April 5, 2017 Ingredient of the month

So many different waters… in cosmetics!

Water usually makes up over 80% of the cosmetics formulas on the market. Today, several types of water – they are more than mere water – are used in beauty products for their recognized cosmetics virtues, or to provide a hint of exoticism. They are derived from different sources and obtained with various catch systems.

It is the end (or almost!) of demineralized water in cosmetics, as several alternatives are now used to enrich formulas.

Sea water / Marine spring water

As regards sea water, it is divided into two very different categories, although they bear the same INCI name (Maris aqua).
Sea water
As its name suggests, it is directly drawn from the sea, at a particular depth, and filtrated to only keep its salt and trace elements.
Marine spring water
This category results from the reappearance of fresh water springs in the marine environment. Consequently, these waters are taken deep in the sea. They are popular in cosmetics for their compositions and often more stable in trace elements than sea water.
They are fossil waters which always keep the same minerality and temperature. They are often believed to have the property of reinforcing the skin's barrier and offer immune-cosmetic actions, thanks to the presence of microbial fragments of the marine fauna and flora.

Floral water

There can be as many floral waters as flowers! They are actually made when the essential oils are produced.
The process is quite simple: you just need to pass water vapour through flowers of your choice, and it is this vapour that will extract a whole series of substances from the petals. Then, the vapour should be retrieved, condensed, and transformed into liquid by cooling its container. After the condensation phase, the final liquid will divide into two parts: the essential oil, which floats, and the water that contributed to the extraction, which remains at the bottom… except there are floral residues in it now.
Floral waters are used in different products, depending on their properties for the skin or perfuming powers.
As for their INCI name, they are usually designated by the flower's or plant's botanical name in Latin, followed by the qualification of the final ingredient in English, together with the part of the plant they are derived from (here, ‘flower'), and the shape of the ingredient (here, ‘water'). Here is an example: Rosa damascena floral water.

Composition waters

This somewhat ambiguous name actually refers to fruit and vegetable waters, which are very widely used in organic cosmetics. They are produced with very particular means.
They can be extracted by dehydration. The fruit and vegetables are put in large steamrooms, and then slightly warmed up until they are dry.
They can also be retrieved by crushing the raw material, and then performing a filtration.
Most of these fruit waters do not have many properties as such: they are mainly used as formulation complements. However, certain more specific extracts, like lemon water, were tested and recognized as offering real skin benefits.
Their INCI names follow the same rules as those applicable to floral waters: the fruit's or vegetable's name in Latin, followed by the qualification of the final ingredient in English.

Glacier waters

Much appreciated for their purity, they are increasingly used in the world of cosmetics. Certain brands retrieve pieces of icebergs that float on the sea water, after they have naturally fallen. Then, the ice blocks are stored at room temperature. Once the iceberg has melted, the water is filtrated to remove any impurities.
Iceberg fishing' is not the only way to take glacier water. There are also land-based sources nourished by melting ice.
They are well-known for being ideal to make the skin breathe, thanks to their composition. As they are very pure, they are isotonic and preserve the integrity of epidermis cells.
Although they come from glaciers, they do not have any specific INCI name. They are only designated by ‘Aqua' in the list of ingredients.


© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
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