11 Best Water-Based Skin Care Products For Every Skin Type

These are the products that every skin type swears by without any hesitation.

Reviewed by Pam Daman, Beauty/Aesthetic Therapist Pam Daman Pam DamanBeauty/Aesthetic Therapist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Last Updated on

Even after following a thorough skin care regimen, your skin might feel dry irrespective of your skin type. The ingredients used in regular skin care products might sometimes dry your skin. But, the best water-based skincare products are specially formulated to hydrate your skin and prevent dryness. Be it a cleanser, gel, body cream, or balm – all water-based products. These products tighten the pores and make your skin firm. Water-based products are known to provide excellent instant hydration and make your skin plumpy and revitalized. In addition, they are known to have great anti-aging benefits. They minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

If you are looking for water-based skin care products that cast a cooling effect, you are at the right place. In this article, we have curated a list of the 11 ideal water-based skin care products. Check them out below!

Top Picks
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Best For Lasting Hydration:CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
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Best Nourishing:Esthete Camellia Moisture Water Drop Hand & Body Cream
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Best Quick-Absorbing:L'Oreal Paris Hydra Genius
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Best Non-Comedogenic:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel
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Best Water-Based:NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Primer Base
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Best Non-Greasy:Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream
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Best Glute-Free:Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
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Best Anti-Aging:Tatcha The Water Cream
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Best Oil-Free:Tula Skin Care Dew Your ThingOil-Free Gel Cream
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Best Vegan:e.l.f. Prep & Hydrate Balm
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What Is Water-Based Skincare?

To put it simply, products that use water as the main ingredient are known as water-based skincare. Since water is lightweight and absorbs quickly in the skin, it is less likely to clog your pores. When mixed with water-attracting humectants, this ingredient delivers proper hydration to dry skin and leaves it looking refreshed. All the water-based products work well with every skin type, thanks to their non-greasy formula. They are particularly helpful for people with acne-prone or oily skin as they hydrate from within and impart a dewy glowing appearance.

Various kinds of skin care ranges provide hydration and skin-plumping effects. Here are a few water-based skin care products’ benefits.

What Makes Water-Based Skin Care Products So Special?

Water-based skin care products are quick-absorbing, lightweight, non-comedogenic, non-sticky, or non-greasy. They are suitable for every skin type and help in replenishing and reviving your skin instantly.

It’s time to dive into the list of the best water-based skin care products to get revitalized skin.

11 Best Water-Based Skin Care Products – 2023 Update

1. Best For Lasting Hydration:CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

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CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser Image: Cerave

The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser has a gentle yet potent formula that removes grime, dirt, and excess oil from your face without stripping moisture off your skin. The non-greasy formula deeply cleanses your pores to leave your skin feeling refreshed. This lotion-like water-based cleanser contains MVE Technology that promises to deliver a 24 hours long hydration. It is formulated with hyaluronic acid, three essential types of ceramides, and glycerin.

Hyaluronic acid and glycerin help your skin retain moisture and nourish it deeply for a smooth, non-greasy finish. The three essential ceramides – 1, 3, and 6-II –help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier to prevent any environmental damage. The non-foaming and non-irritating cleanser can be used as a part of a regular morning (AM) and night (PM) skin care routine. Multiple reviewers have noted visible results after using this cleanser, giving it highly positive reviews. This video of a tester’s experience will give you more insights into the product.

Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.95 x 3.38 x 1.63 inches | Weight: 1.04 Pounds

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Ceramides, and Glycerin

Suitable For: Normal and dry skin

Pros
  • Non-drying
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Long-lasting hydration
  • Non-greasy
  • Certified by the National Eczema Association
  • Recommended by Dermatologists
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Soap-free

Cons
  • Does not remove makeup completely
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 6,165 customers have given the product positive reviews on Amazon.

2. Best Nourishing:Esthete Camellia Moisture Water Drop Hand & Body Cream

The Esthete Camellia Moisture Water Drop Hand & Body Cream is an advanced solution for dry skin. This water-based cream has a gel-like consistency that instantly hydrates, nourishes, and visibly improves sensitive and eczema-prone skin with its highly moisturizing ingredients. This Korean formula contains camellia japonica, olive oil, betaine, aloe vera, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, which helps in improving the skin’s overall texture.

The Camellia japonica leaves have polyphenolic compounds, which help maintain the skin’s elasticity and resilience while reducing inflammation. Olive oil is packed with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, along with antioxidants and polyphenols. These potent properties protect the skin from free radical damage. Betaine is naturally found in beets and plays an important role in the natural moisturizing factor (NMF). It has amino acids which provide your skin with optimum hydration by attracting water and restoring the cell water balance.

Ceramides and hyaluronic acid can lock in moisture and enhance the protective skin barrier by eliminating fine lines and wrinkles. Apart from making the skin smoother and firmer, these two ingredients also boost radiance and make your skin look smooth and supple. And lastly, aloe vera has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, along with vitamin A and vitamin C, which fight free radical damage while reducing inflammation to soothe and calm the skin.

Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, Dry, Normal

Key Ingredients: Camellia Japonica, Olive oil, Betaine, Aloe Vera, Ceramides, and Hyaluronic acid

Best Suitable For: Dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy
  • Absorbed quickly
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Hydration does not last long

3. Best Quick-Absorbing:L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius

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L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Water-Based Cream Image: L'oreal

L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius is a lightweight water-based moisturizer that instantly absorbs your skin and leaves it feeling smooth and supple. This formula has a lotion-like consistency that slides smoothly, hydrates your skin, and reduces excess shine. It is formulated with hyaluronic acid and aloe water which keeps your skin soft, supple, and hydrated for up to 72 hours.

The aloe water is packed with 75 nutritional elements – 12 minerals, 27 amino acids, and 6 vitamins, including vitamin C and vitamin A. These nourishing ingredients provide your skin with optimum hydration and relieve irritation or inflammation. Hyaluronic acid helps in retaining moisture, enhancing hydration, and improving skin resilience. This hydrating water-based moisturizer replenishes your skin and reduces wrinkles and signs of fatigue visibly and is loved by multiple reviewers.

Product Dimensions: 1.71 x 2.11 x 6.6 inches | Weight: 10.41 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid and Aloe Water

Best Suitable For: Normal and oily skin

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Locks in moisture for up to 72 hours
  • Absorbed quickly
  • Non-greasy
  • Pleasant fragrance

Cons
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • May cause allergies or rashes

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In general, applying this moisturizer twice daily—in the morning and the evening— will be sufficient to achieve long-lasting results.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 7,350 reviews claiming its efficacy.

4. Best Non-Comedogenic:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel Moisturizer Image: Neutrogena

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel quenches dry skin instantly. This water-based face moisturizer leaves your skin thoroughly hydrated, supple, and smooth after consistent use. It has a gel-like consistency and is formulated with hyaluronic acid to replenish your skin by attracting moisture and improving its plumpness. The formula is oil-free, lightweight, non-comedogenic, and suitable for everyday use. This dermatologist-recommended formula is absorbed quickly into your skin and locks in the hydration for up to 48 hours long. The brand claims to offer visible results and deeply hydrated skin for 72 hours. To make an informed decision before buying, you can check out this video featuring the reviewer’s experience.

Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.9 x 4.1 inches | Weight: 1.76 Ounces

Key Ingredient: Hyaluronic acid

Best Suitable For: Dry skin, and dehydrated skin

Pros
  • Non-comedogenic formula
  • Long-lasting hydration
  • Instant results
  • Little amount goes a long way
  • Oil-free
  • Dye-free
  • Alcohol-free

Cons
  • Contains added fragrance
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 8,067 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

5. Best Water-Based:NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Primer Base

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NYX Cosmetics Hydra Touch Primer Image: Nyx Professional Makeup

Create a smooth and glowing canvas for your makeup with the NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Primer Base. This is one of the very few water-based products in the makeup category that leaves a refreshing feel on the skin and smoothens your complexion. The formula is enriched with chamomile, ginseng, licorice root extract, tremella mushroom, and centella extract. This antioxidant-boosting and nutrient-packed primer provides a hydrated and luminous finish and creates a smooth canvas for makeup. Multiple reviewers have noticed visible results after using the product consistently, giving it positive reviews for its performance.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.04 x 1.87 x 4.76 inches | Weight: 1.06 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Chamomile, Ginseng, Licorice Root extract, Tremella Mushroom, and Centella extract

Best Suitable For: All skin types

Pros
  • Long-lasting
  • Lightweight formula
  • Moisturizing
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • May cause irritation around eyelids
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has received 2,075 positive Amazon reviews from its users, stating its numerous benefits.

6. Best Non-Greasy:Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream

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4.3
Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream Image: Simple

The Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream moisturizes extremely dehydrated skin. This water-based cream-gel smoothens the tightness and dryness of your skin and makes it soft and supple. It is formulated with eucalyptus oil, glycerin, and other essential minerals and plant extracts that provide maximum hydration, revitalize the skin, and leave it with a radiant look. The non-greasy formula is lightweight and ensures long-lasting hydration.

Product Dimensions: 1.77 x 1.46 x 4.31 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces.

Key Ingredients: Eucalyptus oil and Glycerin

Best Suitable For: Sensitive skin, dry skin, and dehydrated skin

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy
  • Perfume-free
  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Tested on sensitive skin
  • Harsh chemical-free
  • Artificial color-free

Cons
  • Contains silicone
  • May clog pores
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received over 3,850 rave reviews on Amazon, proving it is a mass favorite.

7. Best Gluten-Free:Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

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The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is a multipurpose product that works as a makeup primer, setting spray, or facial skin refresher. This formula instantly hydrates and nourishes your skin and provides it with a smooth and flawless base. It also moisturizes your skin, soothes it during a hectic day, and keeps your makeup intact for long hours.

This water-based product is enriched with hyaluronic acid, caffeine, glycerin, niacinamide, and electrolytes. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin help in hydrating your skin deeply, niacinamide refines the skin texture to minimize pores. Electrolytes and caffeine refresh and reawaken your skin to eliminate signs of dull skin and fatigue. The spray leaves your skin looking smooth and soft without making it look greasy or shiny.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 4 inches | Weight: 0.01 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Caffeine, Glycerin, Niacinamide, and Electrolytes

Best Suitable For: Normal skin, dry skin, and oily skin

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Tested by Dermatologists
  • Non-acnegenic formula
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Oil-free
  • No SLS and SLES
  • Fragrance-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Talc-free
  • Mineral oil-free

Cons
  • Expensive

protip_icon ProTip
You may use the photo finish primer as a setting spray to keep makeup in place, as a primer before applying makeup, and also as a misting spray all day to rehydrate skin.

8. Best Anti-Aging:Tatcha The Water Cream

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Tatcha The Water Cream Image: Tatcha

Give your skin a boost of hydration with the Japanese nutrients infused Tatcha The Water Cream. This water-based product nourishes your skin and reduces pores. It is infused with potent botanicals like Japanese wild rose, leopard lily, and hadasei-3 complex to ensure optimal hydration.

The Japanese wild rose helps give you a balanced complexion and diminishes the pores for a flawless texture. Japanese leopard lily calms the skin, soothes it, and helps in minimizing excess oil production. The hadasei-3 complex contains a blend of green tea, rice, and algae which are considered as powerful Japanese superfoods. This trinity complex is packed with antioxidant properties which revitalize your skin, restore its healthy radiance, and impart a natural glow. This oil-free skin care formula nourishes your skin without making it feel greasy and works towards tightening open pores.

Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 6 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Japanese Wild Rose, Japanese Leopard Lily, and Hadasei-3 Complex

Best Suitable For: Oily skin and combination skin

Pros
  • Non-sticky and non-greasy
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Ideal for everyday use
  • Oil-free

Cons
  • Highly expensive
  • Not suitable for acne-prone or sensitive skin

protip_icon ProTip
Consider applying a new layer of water cream after every face wash or activity that removes your skin’s natural oils, such as an intense workout.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The extensive 518 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are vouching for this product.

9. Best Oil-Free:Tula Skin Care Dew Your ThingOil-Free Gel Cream

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4.6
Tula Skin Care Dew Your ThingOil-Free Gel Cream Image: Tula

Restore your skin’s natural balance with probiotic extracts and superfoods infused in the Tula Skin Care Dew Your Thing Oil-Free Gel Cream. This water-based cream leaves your parched skin quenched and dewy. Its weightless texture and oil-free formula is enriched with superfoods like fermented rice water, organic prickly pear extract, and hydra plant complex.

The fermented rice water revitalizes and revives dry skin and reduces the appearance of pores. The prickly pear extract is taken from organic cactus that hydrates your skin and calms and soothes irritation and redness to enhance the complexion. The hydra plant complex is clinically proven to lock in moisture to give your skin instant and long-lasting hydration. This highly potent water-based cream can be included in your everyday skin care regime and can be used both as a morning (AM) and night (PM) cream. The brand also claims that visible results were noted by customers after 2 weeks of usage.

Package Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.42 x 2.09 x 1.69 inches | Weight :1.7 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Fermented Rice water, Organic Prickly Pear extract, and Hydra Plant Complex

Best Suitable For: All skin types, including hypersensitive and oily skin

Pros
  • Weightless texture
  • Oil-free formula
  • 72 hours hydrations
  • Suitable for everyday use
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalates-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Petrolatum-free
  • Triclosan-free
  • No mineral oils
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Expensive
  • Has a greasy finish

10. Best Vegan:e.I.f. Prep & Hydrate Balm

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e.l.f. Prep & Hydrate Balm Image: E.l.f

The e.l.f. Prep & Hydrate Balm is an easy-to-use on-the-go primer stick that instantly hydrates your skin. This versatile, travel-friendly, compact stick imparts an improved skin texture and preps your skin for makeup application. This water-based primer is infused with shea butter, cocoa, aloe vera, and grape. These skin-loving ingredients help make your face a well-prepped and hydrated canvas for long-lasting makeup while nourishing it. Many reviewers have experienced visible results after using this primer, giving it highly positive reviews.

Skin Type: Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.65 x 1.69 x 5.16 inches | Weight: 0.53 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, Cocoa, Aloe Vera, and Grape

Best Suitable For: All skin types

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Vegan
  • Travel-friendly
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalates-free
  • Nonylphenol-free
  • Ethoxylates-free
  • Triclosan-free
  • Triclocarban-free
  • Hydroquinone-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • May cause itching and redness

11. L’ocitanne En Provence Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream

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Revive your dehydrated skin with a blast of hydration with the L’ocitanne En Provence Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream. It melts into your skin to give it a refreshing glow by boosting moisture and making it soft all day long. This water-based formula is packed with skin-loving ingredients that help in retaining your skin’s natural moisture and radiance.

It is enriched with Reotier water and hyaluronic acid – ingredients known for their ability to retain hydration to the skin. This potent blend attracts water and replenishes your skin to give it a supple, smooth, and plump finish.

Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 2.3 x 1.9 inches | Weight: 1.76 Ounces

Key Ingredients: Reotier water and Hyaluronic acid

Best Suitable For: All skin types

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Mildly scented
  • Ideal for everyday use
  • 24 hours long hydration
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Lotion-like consistency

These 11 products are enriched with skin-nourishing ingredients and offer a boost of hydration. Consider the following points to pick the most suitable water-based product for your skin.

How To Pick The Right Water-Based Skin Care Products

  • Skin Type

Considering your skin type is the first step to ensuring the best buy. Water-based skin care products have different formulas for different skin types, including normal, dry, and oily skin, sensitive skin, eczema, or acne-prone skin. So, always look for products that are specially formulated for your skin type. If you are confused as to which specific ingredient works the best for your skin, then let us help you shortlist that as well. For those with dry skin, it is best to pick formulas that have hyaluronic acid or glycerin. Aloe vera, olive oil, or eucalyptus oil works like a charm on oily, combination, or hypersensitive skin as they have soothing properties.

  • Ingredients

It is important to check what ingredients go well with your skin type. Most water-based skin care products are packed with clinically verified, hydrating, and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, aloe vera extracts, shea butter, along with blends of various oils. These components revitalize dehydrated skin and leave it feeling soft and supple.

But these skin care products may also contain ingredients that can cause damage to your skin. For example, harsh chemicals like paraben, sulfate, silicone, SLES, phthalates, mineral oils, alcohol, formaldehyde, or talc could do a lot of damage to your skin in the longer run. So, while you are at it, read the label closely and avoid products that include any of these harsh chemicals. Also, always ensure to do a patch test before topical application.

  • Formula

After ingredients, the next factor to focus on is the formula of the water-based product that you choose. It does not matter which category you choose from. Be it a cleanser, moisturizer, or cream, make sure that the formula is lightweight and gentle. It should be a quick absorption formula with a non-sticky feel as you do not want your skin to feel greasy as you step out for the day. Besides these factors, make sure that your formula is non-comedogenic and gentle enough to tackle acne-prone skin or eczema.

The highly efficient water-based skin care products have exceptional benefits that will surely tempt you to try them at least once! We have mentioned a few benefits below. Check them out.

Benefits Of Using Water-Based Skin Care Products

  • All water-based skin care products are weightless or lightweight. They leave your skin feeling instantly refreshed without weighing it down. This makes it best for people with extremely oily skin, as they do not make your skin look greasy.
  • Water-based skin care products usually are quick absorbing, which makes them perfect as a base for makeup. Unlike oil-based products that take forever to settle into your skin, water-based products are easy to apply.
  • The weightless formula of water-based products is suitable even for the summer. They tackle humidity and heat seamlessly and ensure that you do not end up looking greasy or sweaty.
  • Water-based skin care products are much lighter in texture. They are, therefore, less likely to clog our pores and cause breakouts.
  • For those with dehydrated skin, these products are no less than a boon. Even the slightest amount acts as a glass of water to your dry skin. They instantly hydrate, revive, and rejuvenate your skin and boost natural radiance.
  • Apart from these amazing benefits, water-based skin care products have immense anti-aging, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Wondering if water-based products are suitable for your skin? Read the next section to find out.

Who Should Use Water-Based Products?

There is a common misconception that water-based skin care products are only for dehydrated skin. For those with acne-prone or oily skin, water-based products help not only to moisturize your skin but also reduce shine.

Water-based skin care products work perfectly with every skin type. From dehydrated skin to normal and oily skin, these products deliver powerful hydration and nourishment. Some water-based products have anti-aging benefits and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Water-based moisturizers are a great choice for humid or hot climates and summer months because they are typically more lightweight than oil-based moisturizers.

The Bottom Line

Regular skincare products might dry your skin even if your skin is oily. The best water-based skincare products work wonderfully to provide thorough hydration to the skin. Whether it’s a cream or gel, or primer water, these products are ideal for moisturizing your skin. They have potent yet lightweight formulas, quick-absorbing capacity, and leave the skin supple and soft. If you have dry skin, opt for the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for its non-greasy formula that doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture. If you have dull and dehydrated skin, try the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel for its oil-free, lightweight formula. Go for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water for multitasking properties that can be used as a makeup primer, setting spray, or facial skin refresher. In addition, the antioxidants and anti-aging properties of these water-based products combat aging signs. It would be of great help to invest in skincare products that are non-greasy and lightweight as they blend well and penetrate the skin. However, you must avoid products that cause redness to the skin.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a certified skin care coach. She loves water-based skin care products as they balance hydration and excess sebum production without causing greasiness. She has picked the best water-based skin care products after thoroughly checking the online reviews, ingredients, and product composition. The list is especially beneficial for people with oily and combination skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my skincare is water-based?

To ensure that your skin care product is water-based, go through the ingredient list. If the product contains oils like jojoba, argan, or almond, then the product is oil-based. If it contains water and humectants like hyaluronic acid, peptides, glycerin, amino acids, and urea, it is a water-based product.

Is vitamin C serum water-based?

Yes. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ingredient, meaning a vitamin C serum is water-based.

What are water-based face serums?

Water-based face serums have water or aqua as the key ingredient that covers almost 90% of the solution. Other ingredients in such serums are water-soluble. They are quick-absorbing, non-sticky, and do not clog your pores, making them perfect for all skin types.

Is water-based better for oily skin?

Yes. Water-based skin care products are better for oily skin types. However, all skin types can use them.

Is aloe vera moisturizer water-based?

Yes. Since aloe vera is a water-soluble ingredient, an aloe vera moisturizer is water-based.

Is hyaluronic acid a water-based serum?

Yes. Hyaluronic acid is found in a lot of water-based skin care products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers and serums.

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Pam Daman
Pam DamanBeauty/Aesthetic Therapist
Pam Daman is a beauty/aesthetic therapist with over 25 years of experience in the beauty industry. She is also the Beauty & Holistic Director of the National Beauty Training Academy. Pam has worked in further education colleges and leading UK beauty institutes specializing in NVQ levels, as well as specialist programs to suit individual needs.

Read full bio of Pam Daman