No Water, No Problem: Waterless Products Invade Skincare

Waterless and no-rinse products offer on-the-go consumers a convenient way to care for their skin. // Photography: Shutterstock

Another new and exciting skincare category, which is also influenced by Korean beauty, is waterless and no-rinse products. Besides being extremely convenient for on-the-go consumers, as they can easily be packed in a bag or left at work or in a gym locker, they provide a quick and easy boost of hydration whenever and wherever needed. They also are more sustainable, as they usually do not contain high levels of harsh preservatives.

“Consumer interest in waterless and no-rinse products is on the rise, primarily driven by lifestyle factors and the advantage of having an on-the-go cleanser readily at hand,” says Innovative Skincare’s Charlene DeHaven. “Waterless cleansers are useful in many situations including travel, sports activities, walking and hiking, or even when falling into bed after a night on the town, too tired to remove makeup.”

Waterless products benefit the skin through targeted, optimized hydration; deliver nutrition to the skin; and are designed to treat a number of skin types and skin conditions, according to Eminence Organic Skin Care’s Natalie Pergar. “For example, an aloe-based waterless product is very effective at providing a soothing and calming effect for skin conditions such as rosacea, inflammation, and sunburn,” she says. “An oil-based waterless product nurtures severely dehydrated skin, including skin that has been exposed to extreme pollution or other harmful environmental factors like secondhand smoke.” 


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In addition, when it comes to makeup, a waterless formula can often stay on the skin longer due to a more concentrated pigment formula and stay fresher longer in its packaging. However, waterless and no-rinse products may not always be good for the skin, especially oily or congested skin, as formulas containing a lot of silicone or micronized ingredients are best removed with cleanser and water.

“Convenience is the main benefit of waterless cleansers, but effective waterless cleansers that are also good for the skin are rare,” says DeHaven. “Proper cleansing requires the removal of accumulated skin, dirt, and debris. Without effective soaps or cleansers to dissolve oily debris, cleansing is not only ineffective but also leaves residue that further clogs pores, disrupts a beautiful skin texture, and contributes to enlarged pores and breakouts. Cleansers usually require a water rinse to effectively remove debris that has been solubilized by the lipid portion of the cleanser. Waterless cleansers must be formulated with special skill to dissolve oily debris and then removed without water.”


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