Water-based moisturiser vs. Oil-based moisturiser

Natural, Organic Moisturisers

Water-based moisturiser vs. Oil-based moisturiser

What you should know

Adding a moisturiser to your skincare kit is essential whatever your skin type but knowing whether to choose a water-based moisturiser or an oil-based moisturiser is a puzzling decision. While both types can be beneficial (depending on skin type), an oil-based moisturiser does come with a few drawbacks that should be considered.

Nuts Organic's water-based moisturiser cream

Nuts Organic’s Time Response moisturiser

The main difference between a water-based moisturiser and an oil-based moisturiser is the first listed ingredient. A water-based moisturiser will have Aqua listed as its first ingredient whereas an oil-based moisturiser will have an oil product listed first. After this initial ingredient, the two creams may have ingredients in common that help soften the skin, humectants which help the skin draw and trap moisture from the air and possibly some essential oils for fragrance. Both types of moisturiser may have Vitamin E listed which helps the skin retain and lock away moisture and helps preserve the shelf life of the oils to help prevent rancidity.

There are many benefits of a water-based moisturiser. In many cases it can double up as a foundation for makeup, its texture is much lighter than that of oil-based creams helping it to absorb far quicker than an oil-based cream would and, maybe most importantly, it will not cause skin breakouts when used daily. Of course, not all oil-based moisturisers will cause skin breakouts but unlike oil, water does not bind itself to the skin as easily and therefore is less likely to clog the pores.

It is, however, always worth checking that the moisturiser does not contain synthetic fragrances, dyes or alcohol. These are all known as skin irritants and should be clearly visible on the labelling.

Also, a water-based product needs an effective broad spectrum preservative system which prevents mould, bacteria and fungus from growing. The preservative system is usually used at less than 1%.

Nuts Organic’s range of moisturising creams are a blend of oil and water, mixed in two phases. Some of our ingredients are water-soluble and some are only fat-soluble. We therefore use a mix of both to deliver a product that can carry water and fat soluble ingredients in a form that is evenly dispersed throughout the cream. Our creams do NOT contain any synthetic fragrances, dyes or alcohols.

Nuts Organic's organic night cream

Nuts Organic’s Nourishing Night Cream


Anhydrous creams

An anhydrous cream literally means a cream ‘without water’.

Anhydrous creams are oil and butter based and can be extremely heavy on the skin. They lend themselves well to ‘treatment moisturisers’ and night creams but are often far too heavy for a daytime cream. Different oils penetrate the skin at different speeds and this can mean some oils absorbing quickly and others sitting on top of the skin for a long while. Although no preservative system is needed in an anhydrous cream, Vitamin E is usually added to help preserve the shelf life of the oils.

Anhydrous creams do not need to go through the same stability testing procedures as water-based creams (which can take months) and this is the main reason many companies only retail anhydrous products. Not only is the product quicker to get to market but it is far cheaper.

Despite the claims of some companies retailing only anhydrous products, water-based moisturisers are perfectly safe to use and in fact are the perfect creams for daily use.


By | 2017-11-02T12:34:08+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Argan Oil, Cream, Natural, Organic, Skin, Skincare, Vitamin E|0 Comments

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