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Anhydrous Skin Care: The Path to Purity, Lasting Beauty and Wellness

BBA models with glowing skin.
BBA logo and pics of founders on their family farm where they make all natural artisan skincare concentrates

For the health conscious consumer, trying to find high quality, all natural skin care products can feel a lot like navigating a maze. Many products promise radiant, youthful skin and many others use words like “natural” and “organic” on their labels to make those sales. In an earlier blog, The Toxic Truth: Misplaced Faith In A Buyer Beware World, I wrote extensively about how labels use those words not only to mislead consumers, but to sell products with harmful ingredients. In a sea of options, the amount of work necessary to distinguish the good stuff from the harmful can feel understandably overwhelming. It is because of these difficulties that I try to provide clarity and guidance, unlocking the secrets I’ve found to achieve glowing, healthy and happy skin the all natural way.

BBA models with glowing skin.

In this blog, I focus on an often overlooked yet crucial characteristic of high quality all natural skin care products: the anhydrous (water-free) formulation. My goal is to arm you with the knowledge you need to identify these products, make informed decisions and steer clear of products with harmful ingredients. By understanding the nuances of anhydrous skin care, you'll be empowered to choose products that are not only effective but also safe and sustainable for long-term use.

Inherently, as human beings, we possess an instinctual desire to prioritize our health, well-being and joy. The skin care industry is vast and profoundly influential, devoting huge marketing budgets that leverage our natural desire for healthy skin to create and drive consumer demand. Those marketing campaigns offer products and promises ranging from luxurious creams to magical serums that somehow ensure everlasting youth and beauty. The sophistication of these marketing campaigns is driven in large part by the sheer amount of money that can be made by preying on consumer’s natural desire for those things. The global skincare market, for example, was valued at $146.7 Billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to over $273 Billion by 2031.

Major corporations hire marketing experts with specialized knowledge and arm them with substantial budgets and extensive resources to craft advertising campaigns designed to penetrate consumer skepticism and triggering a purchase response by tapping into deeply held desires and anxieties about aging and wellness. These campaigns not only create the image they want you to live up to, but then offer the products to reach that goal. The problem is, for most of these products the marketing masks ingredients that are actually harmful.

Commercial skin care ad promising wrinkle free skin in 7 days.

Within the skin care sector, marketing strategies often revolve around offering seemingly simple solutions to complex skin care issues, including acne, eczema, freckles, spotting and wrinkles. Teams of adept marketers work tirelessly to mold and manipulate consumer demand, while legal teams within the industry advocate against stringent consumer protection legislation, often distorting the meanings of common terms to suit their purposes. As a result, terms such as "all-natural," "organic," and "non-toxic" have lost much of their integrity, rendering them unreliable to consumers as indicators of product quality or safety.

Deciphering the truth behind these marketing claims and discerning the difference between genuine benefits and mere hype is tough, indeed. The boundary between reality and marketing fiction, as well as between healthy and harmful products, is purposefully blurred, leaving consumers little choice but to conduct their own exhausting research to navigate this complex terrain with confidence. Few have time for that and through sheer exhaustion, most consumers succumb to these marketing tactics.

Over the course of the last century, there has been a noticeable shift in our society's preference for skin care remedies. As a function of these sophisticated and concerted marketing campaigns, we slowly moved away from traditional plant-based treatments towards an assortment of commercial products using chemical additives and synthetic preservatives to replicate the efficacy of natural alternatives. Many of these chemical substitutes are little more than repurposed byproducts of other industries, like the petroleum industry. Today, the bulk of skin care lotions available for purchase are predominantly composed of water and these laboratory chemicals engineered to replicate benefits already found in nature. Those ingredients make these products cost-effective to produce in large quantities and easier to market due to their perceived value. Essentially, the inexpensive nature of water is exploited to increase the volume of the product, creating the appearance that you are getting more for your money, when in fact you are paying for water. Using water in this fashion naturally dilutes the potency of the active ingredients that provide any meaningful benefits. Water also introduces microbes, the growth of which can only be controlled by chemical preservatives and emulsifiers. At the end of the day, you are being marketed the opportunity to smear these chemicals all over your body in the name of beauty, youth and health and may actually be doing more harm than good. These additives are not innocuous; many are known endocrine disruptors. By shedding light on the harmful effects of endocrine disruptors and why they should be avoided whenever possible, we will introduce you to and demonstrate the superior benefits of anhydrous skin care alternatives. Anhydrous skin care not only eliminates the need for harmful chemical preservatives but also results in highly concentrated, longer-lasting products that are more pure, more natural and ultimately safer for your skin and your overall health and wellness.

Botanical Bee Apothecary's all natural artisan skin care concentrate collection in a Yarrow field on our farm on a sunny day.
The Hidden Costs of Water in Skin care
At first glance, water might seem like a benign and even necessary component of skin care formulations. Its use is certainly ubiquitous, after all, constituting the main ingredient and base for countless lotions, creams and serums available off the shelf and over the counter. However, the use of water as a cheap filler is not without negative consequences.

The skin is the body's largest organ! The skin is also the primary protective barrier between our internal organs and the external environment. What we put on our skin does not simply stay on or bounce off the surface. Water, chemicals, oils, pollutants and poisons are absorbed through the skin and metabolized into our bloodstream and internal organs through a process called transdermal absorption. The fact that our skin naturally absorbs what it comes in contact with highlights how important it is to be mindful of what those tings are. Ensuring that the products we put on our skin are actually healthy and have a positive, not negative, short and long term impact on our overall health is essential to overall health and wellness.

Baby in shower making the point our skin is our largest organ.

Understanding Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine (hormone) system, potentially leading to adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. Endocrine disruptors mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body, confusing and contaminating our internal systems. This disruption can cause tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders. Given the widespread use of endocrine disruptors in so many products designed and marketed to be applied to our skin, understanding these processes and knowing how to identify and avoid them is essential for any conscientious consumer.


Parabens are a family of chemicals used as preservatives in skin care products. Chemical preservatives are necessary when water, used both as a volumizer (to make the bottle bigger) and to dilute the ingredients and make application easier, are used in skin care products. Parabens have come under increasing scrutiny due to their known potential health risks. Parabens mimic estrogen in the body, contributing to hormone imbalances and increasing the risk of breast cancer, obesity, and infertility.


Phthalates are chemical compounds used to make plastics more durable but are commonly used in skin care products to enhance texture and ease of application. But Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive, respiratory, neurological, and developmental system disorders. Some studies have recently suggested a correlation between phthalates and behavioral issues in children, emphasizing the need for stricter regulatory oversight and safer alternatives.

The Purity and Potency of Anhydrous Skin care

Opting for anhydrous skin care products is not merely a trend; it's a choice towards a healthier, more sustainable health, wellness and beauty regimen. Without water as a base and filler, anhydrous formulations do not require chemical preservatives and emulsifiers that pose risks to our health. The result is a concentrated product that not only lasts longer but also provides a potent, direct delivery of the beneficial botanical ingredients to your skin. Anhydrous products are often richer, offering more intense nourishment and hydration in a form that your skin can more readily and safely absorb.

BBA’s Organic Green Tea Facial Moisturizer, best selling all natural skin care product and best moisturizer for glowing skin.

Why Anhydrous Skin care is the Future

Anhydrous skin care represents a return to what is pure, natural and essential. By eliminating unnecessary fillers and harmful additives, these products offer a safe, effective alternative to traditional water-based skin care. The benefits are manifold: from reducing the risk of exposure to endocrine disruptors to embracing a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to health, wellness and beauty solutions. All natural anhydrous skin care not only aligns with a holistic and eminently sustainable approach to wellness but, done right, can deliver highly effective performance and efficacy that other products only try to simulate with laboratory chemicals.

Embracing Anhydrous Skin Care

Transitioning to anhydrous skin care is more than just swapping out products; it's about embracing a philosophy that prioritizes the health of your skin by avoiding unnecessary chemicals
and the environment by reducing the overall footprint required to achieve that goal. By choosing concentrated, water-free formulations, you're investing in products that are designed to provide maximum benefit with minimal impact. This approach is not just about what we're avoiding but also about what we're gaining. Anhydrous products offer a purity and potency that water-based formulations simply cannot match.

Enhanced Effectiveness and Concentration

Anhydrous skin care formulations are inherently more concentrated. Without water to dilute them, the active ingredients in these products are in their most potent form. This means that a little goes a long way, providing your skin with a rich dose of nutrients and beneficial compounds in every application. Whether it's antioxidants, vitamins, or hydrating oils, you're receiving them undiluted and unadulterated with unnecessary chemicals, allowing your skin to reap the full natural benefits without the harmful side effects. Anhydrous concentrations not only enhances the effectiveness of natural botanicals but also ensures that your skin care regimen is significantly more economical in the long run.

Longevity and Sustainability

The absence of water in skin care products not only concentrates their benefits but also naturally extends their shelf life. Water-based products are breeding grounds for bacteria, necessitating the addition of chemical preservatives to curb bacterial growth and prevent spoilage. Anhydrous formulations, by contrast, are substantially less hospitable to microbial growth, reducing or even eliminating the need for any chemical additives. This natural longevity contributes to a more sustainable skin care practice, as products last longer, require much smaller doses and require less frequent replacement. Additionally, by minimizing the use of preservatives, anhydrous skin care supports a healthier overall personal and global ecosystem by reducing the chemical load applied to your dermis and released into the environment.

BBA's Organic Yarrow used for all natural artisan skin care concentrate Organic Boo Boo Balm for healing, dry skin and eczema.

Skin Compatibility and Hydration

Anhydrous formulations often provide deeper hydration by locking in moisture and creating a protective barrier on the skin. This is because they typically contain oils and butters that closely mimic the skin's natural lipids, enhancing their ability to repair and strengthen the skin's all-important primary function as a barrier against environmental contaminants. This compatibility with the skin's natural composition not only ensures effective hydration but also minimizes the risk of irritation, making anhydrous products suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.

In addition to the common misconception that water-based products are inherently more hydrating than anhydrous formulations, there's also a significant discussion to be had around the impact of chemical preservatives in skin care. While preservatives are essential for preventing the growth of bacteria and mold in products, particularly in water-based formulations, certain types can have adverse effects on the skin and your overall health, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin conditions like dry skin, rosacea and eczema.

Chemical preservatives such as parabens, formaldehyde-releasers and isothiazolinones are commonly used in commercial skin care products despite their known potential to cause skin irritation and dryness. These preservatives can disrupt the skin's natural barrier function, leading to increased sensitivity and exacerbating pre-existing conditions.

While anhydrous formulations can naturally sidestep the need for these preservatives by virtue of their lack of water which makes them inherently less hospitable to microbial growth, they actually provide deeper hydration by locking in moisture and creating a healthy protective barrier on the skin that is wholly compatible with the skin’s natural oils and defenses. Anhydrous products that contain oils and butters that mimic the skin's natural lipids, also enhance the skin's ability to repair and strengthen its barrier function. This compatibility minimizes the risk of irritation and is especially beneficial for sensitive skin types, underlining the importance of ingredient awareness in product selection.

It's crucial for consumers, particularly those with sensitive skin or existing conditions like eczema and rosacea, to understand the potential negative impacts of chemical preservatives, artificial colors and synthetic fragrances in skin care products. Opting for products formulated without harsh preservatives or with gentle alternatives can help mitigate the risk of exacerbating skin conditions, ensuring the skin remains healthy and hydrated.

Eco-Friendly Packaging and Reduced Water Consumption

The shift towards anhydrous skin care also reflects a broader movement towards environmental sustainability. With water scarcity becoming an increasingly pressing global issue, reducing water consumption in product manufacturing is a step that eco conscious businesses are not only exploring, but embracing and pioneering. Because anhydrous products are more concentrated and have a longer shelf life, they come in smaller bottles and require less packaging, further reducing their environmental footprint. By choosing anhydrous skin care, consumers are not only making a choice that benefits their skin but also participating in a larger effort to conserve natural resources and protect the planet.

Making the Switch to Anhydrous Skin Care

Embracing anhydrous skin care may seem like a significant change, but it is a straightforward and rewarding transition. Start by integrating one or two anhydrous skin care products into your routine. Learn how to use them properly and observe how your skin responds. Many find that their skin feels substantially more nourished, balanced and healthy after making the switch and mastering the routine. As you become more accustomed to these formulations and how to  use them, you can gradually replace all of your water-based products with anhydrous alternatives, avoiding entirely the unnecessary chemical cocktail in most commercial products and ultimately transforming your skin care regimen into one that is not only effective but also aligned with a fundamental commitment to health and sustainability.

Anhydrous skin care is a path to a more intentional and conscientious approach to overall wellness and beauty. By choosing products that are pure, concentrated and free from harmful additives, we not only safeguard our health but also embrace a practice that is kinder to the environment. Anhydrous skin care stands at the intersection of innovation and tradition, offering modern solutions that draw on the inherent wisdom of nature. As we move forward, let us make choices that reflect our commitment to the well-being of our skin and the planet. In the realm of skin care, anhydrous formulations are not just an option; they are the future.

BBA founder mixing botanicals grown on their family farm for use in their all natural artisan skincare concentrates.

Botanical Bee Apothecary (BBA) was founded to provide all natural artisan skin care concentrates that are truly natural, highly effective and do not use chemicals to synthesize the healing and restorative properties of nature or rely on chemical preservatives to compensate for the unnecessary use of water as a dilutant and volumizer. We directly harness the natural power and healing properties of carefully researched and selected plants and herbs by concentrating those properties in plant based oils and butters. BBA's artisan skin care concentrates are naturally long lasting, easy to use and highly effective. In concentrated form, our skin care treatments retain the most important natural moisturizing, restorative and healing properties of the plants and herbs they are infused with, requiring no chemical substitutes to synthesize those properties. Because no water is added to dilute and disrupt these inherent natural qualities, our concentrates look, smell and perform better and also require no chemical preservatives. Skin care products are only as good as the ingredients they are made with and we believe in good ingredients.

At BBA, our mission is rooted in the belief that the overall health and well-being of our skin is more important than chasing false promises of eternal youth and beauty. We recognize the importance of transparency and integrity in skin care formulations, which is why we have committed ourselves to crafting all natural artisan skin care concentrates using pure, natural and nourishing ingredients. We do not make empty promises of miraculous transformation and reverse aging. Instead, we give you the knowledge and tools to correctly balance and optimize the health and happiness of your skin, regardless of your age. We never use artificial colors, synthetic fragrances or chemical preservatives. We don’t need to. We grow powerful botanicals known for their natural healing and restorative properties on our own farm. We supervise the process, start to finish, hand harvesting at peak bloom and using an 8 week solar infusion process to ensure we get the best nature has to give. If you’re as concerned as us about making sure you have healthy, happy skin, the all natural way, please check us out, read our reviews and give us a try.

Botanically Yours,

Founder, Botanical Bee Apothecary

BBA founder mixing botanicals grown on their family farm for use in their all natural artisan skincare concentrates.


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