Unlocking the Truth About Water-Based Skincare

I saw a social media post yesterday from a well-known marketer/manufacturer that made my blood boil. Some people will say anything to reach their billionaire goals. Her statement was “water attracts water” and any water-based skincare products only dry out your skin because the water in these skincare products pull the water from your skin. This is just not true. It’s chemically and physically impossible for this to happen.

She touted the skin benefits of a beeswax serum, and beeswax is also water attracting (humectant). So, by her theory, beeswax, glycerin, hyaluronic acid—all water attracting agents—would draw water from the skin. This is simply not the case, no more so than water-based products drawing water from the skin.

Does water attract water?

The simple answer is yes. When water is contained in a glass for example, it likes to stay together because of the strength and types of bonds between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. This is only true when pure water molecules are tightly close together. However, place two droplets of water two inches apart on a non-porous surface and they will not roll together as liquid mercury will. They are ‘happy’ when they are tightly bonded to each other in their separate water spheres. The proof is when you empty the glass. You’ll find all kinds of water residue left behind.

What happens to water in lotions and creams?

Lotions and creams are a blend of oils and water, two elements that don’t naturally mix. If oil and water are poured together in a glass, oil floats on top. It takes an emulsifier for the two to bond together. This is what emulsifiers do. Some kitchen examples of emulsifiers are egg yolks, mustard, and pectin (found in apples and pears). With the mechanical action of blending, oils and water become bonded with the emulsifier, creating a stable compound.

What happens when emulsions (lotions & creams) are placed on the skin?

At skin contact, with the physical action of rubbing, emulsions break down with water evaporating and being absorbed. Absorption of molecules is based on its molecular mass, with lighter and smaller molecules being absorbed first and at faster rates (water has big advantages here). Remember, in order for any substance to penetrate the skin, it has to get past the Stratum Corneum. (a highly structured layer of the skin that has literally “brick and mortar” configuration).

Water as a solvent

Water is about the most innocuous solvents available. A solvent is simply a liquid in which compounds are dissolved to create a solution. Water attracts other molecules besides itself. Vitamin C, B vitamins, AHA, and hyaluronic acid are some examples of highly desirable water-soluble additives in skincare.

It’s also important to note that aloe vera juice/gel, plant hydrosols, and many plant extracts are water based. Receiving the skin benefits of these plants cannot be achieved without water.

Is water hydrating for skin?

Truth be told, water is the only hydrator for the skin. All other “hydrating” ingredients are aimed at helping bind or retain water in the skin. The best way to hydrate skin is from the inside out, drinking 90-120 ounces per day of pure water.

The Bottom Line

Emulsions (blended oils and water mixtures) are probably the best way to achieve absorption of cellular actives, hydration, and some occlusives.

As I’ve stated before, no one type of product fits all. And seasonal changes, environmental factors, medications, hormonal and stress changes all affect our skin.

I want to make you an informed consumer, a better consumer. Only you can decide what suits you best.

At Luxe Body Worx, we carry both anhydrous botanical serums and emulsions. All products are free from parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. Through regular use, they can rejuvenate the skin, restoring its natural vibrancy, youthfulness, and radiant glow.

It all starts with a good cleansing agent that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. It’s truly amazing what a handmade natural bar of soap can do for skin.

Now go out and share an act of kindness, give a thoughtful gesture, and share words of love. It is not just this day, but every day, to show the world your beautiful self and continue to rise, reach, and become.

Keep looking up!


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