Travel-friendly: Waterless beauty start-up gearing up for return of international travel

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Quinn & Oliver eyeing opportunities in the travel and hospitality sector. [Quinn & Oliver]
Quinn & Oliver eyeing opportunities in the travel and hospitality sector. [Quinn & Oliver]

Related tags waterless Body care Singapore start-ups

A newly launched waterless personal care brand from Singapore is eyeing opportunities in the travel and hospitality sector in anticipation of the return of international air travel.

Quinn & Oliver is a waterless personal care brand launched in December 2021 by co-founders Jerrine Koh and Shanna Ng.

The brand developed a powdered body wash that is activated with water to become a liquid- gel. The powder is housed in recyclable aluminium sachets that can make a 330ml bottle of liquid body wash.

“We wanted to create solutions that were more environmentally friendly. We also wanted to inspire and empower others to adopt more responsible practices,”​ said Ng.

While users can choose to use or reuse any bottle they choose, the firm also offers a stainless steel pump bottle to encourage consumers to reduce their single-use plastic habits.

“I do think plastic has a bad rep. It’s useful, but the way people use it results in so much waste. I don’t think of our company as a 100% plastic-free company, but we are trying to reduce single-use plastic, removing the need for a new plastic bottle with each sachet,” ​said Ng.

The company first launched on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to build brand awareness and test the market reception to its products.

Its crowd-funding campaign raised over S$20,000 (U$14,653) against its initial target of S$15,000 (U$10,990) and collected positive consumer feedback along the way.

“We were very happy to hear that our customers loved the scent and actually feel clean after wash and how [the formula] produced suds. It was great to hear because getting the suds was a huge challenge for us as we only used plant-based ingredients,”​ said Koh.

Since its launch, the brand has secured distribution through several local boutique retailers that primarily operate in the online space.

Koh told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ is also eyeing opportunities in the travel and hospitality sector in anticipation of the recovery of international travel.

“It’s the right time – travel will come back with a vengeance,”​ said Koh.

The company is in the midst of developing travel-centric products and has also been in discussion with a few hotels to supply its amenities.

While the brand is still in its early days, the firm is already planning to expand its business overseas. The start-up is eyeing potential for its brand in markets such as the UK and Canada.

With increasing concern for water scarcity, waterless cosmetic products are positioned as being better for the environment.

The lack of water in a product has positive repercussions up and down the supply chain. Without water, products are more compact and lighter to transport, meaning a lower carbon footprint, less plastic packaging, and an extended use-by date, resulting in less waste.

While the consumer awareness of the environmental problems the beauty industry poses is higher than ever, beauty companies that are trying to shift towards more eco-friendly options still face a huge hurdle in customer adoption.

To that end, Quinn and Oliver spent over a year in development to develop a greener alternative that would still be familiar to consumers.

Koh told us that it had previously explored other waterless formats such as a soap bar.

“I think we are all still used to liquid formats, in terms of texture, how it works. It was important to use to make the experience pleasant for the consumer. So, we decided that the powder to liquid format was the easiest – it’s the familiar ground people are used to.

While it has made it as convenient and familiar as possible, the company believes it need to spend a lot of time on brand awareness and education.

To that end it is exploring several digital marketing strategies, such as utilising social commerce and channels such as live streaming.

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