to stay in business.

This brief introduction is important because it can help explain the rise of innovative product formats that claim sustainability at their core, as they are developed to align with new consumer values. As a result, there’s a growing interest in the cosmetics industry in natural and waterless formulas, also known as solid cosmetics.

But what exactly is a solid cosmetic? The term refers to beauty products that come in a solid, bar-like form. They can include shampoo bars, conditioner bars, soap bars, solid perfumes and even make-up products. Their appeal lies in their compactness, reduced environmental impact and ease of use.

There are a number of benefits and challenges associated with the use of solid cosmetics:

Benefits include:

  • Portability: Solid bars are travel-friendly and don’t require bulky containers. Whether it’s a shampoo bar, conditioner bar or soap bar, they’re easy to carry;
  • Reduced packaging: By eliminating the need for plastic bottles and excess packaging, solid cosmetics help reduce waste;
  • Eco-friendly alternative: Conscious consumers appreciate products that minimise packaging waste and reduce water consumption. Solid cosmetics meet this trend by offering eco-friendly alternatives.
  • Longevity: as concentrated formulas mean longer-lasting products and less frequent re-purchases
  • Water conservation: No water is needed during production and no water is transported from the production line to the consumer’s home.
  • Natural ingredients: Solid cosmetics are waterless formulas that often contain natural ingredients, appealing to health-conscious consumers.

The challenges are:

  • Correct use: Educating consumers on how to use solid products correctly is essential, as some may be unfamiliar with the process, leading to poor experiences and making it difficult to communicate the benefits of solid alternatives.
  • Transition from liquid to solid: Convincing consumers to switch from traditional liquid products to solids may prove challenging.
  • Formulation: Ensuring stability, texture and performance can be challenging and requires specialised formulation techniques to create effective solid cosmetics.
  • Industrial challenges: Some equipment adaptations may be required to ensure consistent quality, scalability and cost-effectiveness, as the manufacturing process for solid cosmetics differs from that of traditional cosmetics.
  • Microbiological safety: Solid cosmetics are less susceptible to microbial contamination than water-based products. However, cleaning procedures are more difficult to manage when these issues arise.

The manufacture of cosmetics requires efficient cleaning processes. Special detergents are needed, resistant residues have to be taken into account and regulatory standards must be met.  At Christeyns, a commitment to understanding and meeting the unique needs of our customers is at the heart of our approach.

Our qualified team of experts understand the challenges of the cosmetics industry and is ready to work with you to provide a tailored solution in cleaning and disinfection that optimises your manufacturing process.

Contact us now!


Consumers want sustainable options. What food producers, suppliers, and retailers can do now | World Economic Forum (

The beauty market in 2023: New industry trends | McKinsey

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