What is it?
We all know what water is, but as a recap – water is a colourless liquid made up from two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, creating its chemical name H2O. Water covers 71 per cent of the world’s surface and is essential for human life.
What is it used for?
When it comes to skin, drinking plenty of water is essential for a hydrated and balanced complexion. However it is also one of the most widely used ingredients in topical products, usually appearing in first position in ingredients lists (remember that ingredients are listed in order of the concentration used in said product). Water is used as a vehicle to deliver water-soluble ingredients to the skin, and also for texture and consistency. When mixed together, oil and water form an emulsion, though will separate without an emulsifier.
What are the pros and cons of using it?
The obvious benefits of water in skincare are that it’s affordable, widely available and well-tolerated even by those with the most sensitive skin. Also whilst some ingredients are oil-soluble, others are water-soluble and thus require water in order to be applied easily to the skin. However in recent years some critics have suggested that waterless skincare is preferable. Firstly because the active ingredients are therefore effectively undiluted, and secondly because water evaporates quickly from the skin’s surface and is thought to take some of skin’s natural oils with it. However those on the other side of the debate argue that the emollients and humectants present in many skincare products create a barrier to trap in moisture. Conversely, beauty “waters” have also gained popularity of late, with micellar waters (tiny cleansing oil particles suspended in water) and essences taking to the fore for their gentle formulations perfect for those with sensitive skin. Micellar waters also negate the use of tap water for cleansing, so are ideal for travel or for use in an area with particularly hard water.
Which products can I find it in?
As we’ve said, water is present in most beauty products and often makes up over half of the formula. If you’re looking to try a micellar water or have sensitive skin, consider Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water, Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water or La Roche-Posay Micellar Water.Skincare Alphabet: V Is For Vitamin C