Waterless Skincare: The Latest Korean Beauty Secret

Image: Imaxtree

Image: Imaxtree

Water is synonymous with hydration: When we work out, we chug water and when our skin is dry, we reach for moisturizing cream. And while water is great in its own right, waterless skincare is gaining popularity because, as it turns out, water may not be that beneficial when it comes to your skin. Korean skincare products have been on the rise for quite some time and now it’s looking like the latest skin-saving secret lies in a waterless beauty product. 

When a serum or cream is free of water, the active ingredients are more concentrated so that skin can get the most benefits. With fewer unnecessary ingredients, you get a more powerful product and end result. Ironically, water dries out your skin — once it evaporates, so do those natural oils from the skin’s surface. Eliminating water from the equation also extends the shelf life of a skincare product. Bacteria are notorious for growing in water-based skincare products, so omitting the H2O will remove the need for preservatives or parabens in a formulation, both of which can be irritants for those with sensitive skin.

So, why does water exist in skincare to begin with? It’s inexpensive. By practically diluting the actives in a product with water or using it as the vehicle for delivering those ingredients, the formula becomes affordable. When you take water out and active ingredients make up the entire blend, then the price goes up. Concentrated waterless skincare means that less product needs to be applied since a little bit will surely go a long way. Here are three waterless products that are on our radar and will work with all skin types.


LJH TeaTree 90 Essence, $40 at Memebox

Tea tree oil is one of those amazing ingredients that works miracles on breakouts whether you have acne-prone skin or just have to deal with the occasional zit. This 90 percent tea tree oil essence is a super lightweight serum that penetrates skin on contact to fight pimples, reduce redness and inflammation and brighten acne scars. The other 10 percent is a blend of antioxidants, like sea buckthorn extract and centella asiatica, to help with skin’s tone and texture.


One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm, $39 at DermStore

This hero balm does everything from remove makeup to cleanse skin, all while keeping its moisture levels intact. The slight floral scent comes from the organic blend of oils and natural ingredients it’s formulated with. The botanical oils work to break down impurities and makeup while protecting skin and this balm can also be used as a body moisturizer.


Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Facial Sheet Mask, $14 each at Glow Recipe

This incredibly unique mask is not infused with kelp; it’s straight up from-the-ocean algae. Yes, it smells like seaweed and is pretty out-there in terms of beauty products, but the serum it’s infused with is pretty impressive and totally worth it. Sea kelp in itself aids with providing skin with moisture, so the delivery system is great. It’s drenched in an essence made up of niacinamide and antioxidants for plumping and firming benefits.