First of all, what is water-free beauty? Hailing from South Korea (aka the land of pioneers in beauty and skin care), the movement is all about using little to no water in beauty products (per the World Wildlife Fund, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages by 2025). While it’s tough to find completely zero-water products, big-name brands like Unilever, L’Oréal and Pro
As it turns out, it’s not just the environment that will thank you for going water-free—your complexion will too. We tapped Morgan Rabach, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and cofounder of LM Medical in New York City, to find out more about how the trend might affect your skin. “The less water used in a cosmetic product, the more concentrated the active ingredients are,” says Dr. Rabach. Translation? You’re getting more bang for your buck. Not only that, but she also tells us that when water is used as an ingredient in beauty products, certified preservatives are usually added as well to reduce the chance of bacterial growth. Less water means fewer preservatives.
In terms of skin type, some are better suited to cutting back on H2O than others. “Super dry eczematous skin could benefit from the water-free beauty movement, as these products could have more oil used as emulsifiers,” says Dr. Rabach. (More oil means more hydration.) But water-based products are better for people with acne-prone or oily skin, she adds. Intrigued? Here are three of our favorite water-free beauty products.