A Key Ingredient WATER in Cosmetics


  Liquid cosmetic product




What you will learn:

  • The role of water in cosmetics
  • The issues with water in cosmetics
  • The benefits of water-free cosmetics

Most liquid cosmetic products such as moisturizers and cleansers have both water soluble and oil soluble ingredients. Active ingredients, the ones actually do something to your skin, could be highly potent and irritating at high concentration and need to be diluted with water or carrier oils. Water applied on the skin will not hydrate the skin but its function in cosmetic products is to distribute active ingredients evenly.

However, adding water creates some challenges. For example, water provides microbes an ideal environment to grow. The active ingredients become unstable and could lose the effectiveness in a shorter time.

Waterless cosmetics are becoming popular because they can eliminate the challenges with water. Also, they are the solution for water conservation and package waste.


What water does in cosmetics

Water in cosmetic

We drink water to keep our body hydrated. But putting water onto the skin will not hydrate the skin or hydrate our body. Water sits on the skin will evaporate rather than absorbed into the skin. The main function of water in cosmetic products is to distribute other ingredients evenly.


For example, Retinol is a very effective ingredient to improve the look of your skin. But its recommended usage is only 0.5 to 1% in a product because higher concentration will be irritating. Water can help dilute this type of ingredients so that you get 0.5% of Retinol in every drop.


How to tell how much water is in a cosmetic product?

You will not see exact percentage of each ingredient in the product, but you can guess the rough concentration. Most liquid products such as gels, creams, and serums, have “Water” or “Aqua” listed at the beginning of an ingredients list. Usually, water is 70 to 80% in these products.



The problems of water in cosmetics


  • Water is a critical resource for all living lives. In other words, where there is enough water, there will be living lives. Cosmetic products contain water are prone to microbial contamination. Unlike food, we keep cosmetic products for months at warm temperature. Cosmetic products are skin friendly which means friendly for microorganisms. This is the reason preservatives are very important in cosmetics with water content.
  • As mentioned before, many effective active ingredients are potent at high concentration and they need to be diluted. But they become unstable by doing so. The moisturizer itself may still work fine, but some of the active ingredients have lost the effectiveness by the time you bought and use it.
  • Water is becoming a scarce resource and conserving water is encouraged everywhere in the world.


How the Water Footprints of Cosmetics are Calculated

Water used to make cosmetic products is not only inside the jar or bottle. There is Hidden Water, the water used during the production processes. The cosmetic industry has a real impact on water resources through the following activities:

  • Producing and extracting raw materials
  • Refining and processing the materials
  • Putting water into the products
  • Water used during the usage by consumers
  • Discharging waste water into the environment

You can calculate your water food print HERE. Find out how you can contribute to conserve water.



The benefits of water-free cosmetics


Water-free cosmetics are a growing trend in the beauty industry. With many brands claiming to be water-free, it may be hard to understand what this means and why it is important.


What is Water-Free cosmetic?

Water-free cosmetics are a growing trend in the beauty industry. With many brands claiming to be water-free, it may be hard to understand what this means and why it is important.


What is Water-Free cosmetic?

Water-free cosmetic is a type of cosmetics that doesn't contain any water. Water-free products are initially started in South Korea to improve the quality and performance of products. Removing water can solve many challenges with shelf life of products and environmental issues.


Benefits Of Water-Free Beauty Products

Improved quality and performance: Water can compromise how long your makeup lasts as well as its pigmentation and texture. When you use water-free makeup, you don't have to worry about these issues because there is no water in the product! This means that your makeup will stay looking fresh all day long and give you more control over how it looks on your skin.
Reduced environmental pollution: Traditional cosmetics contain a lot of ingredients like preservatives and emulsifiers that are made from petroleum products, which can harm our environment when they're disposed of properly or when they leak into rivers or lakes from landfills where they're dumped by companies who don't recycle their waste properly. By using water-free
Reduce energy consumption: By removing water, 80% of total volume and weight, we can significantly reduce energy consumption to transport the products. Waterless products need only 20% of space compared to liquid products and use less energy per product to maintain on a shelf.
Eliminate the need for plastic: The biggest benefit of waterless products is no plastic packaging.


 waterless cosmetic



There are many benefits to remove water from cosmetic formulas and consumer awareness of environmental issues is pushing brands to adopt a more environmentally responsible behaviour towards the protection of this planet’s natural resource. So, expect to see more and more innovative new formulations and textures without water and this is probably only the beginning of this trend in cosmetics! 








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