Just Add Water

H2O makes a major splash as a skin care ingredient. 

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Just Add H20


Water is the foundation of hydration for your skin and body, but it’s also a key element in the latest beauty products, says cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. New, innovative formulas optimize how our cells make the most of this essential liquid. Beyond moisturization, water enhances the penetration of other active ingredients and increases the skin’s elasticity. These new products are ideal for people with oily skin, says Debra Jaliman, MD. They tend to be lighter, won’t clog pores and help makeup glide on. Just check that water is listed as one of the first three ingredients on the back of the bottle. Welcome to the wave of the future. 

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Q: What is micellar cleansing water?


Developed in Europe, this cleanser employs gentle surfactants— micelles—to break up oil, dirt and makeup. There are no harsh detergents, so skin feels soft and hydrated, not tight. Apply with a cotton pad all over face, then rinse with water, suggests Wilson. Three brands to try: Caudalie, Simple and Sephora. 

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Products To Try


Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer, $36 One coat of this lightweight gel will ensure makeup goes on smooth and really lasts all day.

H2O+ Face Oasis Cleansing Water, $20 A botanical-based foaming wash uses apple amino acids to break down makeup and dirt without irritation.

e.l.f. Skincare Soothing Serum, $12 Create a healthy glow with this super-gentle serum containing jojoba, aloe and vitamin E.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Rich Cream, $31 Think luxury in a jar— the creamy texture melts right into skin to plump and balance dry complexions. 

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, $23 Wake up to soft, nourished skin thanks to the highly concentrated mineral water and ceramides in this Korean overnight treatment.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, $19 Hyaluronic acid, glycerin and olive extract strengthen the skin’s barrier to lock in moisture.