I love the oil cleansing method but sometimes my skin gets dehydrated and needs some extra water on the surface for a little while to rehydrate. Sometimes you just need a water based moisturizer, but did you know that conventional creams and lotions are usually full of toxic and unsustainable ingredients? Even something as simple as your regular drug store Vaseline hand cream can be full of bioaccumulative toxins. The problem is the way water based moisturizers are made.
WHAT IS A WATER BASED MOISTURIZER
Water based moisturizers are really common. They compromise most creams in fact. They’re also fairly simple in principle with just two main components: water and a moisture barrier ingredient.
Although the basic components are straight forward, the actual process presents a lot of problems for cosmetics manufacturers.
PROBLEM 1: CREATING AN EMULSION
Making water mix with a moisture barrier ingredient is difficult because by their nature most moisture barrier ingredients are hydrophobic. Water and moisture barrier ingredients repel each other so even if you mix them they tend to separate. For this reason many manufacturers add emulsifiers, some highly toxic like 1,4-dioxane, ethylene oxide, and others less so like lecithin.
PROBLEM 2: MICROBIAL GROWTH
When water is introduced into a formulation it increases the likelihood of microbial growth. As a result water based moisturizers are often full of preservatives, most commonly parabens.
PROBLEM 3: PETROLEUM DERIVATIVES
The most common moisture barrier ingredients are petrolatum and mineral oil, both of which are petroleum derivatives. This is probably a result of cost as these ingredients are a by-product of petroleum manufacturing and probably come pretty cheap to cosmetics manufacturers.
Mineral oil has been used for a long time and it’s found to be mostly safe but I still prefer to avoid it because the manufacturing process it comes from isn’t sustainable and also because there are so many other amazing natural moisturizers with so many benefits.
PROBLEM 4: FILLERS
Cosmetics companies that make conventional water based moisturizers with emulsifiers, preservatives and petroleum derivatives are also likely to include other filler ingredients that are meant to change the appearance or smell of a moisturizer. These additional fillers often don’t provide any additional benefit but can come with a lot of extra potentially toxic ingredients. Common fillers include synthetic dyes, fragrances, and thickeners to name a few.
FINDING A NON-TOXIC & SUSTAINABLE WATER BASED FACIAL MOISTURIZER
After years of scouring ingredients lists I know how hard it is to come by a water based moisturizer with no questionable ingredients. Lately natural cosmetics companies have really stepped up their game. Non-toxic water based moisturizers are easier to come by and can be just as good as conventional cosmetics.
Tips To Help Your Search
- Start in the natural aisle. Although not all natural products are created equal you have a better chance of finding non-toxic and sustainable cosmetics in that aisle.
- Read ingredients lists. Just keep in mind that chemical sounding ingredients aren’t always bad. If you don’t recognize something simply look it up. This goes for the natural aisle too.
- Get familiar with trustworthy brands to make your search simpler.