15 Big Benefits of Water
Step into liquid
Whether you want shinier hair, younger skin, a healthier body(or all three!), pure, clear water is the world's best beauty elixir.
For years, hairdressers have been saying a cool-water rinse leaves hair glossier. Is it true? Yes! The chilly temp constricts the cuticle layer of your hair so it lies flatter; making strands smoother and more reflective.
Cleanse and condition
Too much seawater can dry out your locks, but oceans are good for something—their nutrient-rich waters support marine botanicals (like sea kelp) that can cleanse, repair, and detangle strands. Try this nourishing combo:
Depth Refresh Daily Shampoo ($10; Drugstore.com) cleanses without drying, thanks to hydrating sea lettuce and red algae extract in a purified-water base.
Rusk Deepshine Sea Kelp Conditioner ($14; Ulta stores) is packed with marine extracts, such as sea kelp, that strengthen and add shine. Plus, UVB absorbers help shield your hair from the sun's damaging rays.
Soft shower water leaves hair more manageable because there are few mineral salts (pesky molecules that can make strands rough and prone to tangles).
If you have hard water (find out
here), install a water-softening shower filter. It can stop your color from fading, too.
You probably know from firsthand experience that chlorinated or salty water can turn healthy hair into a frizzy mess.
But the fix is easier than you think. "Just rinse your hair in the shower or under a hose before swimming," says Laini Reeves, owner and creative director of Essensuals London, a salon in Los Angeles. "The strands will absorb their fill of clean water, so they won't be able to soak up as much of the damaging water." After your dip, coat hair with conditioner for extra protection from the sun.
Ever heard of setting lotions, those old-fashioned solutions that help hair hold a curl? Well, water is truly the most natural setting lotion available. Each of your strands is made up of hydrogen bonds that separate when hair is wet, according to Jeni Thomas, PhD, a Pantene senior scientist. If you manipulate hair's texture while wet, "the hydrogen bonds reform as it dries, holding the new shape."
Here's how to use that little bit of chemistry to your advantage: Mist hair with water, separate it into four sections, twist each into a small bun, and secure with a pin. Blow-dry (or air-dry), then unravel for soft waves.
Create a lasting style
Conditioners contain ingredients like dimethicone and plant oils that smooth and detangle your strands. But that nice slippery feeling they leave behind can actually make your hair harder to style. Reeves says you can fix this problem by misting on a water-based primer, like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Depsea Moisture Foundation ($33; Shu Uemura Art of Hair), after detangling but before applying styling products. "It absorbs some of the oil and rebalances the moisture level of your hair so the style you create will hold longer," she explains.
A cold compress helps reduce under-eye inflammation, but you can get a similar effect with H2O. "As water evaporates from skin, the surface becomes cooler," cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson explains, so asplash of water can de-puff temporarily. For a long-term solution, try a cooling, water-rich eye gel like Vichy Aqualia Antiox Anti-Fatigue Eye Stick ($28; drugstores) with brightening citrus polyphenol.
Firm your skin
For centuries, people in eastern Europe have gone to bathhouses for water therapy to detoxify and tighten their skin. The process—which involves a steam-room session to open pores, followed by a cold-pool plunge to shock skin—is easy to replicate at home, according to Eva Scrivo, a New York City-based beauty expert and host of Beauty Talk on Sirius Satellite Radio.
Just soak a washcloth in steaming-hot (but bearable) water, then lay it over your face for a minute. Next, wash with your favorite cleanser, and rinse with warm water. For your "plunge," splash with cold water about 15 times. "It may sound old-fashioned, but it really works to invigorate and tighten your skin," Scrivo says.
Wrinkles are less noticeable when skin cells are well-hydrated, according to Howard Murad, MD, author of The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger. He suggests using a moisturizer with humectants, which help attract water to skin cells. Try Olay Total Effects Plus Cooling Hydration ($19; drugstores).
Hydrating from the inside makes skin more luminous, nutritionist Keri Glassman says, author of The O2 Diet. To see results, drink eight glasses a day. It sounds like a lot but many women need that much to see a difference in their skin, she notes.
Correct your complexion
No matter what your skin woe, there's a natural water source from around the world that can help—and a c1oser-to-home product with the same effect!
Find out which products use mineral-rich H2O from around the globe
Water is about 12 times more resistant than air, so it takes more effort to move while submerged, according to Terry-Ann Gibson, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at Boise State University. That means exercises you do in a pool are extra-effective muscle sculptors.
An easy one to try: Stand in water up to your neck, then move your arms and legs as if you're cross-country skiing for 1 minute.
Losing weight improves the look of cellulite, but hydrating from the inside out is the number-one natural way to plump skin so underlying fat cells are less noticeable. You can hydrate and slim down, by eating water-rich fruits and veggies.
One study in Japan showed women who got their H20 this way had smaller waists and lower BMls than those who sipped their fluids. Some of the water-richest foods are now in season!
Here are a
few ways to "eat" your water.
Zen Buddhist monks have incorporated water features in their meditative gardens for hundreds of years because of their soothing sounds. And studies show listening to nature—particularly running water and waves—helps reduce anxiety. Feeling stressed? Place a tabletop fountain at your desk or download the sounds of the surf at Nature Music Download.