In Sight: Water from the Outside-in

Editor’s Note: This column is the first in a two-part series on innovative uses of water in personal care. The second column will appear in the April 2007 In Sight and will focus on water’s enhancement of beauty from the inside out.

Water is the building block of life. It is found in most personal care products on the market and is essential to the success of the industry. The body needs it, the skin needs it, bottom line—it’s important. So really, it is not that surprising to see it employed in new and unconventional ways. Water conventionally has been used in personal care as the starting ingredient in formulations but rarely has it been the single ingredient in an aerosol delivery system.

When Drew Aultman, founder and president of Watersall (Albany, Ga., USA), started her company, she decided to focus on water, literally just water without other skin-benefiting ingredients, to create a line of water atomizers for skin care. Aultman’s initial goal was to create a convenient, purified water spray without added performance benefits. Ultimately, however, she says she got more than she expected.

The Concept
Aultman knew of an existing product on the French market that delivered water in an aerosol form, but noted that the availability of the product was scarce. “I thought it was great that the company made [a water atomizer] but found it hard to believe that no manufacturer in the United States was producing something similar to it,” said Aultman.

She thus launched her own line of water atomizers in the United States in May 2005 that focused on being chemical, mineral and additive-free. By omitting chemicals from her products, Aultman chose to make products suitable for all skin types, sensitivities and ages.

“I thought it was great to have a hydrating spray and not to worry about fragrance, preservatives or additives, which can irritate dry or sensitive skin,” said Aultman. But isolating water as the single ingredient in her product line, apart from the propellant nitrogen, was not pure enough for Aultman. To ensure her product line offered the purest water she turned to the pharmaceutical industry.

“One [trait] that makes our atomizers different from other water atomizers is that we use sterilized water. We have removed minerals and metals in a way that exceeds US Food and Drug Administration standards for purified water,” said Aultman 

 According to Aultman, the water used in her company’s products is sterilized using light to irradiate it. This process also is used by manufacturers of water for prescription drugs. Sterilized water reportedly has a longer shelf-life and is suitable for all ages and skin types.

The Delivery
The delivery of the atomized water was a subject of great focus by Aultman. Firstly, the water should be delivered in a fine mist; secondly, the packaging should be tamper-free to avoid contamination and the spread of bacteria.

To deliver the water in an aerosol form, Aultman located the manufacturer of a spray mechanism in France that could deliver the water in small particles. During her search for package delivery, Aultman discovered a key element to her product’s efficacy.

“The water droplets are broken up into such fine particles that the skin absorbs the water more readily,” said Aultman. This element claimed to allow better hydration of the skin in comparison to directly applying water to the face.

In addition to better hydration, smaller water particles reportedly allowed the product to branch into different applications,such as powdered makeup sealant. “The nozzle’s ability to break apart the water molecules allows for powdered products to adhere to the skin. Rather than looking chalky, makeup looks more natural, and because it is a fine mist, the makeup does not run,” said Aultman.

The products are recommended for quick hydration in hot or dry climates, restoring skin’s pH balance, after-treatment for dermatological procedures and as a partner to cleansers.

As far as hydration goes, Aultman maintains that the product line is not a replacement for moisturizer, but rather a way to hydrate the skin before moisturizer seals the hydration in. She hopes this multi-tasking product will become a personal care “staple,” but acknowledges there are other important uses of water in the body. “When it comes to water, you need to be hydrated inside and out.”

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