Understanding the Properties of Water


Water is almost always found at the top of the inci list, on your skincare labels.

This is an indication that it is one of the most abundant ingredients in the formula.

Let’s have a look at the physical properties of water, which is also written as H2O (2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom).

The Properties of Water

Physical Properties

Colourless & odorless
Boiling point 100ºC
Freezing point 0ºC
Does not conduct electricity

Chemical Properties

Neutral pH of 7
Adding an acid makes the water acidic
Adding a base makes it alkaline
An excellent solvent

Because water is a good solvent, it is rarely found in its pure forms, instead, it is usually found in nature containing ions of different salts.

Depending on the salt dissolved in water, it can be described as hard or soft water.

Soft Water

Soft water contains fewer dissolved salts, and it lathers up really well in soap.

Rainwater is a good example of soft water.

Hard Water

Hard water is completely different, it contains large amounts of dissolved salts and it doesn’t lather well.

Hard water can either be temporary hard water or permanently hard water.

The type of water that is used in your skincare products, doesn’t contain salts.

The ingredient list will often refer to it as purified or desalinated water, this means the salts have been removed.

Methods of water Purification

Before water can be used in a formula, it has to be purified,

This is achieved through filtering, distilling, sterilising, or deionizing the water.


The term deionization is the process of revitalizing ions in the water, that would otherwise cross-react in a product.

This is where an Ion exchange takes place, and the Magnesium Salts are removed.

This is based on the principle, that a substance is more attracted to one chemical than another.

In order to deionize water a Zeolite filter is used, the Ions in the hard water are attracted to the Zeolite in the filter and drawn out of the water.

This is an important process, which helps to keep our formulas here at The Naked Chemist super blended.


Distillation is a process used to purify water this is where all the salts have been removed.

This process involves vaporisation (conversion to steam), followed by condensation (conversion to liquid)

Distillation is based on the different boiling points of two liquids, which have been mixed together. Eg: Water & Alcohol

Water’s boiling point is 100ºC, whilst alcohol’s boiling point is 70ºC, this is where alcohol vaporises first and only water is left.

The portion left in the distillation is called the residue, such as the water.

The portion condensed or removed is called the distillate, such as alcohol.

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