Waterless Clean Beauty

Y’all this winter has been dryer than a pop-corn fart! Yes, that’s a saying. No, I have no idea why. I’ll say this, it has been a record-breaking DRY winter. Arctic blasts + drought = your skin is PARCHED. And at the same time, there is a marketing frenzy over “Waterless Clean Beauty.” Oh the irony… let me explain.

Our skin acts as a barrier to the outside world – but it is not impenetrable! Protecting the moisture barrier (also called the lipid barrier or the acid mantle) is THE MOST IMPORTANT step in restoring skin health. When the moisture barrier is compromised it cannot protect you from potentially harmful bacteria, more easily causing dry skin conditions like this:


We got these results with a “waterless” balm in just 3 days! The difference between a balm, butter, cream or lotion is water percentage. The highest ratio of water to lipids for products is: lotion, cream, butter, balm, oil.

A lotion will have a higher water content and be thinner. There’s been a flood of waterless clean beauty products on the market and it’s not new – I’ve long heralded the benefits of oils and balms. But let’s not forget our body NEEDS water, in fact we are over 50% water ourselves! So using a combination of products is essential, prep step and serums will contain hydrating water-based formulas while the protect step can be added to seal it in, like a facial oil.

Read More on This Here

Skin Cells Need

Water comprises from 75% body weight in infants to 55% in elderly and is essential for cellular homeostasis and life. (1) One of our body’s natural resources to use that moisture for skin health is Hyaluronic Acid. It is a natural substance found in the fluids of eyes and joints. Various forms of hyaluronic acid are used for beauty, both skincare and cosmetic procedures. (4)

While I have often discussed the importance of lipids for our skin health, they cannot act alone. Your skin cell’s structure is similar to brick and mortar. While lipids act as the sand to “cement” the cells in place, water is necessary for it to become mortar. And for general cellular health!

Hyaluronic Acid Needs Water

Your skin needs hydration (hyaluronic acid literally cannot work if there is not moisture for it). Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, thus attracting water to the skin and holding it there. But, if applied to dry skin, your hyaluronic acid product will draw moisture from its nearest source—you, leaving it drier than when you started. (2) Skin doesn’t have to be soaking wet to avoid this, but it is why washing and using a prep step (like a nourishing rich sea-water based) essence is recommended before use.

The great thing about hyaluronic acid, is that because it’s naturally in our bodies, it works for every skin type — especially in serum form, where it can be more easily absorbed and work its skin-plumping magic at a deeper level. If you’re already a hyaluronic acid convert, you’re likely well aware of all that. But, applying it to a dry face can have the opposite effect of what is intended, and actually leave skin more dehydrated. (3)

Learn more in my in-depth articles:

When looking for products, consider:

  • what type of lipids (Vitamin E, plant-based is especially beneficial to our skin barrier),
  • has it been tested to perform or for safety,
  • and what else is in the product (“fragrance”, eek!)

is what I always look for beyond just the standard types.

Ingredients to avoid


Mineral Oil derives from hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. It is both harmful to the earth as well as potential to cause respiratory concerns, immunotoxicity issues, or allergic reactions.

Petrolatum, commonly known as petroleum jelly, results from crude-oil processing. It is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes, which form a semisolid, jelly-like substance. It is often contaminated with carcinogens (3). Risks and associated warnings issued by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, restrict petrolatum in food (what you put on your hands often ends up in your mouth).

Polyethylene glycol (PEGs) comprise petroleum-based compounds. Contamination of PEGs with the carcinogenic molecules ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane may occur as a by-product of production. Studies show they can carry unwanted substances across the skin barrier as well, especially if the skin barrier is compromised by a skin condition like atopic dermatitis, eczema or injured (5). Which, is interesting because dermatitis can be caused by PEG-22 and 45 from “skin-repairing creams”. (6)

And, the process of making any petroleum-based product creates toxic byproducts which can contaminate the raw materials.


Cyclic Silicons are under restriction in Europe and Canada for Environmental Toxicity, as they take 50–500 years to break down completely. Look to avoid cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), cyclopentasiloxane (D5), cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and cyclomethicone), designated as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. They’ve been show in rodent studies to result in reproductive harm as well as enlarged livers. (4)


Are all ingredients disclosed and prominently displayed? If it contains “fragrance” it’s a no-no. “Fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredient label protects a company’s “secret formula”, but ultimately it is known as the loophole where unknown chemicals are often hazardous to health and undisclosed. And what’s hidden in that simple word can include complex mixtures of up to hundreds of chemicals. Studies show they may be linked to a variety of health problems, including allergies, skin reactions, endocrine/hormone disruption, and possibly even birth defects.

Companies are not required to test cosmetics for safety before they are sold. The label is the primary protection we have to make decisions about products. Yet when it comes to fragrances, we don’t even have this simple protection. There have been countless studies that reveal products with “fragrance” to contain hazardous undisclosed chemicals when tested by 3rd parties. (5)

My Recommended favorites

My top 3 favorite waterless skincare products are:

1) Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm, this multi-tasker is perfect for day and night use. Hydrates while it cleanses, removing makeup and impurities with nourishing ingredients that won’t strip away your skin’s natural moisture. Soothes and de-stresses skin while increasing luminosity.

2) All Bright Brightening Facial Oil, a deeply nourishing brightness booster designed to awaken and replenish. Immediately hydrates skin while giving glowing, radiant skin. Antioxidant-rich vitamin C delivers a brighter, even skin tone. A quick-absorbing formula is lightweight and silky-smooth with a citrus scent.

3) Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil, a luxurious, lightweight cleansing oil. Gently yet effectively removes makeup and impurities without stripping essential lipids from the skin. Rich in vitamin E, fatty acids, and a better-for-you Retinatural™ Complex. Designed to reinforce the skin’s fragile moisture barrier for a soothed, nourished complexion.

We cannot forget the hydration necessary for these products to maximize efficacy. Combine the above with:

4) Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence, Vital nutrients energize the skin. Lightweight but deeply nourishing, this milky moisturizing essence (like a toner, but more beneficial) delivers vital nutrients to the skin’s moisture barrier —instantly boosting hydration and radiance. Formulated with our plant-derived Retinatural™ Complex, mineral-rich sea water, and a fermented blend of sugars. Clinically proven to improve skin’s barrier function.

5) Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum, packed with two forms of hyaluronic acid, plus vitamins C and E. This intensely moisturizing serum is gentle and amazing for all skin types. Delivers a boost of lasting hydration and antioxidant protection. Delivers an immediate boost of hydration. Infused with antioxidants to protect skin from environmental stressors. Provides concentrated nutrition for youthful, healthy-looking skin. Skin will feel firmer and look brighter with a more even tone.

Shop for them all here.

My top 5 favorite body products are:

1) Hands down (pun intended) this is the BEST product, the Swiss Army Knife of Skin but also you can apply a smidge to dry spots like you would a petroleum-based product with the benefit of lipids

2) I like an oil for dry cuticles and cracked skin because it can richly flood the skin’s lipid barrier to repair the cell wall; while you could use this oil if you own it already because the Vitamin E + Vitamin C is literal magic, this one made for the body also includes magnesium and CBD which helps muscle recovery and is super soothing before bed

3) I love this universal and beloved super luxuriously rich body butter that smells like vacation (which also comes as a body balm) for my feet and elbows; if you have particularly dry skin try this

Furthermore, we cannot forget the exfoliation products that help us remove the dry, dead skin which allows newer healthier skin to grow in. Using these prior to hydrating will improve the efficacy of the above:

4) this body serum is so gentle and a fantastic treatment a few times a week; remember this is the middle step in a skincare routine, you need to wash before and hydrate after use!

5) this body polish has become one of my top-five most used items, it has transformed my underarms from super sensitive to unclogged and resilient, and I shared about how it helped remove skin tags here.

Shop for them all here.


  1. Water, Hydration and Health, PubMed PMC2908954
  2. 3 Hyaluronic Acid Mistakes To Avoid For Happy, Hydrated Skin, The Go-To Guide
  3. Right and Wrong Way to Use Hyaluronic Acid, Refinery 29
  4. Hyaluronic Acid – Uses, Side Effects, and More, WebMD
  5. , EWG

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